150. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister
  • Anatoli F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to USA
  • Viktor Sukhodrev, Interpreter
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Special Assistant to Dr. Kissinger
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • Basic Principles; Middle East; Economic Relations; Announcement of Kissinger Visit
[Page 571]

Basic Principles:

Dr. Kissinger: Our associates are going to work on the Principles. I would be interested in whether the Foreign Minister has any comments on our paper.2

Gromyko: Yesterday evening I looked through them. My first impression is that it is all right. But it was not yet translated. Therefore today I will read it more thoroughly and then report to Mr. Brezhnev.

Dr. Kissinger: It accepts 95% of your formulations and adds one or two points.

Gromyko: Maybe very small ones.

Dr. Kissinger: I will wait for your suggestions. If you find it generally acceptable, we can work it out.

Gromyko: Maybe strengthen it. If it is OK, stand up and cry “Eureka!”

Dr. Kissinger: As far as we are concerned, we’re prepared to leave with it agreed.

Middle East:

Gromyko: Did you have a chance to read our note on Middle East [Tab A].3

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: I just wanted to say in addition that we are proceeding from the assumption that this is a continuation of that scheme we discussed when I visited Washington and talked with the President and you.4 It is a continuation of that exchange of opinions. You will recall that we then discussed several aspects of the situation and several provisions, including the withdrawal of Soviet military personnel and withdrawal of Israeli forces. It goes without saying that what we said then remains in force.

Dr. Kissinger: Your Ambassador and I have had several discussions on the Middle East. As I have told him, the Middle East negotiations have taken a weird direction. There has always been a frenzy of activity, and great excitement, and nothing ever happened. Therefore I have discussed it with your Ambassador not just to produce a paper [Page 572] but to get something done. This paper is just what the Ambassador has said to me.

To be honest, Joe Sisco may have been authorized, but there was no chance of anything happening. So I have had to inject realism into our discussion.

We cannot go to war with Israel. We cannot put someone else in the position to go to war with Israel and defeat it. Therefore we want to come to some understanding with you on measures we can persuade Israel to accept without war. Some pressures, financial and otherwise, we can exert without putting Israel in the position where it feels it has to go to war.

After our discussions, I told you I would see if there was any chance of coming up with a realistic conclusion, which I did. Then I told the Ambassador that I was prepared to start discussions.5 It had to be a practical, not a theoretical exercise.

Also, I have been talking to the Israelis, in more general terms: that this would be a topic of the Summit, that it was impossible to keep it off the Summit agenda, and I had to learn their views. In fact their Ambassador6 has a map for me, which I have not looked at because I did not want them to think I brought it here. It won’t be acceptable.

Also, I have had enough discussion with the Israelis to know that this [the Soviet note] will not be do-able without war. I have tried to tell Anatol what I thought was do-able even with a great domestic crisis in Israel and great pressure from our side. We have to find a formula….

It makes no difference to the U.S. whether they have one more or less airfield, nor to you.

This is the problem as I see it, Mr. Foreign Minister. It may turn out to be an insoluble problem. Within that framework, we are prepared to have discussions.

Gromyko: I should like to hear your views or comments on the major question which we feel predetermines all the rest, that is, the withdrawal of Israeli forces. You say you speak in terms of finding a realistic way of resolving the matter. I would like to know what you actually mean. We formed the impression last year that our views were a general basis for discussion, though not specific. You referred to certain difficulties in doing business with Israel. That is a subject we can [Page 573] talk about without reaching a conclusion. Our feeling is, it is doubtful that the U.S. could not bring effective pressure on Israel. I would like to hear some more concrete considerations, so I can report back to Comrade Brezhnev before he meets with you tomorrow.

Dr. Kissinger: I did not mean to imply that the Arabs were an unmixed joy.

Gromyko: I have two additional comments. First, we are not too clear in our minds on your views on the following question. We have felt all along—and were clear last year in Washington—we are interested in reaching a complex solution, that is, withdrawal from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, in a complex. But one of your last conversations with our Ambassador [Dobrynin interjects: Third from the last]7 related only to Egypt; Jordan was touched upon, but not in a concrete way, and Syria was not touched upon at all. In our thinking, only a complex or package solution can help solve the problem.

My second comment is: You have already discussed with Comrade Brezhnev some questions with respect to a radical improvement of U.S.-Soviet relations. Let us assume the forthcoming meetings will open up great possibilities. What happens if the Middle East problem is still unresolved? Can we allow the situation in the Middle East to keep on shaking and enfevering relations between the Soviet Union and the United States?

In our view, it would serve the interests of both our countries to secure a lasting solution to this problem. Because while now the situation seems more favorable to reaching a solution, it is hard to predict what will happen tomorrow.

Dr. Kissinger: First, simply to clear my own mind, my impression is that this document contains nothing different from what Anatol has discussed with Sisco.

Dobrynin: Plus the addition that you and Gromyko discussed last year.

Dr. Kissinger: But they are not in the document.

Gromyko: Right. We can confirm it in written form if you wish.

Dr. Kissinger: We don’t need that. We are serious people. The proposition you brought to Washington is one we are interested in, and [Page 574] it reflects a serious effort on your part. We recognize you have made an attempt to find a solution.

There may be a slight misunderstanding. My impression was that while an ultimate global solution is what you wanted, you were prepared in the immediate discussions to confine the discussions to Egypt. We agree that an ultimate solution must be global.

Gromyko: Global in Mideast terms? Complex.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: We can certainly discuss the question by phases, let’s say, first take up for discussion the Egyptian angle, then the Syrian angle, then the Jordanian, but always having in mind that the general ultimate solution must be global.

Dr. Kissinger: You are saying that you won’t withdraw all your troops until all the problems have been solved, or on the basis of an Egyptian solution?

Gromyko: We see the ultimate agreement as a global one.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes, but in practice, does that mean that you won’t withdraw until all three arguments have been signed? Or [will you withdraw] when the Egyptian one is signed, while maintaining the principle that the others have to be agreed?

Gromyko: We believe that the solution as such should be a global one. Not necessarily one piece of paper, but the agreement in principle, the solution, should be complex. Withdrawal is one integral part of this single complex solution. We know the feelings of the Arabs, and we feel it is the most realistic way.

I want to add one thing. We do not exclude the possibility that a certain part of the agreement may be carried out, fulfilled, before the elections. Maybe it can even be made public. We talked about this.

Dr. Kissinger: The interim part, the Suez Canal settlement.

Gromyko: You may call it “interim.” That is a popular word, part of Sisco’s lexicon. But this part will be an integral part of the general, and our governments will proceed on that basis.

Dr. Kissinger: I was under the impression that you maintained the principle of a general solution but were principally interested in settling the Egyptian part as the first step, and that Syria was not interested but the Jordanian part would follow.

Gromyko: “Settle” is not the word. Maybe it would not be carried out yet, but settlement includes agreement.

Dr. Kissinger: There are ways to approach it: A Canal settlement, an Egyptian settlement, and a general settlement.

Gromyko: The settlement is general, global. Then the question arises, how to fulfill it, carry it out, in life. Here we could build a scheme that a certain part could be carried out as a first stage.

[Page 575]

Dr. Kissinger: The Canal settlement.

Gromyko: Maybe the Canal settlement. Maybe publicly.

Dr. Kissinger: That is a genuine misunderstanding. I understood you were prepared to have a settlement on the Suez Canal if it was linked organically to a settlement of the Egyptian-Israeli problem. I also thought the withdrawal of Soviet forces was related to that part. I didn’t know you wanted a settlement concurrently with Jordan and Syria.

As I told your Ambassador, I have started preliminary talks with Hussein8 so that I do not get it all third hand. I did not do this to see where we could go, but to see whether Jordan could be settled first, or concurrently, or after. I wanted to consult with you to see how you would want to proceed. So in principle, Jordan is something we are thinking about. But Syria involves extraordinary difficulties.

The more comprehensive the agreement, the more difficult it will be to get the Israelis to go along with it. Therefore, I am afraid if Syria is brought in, it will be the same as the process we’ve seen. Purely theoretical. Any one of the volatile Arab states could destroy what we have agreed to.

Gromyko: I do not think you objected in Washington to what we called a complex settlement. We must be specific and precise in our propositions. We did not say a settlement could be reached with Egypt alone, leaving Syria and Jordan suspended, hanging in the air. All along we have been speaking in terms of a complex problem. But like any complex, it does contain component parts; they need not be carried out in a single time. They could be carried out in stages. We could take up and solve the Canal problem first. But if we were to attempt the entire Egyptian angle first while leaving aside Syria and Jordan, that would not be a viable approach.

Then again, if in discussions of this problem we do assume it is possible first to discuss matters relating to Egypt prior to signing an eventual agreement, of course it would be better to move forward on a broader front. But we are certainly aware of the difficulties the parties have even in sitting at one table. So discussions could proceed separately, having in mind an ultimate complex settlement.

Dr. Kissinger: There was a genuine misunderstanding on my part in September. I thought you were interested in an Egyptian settlement alone. Your Ambassador can confirm, I only talked with him on Egypt. [Page 576] I informed him of the Jordan part only out of openness, but we never exchanged ideas on Jordan, and Syria was never discussed at all.

Gromyko: But with both you and the President, I was concerned only with a complex settlement.

Dr. Kissinger: I had the impression that you maintained the principle of a complex solution but were prepared to settle Egypt first. In all my discussions with Anatol, we discussed Egypt alone. There was a misunderstanding about the degree of linkage and the relation of Soviet withdrawal to the rest.

Gromyko: Then do you see a link between Egypt and the others, or do you wish to separate them?

Dr. Kissinger: I recognize linkage in theory. But the important practical question is to get Israel to withdraw without a war. My belief is that once a settlement is reached between Egypt and Israel, a Jordanian settlement, at least, will follow easily. I don’t understand the Syrians.

Let me be concrete. On a Jordanian settlement, I frankly think that what you have here [in the note] is behind events, in the sense that an Israeli-Jordanian settlement can be brought about (with some pressure, e.g., on Jerusalem). And to make it too overt a U.S.-Soviet arrangement would slow it down. Maybe it could even be done without an Egyptian-Israeli settlement. I thought maybe we could use certain principles of the Jordan-Israeli settlement to facilitate the Egypt-Israel one. On Syria, I have no judgment. They don’t want to make peace, and Israel will never give up the Golan Heights.

Gromyko: I think it is very bad that you haven’t given thought to this [Syrian] part of a settlement. As we see the position of the Arabs, it would be impossible to seek a settlement leaving aside an entire country. I am sure you’re well familiar with the Arab position. You said we were behind events with respect to Jordan. But last year, we did not exclude the possibility that the Jordanian King, for instance, might agree with Israel to have certain corrections in his boundary with Israel. This we would be free to do, provided it didn’t look like a prize for Israel for war.

You mentioned the linkage of an Egyptian settlement with the general settlement. But how do you envisage it? We say we’re in favor of linkage, and you say you are. Maybe we are talking of one and the same thing, maybe about different things.

Dr. Kissinger: I can see the same relation between the Egyptian and Syrian settlements as between the Canal settlement and the Egyptian settlement, that is, as steps toward a global solution. You would have a general formula in the Egyptian settlement that the solution is part of a more general approach. But I do not believe it is practical to negotiate all the details simultaneously, and I believe it will be more [Page 577] difficult to impose it on the Israelis depending of course on what the settlement is.

Gromyko: You said negotiations. We certainly allow of the possibility that negotiations could be carried out by stages, and first there could be negotiations relating only to Egypt. But what if agreement has been reached (but not put into force) with Egypt, but Syria has not yet been discussed? Is Syria then completely lost from view? Do you presume that an Egyptian-Israeli agreement in principle should then be signed? Or do you believe, as we do, that there could be these negotiations with Egypt, and there could be prepared an agreement between Egypt and Israel, which could be discussed with the responsible leaders, but then—before it is signed or implemented—we should pass over to the next stage, i.e. Syria? As regards Jordan, perhaps a Jordan-Israel agreement could be negotiated or at least considered at the same time. And no one has conclusively proved that Syria could be discussed simultaneously. But as for their embodiment and implementation, we feel that the parts should be considered only as parts of a whole.

Dr. Kissinger: It is an interesting philosophical problem. You’re saying, for example, first discuss an Egyptian settlement, then reach agreement, then talk to the leaders. But before it is carried out—your withdrawal and Israeli withdrawal—we then have to discuss Syria.

Gromyko: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: It is going to be a long effort. There are two catches to it—one favorable to you (you don’t have to withdraw your troops) and one favorable to Israel (they do not have to do anything until they do everything). Since it is so hard to get them to do anything, this looks hard. We think Egypt and Jordan could be done. Then the pressures would perhaps be unavoidable for Syria to settle, too. It would be in your interest, I would think, to do it in stages.

We recognize in principle the need to include Syria. You overestimate what we can do with Israel. We can’t do everything.

Gromyko: Let us differentiate between the negotiations for a settlement, and the settlement itself. As I said, the negotiations could be done in phases. But as for the eventual settlement itself, that we see only as a complex one and we believe any other approach would be most unrealistic. If Israel exploits that approach to frustrate a settlement, that only shows that Israel will use either a complex or a phased one to frustrate settlement. That raises a grave risk that neither of us would want to subject our relationship to.

Dr. Kissinger: What is your view of the timing of how to bring this to a conclusion?

Gromyko: It depends on what you mean—achievement of a general all-embracing settlement, or a time limit for implementation of an agreement. If the former, the sooner the better. We would feel it best [Page 578] of all to discuss it before the Summit, so during the Summit we could reach a formalized understanding on all the issues and how they are to be resolved. And we could also reach an understanding on when it is to be discussed and agreed with the leaders in the countries concerned. The problem there is less on our side than on yours; you said there are delicate points on your side. I do not mean to say we don’t have delicate points, too.

Dr. Kissinger: But you don’t have to run for reelection this year.

Gromyko: We could make the Canal settlement public. If you meant a time limit for implementation, the part that is confidential could be implemented after the U.S. elections—but as soon as possible after the elections. Implementation should be completed at the very beginning of next year or at the end of this year. And all the countries of the Middle East heave a sigh of relief.

Dr. Kissinger: you’re becoming more optimistic the longer I know you. My understanding was within the first six months of next year.

Gromyko: If we assume that agreement is reached in May, at the Summit, this means that, at least in some part, its implementation will begin. Implementation can begin after May. Do you mean it takes another six months next year?

Dr. Kissinger: I thought I made it clear that implementation could not begin until after the election.

Gromyko: That’s not what we have in mind.

Dr. Kissinger: I know what you have in mind. I’m telling you what is possible.

Gromyko: The Canal?

Dr. Kissinger: The Canal can be done now, and published and implemented. As a practical matter, after the election, everyone will be exhausted for a few months. Then the government has to be reorganized, etc. It cannot begin until January.

If we reach agreement—and it is not yet demonstrated that we can—we will have to carry it out our way. When we reach agreement, we will keep our word. But we may need indirect methods.

I told you in September we could not begin until January. I do not want to mislead you.

If we drew a line halfway thru Sinai, Israel would carry it out right away. The more comprehensive we try to make it, the more painful.

Gromyko: Painful? For whom? It’s Arab territory.

Certainly the time limits could be the subject of discussion. Our feeling is that it should be done to begin next year. In any case, we agree on the general principle that a part can be started as soon as agreement is in force.

[Page 579]

Dr. Kissinger: If you want to start withdrawing troops, we wouldn’t insist you wait until next year.

Gromyko: Israel’s troops?

Dr. Kissinger: No, yours.

Gromyko: At the same time.

Dr. Kissinger: I have one other procedural question. I have my doubts, quite frankly, that the President and Mr. Brezhnev will be able to get into all the details of the Middle East settlement in a realistic way at the Summit. Secondly, we have the absolute necessity of the President being able to come back from Moscow and say no secret agreements were made—because there will be pressure from many in our country, especially Jewish groups. You and I will talk, and Anatol and I. General principles can then be addressed at the Summit. I suggest we then continue discussions during the summer. Conceivably, I could come back here in September, on which occasion we could reach agreement on an overall solution. We have four weeks, and I’m not sure the President—I don’t know about Mr. Brezhnev—would want to be involved in all the complex issues of boundaries. This is just a suggestion. What do you think?

Gromyko: It depends on what you mean by principles. Some could be no more than the UN Security Council Resolutions,9 which would be of no use; other principles might be helpful for reaching a solution.

Dr. Kissinger: I would have in mind some concrete advance over the Security Council Resolutions. Otherwise there is no point.

Gromyko: Certainly let us lead matters so as to be as concrete as possible in our discussions. If it is not possible at this time to achieve and finalize a concrete agreement, at least let us agree on a basis for such an eventual agreement, or on some provisions that could be used as a basis.

Dr. Kissinger: That is possible.

Gromyko: It is useless to discuss only what’s in the Security Council Resolution, because the Resolution is there and is not being carried out and each side is interpreting it in its own way. In our discussions, we should agree on something more concrete and more conclusive than the Security Council Resolution.

Dr. Kissinger: How do you think we should proceed, Mr. Foreign Minister?

[Page 580]

Gromyko: Let us endeavor to do the maximum possible during the May Summit to reach agreement on an eventual basic accord—even if the accord is formalized on some later date, e.g. September. We might indeed after the Summit have another special meeting—now that you have found your way to Moscow. But to insure the success of this process, let’s do as much as we can even before the May summit, so the principles we are talking about won’t be meaningless. The principles should be as content-filled as possible, so they can be used as a basis for an eventual agreement.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree.

Gromyko: How do you envisage solution of the question of withdrawals? Because it is one thing to discuss in principle and another thing to get down to brass tacks.

Dr. Kissinger: In time, or ultimate destination?

Gromyko: The ultimate destination.

Dr. Kissinger: I have tried to formulate the issue to your Ambassador in what I take to be realistic terms. We have no differences on the issue of Egyptian sovereignty being restored back to the prewar border. The problem, as I have stated it frankly to your Ambassador, is that in order to persuade Israel to go along and to prevent a total explosion domestically, we have to show we can do better than the so-called Rogers Plan.10 I realize it is an unusual negotiating method to insist on more than we have offered.

Gromyko: Why “so-called” Rogers Plan? It is the Rogers Plan.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes. It is called the Rogers Plan.

I have talked to the Israelis. We cannot go along with their proposal, but they consider presence—not sovereignty—as essential with respect to Sharm El-Sheikh and the airfield west of Eilat. If we could be ingenious on this and find a solution, we could face up to the domestic situation—our newspapers and Congress—and put pressure on Israel to return to the 1967 borders. This is what we have in mind on withdrawal. We also have some ideas on an interim settlement, but we both agree that is fairly easy.

Dobrynin: How far is the airfield from the border?

[Page 581]

Dr. Kissinger: A nominal distance, eight miles or so.

Dobrynin: How far is Eilat from Sharm El-Sheikh?

Dr. Kissinger: Seventy-five/one hundred kilometers. If we can find a formula for that, we can settle everything without difficulty.

Gromyko: How much is the area with respect to the air base?

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t think it is much. And it needn’t be annexed either. It could be….

Gromyko: We think it is impossible to agree on this. It is a question of principle. It would give a reward to the Israelis. Presence won’t be accepted by the Arabs. Another thing could be considered—some other foreign or UN personnel.

Dr. Kissinger: That is your plan. Can the UN personnel be Israeli?

Gromyko: No. A chicken can’t be baptized a fish. (That is from a Dumas story.) The territory may not be large, but a principle is involved here. Probably Israel knows that a principle is involved here. It’s their idea.

Dr. Kissinger: Well, how do you visualize the evolution if there is no agreement?

Gromyko: We do not think either you or we want to reach a situation where we cannot foresee what will happen. You yourself know full well what forces are operating in the Middle East and what moods are prevalent in the Arab world, and this should be borne in mind by both yourselves and ourselves.

How do we complete our discussions today?

Dr. Kissinger: I was going to ask you.

Gromyko: Our position briefly is this: We are in favor of a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Arab territory. We cannot recognize any principle of Israel’s being given any prize in the form of Arab territory. This applies to Egypt, to Syria, and to Jordan—although as I said earlier, last year, if the Jordanians want to make some corrections in their border with Israel, it’s their business, it’s their border.

Secondly, all the states of the Middle East are entitled to their independent sovereign existence and development, and that includes Israel.

Thirdly, there could be the most effective guarantees. The Soviet Union and the United States could place their signature under any guarantee, adopted in the Security Council or some other way. There certainly could be no stronger guarantee than that in the modern world.

And provided there is a solution of these fundamental issues, we do not see any problem with such issues as continuation of the cease-fire or passage of Israeli ships through the Canal.

The question touched on in our discussions last autumn, that there be some understanding on arms shipments, is something we are prepared to discuss, and that too should be part of an agreement. Then [Page 582] also, some solution should be found with respect to the Palestinians. There is still a lack of absolute clarity on that score, and that has to be settled. With regard to Soviet military personnel, I have stated our position and I feel you now have complete clarity on that matter. As regards the nature of the agreement, I have nothing to add. We envisage it as complex or global in scale.

Dr. Kissinger: What level of forces do you envisage for yourselves?

Gromyko: We will leave behind only a certain quantity of advisors and military specialists. All the rest will be withdrawn, as I said in my discussions with you.

Dr. Kissinger: What number?

Gromyko: That is something we will tell you later, but I do not see any problem—in fact we think you will applaud us when we tell you and perhaps tell us to leave some more!

Dr. Kissinger: I would not bet on the last.

Gromyko: Of course, we are assuming you will take appropriate steps with Israel, too. For instance, the question of arms supplies should relate to Israel as well as the Arabs. Whether it is enough to agree between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is another matter. Maybe Britain and France should be included.

Dr. Kissinger: The same with Czechoslovakia.

Gromyko: You are right. The whole thing should be considered.

Dr. Kissinger: We have no intention of evading. Obviously, agreement should not be evaded by third countries.

Gromyko: On the principles, if we want to see to it that the May meeting approves the principles on the Middle East, they have to be elaborated on concretely as much as possible. Therefore, there should be intensive work through the channel.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me make sure it is clear. On Sharm El-Sheikh and the airfield, we are not talking about sovereignty or annexation, but some presence.

Gromyko: I would say, not only is there no difference, but it could be more of an irritant for the Arabs, because it will mean Israel getting a base on the territory of Arab states. We for our part will endeavor to draft these principles, and you should be too. It will be hard work.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree. I think we should have intensive discussions. In fact, it is the principal unsolved issue for the Summit. We have solved all the others. As for SALT, I frankly think we will settle it next week. I will have to browbeat our military, but it will take a week.

Gromyko: Are you a three-star general?

[Page 583]

Dr. Kissinger: At least. We will call Smith back Tuesday,11 and send him back Monday or Tuesday. They can spend the time drafting. So I agree, the Mideast is the big unsolved problem.

Gromyko: [In English] Big, big, twice big.

I tell you frankly, if it is not solved, it may poison the atmosphere.

Dr. Kissinger: After the Summit, or at the Summit?

Gromyko: At the Summit.

Economic Relations:

Gromyko: Would you like to say anything additional on economic matters?

We certainly attach importance to these economic matters, but we do not raise it implying that something is grabbing us by the throat or that it’s do-or-die for us or that it’s top urgency for us.

Dr. Kissinger: We do not look at it this way.

Gromyko: I would put it as follows. We believe that the development of economic relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union—progress would be conducive to better political relations. The specifics have been mentioned: Most Favored Nation treatment, credits, and certain other issues. If you would like to say something more specific, I would appreciate it.

Let me say, by the way, that in the course of the talks on Lend-Lease in Washington, not everything is proceeding smoothly. In particular, because the Americans have been asking for an elephant of a price.

Dr. Kissinger: That is a good method. We may catch you in a weak moment and you’ll pay it.

Dobrynin: You asked for a billion.

Gromyko: We know you have inflation, but why should we suffer?

Dr. Kissinger: We do not think of it as a necessity for you. We see it as a natural result of your economic development. So it comes from equality, not necessity. We are two great industrial nations. We complement each other. As your Ambassador knows, if anything, we have looked at it in a political context, so that when our political relations reach a certain level, economic relations shouldn’t lag behind. We will both have a stake in our political relations. It is a sign of confidence in our political relations. I tell you our philosophy. I have taken a personal interest, not because of the details—which don’t interest me—but to see that it is done on a big scale.

[Page 584]

As for Export-Import Bank facilities, which are a matter of Presidential discretion, if the evolution proceeds as we expect, a decision can be this year, possibly this Summit.

Most Favored Nation treatment is a matter for Congress. If our relations proceed along present lines (with nothing additional), we expect to ask for it this year. It cannot be implemented this year. Because of the elections, Congress will be occupied with the elections after August. We will ask for it before the elections, but I do not anticipate action on it this year. In any event, by this time next year we will have both Export-Import Bank and Most Favored Nation.

The Lend-Lease negotiations are now being handled entirely as a technical matter of repayment of debts in the present framework. I told Anatol not much would happen, and I keep my word! We are using these present negotiations to establish some framework. When Patolichev comes, Peterson—who is a good man, a thoughtful man—these will be brought into relation to the natural gas. The Lend-Lease can be used to finance the gas, and would solve some problems with regard to what currency is issued and so on. We will have a comprehensive scheme when Patolichev comes.

Peterson will have it.

Gromyko: And the volume of credits?

Dr. Kissinger: We have some idea, but I don’t have the precise figures. I will give Anatol the figures, on an informal basis, with some idea of the order of magnitude. It will be adequate for a substantial development.

We are taking it very seriously. My office is taking a direct interest in it. At the Summit, we could decide on some commission for a permanent relationship. We will send Peterson in July, prepared to work out a concrete long-term substantial arrangement, including credits.

Gromyko: To what extent will it be capable of finalization at the Summit? Amounts and conditions?

Dr. Kissinger: There can be an agreement in principle, including the order of magnitude, before the Summit. The amounts and conditions will be left for Peterson.

Gromyko: Most Favored Nation will come after the elections?

Dr. Kissinger: On Most Favored Nation, we will ask for it before the elections.

Gromyko: When will there be a decision?

Dr. Kissinger: By, say, April 1. A little depends on the state of our relations. If they are tense, many Congressmen will drag their feet. If our relations proceed as I expect, I foresee no problem.

[Page 585]

One consideration which will affect the situation in Congress is Vietnam. It is a little tough when the trucks carrying weapons in Vietnam are Russian. We will ask for it anyway, but this is a problem.

On agriculture, what you ask for is not possible on the credits. Ten years is not possible; we think in terms of, say, six years. We are looking for a reasonable compromise.

Gromyko: How do you envision the agreement on problems of the environment? In general terms or concretely?

Dr. Kissinger: We are somewhat flexible on this. We can either announce at the Summit that we are creating a commission, or we can do something concrete before the Summit. You have made a proposal to Train. We can create it at the Summit, or announce at the Summit that we are beginning negotiations.

Gromyko: We have not yet discussed this at the government level. We are still waiting for the outcome of the talks.

Dr. Kissinger: We will do whatever you prefer. As for the Commission on science, is it your thinking to set this up at the Summit, or after?

Dobrynin: I gave Dr. David a scheme five days before I left. He hasn’t replied.

Dr. Kissinger: He won’t reply until I approve. I want your preference.

Gromyko: To do it before the Summit.

Dr. Kissinger: We will announce it at the Summit, and then send David here.

At the Summit, if we announce everything at the end, the press will be insane in the meantime. Can we make partial agreements each day?

Gromyko: With most important ones at the end. That would be my opinion.

Dr. Kissinger: Otherwise the press will have nothing to do but keep looking at your facial expressions.

Gromyko: Right. I will look gloomy one day and you will look cheerful, and Dobrynin will be gloomy. And it will all depend on the state of the back!

Dr. Kissinger: Do you want a communiqué also, or just the Principles?

Gromyko: It is not enough just to have Principles. Though we believe the Principles are more important.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you have a draft of the communiqué?

Gromyko: Not for the time being.

Dr. Kissinger: You agree that we should have a communiqué substantially prepared before the Summit? There may be a bureaucratic problem for us about the drafting of it. I hope you will be patient.

[Page 586]

Gromyko: As patient as possible.

Announcement of Kissinger Visit:

Dr. Kissinger: Have you had a chance to look at the draft of the announcement? [The U.S. draft, at Tab B,12 read as follows:

“At the invitation of the Soviet Government, Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, was in Moscow from April 20 to April 24, 1972. While there he conferred with the General-Secretary of the CPSU, Mr. Brezhnev, Foreign Minister Gromyko and other Soviet officials. Their talks which were frank and friendly throughout dealt with the most important international questions of interest to both governments as well as with bilateral matters, preparatory to the discussions between President Nixon and the Soviet leaders in May.”]

Gromyko: Just briefly. It looks OK, except we prefer “by mutual agreement.” Suppose also that we say “frank, businesslike, and useful.” A three-story building.

Dr. Kissinger: If this is how you behave when you are businesslike, I don’t know how you will be when you are friendly. I don’t think I could endure it.

Dobrynin: When the President comes, we will escalate!

Sukhodrev: To “brotherly.”

Gromyko: “Brotherly and on the basis of proletarian solidarity and socialist internationalism”!

Dr. Kissinger: That would have been good if Rockefeller13 was President!

We don’t really need “businesslike.”

Gromyko: Everyone assumes he’s businesslike.

[Dobrynin: Reads the text again, with the above agreed changes.]

Gromyko: We don’t need “most” important, or “the.”

Dr. Kissinger: Do you think we need the last clause about it being preparatory to Summit?

Gromyko: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: All right. Do we need “mutual agreement” at the beginning? What’s wrong with “by invitation of Soviet Government?” That would be true.

[Page 587]

Gromyko: You spoke in detail on the Vietnam issue on your side. There is another side to that issue. There are other forces that look at us from the other side. You too would have to take into account our position, just as we take into account your views.

Dr. Kissinger: Why not leave out the first phrase completely?

Gromyko: It is maybe a little bit angular….

Dr. Kissinger: So we will say to the press that you invited us, and you will say to the press that I insisted on coming and you were just being polite!

Gromyko: No, we won’t go beyond the text. It is not a question of polemics.

Dr. Kissinger: As Anatol knows, when this announcement is made, the press will go crazy. I would like to have a briefing—this may be tactless to say—a briefing something like what I had when I came back from my first trip to Peking. No substance, just to give the atmosphere, and it will calm them down.

Gromyko: Don’t use superlatives, like “excellent”….

Dr. Kissinger: No, it is not in our interest either. They will ask what sort of man was Brezhnev. Can I say “warmhearted, energetic?” Frankly, I know that you do not want to leave the impression, when we are bombing North Vietnam, of great cordiality.

Gromyko: That’s what I meant about superlatives.

Dr. Kissinger: If they ask about substantive matters, we will not discuss it.

Gromyko: Right.

Dr. Kissinger: If they ask about substance, I will say the communiqué speaks for itself. If I don’t do it, they will all speculate. On-the-record. I will send a copy to Vorontsov.14 Nothing else, no inspired stories.

Gromyko: Good.

Dr. Kissinger: On SALT, when we reach agreement within our Government and send Smith back, can the President say when he sends Smith that on the basis of the discussions here he expects a settlement?

Gromyko: Through the channel we will have confirmation?

Dr. Kissinger: By next week.

[Page 588]

Gromyko: Then we should instruct our delegations to embody it in an agreement.

Dr. Kissinger: No, that’s a separate question, an easy one. The purpose of the send-off is to move it to the Presidential level.

Gromyko: Yes.

[The meeting then broke up.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 72, Country Files, Europe, USSR, HAK Moscow Trip—April 1972, Memcons. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the Guest House on Vorobyevski Road.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 139.
  3. All brackets in the source text. Regarding Tab A, see footnote 5, Document 141.
  4. During his annual visit in late September for the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, Gromyko also visited Washington, meeting Nixon at the White House on September 29 and Kissinger at the Soviet Embassy on September 30. The memoranda of conversation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIII, Soviet Union, October 1970–October 1971.
  5. Kissinger and Dobrynin began “exploratory” discussions on the Middle East on October 15, 1971. After Nixon met Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir on December 2, Kissinger told Dobrynin on January 21, 1972, that talks on the subject could proceed; see Documents 4 and 41.
  6. Yitzhak Rabin.
  7. According to Kissinger: “After the start of Hanoi’s Easter offensive on March 30, I interrupted the private Middle East talks with Dobrynin as a sign of displeasure with the Soviet arm shipments that had made the North Vietnamese offensive possible.” (White House Years, p. 1291) Although they briefly discussed the subject on April 6 (see Document 84), no further evidence has been found that the two men continued their talks on the Middle East before Kissinger’s trip to Moscow.
  8. King Hussein of Jordan met Nixon and Kissinger at the White House on March 28. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976, Record of Schedule) When Dobrynin asked about the King’s visit on April 6, Kissinger replied that “there was some possibility of making progress there.” See Document 84.
  9. Reference is to UNSC Resolution 242, adopted on November 22, 1967, which attempted to address the Arab-Israeli conflict in the wake of the Six-Day War. For text of the resolution, see Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. XIX, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1967, Document 542.
  10. Reference is to the joint U.S.-Soviet working paper of October 28, 1969, to implement Security Council Resolution 242 for a “final and reciprocally binding accord” between Israel and Egypt. The text is scheduled for publication in ibid., 1969–1976, volume XXIII, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1969–1972, or William Quandt, Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab-Israeli Conflict since 1967, (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1993), Appendix B, pp. 437–440. Rogers outlined the plan on December 9, 1969, in a speech at the Galaxy Conference on Adult Education at Washington, D.C.; see Department of State Bulletin, January 5, 1970, pp. 7–11.
  11. April 25.
  12. Not attached; the U.S. draft announcement, including Kissinger’s handwritten revisions, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 72, Country Files, Europe, USSR, HAK Moscow Trip—April 1972, Memcons.
  13. Nelson A. Rockefeller, the long-time Republican Governor of New York and Kissinger’s former patron.
  14. In a letter to Vorontsov on April 25 Haig enclosed a copy of the transcript from Kissinger’s press briefing that morning. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 992, Haig Chronological Files, Haig Chron April 22–30, 1972)