211. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon1


  • U.S.-Soviet Negotiations

There are distinct, though preliminary, signs that the Soviets have decided to continue negotiating the various matters on the pre-Summit agenda in businesslike fashion. The most striking indication came today in the talks Secretary Warner is conducting with Admiral Kasatonov on avoiding incidents at sea between our navies. Working group meetings were scheduled at 9:00 A.M. The Soviets requested a delay, but appeared at 11:00 and negotiated in straightforward fashion, without mentioning Vietnam. In the afternoon, the Soviet Embassy confirmed that Ambassador Dobrynin would host a dinner for Secretary Warner and the U.S. delegation on May 11, and invitations were issued for a reception hosted by Admiral Kasatonov on May 15. It thus [Page 791] appears that Moscow has made an explicit decision to continue these negotiations as planned.

As you know, the SALT talks took place today as scheduled, though this may have occurred too soon after your announcement to allow for a possible Soviet reaction. Other talks scheduled for today, with one exception, also proceeded as scheduled. These include the meeting held by Secretary Peterson and Soviet Minister of Trade Patolichev, the exploratory talks at Commerce and Agriculture with members of Patolichev’s party, and technical talks in Houston between NASA and Soviet representatives. The only exception to this pattern of normality was the postponement, at Soviet request, of a meeting scheduled on maritime matters today. This postponement could have been motivated to some extent by considerations having nothing to do with Vietnam, since a problem involving freight rates developed in the negotiations yesterday.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL USUSSR. Confidential. Drafted by Matlock and cleared by Davies and Springsteen. An attached covering note from Richardson to Rogers, May 9, reads: “Attached is a Memorandum for the President on today’s Soviet conduct at our various bilateral negotiations, which you asked EUR to prepare. It has been cleared by George Springsteen. Recommendation: that you sign the attached memorandum.” In a May 10 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt discussed successful U.S.-Soviet negotiations conducted in Moscow. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 719, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XXII, May 1972) Kissinger also discussed various trade negotiations in an undated memorandum sent to the President on May 8. (Ibid.)