242. Memorandum for the President’s File From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Breakfast Conversation between The President, Ambassador Dobrynin and Mr. Kissinger

The meeting concerned mostly personal matters.

Ambassador Dobrynin brought the President the personal good wishes of Brezhnev, who said he was looking forward to a constructive and pleasant meeting. Any special visits that the President wanted would be available to him. The Kremlin would be closed to the public and to all Soviet personnel except the Politburo, and the President could therefore move freely and without any fear of interference within the walls of the Kremlin. Dobrynin thought that the total area of the Kremlin was probably as large as Camp David.

The President then told Dobrynin that it was important to take special care not to mention the special channel, and Dobrynin said this was well understood among his leaders. The President also said that he wanted the meetings with Brezhnev to be confined to the smallest number possible. Specifically, he thought it would be better if Gromyko were not present because that would raise the issue of having Rogers present. He said, “Gromyko, of course, is being relied on by Brezhnev but I do not rely on Rogers.” Dobrynin was noncommittal but said that he thought the matter could be handled. Dobrynin then proposed that Brezhnev and the President meet shortly after his arrival to work out what might happen at the plenary session the next day. Dobrynin said that this should be confined to just a very few people; perhaps himself on the Soviet side and Kissinger on the American side. The President agreed but again made the point that perhaps Gromyko should be either not announced or not come so that there would be no question of having Rogers present.

There was then discussion of a few substantive issues. Dobrynin said that his leaders wanted to have the Middle East discussed on the basis now where perhaps some basic principles could be agreed to that would be filled in in negotiations over a period of months. The President said that a lot depended on Vietnam. We were now determined [Page 940]to end the war; we had diddled along for three and a half years, and we had been kicked in the teeth the whole time. It now was time to end it. Once the war in Vietnam was over, it was much easier for us to move in the Middle East. Dobrynin said every side had trouble with its allies, and he didn’t mind saying that the Soviet Union had major difficulty with its allies.

The President, Dobrynin and Dr. Kissinger then walked through Camp David to look at the new facility, with the President pointing out the places to which he would invite Brezhnev when Brezhnev visited the United States.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 12, Part 2. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. According to the President’s Daily Diary, this breakfast meeting took place from 8:44 to 9:50 a.m. (Ibid., White House Central Files)