296. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Your May 29, 1972 Private Meeting with Brezhnev
[Page 1214]

General Approach

In your final private meeting with Brezhnev you will want to strike a positive note. You should stress the general theme that solid achievements have been made this week and that continued progress will depend on both sides taking a broad view in our relations. You should make the following points:

  • —You believe that a great deal of confidence has been established this past week. The frankness of the discussions between you and Brezhnev was as significant as the various agreements that have been signed.
  • —It is important to keep in close personal touch in the future. If either side has a major concern it should tell the other. In this way many problems can be handled before they turn into major issues.
  • —Both nations will continue to face the choice between pressing for narrow tactical gains at the other’s expense and taking a larger perspective on relations between the world’s two most powerful nations.
  • —You think it is essential that we both conduct our policies in a generous spirit. This approach will guide your actions.
  • —If we can both move ahead on this basis, the things we have in common will increasingly outweigh those that divide us. We can thus place US-Soviet relations on a fresh, positive footing.

Nuclear Renunciation

The Soviets have been very interested in a declaration on nuclear weapons. We have turned this troublesome concept toward the safer grounds of changing their treaty draft into an understanding. At Tab A is a draft understanding on this subject that should strike a positive note without getting us into trouble with either our allies or the Chinese. You can say:

  • —You know of the Soviets’ interest in the subject of a treaty renouncing nuclear weapons.
  • —You have given a great deal of thought to this issue and wish to give them a draft for their consideration. (Hand over Tab A.)2


  • —We should not look at economic issues in a strictly business deal fashion but rather in larger scope, as an important contribution to overall US-Soviet relations.
  • —You favor a comprehensive package including:
    • • The extension of Export-Import Bank financing.
    • MFN treatment for the USSR (requires Congressional approval).
    • • Settlement of lend-lease.
  • —We will look hard at the natural gas project to find ways to encourage financing for a major arrangement that will benefit both countries.
  • —You are instructing all our negotiators to approach economic/commercial issues in a generous spirit with particular emphasis on the political aspect.

Middle East

  • —You and the General Secretary and KissingerGromyko have held useful talks on this subject.
  • —You hope we can make progress on this over the coming weeks.

Your Visit to the Soviet Union

—You and Mrs. Nixon want to thank the Soviet leaders for the warm hospitality and courtesies extended to you during this memorable visit.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 487, President’s Trip Files, The President’s Conversations in Salzburg, Moscow, Tehran, and Warsaw, May 1972, Part 1. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The President scrawled handwritten notations across the text of the memorandum that read: “Gifts—Established Personal Understanding—Key—[‘Chi’ crossed out] (Trust Chicom)—Must keep in touch in private channel on [illegible]—Legacy—positive footing—Nuclear [‘non’ crossed out] Recognition—Economics (re N[ew] York et al)—Mideast—V—Nam.”
  2. Attached but not printed.