65. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Gromyko’s Foreign Policy Speech

Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko spoke at length to the semiannual session of the Supreme Soviet in Moscow today. We have a TASS summary but no verbatim text yet.2

From the summary, it appears that Gromyko’s language was temperate and on the whole positive as regards relations with the US. In terms of content, however, I can detect no advance on such matters as the Middle East, Vietnam, Europe and arms control.

Gromyko mentions Romania several times in the context of its membership in the Warsaw Pact and the socialist camp, along with the other bloc countries. In effect, he reaffirms the “Brezhnev doctrine” albeit in less provocative words than the original formulation last year.

The pre-occupation with China is very prominent; his words are a mixture of threats to “rebuff” provocations and expressions of interest in better relations in the long term.

On SALT, he carefully describes the forthcoming talks as an exchange of views rather than negotiations; he does not refer to an opening date. (There are indications that we may get a response fairly soon and that it will be in terms of early or mid-August.) He also notes what you have said about a well-prepared summit but leaves it at that.

All told, in my judgment, this speech leaves Soviet policy where it has been; but the temperate tone on relations with us and, especially, on arms talks will probably be cited—as the Soviets undoubtedly intended it to be—by Administration opponents as justifying “restraint” on our part.

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Whatever the Soviets’ real view of your Romanian visit,3 Gromyko shows no direct reaction, beyond, of course, affirming the essence of the “Brezhnev doctrine.”

Ron Ziegler and the State Department spokesman will say, if they are asked for comment, that we have seen the accounts of Gromyko’s speech and that as far as US-Soviet relations are concerned you and the Secretary of State have previously stated our attitude.

Attached is the summary of the Gromyko speech (Tab A).4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 392, Subject Files, Soviet Affairs. Confidential. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Another copy is ibid., Box 710, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. III.
  2. A full text of Gromyko’s speech is in The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, vol. 21, August 6, 1969, pp. 6–10.
  3. Nixon visited Romania August 2–3, the first trip of a U.S. President to a Communist East European nation. In White House Years, Kissinger describes the Soviet response to Nixon’s decision, which was announced on June 28, as follows: “The Soviets also reacted—in a manner that made clear they understood the significance of the visit. The planned attendance of Brezhnev and Kosygin at the rescheduled Romanian party conference was canceled.” (p. 157)
  4. Tab A, an extensive summary of the speech as taken from the TASS International Services in English, July 10, is attached but not printed.