79. Letter From President Nixon to Secretary of State Rogers1

Dear Bill:

In view of your report on your conversation with Dobrynin2 in

which he told you that I had not requested an appointment with the Soviet leaders, I thought you would be interested in seeing a copy of the letter that Bob Ellsworth wrote to him3 at the time I was planning my trip in 1967.4

Bob had several conversations with Dobrynin prior to writing the letter and wrote the letter to Dobrynin at Dobrynin’s suggestion. A couple of weeks later we received a wire from Thompson5 saying he had taken up the matter with the Soviets and that their response was negative.

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This incident would clearly indicate that Dobrynin was pulling your leg when he tried to act as if he was not aware that I had officially requested to see the Soviet leaders in 1967. Not only was he aware of the situation but he was deeply involved in discussion with Ellsworth over a period of weeks prior to the time that Ellsworth wrote the attached letter to him.

I think it is very important that you let him know that he did not get away with this patently dishonest attempt to deny the record.6 The mystery of it is that he would not have had the good sense to know that I would have kept records on a matter of this type.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Rogers’ Office Files: Lot 73 D 443, Box 25, WPR—President Nixon. No classification marking. According to Kissinger’s copy, Nixon dictated the letter to Rose Mary Woods. Kissinger initialed the copy; Haig also wrote on the copy: “absolutely no distribution.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 490, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1970, Vol. 3)
  2. See Document 78.
  3. Dated February 17, 1967; attached but not printed.
  4. During his “fact-finding mission” to Europe in March 1967, Nixon visited the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, Romania, and Czechoslovakia.
  5. Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson.
  6. On July 1, 1968, Dobrynin told Secretary of State Rusk that Nixon, then the Republican Presidential candidate, hoped to visit the Soviet Union that summer. According to a memorandum of conversation: “He [Dobrynin] added, very much off the record, that Mr. Nixon has approached the Soviet Government on three occasions about a visit to Moscow following the Republican Convention. He said that they had simply not replied to the first two inquiries but now have a third inquiry in front of them which they are thinking about. I [Rusk] told him that I was not in a position at this moment to offer any advice on that subject but did point to the habit of many candidates to want to make a ‘grand tour’ of foreign capitals and that this has presented problems for busy leaders of other Governments.” See Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, volume XIV, Soviet Union, Document 278.