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.[Page 729]
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.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 27, Dobrynin File. No classification marking.↩
- See Document 228.↩
- May 21.↩
- See footnote 2, Document 228.↩