247. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

K: Anatoliy, I am unhappily calling you about the matter we discussed a week ago today.2 I gave you the wrong information about the submarine. I told you at the time we thought the submarine was a diesel. You told me nuclear subs were under the control of the Politburo.

D: It was announced as a submarine without telling what …

K: I wanted to inform you there is a submarine tied up together with the tender. It is nuclear-powered and has 8 missiles on it of the 250–300 mile range.

D: That was not a condition of a “visit.”

K: The understanding—as we understand it—is servicing of nuclear submarines and submarines carrying offensive weapons in or from Cuban ports.

D: What servicing? In what way are they servicing?

K: If a submarine is there independently—but it is tied up with the tender. We will not debate it, but at the best, it is at the very edge of the understanding. I wanted to point out that our information last Friday3 was not good.

D: I don’t have any information except what was published in our press.4

K: The appearance of a nuclear submarine with missiles of a 300–mile range and tied up with the tender is … You can have no doubt how gravely we would consider violations of the understanding. Whether this is a violation we don’t have to debate now, and we will not make any public statement for the time being.

D: The understanding in Moscow is that a visit which is published beforehand …

K: It’s a combination of the visit of the nuclear submarine and the tender and those two being together is a very unfortunate incident.

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D: I will transmit that you say this is unfortunate. As it was announced, I don’t know whether they do anything about it.

K: I am not asking for anything in particular.

D: I will send to Moscow what you say.

K: There is nothing else to do for the time being.

D: I will send right away a telegram—with missiles.

K: With missiles with a range of some 300 miles. They are not ballistic but the other missiles.

D: The small ones.

K: Like the German V–1.

D: Not long-distance.

K: They are 300 miles—when it becomes a violation of the understanding, it will be a first-class crisis.

D: In Moscow, the understanding is that if it were announced.

K: I told you last week we thought it was diesel. I have to point this out now as a matter we have to consider unfortunate.

D: I will send a telegram on what you mentioned to me for their own information.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 27, Dobrynin File. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 228.
  3. May 21.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 228.