34. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 1

1447. Subject: Initial Call on Gromyko.

Ref: State [Moscow] 1401 (Notal).2

Gromyko received me cordially this afternoon at Foreign Ministry for about 45 minutes. He said that Marshal Chuikov and DepFonMin Kuznetsov had conveyed report of their conversation with President Nixon at recent White House reception and that Soviets welcome and agree with President’s thought that a “great deal depends on US and USSR.” Soviets fully associate themselves with this view and believe there are grounds for optimism for future conversations and negotiations. I replied we earnestly hoped to carry on continuous and rational discussion of matters of mutual and world interest.
Principal substantive points of conversation were Middle East and NPT. With respect to former, Gromyko had little new to offer. He said that he was pleased that in four bilateral talks in Washington discussions had proceeded to get away from generalities and down to specifics. He also stressed that Soviets are in full agreement with us that understanding on a “package” settlement must be reached first; then it can be implemented in phases. He said that both Israelis and Arabs have too many suspicions and suggested we should both help to eliminate ill-founded ones.
I introduced subject of synchronized ratification of NPT along lines para 2 reftel.3 Gromyko indicated Soviets much preoccupied with this question and that final decision not yet taken. Trend of his observations was nevertheless rather negative. He argued that Socialist countries (for whom USSR implicitly responsible) had signed treaty but that position of FRG (for whom US implicitly responsible) far from clear. [Page 127] He said USSR would face “intolerable” situation if it ratified agreement and FRG did not. I countered with arguments that our synchronized ratification would, on contrary, encourage action by FRG and other countries, and that Bonn faces delicate internal political situation vis-à-vis NPT which is only aggravated by Soviet anti-FRG propaganda and by Soviet statements such as that concerning alleged right of intervention under Articles 53 and 107 of UN Charter.4 With reference to statement by Gromyko that Charter provisions are a fact, I said important question was to devise tactics to promote FRG signature, Gromyko thought Bonn is looking for pretext to defer action but seemed somewhat impressed by argument that whole NPT may stand or fall on ratifications of nuclear powers.
(Comment: While high level here may already have taken fairly adamant preliminary stand against ratification of NPT before FRG acts, argument that we must ratify jointly to encourage signature of other countries in addition to FRG such as Japan and India may still carry some weight.)
I did not raise Czechoslovak question since believe more opportune occasion will occur shortly.
Other particulars in septels.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL US–USSR. Confidential. Repeated to Bonn, London, Prague, USMISSION Geneva, USMISSION NATO, and USUN.
  2. In telegram 1401 from Moscow, April 14, the Embassy informed the Department that Beam planned to make his initial call on Gromyko on April 7 and intended “to make some mention of Czechoslovakia at least to extent of saying U.S. reaction to summer crisis is well known and that we are following current developments with concern.” (Ibid., POL CZECH)
  3. The reference is an error. Beam is apparently referring to telegram 51269 to Moscow, April 3. (Ibid.)
  4. See footnote 2, Document 8.