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

Hakto 19A. Please inform President as follows:

1. I had about eight hours with Brezhnev today in formal sessions,2 following several hours Sunday when we talked informally while he took me to his hunting preserve.3

2. Agreement on prevention of nuclear war is now agreed with all our points accepted.

3. The Soviets gave us a set of principles to govern the negotiations for a permanent agreement on SALT.4 This document was a response to one we had submitted earlier which in turn had been a counterdraft to an earlier Soviet version. I again made strong argument that principles alone would not advance SALT Two very far since they were bound to contain much compromise language which would later be subject to dispute. I agreed to continue working on principles but urged major effort to obtain some concrete agreement, to supplement present Interim [Page 419] Agreement, on urgent aspects of MIRV problem, as discussed in Verification Panel and approved by you.5 So far, Brezhnev has shown no inclination to proceed with concrete negotiations. As regards the principles, there are the expected differences on such points as forward-based systems and it is unlikely that a document can be agreed here during my stay. This will give us opportunity to decide whether it is desirable to have such a document on principles promulgated at the summit.

4. Soviets have also given me a new paper on the Middle East6 which does not however materially go beyond existing Arab positions. Brezhnev has several times stressed his concern that conflict may break out before, during, or shortly after his visit. He says that he can exert effective influence on Arabs only if latter see hope of a settlement. I have stressed the need to get away from abstractions and maximum positions and our readiness to play role in realistic negotiations, including our willingness to exert influence on Israelis in that case. I suggested leaving further US-Soviet exchanges until my next meeting with Ismail next week.

5. Brezhnev gave me a proposed summit communiqué which in general is a basis for an agreed text, but it will take a good deal more work to get it into acceptable language.7

6. In informal talk, Brezhnev continues to give vent to extreme suspicion of and hostility toward Chinese. This also seems to inhibit Soviet willingness to move rapidly on SALT.

7. On Tuesday,8 which will be last day of meetings here, I expect to deal with Vietnam problems and return to SALT issues. Brezhnev also wants to talk about trade relations.

8. There will be a brief communiqué at the completion of my visit and a separate announcement of the dates of Brezhnev’s US visit for separate later release, perhaps May 14.9

  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 Documents 108 and 109 for the records of the May 7 meetings.
  3. May 6. No record of these informal conversations was found.
  4. Attached to Document 108 at Tab D, not found; also attached to Document 109 at Tab A.
  5. A reference to NSDM 213, May 3, “Instructions for SALT Talks,” which followed Verification Panel meetings April 25–30. The NSDM and the minutes are scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIII, SALT II, 1972–1979.
  6. Attached to Document 108 at Tab F, not found; also attached to Document 112 at Tab A.
  7. Attached to Document 108 at Tab E, not found.
  8. May 8.
  9. Nixon responded to Kissinger in message Tohak 92, May 8, stating: “Be sure Brezhnev knows that any major hostile action by North Vietnam between now and the time of his visit would have a disastrous effect here. You are right about SALT II. But Brezhnev must be made aware of major disappointment in the summit if we come up only with general principles.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 32, HAK Trip Files, HAK Moscow, London Trip, May 4–11, 1973, TOHAK 75–139)