152. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)1

WTE 013.1. Had four hour meeting with Gromyko to discuss Middle East and bilateral issues. On Middle East Gromyko stuck to familiar Soviet position. I gave no ground, holding out just enough hope to keep them from setting on an irrevocable course before the summit. On bilateral issues I painted glowing picture of prospects making everything conditional on the end of Vietnam however.

2. If my memory is correct present bombing authority extends only to 19 degrees. We can and should extend it to twentieth parallel.

3. I despair of making position here clear to Washington. These people are tough and in a sense in a corner. So far they have made all the concessions; we have made none.2 On Vietnam they have helped us by inviting me and by maintaining summit invitation;3 they are certainly not making Hanoi happy. What more they can do I do not know. But this visit as well as the imminence of the summit should put a ceiling on domestic opposition.4 Moreover friendliness here helps discipline Peking. Has anyone thought through the domestic and international implications if we kick Moscow in the teeth and all our diplomacy goes down the drain?

4. We shall leave right after the Brezhnev meeting tomorrow hopefully by 1500 local time but I cannot be sure.

5. Gromyko apologized today for story about downgrading President’s trip.5 He said it came from Western sources and was totally untrue.

6. I have arranged for Presidential announcement of SALT breakthrough.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 21, HAK’s Secret Moscow Trip Apr 72, TOHAK/HAKTO File. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Received at 10:12 a.m. and retransmitted to Camp David for the President. Nixon’s handwritten notations on the retransmitted copy are cited below. (Ibid., White House Special Files, President’s Personal Files, Box 74, President’s Speech File, April 1972 Kissinger Trip to Moscow)
  2. The President underlined this sentence.
  3. The President underlined this first part of this sentence and marked it in the margin.
  4. The President underlined “should put a ceiling on domestic opposition.”
  5. For reports that the Soviets would downgrade the trip, see Document 145.