84. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Your Talk With Dobrynin

We were asked to do a talking paper. As always, one can speculate endlessly on why Dobrynin wants to see you; on the issues that amount to anything, you know better than I what you want to tell him. For what it’s worth, so you might prepare your thoughts, following are some guesses about what he wants to talk about:

Gromyko Coming Down to see the President. There may be something of an Alphonse-and-Gaston game, with the Soviets waiting to be invited and we waiting to get a request. If Dobrynin fences around on this subject, I suggest you cut it short and agree to an appointment [Page 257] (assuming the President is prepared to see him). Bear in mind that Gromyko is supposed to leave Wednesday, October 1, to go to Canada for a couple of days and thence directly home. One further angle: you had better settle the text of any announcement or press comment so that we don’t get into the ridiculous hassle that Brandt had last year as to who requested the interview. I will spare you now any speculation as to what Gromyko may want to say to the President, but you might ask Dobrynin.
Vietnam. You know my views.
SALT. Doubtful that he would want or need to see you if the Soviets have fresh word on this. If there is a complicated or tricky procedural proposal, take note of it and promise an answer later. If he has some substantive question to raise, play it by ear.
Berlin. Very unlikely reason or topic. If it comes up, you might ask him why we should have talks at all. (Remember the President proposed talks in his Berlin speech2 and in his letter to Kosygin in April.)3
China. He may have some message on this, perhaps relating to the talk of a Soviet pre-emptive strike. If he does, you could expound our declaratory policy.
Soviet “Doubts” About the President’s Intentions. This involves our China policy, the Romanian trip and our defense budget.
NPT ratification. They may be ready to move. Rogers told them we would have a big ceremony. I doubt that we should.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 489, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1969, Part 1. Secret; Nodis.
  2. See footnote 7, Document 13.
  3. Document 28.