101. Letter From President Nixon to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev 1

Dear Mr. General Secretary:

I should like to take advantage of Ambassador Dobrynin’s trip to Moscow to send you this personal message of greeting. Dr. Kissinger will shortly be meeting with you and some of your colleagues to review the state of preparations for our forthcoming talks in the United States. He will have detailed instructions from me to pursue the various subjects on which we have exchanged views in our confidential channel and on which I expect to talk with you personally during our meetings.

I believe that Ambassador Dobrynin and Dr. Kissinger have already made substantial progress on a number of topics in their frequent exchanges here in Washington. Moreover, both of us can take satisfaction in the fact that, in general, relations between our two countries are on a constructive course across a very broad front. Consequently, the prospects for our meetings appear very promising and I am confident that the tradition begun last year in Moscow will be continued here by a new series of significant agreements and understandings that will benefit not only the peoples of our two countries but the cause of worldwide peace and progress.

Reviewing the numerous specific issues on which we have been communicating, I believe we have a basis for concluding new agreements to expand concrete bilateral cooperation in such areas as agriculture, oceanography and others. You may be certain that all the pertinent agencies of our government will work constructively with your representatives to work out appropriate documents so that they can be promulgated at the time of our meeting. I will also look forward to a review of what has already been accomplished in trade and economic relations between our countries; after the many years of almost no economic relations, I believe the achievements to date are considerable. But we shall obviously want to use our meeting to give even greater impetus to these relations and to look beyond the next few years to [Page 327] long-term cooperative projects, including those related to natural gas. Dr. Kissinger will be prepared to give you a status report on our efforts to obtain Congressional approval this year for the implementation of the US-Soviet trade agreement. My assessment is that the prospects in this regard are very promising.

Dr. Kissinger will also be authorized to discuss with you and your colleagues the situation in the negotiations on strategic arms limitation and, on the basis of views and documents already exchanged, to seek jointly with you to make significant progress in preparation for our meeting. I am prepared to reach mutually acceptable understandings both on the principles and the substance of a permanent agreement. It also seems possible now to envisage a significant step toward the removal of the danger of nuclear war, along the lines that we have discussed.

In addition to the above subjects, Dr. Kissinger will be prepared to review all other subjects of mutual interest, such as cooperation and security in Europe, the Middle East, and problems relating to the implementation of the agreements ending the conflict in Vietnam.

May I close this message by assuring you, Mr. General Secretary, that your visit to this country is being awaited with keen anticipation both because of the concrete results that can be expected from it and because of the symbolic significance, which cannot be overrated, of this event for the future friendship of our two countries and for world peace. In the coming weeks, we will be working with your representatives to make all the necessary arrangements and I will personally be eager to hear of any special wishes that you may have. I do not know if we will be able to meet the high standards of hospitality which you set during my visit to your country, but I can assure you that nothing will be left undone to make your stay with us a successful and happy occasion. Mrs. Nixon and I have the most pleasant memories of the days we spent in Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev and Mrs. Brezhnev and you, as well as the other members of your delegation, will be received in the United States with the warmest hospitality.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 68, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 17. No classification marking. A handwritten notation at the top of the page reads: “Handed by K to D 2:30 pm, Tues, May 1, 1973.”