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

K: I take it the Ivanov thing is on the track.

D: The man I spoke [to] about [it] does not know the details because about that last assurance given from your side it doesn’t matter what kind of decision [is] taken by the court.2

K: What do you mean?

D: You were obligated to take a [omission in transcript] but a final stage.

K: He doesn’t know that but I will make it a matter of record. The State Dept. has just to work out the arrangements with you. It will be a record in the WH and the Justice Department. No point in making it—

D: I just understood it was the case—

K: Only to prevent a leak. I have two other things—when we were talking the other day of minor things that cause irritation,3 one that hasn’t happened yet but as presidential campaigning begins, many [Page 238] aspirants will go to various capitals. Things that help certain candidates will take exception when other candidates weren’t given them.4

D: One already applied. I wrote to Moscow but haven’t received a response. For the first of January. Don’t know what the answer is. We were told rather asked if it was possible.

K: We cannot say that someone shouldn’t visit Moscow but when the President was a candidate the circle of people he could see was definitive. If it changed for these, it would cause [omission in transcript].

D: No one will ask any candidate to do anything.

K: But taken out of context it could be used that way.

D: How can we keep it quiet?

K: It’s entirely a sovereign decision. It’s just that in my judgment some things that cause problems within the intrinsic [omission in transcript]. I didn’t know there was one planned.

D: It’s been almost two weeks.

K: Being received by top level people and being there are two different things.

D: No, when I talk about going it’s for a meeting with top level people. I can give visas for any Senator to go but when I say it was an application, it was to visit people.

K: So you meant with top level—if they see top level—it’s up to you. D: I have no answer—maybe today or tomorrow. I don’t know. K: The point that was made to me when the President was there he was refused to see senior people and he remembers it of course. If they are received, if conversations could be kept so that they cannot be used it would help political discussions we are planning. This is personal advice and not an official request. I thought you may want to see the comments I made on our relations at the backgrounder today,5 which you will find constructive.

D: Have you already typed it?

K: I will have a copy sent over. I have not seen it yet. As soon as it’s done. Finally and most importantly (something about the M.E.) but because you felt there was some urgency.

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D: I will invite you.

K: The President would be prepared to have me discuss with you some of the general proposals and formulations and in the meantime we should avoid matters to aggravate the military situation there. Some ideas you have discussed the other day he is considering in a positive spirit and I will say more to you on the 7th.

D: Off the record, if something could be more completely now—it is important based on Soviet/American relations and would be good to discuss concrete—

K: I am doing something on this. Berlin (I have worked out).

D: Strategic.

K: I will give it to you on the 7th. We have made a preliminary decision.

D: I will wait to have the usual dinner with you.

K: I want you to know on general background. In my backgrounder I said settlement in the M.E. not possible because it was not in the interest of the Soviets. (But that was just as a diversion.)

D: Send it in a personal envelope to me.

K: Merry Christmas and see you on the 7th. D: I hope you will see your children.

K: They are coming to the W. Coast with me.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts, Box 8, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. Dobrynin met Rogers on December 24 to discuss the Ivanov case. No record of the conversation has been found.
  3. See Document 74.
  4. Reference is to the plans of Muskie to visit the Soviet Union in January 1971. Kissinger implied that the Soviets should not treat Muskie, then the leading Democratic candidate for President, any better than they treated Nixon during a similar trip four years earlier.
  5. According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger gave a background press briefing on December 24 from 10:23 to 11:40 a.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76) A copy of the text is ibid., Box CL 426, Subject Files, Briefings, Background.