296. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 1

135527. Subject: Ambassador’s Call on Gromyko.

You may wish to draw on the following suggestions for your first call on Gromyko after returning to post.2
On the subject of MBFR, drawing on earlier guidance (State 1117203 and previous) as appropriate, you may wish to reiterate our interest in moving forward as rapidly as is feasible on this complex question involving so many governments. As reflected in the Lisbon Communiqué,4 the question of MBFR will be the subject of intensive discussion for the next few months within NATO.5
Your first meeting with Gromyko would be an appropriate time to raise the subject of military limitation in the Indian Ocean. You recall that Dobrynin raised this subject with the Secretary on March 26 (State 51640).6 The Secretary approved EUR’s recommendation of June 97 that he respond to the Soviet probe at his next meeting with Dobrynin, but at his two meetings with Dobrynin since then it has not been convenient to raise the subject. The following talking points were those approved by the Secretary with necessary adaptation for use in Moscow. (a) Speaking informally on March 26, Ambassador Dobrynin asked the Secretary what US views would be of a declaration on keeping the Indian Ocean free of major-power competition; (b) Since that time we have been studying this matter closely; (c) We agree in principle with the proposition that it would be in our mutual interest to avoid military competition in the area; (d) It would be useful for us to know more about what the Soviet side has in mind.8
You might wish to refer to your April 30 meeting with Gromyko on the issue of exhibits9 and to subsequent discussions on the technical level (Moscow 4919) and with Kamenev (Moscow 5110)10 which suggest that the Soviet side is now prepared to proceed with steps leading to exhibits exchange. You should note, however, that we are concerned by indications that the Soviet side intends—contrary to the previous practice and spirit of the exhibits provision of the Exchanges Agreement—to insist on linking contract signatures and the mounting of the US and Soviet exhibits at approximately the same time. All outstanding issues in connection with R & D contract have been resolved and we see no impediment to the earliest signature which would allow us to mount our exhibit without further delay. Soviet insistence that we adhere to Soviet timetable would introduce a new and disturbing element which US side would have to take into account in the implementation of the present Agreement and the negotiation of the 1972–73 Agreement.11
If Gromyko raises the Five-Power Nuclear Conference, you may wish to reiterate the USG’s position that it is a proposal which merits [Page 878] serious consideration. Such a conference would of course require careful preparation.12
We agree that it would not be advisable to raise the issue of the Berlin Talks. If, however, Gromyko raises the subject, you may wish to reply along the following lines: We welcome Soviet public expressions affirming Moscow’s interest in having negotiations reach a satisfactory conclusion. We share this interest and hope that the Soviet negotiators will receive instructions which will permit us to resume the forward motion initiated in May.13
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL USUSSR. Secret. Drafted by Smith and Perry in EUR/SOV on July 16; cleared by Davies, Matlock, and Ledsky in EUR/GER, Streator in EUR/RPM, Goodby in EUR/RPM, Stefan in EUR/SES, Martin in PM, Schiff in NEA/RA, and Sonnenfeldt; approved by Rogers and Hillenbrand. In a July 23 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt forwarded a copy of a draft of this telegram for “urgent action” in the clearance process. “Beam plainly should have opportunity to talk to Gromyko and maintain some semblance of communication in Moscow,” Sonnenfeldt explained. “Apart from the point on Berlin I recommend approval of the instruction.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 715, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XIII) Additional comments from Sonnenfeldt and Kissinger on the draft telegram are noted below.
  2. In telegram 132775 to Moscow, July 22, the Department also provided Beam with talking points on China, citing Kissinger’s remarks on Soviet-American relations during his press backgrounder on July 16 (see Document 286). “You could reflect substance of this statement,” the Department advised, “stressing that the President’s interest in our ongoing negotiations with the USSR remains as it was.” In an attached note to the Secretary on July 21, Eliot asked whether to clear the telegram with the White House. Rogers declined with the handwritten comment: “Advise only. This is boilerplate.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL USUSSR)
  3. Dated June 22; ibid., DEF 6 EUR.
  4. Dated June 4. For the text of the communiqué, see Department of State Bulletin, June 28, 1971, pp. 819–821.
  5. In his memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt commented regarding this paragraph: “Seems OK.”
  6. See footnote 10, Document 158.
  7. Not found.
  8. In his memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt commented regarding this paragraph: “Seems OK.”
  9. In telegram 2851 from Moscow, May 1, Beam reported that “the R & D exhibit and fifth performing arts problems occupied virtually all of the 75–minute conversation I had April 30 with Gromyko.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, EDX 4 USUSSR)
  10. Neither telegram was found.
  11. In his memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt commented: “This is more Soviet obstruction on this issue and State’s point is valid.”
  12. In his memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt commented: “This is minimal comment to be used if Gromyko raises subject. Adequate as a holding operation.”
  13. In his memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt commented: “You (HAK) should decide whether Soviets should be hectored at this stage. If not, Beam should be confined to last two sentences of paragraph 6 of the instruction. Kissinger marked the passage on Berlin and wrote in the margin: “Should not be hectored.” Accordingly, the final version of the telegram omitted the following language from the draft: “The progress in the talks has been disappointingly slow in recent weeks. Indeed, during most of June and July, discussion has bogged down on three important but subsidiary topics. Forthcoming positions advanced by the Western powers have not elicited corresponding Soviet responses. Moreover, Soviet negotiators have pleaded they lacked instructions to proceed at a rapid rate to consider other portions of the draft agreement.”