227. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Moscow Visit—Announcement of Bilateral Agreements
[Page 846]

The following bilateral agreements should be ready for announcement during the Moscow Visit:

  • —Space Cooperation Agreement
  • —Environmental Agreement
  • —Health Agreement
  • —Science and Technology Agreement
  • —Maritime Agreement
  • —Incidents at Sea Agreement
  • —Joint Commercial Commission Agreement

You will probably want to sign the space cooperation agreement. All other bilateral agreements will either be signed by Secretary Rogers and Foreign Minister Gromyko or by US and Soviet counterparts in Washington and Moscow. All agreements will be announced during the Moscow visit, and reference to them will be included in the Final Communiqué.2 The new US-Soviet Exchanges Agreement for 1972–1973 was signed in Moscow on April 11, 1972, and will also be referred to in the Communiqué.

The proposed scenario for announcement of the agreements is at Tab A3 of this book. Issues papers on each of the agreements are at Tabs B–I. Except for the commercial matters, you will probably not want to take much time with the Soviet leaders on any of these.

In brief, for your information, the bilateral agreements embody the following understandings:

Space Cooperation. The US and USSR agree to enhance cooperation in outer space by utilizing the capabilities of both countries for joint projects of mutual benefit. NASA and the Soviet Academy of Sciences will oversee implementation of the agreement. The rendezvous and docking systems of US and Soviet spacecraft will be made compatible so as to provide for joint missions and rescue operations. The US and USSR agree to a joint, manned space flight in 1975 using Apollo-type [Page 847] and Soyuz-type spacecraft. The two spacecraft will rendezvous and dock in space, and the cosmonauts and astronauts will visit the respective spacecraft. (See Tab B)

Environmental Agreement. The US and USSR agree to establish closer and longer-term cooperation between interested organizations in the environmental field. A new USUSSR Joint Committee on Cooperation in the Field of Environmental Protection is established to approve bilateral measures and programs of cooperation and make recommendations to the two Governments. Each country will designate a principal coordinator—Russell E. Train, Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, will take the lead for the US. It is planned that Train will make a post-Summit trip to Moscow to work out the details of the agreement. (See Tab C)

Health Agreement. The US and USSR undertake to develop and deepen mutual cooperation in the field of medical science and public Health. They agree to do so through the Joint Committee for Health Cooperation which was established by the February 11 exchange of letters between HEW Secretary Elliot Richardson and Soviet Minister of Health Petrovsky. As agreed in that exchange of letters, initial research efforts will be focused on cancer, heart diseases and the environmental Health sciences. (See Tab D)

Science and Technology Agreement. It is recognized that increased scientific and technical cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit is in the interests of both countries and can contribute to an improvement in over-all bilateral relations. A US-Soviet Joint Commission on Scientific and Technical Cooperation is established to explore, identify and establish appropriate joint programs. Your Science Adviser, Dr. Edward E. David, will chair the US side and will make a post-Summit visit to Moscow to negotiate the detailed arrangements for the establishment of the new commission. (See Tab E)

Maritime Agreement. The US and USSR agree to understandings on maritime and related matters which should facilitate an expansion of commerce between the two countries. The understandings include provisions relating to port access, entry and treatment of ships of one country in the ports of the other and equal participation in cargo carriage. (See Tab F)

Incidents at Sea Agreement. The US and USSR agree to understandings designed to prevent incidents at sea between units of the US and Soviet Navies operating on the high seas. Provisions of the understandings deal with such issues as observation of the letter and spirit of the international rules of the road, avoidance of specified types of harassment and simulated attacks; measures to be taken so as not to hinder maneuvers such as carrier operations; general distances to be observed in aircraft-to-aircraft approaches and aircraft-to-ship [Page 848] approaches. Secretary Laird will sign for the US, Defense Minister Grechko for the USSR. (See Tab G)4

Joint Commercial Commission. The US and USSR agree to establish a Joint Commercial Commission to translate bilateral commercial objectives agreed to during your visit into specific agreements and actions. The Commission would negotiate a bilateral trade agreement, work to resolve outstanding commercial and financial issues and monitor the US-Soviet trade relationship over time. The Secretary of Commerce will chair the US side. (See Tab H)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 478, President’s Trip Files, The President, Bilateral Agreements. Secret; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. According to a May 16 memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon, this was part of the fifth briefing book for the summit delivered to the President before books one to four. (Ibid., RG 59, S/P Files: Lot 77 D D112, Box 335, Lord Chronology, 1972)
  2. In his memoirs, Kissinger wrote that “the prospect of the May summit was used to prod our two bureaucracies to work out detailed agreements on various technical subjects suitable for bilateral cooperation. These accords were not politically significant, but they would demonstrate that the United States and the Soviet Union as major industrial powers had common interests in a variety of fields.” “The biggest problem was still the unending rivalry between the White House and the various departments as to who would get credit.” “A compromise was finally reached between the departments’ desire for recognition for having done the negotiating and Nixon’s insistence on a share of the glory. The signing of most of the bilateral agreements was postponed until the summit. There they would be signed by the Cabinet members whose staffs had negotiated them, in the presence of a beaming Nixon and Brezhnev.” (White House Years, p. 1133)
  3. The tabs are attached but not printed.
  4. A May 15 memorandum from Hillenbrand to Kissinger stated that the second round of U.S.-Soviet talks on preventing incidents at sea had begun in Washington on May 4 and proceeded in a businesslike and cordial manner. The memorandum noted that a number of incidents remaining from the first round of talks had been resolved, but that no solution had been found to the disagreement over how to regulate the distances separating between ships and aircraft and aircraft and aircraft. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 719, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XXII, May 1972) An undated briefing paper for the President on Incidents at Sea explained that the Soviets were asking the United States to agree to precise standoff distances governing the approach of ships to ships, aircraft to ships, and aircraft to aircraft, whereas the U.S. position called for understandings on standoff distances that would be formulated in general wording, such as “approaches should be made with prudence and caution and in a manner that will not endanger the ship or aircraft.” (Ibid., Box 478, President’s Trip Files, The President, Bilateral Agreements)