104. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee, CPSU
  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Anatoli F. Dobrynin, Ambassador to USA
  • Andrei M. Aleksandrov, Assistant to the General Secretary
  • Georgi M. Kornienko, Head of USA Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Viktor M. Sukhodrev, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interpreter
  • Andrei Vavilov, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Mr. Helmut Sonnenfledt, NSC Senior Staff
  • Mr. Philip Odeen, NSC Senior Staff
  • Mr. William Hyland, NSC Staff
  • Peter Rodman, NSC Staff


  • Nuclear Agreement; SALT

[Before the meeting began, the General Secretary took Dr. Kissinger out onto the balcony and showed him the view. A Soviet photographer, and Mr. Sonnenfeldt, took several pictures of the General Secretary and Dr. Kissinger both out on the balcony and in the office.

[The group took their seats at the table in Brezhnev’s office. The General Secretary took out a hunting knife and put it on the table in front of him, to everyone’s amusement.]

Nuclear Agreement2

Brezhnev: Mr. Kissinger and friends, may I welcome you all once again and express my satisfaction with the fact that we are meeting as arranged. In terms of time and significance, this is a very important meeting indeed. I do not doubt we should regard this meeting as a di[Page 334]rect continuation of all that was achieved last year and as advance preparation for the forthcoming meeting with the President, this time in the United States.

My colleagues and I highly value the desire of President Nixon and his assistants and the Administration generally to achieve the agreements on which we achieved understanding last year. If we seriously reflect on the substance and character of the processes underway at present, and what we are seeking to achieve, we can say without error this is a truly historic phase in the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States. The distinctive aspect of this process is that it is directed to the very noble objective of peaceful coexistence, peaceful friendship between two great states. The fact that this objective is indeed a noble one is true beyond doubt, and no one or no group in the world can question that this objective is a noble one. And I want to emphasize that all the more complex and responsible is our accomplishment at this meeting, which is to achieve an accord which would be in line with this objective. Unfortunately, history has piled up far too many adverse things, not only between the Soviet Union and the United States but also between many states in the world. We belong to a generation of people and statesmen who must step over many phases and go faster towards the ideals of mankind, faster than was the case in the past.

I wanted to make these few remarks by way of introduction, because I and our entire leadership attach very great importance to the forthcoming meetings and to the agreements which we must prepare.

I had occasion to say yesterday, and I want especially to emphasize today, that I am sure the President has given you broad authority and instructions to achieve the mission we have been entrusted with. Dr. Kissinger, we have before us a very wide-ranging agenda, many issues and documents to discuss, but there are some that have very top priority. I think it has already been agreed between us what the most important document is, the document that would truly emphasize the significance of the forthcoming meeting between the Soviet Union and the United States and to raise that meeting to that level that we all want to see it at.

Therefore, if there are no objections on your part, we want to start with that topic, namely the atomic problem.

Without so far as going into concrete content of each paragraph and article of the future document, I want to tell you at this point how we see the nature of this document in general. This is to be an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, that is, an agreement between our two nations. And in saying that, I am assuming we must do all we can to elaborate a clearcut and lucid agreement and terms that relate to the two nations, that is the Soviet Union and the [Page 335] United States. But of course the world so far is a very complex one. Therefore it is quite natural we will have to formulate in this document certain provisions which would cause no alarm or concern among your allies and ours and the other countries in the world.

Dr. Kissinger: I wouldn’t bet on that.

Brezhnev: [Pauses] I think nonetheless that we should do all we can to alleviate such concern.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree.

Brezhnev: I believe not only on a personal plane but also as states and statesmen, we must see that it goes down in history as something which will be seen as a great exploit. And if we achieve this it will be indeed a great exploit. None of us in this world is eternal but history is eternal. The leadership may change and the Supreme Soviet may change and the Senate may change, but history will still be there. And it is from these positions that we should endeavor to approach an agreement on the nonuse of nuclear weapons against each other.

I will not now speak of the significance of this entire problem on a personal plane, that is, for the President or Brezhnev or someone else; that is something we can consider when we have dotted all the i’s on it. Of course, the United States is a country with a very rich history, starting from the first President to the present one. There are many aspects to this history. But I believe this one document, if it is signed in the form I see it in now, will make the present President of the United States the greatest President in the history of that country. And history may also make some reference to us. In any case, history won’t blame us for it.

Dr. Kissinger: History will record who initiated the document, too. Just about a year ago.

Brezhnev: I think history will probably record both—all those who had a bearing in the elaboration of this document. After all, if one man says hello and another says hello, that means they both greeted each other.

We did in fact begin discussion of this subject last year, and probably each of us has on more than one occasion reflected on the wordings that could be used in this document. I reflected on this last night, after reading it again. I would like first, before we go into a concrete discussion, to pose a question to you all, and also to myself in fact: What are we trying to achieve? What aim are we pursuing? If we know what our aim is, we can find a correct way of finding measures to get there. If we cannot, our aim will be crippled.

[Before Sukhodrev’s translation, Brezhnev gets up and asks if Dr. Kissinger would like the window open. Dr. Kissinger says yes. [Page 336] Brezhnev then opens the door to his bedroom, which adjoins the office. “We have no secrets from our friends!” says Aleksandrov. “It is an open door policy!” says Dobrynin. The General Secretary then returns to the table.]

Brezhnev: Why I say this is, Dr. Kissinger, on the whole this is a good document. But if we now take up and try to clean it up a bit and try to remove all that might cause concern among other countries, the document will then be a wonderful document and will be radiant with the objectives we are trying to invest it with.

There is some fresh air coming in now.

And at least here in this group we should not pass over in silence the fact that there do exist in the world other nuclear powers as well, and there have to be such points in the agreement to show them it would be wrong to play with nuclear war.

At this point I would like to stop my remarks. And if you have no objection, Mr. Kissinger, I would like to do the practical work.

Dr. Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, if I may first make a few remarks on the state of the United States-Soviet relations, what in our view the significance of the Summit could be, and then this agreement.

Brezhnev: I’ll be happy to hear what you have to say, and then I will say a few words in return.

Dr. Kissinger: First, on behalf of my colleagues and I am sure on behalf of the President, I want to express thanks for the warmth of the reception here. I know this is an unusual thing for the General Secretary to receive guests from abroad in these surroundings and devote so much time to them.3 We take it as a symptom and symbol of the importance that is on the Soviet side attached to the relationship that has developed between our two countries.

Brezhnev: That is true.

Kissinger: We too attach enormous importance to this relationship, and indeed we consider it the cornerstone of a policy of peace. This historic achievement of the General Secretary and the President at the Summit last year and what has developed since then goes beyond the agreements that were signed, but goes to a qualitative transformation [Page 337] of the relationship between Moscow and Washington. Under extremely difficult circumstances—even more difficult for the Soviet Union than for the U.S.—both sides recognized that they have a responsibility for maintaining peace in the world. We proved to each other in the Berlin negotiations and in the strategic arms limitation negotiations and in many others that when the Soviet Union and the U.S. agree, it is to the benefit of their own peoples, and also to the benefit of the peoples of the world, and that constructive solutions can be found to problems around the world.

We’ve taken account of this reality not only in formal agreements but even in the day-to-day conduct of our diplomacy, to a point where it is safe to say the Soviet Ambassador in Washington is informed of major steps earlier than our own government. I certainly see him more than I see my own staff.

Brezhnev: I’m the last one who gets informed of these things. Our Ambassador is first, but I’m last. That’s my situation.

Dr. Kissinger: Soon we’ll give him a job in our government.

Brezhnev: Then it goes through Gromyko, and if it pleases him I’m told about it.

Dr. Kissinger: Our settled policy is to attempt to resolve no major issue unilaterally without full discussion with the Soviet Union. And the reason is not only objective realities, which are of course decisive, but also because of the personal relationship that has developed between the Secretary General and the President.

Brezhnev: I’m pleased to hear it.

Dr. Kissinger: That is why the meeting between the President and the Secretary General is so important. This is why the President will spend more time to prepare for this meeting and to make the General Secretary comfortable than on any meeting with any other visitor to Washington. The President still has four years of his term, and while we don’t pass judgment on Soviet internal developments we don’t have the impression the General Secretary’s position is growing weaker. [Brezhnev chuckles.] The General Secretary and the President have more time before them to make major accomplishments in U.S.-Soviet relations than in any time in the history of our relationship. It is in this spirit that we approach the totality of our relationship, and it is in this context that we wish to approach this treaty—this agreement.

Brezhnev: I referred to our assessment of the very important significance of all that was accomplished last year in our conversation last [Page 338] night.4 I am sure our interpreters have included it in their memoranda of the conversation.

Dr. Kissinger: We don’t have one.

It is a sign of our relationship that we trust your interpreters more than ours.

Brezhnev: I’m sure Sonnenfeldt and Sukhodrev give them to each other.

Kissinger: I’m glad he gives them to someone. He never gives them to me.

Gromyko: That is internal matters!

Brezhnev: We said last year we and the President achieved a great step forward. It is impossible to overestimate what was achieved last year, though it was hard to tell in the first days afterward. What was achieved was that our two countries turned to meet each other. In our Central Committee Plenary meeting—and I’m sure you are aware of the significance of a plenary meeting of the Central Committee—we took a one-way attitude to U.S.-Soviet relations in our resolution. And I had a great deal more to say on the resolution. And in my speech in Red Square on May 1st I devoted some words to U.S.-Soviet relations.5

And please thank the President for the time he is devoting to these meetings. And if he comes here again—if not in 1973 then certainly in 1974—it will be the most significant in his career. We know the President hasn’t visited many cities here, and he will be able to. And by then in the political sphere the documents we achieve in this meeting will achieve their significance.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me speak concretely about what we can achieve at the Summit, and in this context I will speak about this document.

Brezhnev: Please.

Dr. Kissinger: The reason our relations have improved so, if I may say, drastically is that we have proceeded with two methods—one phil[Page 339]osophical, in general about the direction we want to go, and the second concrete, to pursue the routes we had indicated. Both are very important. If we did only the philosophical or the general things, they would be only like academic documents. If we did only very precise agreements, we would never get beyond the present. Last year we adopted some very important principles, whose significance will become increasingly evident as time goes on, and we also made an historic agreement as the first step of limitation of strategic arms. This year we are discussing this agreement with respect to the prevention of nuclear war—an agreement which I will explain in a minute has many difficulties as well as opportunities—as well as the principles of strategic arms limitation. But it is also important to show practical progress, content, in at least one major field.

Therefore we attach importance to having some concrete progress in some aspect of strategic arms limitation, and we should use the time before the summit to do this. That would give the principles of arms limitation and the nuclear agreement some concrete quality, and we should use that to demonstrate the direction we want to go. This will be important to give our public opinion and other countries assurance that we are moving in a decisive and precise manner, and avoids the danger that the general principles stated in this agreement as well as in the SALT agreement and Basic Principles are superficial platitudes, and will give us the opportunity to deal with the inevitable criticism that will arise.

So we hope we can have some concrete discussion while I am here, and so we can instruct our delegations to proceed at a somewhat faster rate so we can achieve some understandings before the Summit.

Now let me turn to this document.

In many respects this has been a very difficult exercise for us. Without the personal relationship that exists between the General Secretary and the President, there is no possibility that it could ever have reached this point—no possibility whatsoever. It is a testimony to the importance we attach to Soviet-American relations and to our realization that a maximum effort must be made and the maximum responsibility rests on the two nuclear super powers to preserve the peace in the world. Similar proposals to this have been made by the Soviet leaders since 1946, going back to the days of Stalin, and never got beyond the initial stages because of mistrusts between the leaders and because of the objective difficulties in the world. We will be very severely criticized by some of our allies, and, if history is a guide, by some of your allies as well.

Brezhnev: But in the final analysis everybody will be grateful. I am sure in the final analysis it will be appreciative of the efforts made by the United States and the Soviet Union.

[Page 340]

Dr. Kissinger: We are proceeding nevertheless because we believe the potential of this agreement is very great, especially if it can be translated in a concrete achievement.

Incidentally, I forgot to add, our own government will not be pleased when they see this result of our discussions, and they will accuse me of being susceptible to the General Secretary’s overpowering personality.

Brezhnev [Smiles]: The Soviet Union pledges to protect you from that. [Laughter] If that isn’t done [translating it into concrete achievement] the whole document will become meaningless.

I already had occasion to tell you, Dr. Kissinger, we are taking the most serious approach to this problem. The President and the American people can believe this. I say so on behalf of the Communist Party and the Soviet people.

Dr. Kissinger: We are convinced of that, and we are therefore proceeding, against very strong opposition. Proceeding with this agreement in this circumstance explains why it is important for us to be meticulous about certain impressions it may create with respect to third countries. But we are also proceeding because we share the General Secretary’s view that this can be a major step forward to the consolidation of peace in the world and toward accelerating the relationship of our two countries toward their responsibility for preserving peace in the world.

Because of the special manner in which this document has been negotiated, it is very important between now and the Summit that our two sides agree and coordinate on who is informed and in what manner, so the consequences can be managed. But the General Secretary can count on the fact that we will use all our efforts—and we will succeed—to bring along all countries and the domestic groups. And as we have done in all our agreements with the General Secretary, we will take most serious measures and achieve a major step.

Again, it would help enormously—and we attach the greatest importance—to accompany it with some limited step in the field of strategic arms talks.

As for the rest, the attitude expressed by the General Secretary towards approaching this document is exactly our own, and we must make it the best possible document commensurate with the historic importance we hope it will have as it guides our relationship.

Dr. Kissinger: [After Brezhnev begins his next remarks, but before the translation] I have the unfortunate sense that I understand everything you are saying even before the translation. Your Foreign Minister has an advantage over ours on this subject.

Brezhnev: But Dr. Kissinger has read it. You have to look at it more seriously than the President.

[Page 341]

[Translation resumes] If I may ask a question as we go along, you observed about whom we should consult or inform of the gist of this before signing. So, far, as we agreed, we work only through Ambassador Dobrynin, and none of our friends has any knowledge of this. If you think someone else should be informed, we should talk about this. Should we inform anyone? I am sure all our friends will think very highly of this.

Dr. Kissinger: Excuse me.

Brezhnev: I am preparing to visit the Polish People’s Republic and the German Democratic Republic and I am not planning to inform them of the progress made or of this general subject. They are aware of the general issue, but we have not informed them of it. If we had violated our agreement President Nixon would be justified in saying, “We cannot deal with them.” There are some documents from President Nixon or you that only a few of my colleagues and not the entire leadership see. So there is a guarantee of complete secrecy.

Our friends and allies won’t be concerned about this. They will approve.

Dr. Kissinger: Not one ally.

Brezhnev: One can’t imagine Britain or France being concerned. I just received a congratulatory letter on my Lenin Peace Prize from our ally [Ceausescu].6

Dr. Kissinger: Our situation is rather more complicated than yours. But we will keep you fully informed and won’t do anything without telling you.

Brezhnev: Thank you. I know you have in fact begun the process of informing some countries of this project. I don’t know in what detail. I am sure France and Brandt and Britain will have each its own attitude. But it should be something good for all.

Dr. Kissinger: We will manage this. And we will assume the responsibility and we will manage the consequences. In any case, we haven’t discussed a draft, but only the general terms.

Brezhnev: We have not discussed it even in a general way.

Dr. Kissinger: We have always informed your Ambassador ahead of time and will do so in the future.

Gromyko: That we know.

Dr. Kissinger: We will not proceed on this project in any unilateral manner and will not proceed without your agreement.

Brezhnev: I did visualize to myself we would be preparing this document and not excluding you would want to consult with some[Page 342]body. But we proceed from the assumption that the document will be completed and signed regardless of the views of third countries. Otherwise there will be thirty different opinions, from Japan to Guinea.

Dr. Kissinger: If we consulted Japan, we might as well put it in The New York Times. If we agree on this document, we will not be thwarted by other countries.

Brezhnev: I am convinced nonetheless, in the long run they will all be appreciative of our efforts. One frequently has to hear, “These two superpowers are trying to impose their will on other powers in the world.” No one asks what are we being blamed for? What is it we are trying to impose—war or peace? Peaceful coexistence or war? If you asked publicly from a rostrum to those who complain what they are blaming us for, they could not find an answer. It is rubbish. They would be thrown out of the meeting place.

I know concern exists in Europe because of old mistrusts and suspicions. France and Germany mistrust each other, France being a nuclear power, while Germany is not. Then there is the Italian aspect—with Italy having no nuclear weapons and American bases on it. But won’t what we are doing be a guarantee of their tranquility? What could be more horrifying than the prospect of nuclear weapons being dropped on their towns and villages? So we should look at the long term and not just the momentary things.

In each line and each word we have endeavored to plant the principle of peaceful coexistence, with the incorporation of mutual respect in all fields—science, culture, trade—and this is in fact what this document would mean although outwardly it means military matters. But the main philosophical content is a stronger peace in the world. In signing it—and I trust I will be charged with this—we will be implementing an aspect of peace. And I am sure this aspect will relate to all your allies and all peoples. Signing it will open up such prospects for peace that we can’t fully discern them today. This will raise the prestige of our governments to an all-time high. Nothing in history can compare with this. You mentioned certain difficulties in certain fields. But I don’t think this can be directed against this agreement. Britain has certain prestige concerns and Italy has its own. But why this concern?

In this country only certain people are familiar with it. Not every member of our Politburo is familiar with it.

Dr. Kissinger: No member of our Cabinet knows anything about it. I may have to ask for asylum here when this becomes known.

Brezhnev: It won’t be an asylum. It will be a good life.

Dr. Kissinger: Who do I work out the details with? Dobrynin?

Brezhnev: Our Council of Ministers don’t know—except Gromyko, if you count him. If the first Summit made a big step, the next one will be an even bigger step in our relationship.

[Page 343]

I think it is pretty useful if so far we have been firing at the outer lines of the defenses of this agreement and have not yet penetrated it. We have been firing all around the perimeter. [Laughter] The document has now been completely encircled. But that is important too. Both sides have to have conviction.

Dr. Kissinger: I agree. So far we have talked only about the general atmosphere. To discuss the direction. And I agree it is important.

Brezhnev: We have achieved certain things in arms limitation, arms freezing, but this one is of big strategic-political significance. And as we see it, after adoption of this document, it will be much easier for us to talk on all other issues.

Dr. Kissinger: I have exhausted my reservoir of philosophy on this subject—but I reserve the right to return to philosophy on other subjects!

Brezhnev: Of course. We have three days of very hard work ahead of us. If we show this memorandum of conversation to President Nixon he will think we did not work very hard and we just enjoyed ourselves.

Dr. Kissinger: You can be sure President Nixon will read every word.

Brezhnev: I will send President Nixon a picture of you with a hunting rifle.

Gromyko: Not through the confidential channel, but directly to the President!

Brezhnev: I will add a message to show President Nixon what Dr. Kissinger was doing in the Soviet Union.

Dr. Kissinger: I will send him a photo of the General Secretary with Bonnie Andrews.7

Brezhnev: No photographers were around.

Dr. Kissinger: Sonnenfeldt was hiding in the bushes.

Brezhnev: That was a courtesy to a guest. But none of us can hide from the all-seeing and all-discerning Mr. Sonnenfeldt.

Kissinger: Someone said to me, “Sonnenfeldt has the best intelligence network in Washington. Unfortunately it is directed against you.” I have given up now; I tell him everything because he finds out anyway.

Brezhnev: We each have our aides-de-camp who bring cars around, and so forth, and act as general-purpose assistants. Once I was working here at Zavidovo. Andrei Mikhailovich [Aleksandrov] was here. We were working here late; a big group was around. One of my stenographers was here, Viktoria. People were taking a stroll around [Page 344] and I sat down on a bench next to this building, the stenographer and myself, and a big bush was right behind us. There seemed to be nobody around. Just opposite us was a window with the officer on duty. I didn’t have a match. I called to the officer for a lighter or matches. Up pops my aide-de-camp from behind a bush with my lighter! [Laughter]

Sonnenfeldt: Who was he protecting?

Brezhnev: I don’t get that myself! He said he was just there by accident. That is a true story.

Perhaps as we turn to discuss the substance of the document, certain other points about the general atmosphere may crop up, but it is difficult to introduce anything new on this now.

We can say our general views on the European Conference are now defined. Chancellor Brandt was in the United States. I don’t know the results of that. Then there was the scheduled meeting with the United Kingdom, and with President Pompidou of France.

I made several visits to various countries—Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia—last year. I also intended to visit Romania to sign a new Friendship Treaty there, but I fell ill so it was put off. I am also planning a visit to the Polish People’s Republic. Since Comrade Gierek has taken over. I am also planning to visit the German Democratic Republic also because of its new leader, Honecker.8 Both have recently been awarded Soviet decorations in connection with their 60th birthdays. Now it appears I will have to go before my visit to the Federal Republic of Germany, to spend one day in Poland and the German Democratic Republic. But in no way will we inform them of this.

Somewhere around the 10th or the 12th, the Federal Republic of Germany Bundestag is scheduled to ratify the Treaty with the German Democratic Republic.

Dr. Kissinger: That is our impression.

Brezhnev: Brandt told me that. But there will be no informing them, just a friendly visit. In terms of time I have been pressed up against the wall. But I just have to spend a day and night in each of those countries.

Dr. Kissinger: It is physically very exhausting.

Brezhnev: I will have to attend ceremonies, attend dinners, and have meetings with the leaders. I like the business discussions. But the ceremonial part is not to my liking. Dining is not business. This is all something invented by Foreign Office people, and we are suffering.

[Page 345]

Gromyko: Mankind was certainly thrown back by diplomatic protocol.

Brezhnev: They tell me there was a conference of Foreign Ministers to simplify protocol, and protocol ended up more complicated.

Gromyko: Mankind didn’t breathe a sigh of relief. In fact protocol was invented by an all-European Conference at a Summit.

Dr. Kissinger: At Vienna. During the negotiations on the Treaty of Westphalia, they spent three weeks discussing which Ambassador would go through the door first.

Gromyko: I myself in Vienna saw the hall in the palace which has four doors through which the three emperors were to walk at exactly the same second, including our Emperor Alexander I.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: You see how difficult it is, Dr. Kissinger. We keep walking around this. [Laughter] There is a beaten track around it now.

Dr. Kissinger: But the last half hour you have been surrounding us.

Brezhnev: Once in the Ukraine, one man surrounded a whole group. An old man approached us who was guarding his watermelons. People were stealing them. He told us how he took care of it. A truck of young people came through down the road. The fields had corn on one side and melons on the other. The horses stopped, then the boys jumped off and started stealing. He came out of his hut and shouted out to nonexistent people: “Misha, hold the horses! Where’s your stick! Chase them! Hit him! Hit that one!” He raised such a hue and cry that you thought a division was advancing. So they all ran away, leaving the horses—which were from his own farm. The boys were from his own farm too. That is how one man surrounded ten. He told the story well, but would not tell it again. We gave him some vodka.

But we have straight positions here, so no one is surrounding the other.

Well, Dr. Kissinger, do you want to say anything else on this? Should we turn to the document specifically or take a little break?

Dr. Kissinger: Why don’t we take a little break? Produced by objective necessity.

Brezhnev: Should we have lunch? When? It is almost 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Kissinger: Why not now?

Brezhnev: Lunch and a little rest. How much time do you need?

Dr. Kissinger: Five hours! [Laughter]

Brezhnev: So little?

Gromyko: It is now 7:00 a.m. in Washington. Time to start working.

[They confer]

[Page 346]

Dr. Kissinger: We are ready anytime.

Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, perhaps we should take a three-hour break now. I had been thinking of taking you through the forest today—but we can put it off until tomorrow. We can resume at 5:00 today.

Dr. Kissinger: The Foreign Minister unfortunately has iron endurance. I experienced it at the Summit.

Gromyko: I tried to keep up with you.

Brezhnev: Would you be agreeable to discussing the document in substance at 5:00 p.m.?

Dr. Kissinger: We will be ready.

Brezhnev: Bon appetit!

[The meeting then ended. General Secretary Brezhnev accompanied Dr. Kissinger and his party on foot back to Dr. Kissinger’s residence.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 75, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Kissinger Conversations at Zavidovo, May 5–8 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at Brezhnev’s office in the Politburo Villa at Zavidovo, the Politburo’s hunting preserve located outside of Moscow. Brackets are in the original.
  2. Kissinger summarized the meeting for Nixon in message Hakto 7, May 5, which reads in part as follows: Brezhnev “confirmed again his great stake in forthcoming summit. Brezhnev gave heavy emphasis to importance he attaches to Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War making clear he seeks major psychological impact from it.” (Ibid., Box 32, HAK Trip Files, HAK Moscow, London Trip, May 4–11, 1973, HAKTO & Misc)
  3. Kissinger wrote in his memoirs: “No Western leader had ever been invited to Zavidovo; the only other foreigners to visit it, I was told, had been Tito [President of Yugoslavia] and President Urho Kekkonen of Finland. In light of what has happened since, the atmosphere of jovial if heavy-handed camaraderie may seem transparent. But at the time our Soviet hosts, headed by Brezhnev, certainly did their best to convey that good relations with the United States meant a great deal to them. They went out of their way to be hospitable, on occasion stiflingly so.” (Years of Upheaval, p. 228)
  4. In message Hakto 6 to Scowcroft, May 5, Kissinger wrote that the President should be informed that “Brezhnev, who is staying out here with Gromyko came to my house last night for preliminary talk in which he displayed his eager anticipation of U.S. trip and meetings with the President. On substance, he obviously wants to wrap up nuclear agreement but it looks as though we will have some tough haggling because of their determination to emphasize [garble] that have condominium overtones. On SALT, I get strong impression that they do not want anything concrete at summit but seek agreement on principles. I intend to stress very strongly the desirability of making summit as concrete as possible on SALT.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 32, HAK Trip Files, HAK Moscow, London Trip, May 4–11, 1973, HAKTO & Misc.)
  5. In his speech, Brezhnev remarked that he would “facilitate favorable development of Soviet-American relations on the principle of mutual respect and mutual advantage.” (“Brezhnev Cites Need for Closer East-West Ties,” Chicago Tribune, May 2, 1973, p. A2)
  6. Nicolae Ceausescu, President of Romania, 1965–1989.
  7. A member of the NSC Secretariat.
  8. Edward Gierek, General Secretary of the Polish United Workers’ Party. Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany; Chairman of the Council of State of the German Democratic Republic, 1976–1989.