120. Memorandum for the Record1


  • Decisions and Actions as a Result of the President’s Talk with Ambassador Beam, January 23, 19702
The President wishes the Ambassador to get reciprocity with respect to access to Soviet leaders comparable to that afforded Ambassador Dobrynin here.
The President approved the idea of arranging reciprocal visits by high officials. Specifically, he is in favor of a visit to the United States by Soviet Minister Kirillin.3
The President believes that more of our diplomatic contacts with the Soviets should be handled by Ambassador Beam. Mr. Kissinger and Under Secretary Richardson are to canvass matters on which this can be done. Further US moves in the Middle East negotiations might be made in parallel in Washington and Moscow.
The Ambassador is to do periodic think-pieces for the President about the Soviet situation. The President is interested in the economy and in the Soviet leaders and their motivations.
The President wishes no initiatives taken on Vietnam with the Soviets for at least the next 60–90 days. If the matter should come up, the Ambassador should play it cool and talk confidently about our policy. He is to indicate that the President has given up on the Soviets so far as getting any useful help from them is concerned. He is very disappointed with the Soviet performance. We will now end the war our way, taking whatever measures may be needed. Such matters would not of course be directed against the USSR. We should not be in a position of begging the Soviets for anything. Perhaps later, a different approach toward the Soviets may be in order.
The President wants the Ambassador to take up anti-US propaganda. He should point out that the Administration has engaged in no cold war rhetoric but, while Soviet leaders have observed circumspection, the current propaganda output may make it hard to hold the line here.
The President approved the idea of Under Secretary Richardson visiting the USSR some time this year.
The Ambassador should let us know when he thinks a cabinet level visit to the USSR is useful for us.
Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 711, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. VI. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information.
  2. Nixon met with Beam from 1:09 to 1:40 p.m. on January 23. (Ibid., White House Central Files, Daily Diary) On January 23, Kissinger provided talking points, prepared by Sonnenfeldt, for the President. Kissinger met with Beam on January 22 at 5 p.m. No record of that meeting has been found. On January 21, Sonnenfeldt sent Kissinger a memorandum that included talking points which could serve for both meetings with Beam. Sonnenfeldt added, “You may want to ask more specifically for [Beam’s] recommendations as to what he could usefully do in Moscow that might give him more opportunity to see top Soviet leaders. One idea is the proposal that we should invite more second-level Soviet leaders to visit.” (Ibid.)
  3. Soviet Deputy Chairman Vladimir Alekseyevich Kirillin.