220. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

K: Hello.

D: Hello, Henry.

K: Anatol.

D: What was the result of yesterday’s game?2

K: Oh, New York lost 3–0.

D: Were you there?

K: Yeah, I went there.

D: So you didn’t really support them very much. I watched you on the television.

K: Was I on television?

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D: Of course, you were. And you were sitting rather passively without running out and so on. Usually, the fans jump out and show their emotions. But even on the game, you don’t want to show any emotions.

K: Well, not at the game—afterwards.

D: Well, I think during the game radio fans show their emotions.

K: Well, I really didn’t have a team, I was vaguely for New York but not wildly so.

D: Oh, if was vaguely, then I understand. So you were just looking for the winner.

K: Besides, my team was losing, so there wasn’t much occasion to show emotion.

D: So, you are looking for winners is my impression.

K: Yeah, well, it’s always better to win than to lose.

D: Yes, exactly. Well, Henry, I received this telegram from Moscow.3 Very shortly we will give you some drafts of papers, so to speak, on certain question of Summit.

K: Like what?

D: I don’t have it here yet. I would like you to know today or Saturday;4 otherwise, you will go somewhere very far.

K: Are they substantive or technical?

D: No, I think they are on substance.

K: On substance.

D: It says here in the telegram to tell you that what we will send draft on certain questions or problems. Problems which are really on agenda.

K: Oh, I see, okay. Good.

D: This is the point. The only thing I would like you to know—one additional point, we would like and expect that you will not really use it as a publicity stunt. Just in a serious way for preparation for the Summit.

K: Use what as a publicity stunt.

D: Well, the very fact that I will give you some drafts and so on.

K: Yeah, but, Anatoliy, I have never discussed anything you discuss with me.

D: No, no, no—I know but this really is from Moscow. It does not come from me. You understand what I mean.

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K: You can be absolutely sure, Anatol, I don’t think anybody even knows …

D: You see, this was sent straight to me. I do understand that, but …

K: I have told nobody that we have had a response from Brezhnev.5

D: I think that this is a point.

K: Because I then have to explain, if there is a response, whether … that it isn’t strong or it is strong.

D: Sometimes the White House has [omission in the source text]

K: But, Anatol, in our relationship I have never made the slightest leak.

D: Agreed. This is really what I am telling because they sent it to me from Moscow.

K: You tell your people in Moscow that anything that comes through your channel we need no special admonition on. We have never … there will never be the slightest hint that something is coming. In fact, no one even knows what I get or that I get anything.

D: I understand. But I am telling you what they asked me to tell. I don’t need any specific assurances but they asked me to do so. They want me to do it, so I’m telling you.

K: All right. You give them the assurance, but you tell them it was an unnecessary admonition.

D: No, no. I did what I was told, but they would like me just to mention that this is coming; it’s not yet come here, but I want you to know beforehand. They don’t say anything about the document itself, on this they absolutely do not worry, but the general effect …

K: Look how we handled the SALT announcement.6 You would have thought there was practically nothing going on.

D: Henry, I repeat it’s not—

K: All right, I understand. At any rate, neither the fact of the communication nor the contents will be revealed to anybody except the President.

D: Yes, this is it … the effect of the communication not the substance because on this they are sure from Moscow definitely.

K: Yeah, but they can also be sure about the facts.

D: Okay. I will mention … I have your assurances. I do not need myself but—

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K: You give them immediate assurances and tell them that no communication through your channel is ever revealed to anybody.

D: Okay, Henry. Will you be tomorrow or day after tomorrow just for me where I could reach you?

K: I’ll be here in Washington.

D: In Washington. You won’t go anywhere?

K: No.

D: Through your telephone.

K: But you can reach me through my telephone anyway even if I were away but I will be here.

D: Within the Washington area.

K: In Washington itself.

D: Itself, fine.

K: But that message will come today, won’t it?

D: Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. They didn’t say—they used a Russian word which could be translated either today or tomorrow.

K: Right.

D: This is so confusing … it could be today or tomorrow.

K: Yeah. And what it is is concerning some substantive or other aspects of the Summit?

D: Yes. This is only on our drafts on certain problems … Summit.

K: Oh, fine, good.

D: You understand that’s your message in general. (laughter)

K: Oh, Anatol, I’m not totally stupid.

D: No, you are not. This is a well-known fact not only to me it was long ago known but I speak about the general public.

K: Two other things, Anatol, the first is we are—this is a minor thing—you remember we talked about press announcements of the various agreements?

D: Yes.

K: I gave you that schedule yesterday.

D: Yes. I already sent it to Moscow.

K: No, no; fine. I just want you to know what I forgot to tell you yesterday. We agreed to joint briefings.

D: Oh, to the joint briefings. Yes, I will put this on.

K: So that we could do it jointly and the way we do it, except for the very important ones,—

D: Yes.

K: Ziegler would brief on our side and whoever on your side—

D: I don’t know yet.

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K: But at any rate, the way we should do that, Anatol, is for you and me to get together.

D: Okay.

K: And we will then agree. Ziegler will say exactly what we tell him.

D: Okay, I understand.

K: So you and I can work it out and there will be no problem.

D: Okay.

K: On SALT and on the final principles, I would do the briefing.

D: Okay. I think it is most important.

K: Those two, on the principles and on the communiqué7 and on SALT, I will do the briefing.

D: So I will say either Ziegler or you on most important items.

K: Right. And in any event, if it’s Ziegler, you and I will work out ahead of time what he will say. He never deviates from it.

D: Okay.

K: Now one more thing, Anatol, on this. We are thinking now very seriously of a public statement on Monday.

D: On what?

K: On the German thing.

D: Oh, I think it’s—

K: That will have the maximum effect.

D: Oh, I think it’s very [omission in the source text]. Could I send this or are you just thinking? Better not to make disappointment. Sorry I really ask you blunt question. If you are really so, I will send them but if you change your mind—

K: Let me say, you know, if there is no, which I don’t anticipate, no stop aggravation of this situation.

D: Oh, I don’t think—I think for our part could say this, whether you do or not. Don’t you think so?

K: What?

D: About whether it will be an aggravation or not.

K: What do you mean we can say?

D: No, I think we could judge—I think you and me could fairly say whether there would be aggravation or will not be before Monday.

K: Yeah. My impression is there will not be.

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D: You mean about [Israel]8 and Bonn?

K: No, no; I mean in the overall world situation.

D: Oh, well, this is what I think is my impression…. So if your impression is the same, so I think we are on the same ground.

K: Right. So I just wanted to tell you that. In that framework I think you are pretty safe in assuming it.

D: Yeah. It would be White House statement?

K: A White House statement.

D: A special statement.

K: Well, we’ve planned it in answer to a question.

D: Okay, an answer to a question.

K: And I will work that out and give it to you Monday morning.

D: Okay. I think it’s fair enough and good enough.

K: Okay.

D: Okay, I’ll be in touch with you. Please don’t go too far.

K: No, I’ll be here.

D: (laughter)

K: Anatol, how can you and I be separated?

D: No, no, no. This is my impression too; it’s unbelievable.

K: You and I, when this thing is over, we are going to have one purely social evening with not one word of business.

D: Okay, I’ll get prepared.

K: We have earned it.

D: You see, only one of your respectable newspaper men after you—when you come back here. You remember on this [omission in the source text] when we worked together. After this, on those [omission in the source text].

K: Oh, yes.

D: He asked me, “Well, Mr. Ambassador, you heard Johnson speak with Kennedy all night so what you are talking about?” I said, “We went to sleep.” And he couldn’t believe it really; that an Ambassador didn’t even have time with such a man and not to talk with him all the whole night.

K: (laughter)

D: He couldn’t really believe it. So you see even in this case, not everything is believable but on this occasion I agree, not a word.

K: No.

D: No politics.

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K: Exactly. We will do it.

D: Okay. I’ll be in touch with you.

K: Good, Anatol.

D: Bye, bye.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 372, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. At 8:30 p.m. the previous evening, Kissinger attended a professional hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins. (Ibid., Miscellany, 1968–1976, Record of Schedule).
  3. See footnote 4, Document 221.
  4. May 13.
  5. Document 214.
  6. Reference is to Nixon’s May 20, 1971, public announcement of a breakthrough in the SALT negotiations; see Department of State Bulletin, June 7, 1971, pp. 741–742.
  7. In a May 10 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt assessed specific changes on the Basic Principles statement desired by the Soviets. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 67, Country Files, Europe, U.S.S.R., Sonnenfeldt Papers [1 of 2])
  8. Brackets in the source text.