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

D: Good morning, Henry.

K: Anatoliy, I have decided the following. We will send all our communications to Japan through you because they don’t leak them when they get them from you.

D: I received the following telegram to you from our Foreign Minister. “For understandable reasons, the Soviet Foreign Ministry had to inform its embassies regarding the forthcoming announcement. Apparently the Chargé d’Affaires in Tokyo thinking only one or two days remained informed his counterpart and committed a blunder. Of course, no serious damage is done because it was not made public. Sometimes American representatives have committed the same type of thing. We believe no serious importance should be attached to this. The American side is well aware that our agreement with you regarding the confidentiality of our negotiations is strictly adhered to by the Soviet Government. Clearly, in the future we should discuss these aspects in order to avoid misunderstandings on these points.”2

K: That last point is a good one. However, the Japanese now have reason to believe they heard this from you before they heard it from us, their allies. It’s embarrassing, apart from the danger of a leak which strangely enough did not occur. Usually, they leak like crazy. But at any rate, I understand what your Foreign Minister is saying. And we accept it in the spirit in which it is made. We have to be explicit who is told and who isn’t.

D: We didn’t tell anyone on the substance of the matters discussed.

K: There was some irritation that perhaps you were trying to take advantage of the fact that the Japanese feel neglected.

D: No. We attach importance to all the things we discuss with you.3

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K: We will have dinner on Thursday evening.4 You tell the Foreign Minister we appreciate the nature of his reply.

D: All right. 8:30 on Thursday?

K: Yes. Good-bye.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 27, Dobrynin File. No classification marking.
  2. A copy of the telegram, as dictated by Dobrynin over the telephone, is ibid., NSC Files, Box 492, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 8.
  3. In a memorandum to Kissinger on October 13, Sonnenfeldt reported that French Ambassador Lucet had confirmed “stories out of Paris that the Soviets informed the French of [the summit] on October 6.” (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 66, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Dobrynin Backup (Talkers) [1 of 3])
  4. October 14. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 4.
  5. Dobrynin called Kissinger at 4:26 p.m. to complain about Nixon’s press conference: “D: I just read the transcript of the President. What he said. It’s my turn to ask you. He said you informed all Europeans and Japanese too. K: An hour before. D: What about the Chinese? K: Very briefly. D: When [did] you inform the Chinese? K: Yesterday evening [October 11]. D: Because this is a point too. The Govt. of the People’s Republic was informed this announcement would be made today and [is] aware of the date of the Soviet visit. K: All they were told is a Soviet announcement. No one on our side has been told the date.” After further discussion, Kissinger assured Dobrynin: “I am sticking to my agreement with you that you will know of anything with the Chinese 24 hours before.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 27, Dobrynin File)