269. Memorandum From Ernest Johnston of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

    • Your Meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin Tonight2

In Pete Peterson’s absence, his assistant, Deane Hinton, has forwarded talking points (Tab A),3 as you and Peterson agreed, for your discussions with Ambassador Dobrynin on the Kama River Project.

I suggest that you modify these talking points somewhat in your discussions. In the first place, they are excessively positive on the prospects for U.S. approval of the Kama River Project prior to a firm decision. In the second place, they imply that we may license the Kama River Project only if the Russians also agree to additional purchases of non-strategic commercial imports from the United States, i.e. pencil factories. Such an approach would very likely hinder any U.S. participation in the Kama River since it would burden the American participants with extra obligations not required with Western European contractors. Also, it would open the possibilities of negotiations in which the Russians are sure to demand credits and most-favored-nation treatment. In other words, such an approach would hinder the U.S. commercial opportunities, be less forthcoming with the Soviets, and would open the possibility of a comprehensive trade negotiation with the Russians, which would expose us to exceptional demands and might prove fruitless.

Al Haig has also suggested that I include the proposed memorandum from you and Pete Peterson for the President on the scenario [Page 795] for future East-West trade decisions. It is at Tab B.4 This is the staff draft which Peterson has been considering but he has not approved it. He is out of town and he will undoubtedly wish to work with it more. Nevertheless, it will provide further background for your discussions with the Ambassador. The section describing possible U.S. moves begins on Page 2.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 491, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 6 [part 1]. Secret. Sent for information. A copy was sent to Sonnenfeldt. Haig forwarded the memorandum to Kissinger with the comment: “I am afraid something has slipped the cog here because I don’t see anything for your use tonight except the more general considerations outlined in the strategy paper at Tab B.”
  2. According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger left the White House at 8:45 to attend a “dinner meeting” with Dobrynin at the Soviet Embassy. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76) No record of the conversation has been found. According to Dobrynin, Kissinger reported during the meeting that his upcoming Asian trip “was supposed to acquaint him with the rising tensions between India and Pakistan.” (Dobrynin, In Confidence, pp. 224–225) Dobrynin also recalled that Kissinger was optimistic about progress both on SALT and in Berlin. (Dobrynin, p. 211)
  3. Attached at Tab A is a June 30 memorandum from Hinton to Kissinger.
  4. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume IV, Foreign Assistance, International Development, Trade Policies, 1969–1972, Document 337.
  5. The possible moves in Tab B on the participation of U.S. companies in the Kama River project were described as follows: “There are several options available on approaching this question, including: continued delay; approval of piecemeal U.S. participation only in segments of the proposal; approval of U.S. participation provided the Russians agree to other commercial purchases from the U.S.