The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.
Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).
The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editor is convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.
Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series
This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important issues in the foreign policy of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This volume documents U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union from October 1970 to October 1971, ending with the announcement of the May [Page IV] 1972 Moscow summit between President Richard Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.
Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XIII
This volume continues the practice established in the previous Foreign Relations volume on U.S.-Soviet relations and focuses on the relationship in the global context, highlighting the conflicts and collaboration between the two superpowers on foreign policy issues from October 1970 to October 1971. Beginning with the confrontation over the construction of a Soviet military base in Cuba, the volume documents the development of the Nixon administration’s policy of détente and the crucial role of the private channel between Henry Kissinger, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. The backchannel was key to making progress on the most problematic issues in U.S.-Soviet relations: Berlin, the war in Indochina, strategic arms limitation talks, Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union, and trade. It also allowed the two nations to avoid conflict and to cooperate on managing crises around the world, such as the Middle East dispute and the Indo-Pakistani conflict.
The Nixon administration’s opening to China, beginning with Kissinger’s secret trip to Beijing in July 1971 and the subsequent announcement of Nixon’s visit to China, was a policy decision that required careful handling in the context of U.S.-Soviet relations. This volume documents the discussions within the administration of the impact on the relationship of the initiative, as well as Kissinger’s management of that impact in his discussions with Dobrynin.
As Kissinger’s prestige and importance to the superpower relationship grew, the Department of State was increasingly sidelined in the formulation and execution of U.S. policy in significant foreign affairs issues. The discussions between Nixon and Kissinger, many captured in Presidential tape recordings, on how to handle Secretary of State William Rogers’s attempts to reassert the Department’s authority are among the documents in the volume.
The volume also includes documentation on the internal and bilateral negotiations for the timing of a visit by Nixon to the Soviet Union and ends with the public announcement in October 1971 of the May 1972 summit between Nixon and Brezhnev, the first U.S.-Soviet summit since 1967. The era of détente and cooperation between the superpowers had begun.
The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the [Page V] time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.
Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editor for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.
Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.
The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.
Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.
The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.[Page VI]
Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation
The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.
Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review
Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.
Nixon White House Tapes
Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the PRMPA and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon Estate. In February 1971, President Nixon initiated a voice activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, [Page VII] other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, members of Congress, and key foreign officials. Readers are advised that the tape recording is the official document; the transcript represents an interpretation of that document.
The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editor has made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts included in this volume. Through the use of digital audio and other advances in technology, the Office of the Historian has been able to enhance the tape recordings and over time produce more accurate transcripts. The result is that some transcripts printed here may differ from transcripts of the same conversations printed in previous Foreign Relations volumes. The most accurate transcripts possible, however, cannot substitute for listening to the recordings. Readers are urged to consult the recordings themselves for a full appreciation of those aspects of the conversations that cannot be captured in a transcript, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.
The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information, as amended, and applicable laws.
The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2006 and was completed in 2011, resulted in the decision to withhold 1 document in full and to make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 7 documents.
The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the record presented in this volume presented here provides an accurate and comprehensive account of the U.S.-Soviet relations from October 1970 to October 1971.
The editor wishes to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland, who [Page VIII] made possible the research that forms the heart of this volume. In addition, he is grateful to the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access. Research in the Kissinger Papers, including transcripts of telephone conversations, could not have occurred without the kind permission of Henry A. Kissinger. John Haynes and Ernest Emrich of the Library of Congress expedited access to the Kissinger Papers and carried out extensive copying on the editor’s behalf. Thanks are also due to the History Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, which helped to arrange full access to the files of the Central Intelligence Agency.
David C. Geyer collected the documents, made the selections, and annotated them under the direction of Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the series, and Luke Smith, Chief of the Europe and General Division. Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Carl Ashley and Aaron W. Marrs did the copy and technical editing. Do Mi Stauber compiled the index.
Bureau of Public Affairs