106. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 8. 1. Following hour delay, during which Brezhnev took me for ride in Rolls Royce and then in his hydrofoil, had a five and a half hour session on nuclear project.2

2. One issue relates to final article in which we say among other things that the agreement will not affect commitments we have towards other countries. Soviets want to say that commitments must be in treaties and agreements while we would have preferred simply referring to commitments in order to cover not only NATO but also less formal obligations contained in treaties, agreements and other appropriate instruments are not affected by the new agreement.

3. Second major issue relates to article on consultations in event there is risk of nuclear war involving US or USSR. We want language that confines consultation requirement only to situations where there is risk of US-Soviet nuclear war or nuclear war between USSR and third country or US and third country. Soviets want consultation clause that applies to nuclear war risk between any non-signatories to agreement. Brezhnev has insisted that I check with President to get approval for [Page 371] latter broad formula which is of course one that has overtones of condominium and gives major trouble to Chinese.

4. Final problem is that Brezhnev is trying to get me to initial the agreement here before departure. I have refused on grounds that we need lawyers and translators to check over the text. But I may have to tell Brezhnev in writing that substance of agreement is settled and will not rpt not be affected by any legal and linguistic review.

5. I would like you to send me a message written in a way that I could show it to Dobrynin and Soviets stating that:

A. Formula indicated in para 2 above is the furthest President can go in meeting Soviet desires.

B. President cannot rpt not in this agreement accept consultation requirement for risks of nuclear war involving exclusively non-signatories of the agreement though US and Soviets are of course free to consult under any circumstance they choose, apart from this agreement. If issue not soluble President prepared to drop whole article.

C. President cannot rpt not authorize initialing of text by me in Moscow but would be prepared to have me give Brezhnev assurance in writing that substance of agreement reached in Moscow is settled and will not rpt not be changed by necessary review by legal and language experts. Your message should stress that this whole project has been one of great difficulty for the President to approve, that he anticipates many questions in Congress and from Allies and others when agreement is disclosed and that above points are limit to which he can go.

6. Please provide response by evening Sunday Moscow time.3

7. Please ensure President is aware of these developments and, particularly, understands issue in paragraph 4 and 5C. above.

8. Warm regards.

  1. Source: 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. Secret; Sensitive; Immediate; Eyes Only.
  2. See Document 105.
  3. May 6. The response was transmitted in messgae Tohak 60, May 6. See Document 108 and footnote 2 thereto.