32. Memorandum of Conversation1

    • Ambassador Anatoliy F. Dobrynin
    • Henry A. Kissinger

I asked Dobrynin for the meeting in order to have an excuse to discuss the possible Summit announcement.

Middle East

I began the conversation by telling Dobrynin that I had talked with Golda Meir 2 and that we were going to try to move things in the direction of substantive talks; however, it would take several weeks to accomplish this. He asked what I thought the timing might be. I said it would be around December 1st before I could get a clear picture, but that I was fairly hopeful of being able to do something in that time frame, give or take a few weeks. I said it was highly important that no effort be made to drive a wedge between us and the Israelis in the interval and that there be restraint shown in the General Assembly. Dobrynin said he understood.


Dobrynin then said he had a message for me which was as follows. First, the Soviet Government wished strongly to reaffirm its desire for a Summit meeting. Secondly, the Soviet Government agreed with the President that such a meeting had to be carefully prepared. Third, it therefore proposed the initiation of discussions about agenda [Page 129] and substance in the confidential channel of Dobrynin and Kissinger.3 Fourth, in the course of these discussions, the timing of the visit and the announcement of it could naturally be discussed.4 Fifth, pending such discussion and agreement, the Soviet Government expected that there be no leak. Considering that only three people knew on our side and only five people on the Soviet side, the Soviet Government was confident that this restriction could be maintained.

I told Dobrynin that this was clear and that I would inform the President accordingly.5 He reiterated the need for no leaks. I told him that I would undertake personally to do everything the White House could to avoid it and that I thought I would succeed.6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 490, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1970, Vol. 2. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Drafted on October 28. The meeting was held in the Map Room at the White House. According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, the meeting lasted from 5:12 until 5:35 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76) Kissinger forwarded and summarized the “full records” of his meetings with Dobrynin on October 23 and 27 in a memorandum to Nixon on November 3. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 490, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1970, Vol. 2) In a memorandum to Rogers on October 28, Kissinger also forwarded “a record of my Cuba and Summit discussions with Ambassador Dobrynin” on those dates, which was comprised of selected excerpts from his memoranda of conversation. According to Haig’s handwritten notation, Rogers saw it aboard Air Force One on October 28. (Ibid.)
  2. No record of a conversation either in person or by telephone has been found.
  3. In the record he gave Rogers, Kissinger omitted any reference to his “confidential channel” with Dobrynin and redrafted this point as follows: “Third, in the course of these preparations, the timing of the visit and the announcement of it could naturally be discussed.”
  4. Kissinger omitted this fourth point and renumbered the fifth point in the record he gave Rogers.
  5. In the record he gave Rogers, Kissinger added that the Secretary of State would also be informed accordingly.
  6. Haldeman noted in his diary entry for October 27: “Haig called me on plane to report Soviets turned down idea of announcing Summit this week. Say they need more time for preparation. Actually just don’t want to help us in the elections. Warned against any leak, would scuttle whole plan. P not very disturbed, seemed to expect it.” (Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, p. 205)