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

D: Calling you from gas station.

K: I called you because I just talked to the President and I am leaving town for a couple of hours2 and I wanted to get word to you. The President is inclined to approve the secret trip of mine to Moscow if we can do it in conjunction with the Paris thing, a week from Saturday and Sunday.

D: What date?

K: 22 and 23.

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D: I guess you are right. 22 and 23?

K: Right. Arrive in Moscow around the evening of the 21st.

D: 21.

K: Right. That would give us two evenings and two days there. It’s not yet 100 percent sure.

D: Could I pass it?

K: Yes, you can. I think it would be useful for them to know it on the assumption that it would be done secretly.

D: You tell me reasons from your side. From our side it could be done easily. Direct flight from Washington to Moscow?

K: Yes. If you would like to send a navigator over here.…3 Like to take route outside the radar of Europe.

D: You tell me the route.

K: On this I will give you a recommendation and you specify the airfield. It’s not yet 100 percent sure; the President is going to Camp David4—he wants to think about it overnight. Our assumption is it would be secret. I would talk to Mr. Brezhnev and we would do it in the spirit I described to you and because I am going over anyway.

D: I understand. I think it is very helpful. I will pass this information to Moscow.

K: Good, and also I will have some word for you tomorrow you can tell them definitely. It will not be very precise, but you can explore their attitude. The President is going to Camp David to think about it and will instruct me in the morning.

D: [Omitted here are comments about Dobrynin’s schedule.] So your call was the only cheerful one. It lifts my spirits. So tomorrow you will give me a call?

K: Yes, and we will get together. I will call you first thing in the morning.5

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 371, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. Kissinger left his office at 3:30 p.m. for a meeting later that afternoon in New York with Huang Hua, the Chinese Permanent Representative to the United Nations. (Ibid., Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976, Record of Schedule) During the meeting, Kissinger briefed Huang on proposals for talks with the North Vietnamese and plans for the summit with the Soviets. The memorandum of conversation is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XVII, China, 1969–1972, Document 220.
  3. On April 14 Vorontsov gave Haig a handwritten note on arrangements for the Soviet navigators first to arrive in Washington and then return, with Kissinger, to Moscow. “All measures are going to be taken by the Soviet side,” the note concluded, “to ensure the full secrecy.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 493, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 10)
  4. The President flew by helicopter to Camp David late that afternoon and returned to Washington by car the next morning. While at Camp David, Nixon met Haig for dinner (6 p.m.) and called Kissinger in New York (7:25 p.m.). (Ibid., White House Central Files, President’s Daily Diary) No substantive record of either conversation has been found.
  5. No record of a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Dobrynin the morning of April 13 has been found.