143. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • USSR
  • General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev
  • Foreign Minister A. A. Gromyko
  • Deputy Foreign Minister V. V. Kuznetsov
  • Mr. G. M. Kornienko, Chief, USA Division
  • Ambassador A. Dobrynin
  • Mr. A. M. Alexandrov-Agentov, Aide to CPSU General Secretary Brezhnev
  • Mr. V. M. Sukhodrev, Interpreter
  • US
  • Secretary Kissinger
  • Assistant Secretary Joseph J. Sisco
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Alfred L. Atherton
  • Director of Planning and Coordination Winston Lord
  • Mr. Helmut Sonnenfeldt, NSC Staff
  • Mr. William Hyland, NSC Staff

B: My voice situation is that my doctors keep treating me and I keep . . .

K: That’s good for my nerves.

B: In that case I shall do my best to cure my voice. I have been thinking about how we should proceed today, and I have the following suggestions to make. Yesterday in general terms you expressed your attitude in principle to points raised in our latest document.2 Now to speak in the same general terms to you as yesterday, let me say I and my colleagues have formed the impression that you regard that document as a good and constructive basis for our work and for possible agreement between us.

As I understand it, in the latest letter I have received from the President,3 he feels that if we act in the spirit of accord, in the spirit of at[Page 584]tempting to find an acceptable solution, and in the spirit of seeking to take concerted actions after the cease fire, we can find a good way out of the present situation. I want to be sure I understood the President’s message correctly. Therefore, if you have no doubts as to my having correctly understood the theme of the President’s message, I would suggest—I’m sure this goes for diplomats as for ordinary people—less words and more deeds.

I therefore suggest we begin the process of practically ironing out acceptable formulas, that is, we should immediately proceed point by point to what was stated in the document. Take point one, for instance, reach agreement on that; then we could inform President Nixon we reached agreement on that, and subsequent points under discussion are in the process of being concerted. In general, I should like to keep President Nixon informed on all steps we take here; inform him quickly as possible. I feel he would like that. I want this to be so because the President himself has reacted very promptly to all of my messages and I should like to respond in kind. If you agree, we could take up point one and endeavor to reach agreement on it. We feel this would bring us closer to adoption of a constructive decision and if such a decision is arrived at, Dr. Kissinger could take two days off and go to Leningrad before going home.

Seriously, we should proceed from the assumption that we have spent quite enough time discussing the general proposals of our talks and that, as I see it, we have reached a measure of accord on that score. Therefore, we should now turn to concrete work, and I believe we should take up the three points rather than relegating them to some kind of commission. It is better for us to bear the responsibility for decisions of such vital importance rather than to relegate the decisions to someone else. If we did that, there would be no need to meet face to face, relegating it to a committee, instead of meeting face to face across the table, and in a very good atmosphere.

And, also, I proceed from the assumption that we certainly understand and realize you have certain difficulties as regards bringing your allies and friends to accept this or that decision. I trust you will realize we too have difficulties of the same sort, and particularly since we have more states to deal with than you. You have just Israel. We have the entire Arab world. We feel we are such major states we can, as President Nixon says, we can have decisive influence on decisions and a joint decision taken by us could prevail. What President Nixon said, I certainly agree with. Getting down to specific points, perhaps we can reach agreement quite quickly for something constructive to suggest to President Nixon and to finding an end to the conflict.

[Page 585]

And, I also proceed from another assumption. That is, that I have noticed in my three years of experience conducting discussions with Dr. Kissinger that I turn out to be the man who makes all the concessions. You know that is true, that is why you are smiling. What about my position? I have to do all the crying.

I would then suggest that perhaps, Dr. Kissinger, if you agree, that you might give me the benefit of your comments on all three points of the resolution, of the document. We could then get down to concrete discussion and do away with abstractions.

K: If we do away with abstractions, we will have nothing left to say.

B: But I do think we ought . . .

K: Mr. General Secretary, you have correctly understood the letter of President Nixon, and I agree we should proceed with the attitude you described.

B: That is the only way we can act in order to get down to business.

K: I also agree we should go point by point. Could I ask one procedural question, because it is not clear from our discussion what we are attempting to do. Is it our intention to do something that, with the concurrence of the parties, we submit to the Security Council, or something simply we submit to the parties? I wasn’t fully clear yesterday what you had in mind. We are open minded.

B: While we have no pride in this respect, as I understood it yesterday, we seemed to reach an accord on a general approach. We could reach agreement on a certain proposal which we could, with the concurrence of the sides, present to the Security Council, and that would be acceptable to both sides—this is one possible method of action. If we feel it would be more expedient for our two states to bring influence to bear on the Arabs on the one hand, and Israel on the other, and induce them to move forward to a peaceful settlement, that is another possibility I would agree with equally. In that event, too, we should start now by discussing the specific points, point by point. So if you have a certain preference, I would be glad if you told me.

If we proceed from the premise that we cannot do anything at all, you cannot influence the Israelis and we cannot influence the Arabs, or proceed from the premise that we can do nothing through the Security Council in the sense of bringing about a resolution aimed at a settlement, first a cease fire and then a settlement, then the question arises why is our meeting necessary at all. Certainly I agreed to it in the sincere hope this meeting would proceed from the point towards a final acceptable solution that would serve the cause of reaching a peaceful settlement. How can we do that? By discussing the proposals. I’m not claiming the proposals are ideal or can be accepted as they stand right [Page 586] now. Certainly various amendments can be made to the proposals, but let us right now begin a calm and friendly discussion of those proposals, just as we did at San Clemente in a truly friendly spirit.

Now our conversation may present a few ideas. Some of the world’s greatest discoveries and inventions were made by the greatest scientists sort of off the cuff. Therefore, I believe in this case it is another thing we must take into account. The Security Council was convened at the initiative of the United States, and is still in session. As I now see it, if we start trying to work out a set of proposals bypassing the Security Council, that would not be the best way of acting. So I think we should endeavor not to violate the UN Charter, those provisions of the Security Council should be maintained.

We should give preference to the following method. Make an effort to elaborate proposals which could in a form that had been agreed by us be submitted to the Security Council in the hope that the Security Council will vote in favor of those proposals. I believe if we do succeed in elaborating such proposals, any point we agreed on should be mutually acceptable. Give no one a unilateral advantage, the Arabs, Israelis, the Soviet Union or the United States. They should be couched in such terms as to promote the good relations established between our countries, in such terms as would enable us to go further forward along the path we have chosen for development of our relations and the good will existing between us. And that also would be absolutely correct from our point of view for in international practice our two sides will have to take a constructive decision on these matters. If we just acted alone, we might have to face questions from various quarters and they might be so numerous that a full year would not be enough to cope with them.

K: I think we should follow the plan outlined by the General Secretary. I think we should attempt to come to some understanding here, then discuss it with the parties, and if we agree, have the possibility to exercise great influence on the parties, and then submit it to the Security Council. And, then after the cease fire, our two sides can continue exchanges on how to move towards peace, towards the final solution.

B: I have one substantial comment to make regarding this. I will be quite frank. I will not conceal. Let us endeavor to reach a constructive solution. You know as well as we do how contradictory the views and attitudes of the two sides are regarding the present situation, especially today, when there is a war on in the area. If we reach agreement here between us, and I am sure we can do that, and if we then start talking, we with the Arab world and you with the Israelis, the Israelis will confront you with so many questions as the Arabs will with us, our agreement will be worth nothing. We will not be able to act jointly in the Security Council. It will mean all we have talked about, about being able [Page 587] to influence the sides, agreeing to reach solutions, all that will hang suspended. We will lose our prestige, and they will say we were only pretending we can influence the parties, and in fact we cannot. As soon as we reach agreement, let us submit it to the Security Council. Then another matter arises, informing the sides. We can say this is what we have agreed to and are submitting to the Security Council. That is what we are going to do and you can do whatever you like. It is the only way to proceed.

K: Mr. General Secretary, I propose we try to reach agreement. We can then decide on tactics. In principle, if we reach agreement, then we should submit it soon after to the Security Council to bring about an end to the hostilities.

B: Let us indeed take that method. Let us then proceed to a point by point discussion. Let us take up all these things. We are prepared to hear you.

K: How do we do it? Let me read yours and then give you our suggestions. Would that be acceptable? First point, as I have it from your Ambassador was, “A call to the sides to immediately cease fire and all military action on the positions where the troops actually are.”

B: That’s correct.

K: Let me read the redraft I have. It is very similar to yours, only a little more precise.

B: Please. I am sharpening my knives for peaceful purposes. (Picking up a knife to eat an apple.)

K: “Calls upon all parties to the present fighting, including those who are not directly involved but have sent military units to the area of combat, to cease all fighting and terminate all military activity immediately in the positions they now occupy.” It is really only a little more precise.

B: Is that all of point one?

K: The only difference is that we just want an equal commitment from other Arab countries, that’s the only difference. Should I go on?

B: Please.

K: I’ll read your point, then our point. “Call upon parties to start immediately after the ceasefire a phased withdrawal of the Israeli troops from the occupied Arab territories to the line in accordance with Resolution 242 of the Security Council, with completion of this withdrawal in the shortest period of time.”

B: Yes, I have it before me.

K: Ours is much shorter. “Calls upon parties concerned to start immediately after the ceasefire . . .

B: Would you write it?

[Page 588]

K: It’s very short, yes, we will give it to you in writing. “Calls upon parties concerned to start immediately after ceasefire the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 in all of its parts.” I must say this—just for your information—it has not been at all discussed with Israel. In fact, they have told us that they do not accept any linkage with 242. I just wanted to tell you. We are submitting this as an indication of our willingness to proceed in the spirit the General Secretary outlined.

B: We will get a translation. I will then look into it in greater detail. It is very difficult to get all the details by ear. I trust you will give it in writing.

K: Point three. I will read yours, just as a check, then I will read our point three. “A decision to start immediately and concurrently with the ceasefire appropriate consultations aimed at establishing a just and honorable peace in the Middle East.” Just for checking.

B: Durable peace.

K: I was wondering, I have never seen the word “honorable” before . . .

B: It is durable.

K: I didn’t hear it correctly on the phone.

B: It is wrongly translated in this paper.

K: We have for point three. “Call upon parties concerned to start immediately and concurrently with a ceasefire appropriate negotiations under appropriate auspices aimed at achieving paragraph two above and aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.”

Sisco: “appropriate auspices to establish . . .”

K: “Aimed at establishing . . . aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.” And if you wanted—we don’t insist on it—what we mean by just and durable peace—“in conditions of mutual security and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area within secure and recognized borders.” We will write it out and give you a text.

B: What a hard time I have with you.

K: It is basically the words of your proposal.

B: After this discussion I am going to file an application. We have a higher diplomatic school. I’m going to take that course. It may be easier to talk to you.

K: We have never failed yet, Mr. General Secretary, in our negotiations and we won’t fail in this one.

B: That seems to be a promising prospect. I have a feeling we are going to have a nice dinner together tonight, starting off much earlier than we did yesterday, which will be a prize for us.

[Page 589]

K: I wouldn’t bet on it.

B: While we are waiting for the texts, why don’t we have some tea. It will be on a reciprocal basis. We are going to foot the bill. The Ambassador mentioned you didn’t have any money. You know when Shultz was here he gave me a dollar and countersigned it. He said it was guaranteed. I have it.

K: I need protocol money for some Colts I am getting from the General Secretary.

B: But I can lend you some money for that.

K: You have the only hard currency in this room.

B: I have such a good relationship with you I can give you money on credit. Our currency is indeed very stable. You are right about that.

K: When I came to Washington in 1969 they had a financial problem, and I attended a meeting at Treasury. I said why don’t you devalue the currency and they said it was technically impossible and morally unjust to devalue. Since then we have gone through a second and third devaluation.

B: I have one ruble, 3 rubles and 5 rubles . . . I will sign it, give you a guarantee.

Dobrynin: You know in his country 3 rubles is not so good . . . 3 dollar bill.

B: It will be a good souvenir.

K: Oh, it’s a wonderful souvenir.

B: Do you like the car you are riding in?

K: Very good.

B: It is a very sturdy car, drives easy, reminds me of your former Packard. Kind of a Russian version of your old American Packard. At the time when the Packard was new, in those days, our leaders, Stalin, Molotov, others, always drove in Packards.

That’s in addition to the 5 rubles, to help him out.

K: The Packard looks like our limousine?

B: There is a difference. It had a narrower front. This is wider. The track is wider, achieves greater stability, center of gravity . . . very smoothly. It is a strongly run car, takes a bad road well.

K: Is it easy to drive?

B: Much better than the other car we use . . . but at 120 it starts vibrating.

K: Coming to the Kremlin this morning my car started vibrating at 250.

B: A few days ago I arrived here on time and we drove 140 kilometers an hour, and I was sitting in the car as if sitting at my desk.

[Page 590]

K: I made it from the guest house this morning in 3 and a half minutes. A new world record.

B: Years ago I had to travel from where you are staying now. I had 5 minutes for an important meeting. From my porch it took me exactly 5 minutes, to drive to the Kremlin—and without prior notice—no advance notice.

K: The Secret Service won’t let me drive. I had a Mercedes.

I told the President it was unkind to make me deal with Viet Nam and Israel in one year.

B: It certainly is a very harsh treatment of one’s assistant. But he is easier on you than I am on my assistants. You remember I even broke my principal assistant’s arm. Remember, he was working so hard, he looked like a victim of World War II. But he is much better since. Let’s take a little break so we can consult.

(There was then a half-hour break during which both sides consulted and there was also some small talk about the White House Situation Room, the DobryninKissinger relationship, the presence at the meeting of Kuznetsov, Senator Fulbright and other matters.)

B: So, I would like to submit the following version for point one. “The Security Council calls upon all parties to the present fighting” and then deleting the words “including those who are not directly involved in the area of combat.” The rest stays as it is, “terminate all activity in the positions now occupied.” If we start making reference to others we would have to mention volunteers fighting in Israel. We are talking about states, not all parties to the fighting, not whatever anybody else does really to assist those fighting. In Viet Nam, when other parties were fighting, Australia for instance, we didn’t make any reference to them. A situation could arise where American volunteers were fighting on the side of Israel . . . we are not interested in referring to them. We have the Security Council calling on states, which can be understood by anybody, the Russians or the United States. Quite frankly, we don’t think what we are suggesting would be harmful to what we want to achieve, ceasing all hostilities. Surely countries like Algeria and Libya can do nothing if the warring parties bring about a cease fire. I don’t see it detrimental if we leave the text as it is and call upon all parties to cease all fighting and terminate hostilities.

K: Mr. General Secretary, I understand what you are saying. The phrase you have now now added would, in your judgment, include all countries which have units, even though not specifically mentioned.

B: Undoubtedly.

K: So we could have an understanding between us on how to interpret it.

B: We are duty bound to say this to everybody concerned.

[Page 591]

K: In that case, we accept.

B: On point two, there is in fact a matter of Russian translation. What we are suggesting actually is calling upon the parties concerned to start immediately after the cease fire to “practical” implementation of the Security Council Resolution. The English word is “implementation” only. The Russian includes “practical.” We couldn’t change the English. In Russian it would be “(Russian word).”

K: Is this one of your Kornienko specials? Mr. General Secretary, in English . . .

G: It is no problem. In Russian it is the same.

B: Since we make no mention in specific terms of troop withdrawals and this can call attention to itself, this fact, and since we refer to implementation and since the resolution speaks of withdrawals, therefore, it means withdrawal when we say “in all of its parts.”

K: If you want to say practical fullfillment, no problem. We accept this. I have to check back in Washington, but I think it will be all right.

G: It is a question of precision of translation. Your text is not affected.

K: No problem. Your text stands as it is.

B: Then we can consider that to have been agreed.

K: Yes.

B: Point three. We have a suggestion to make. Since we have point one which begins “The Security Council call upon” and point two which begins “calls upon,” we suggest point three begins “decides to . . .,” “decides to start immediately and concurrently.”

D: Henry, to start, “decides to start immediately and concurrently.” It goes on to say, including the optional part, until the words “every state in the area.” One word is out, where it says “appropriate negotiations” the word “appropriate” is deleted.

B: I will read now, point three. “Decides to start immediately and concurrently with the cease fire, negotiations under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East in conditions of mutual security and respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area.” The last words are covered by the resolution.

K: Anatoliy, when you get through with me, I won’t know whether we are talking about European security or what. I understand Mr. General Secretary. One point of verification, and I would like to take a 5-minute break, because practically we are approaching each other very closely. I think even I cannot prevent agreement any more.

B: Why don’t we try to help one another for a change. That’s what I want to do.

[Page 592]

K: That’s what I want to do, too. When you say “decides to start negotiations,” who’s going to conduct negotiations?

B: Let me elucidate. What we want here “to start meeting concurrently with the cease fire under appropriate auspices,” is calling on those who have to cease firing, because I don’t think we should write, in addressing the Security Council, that these negotiations should be under your and our auspices. But you and I here will agree that negotiations will be conducted under our joint auspices, and prior to adoption of this resolution you will in confidence tell the Israelis and we the Arabs that negotiations will be conducted under our auspices, and we will naturally be loyal to the word each of us gives the other. If you could agree to that, we will proceed although this would not be an easy thing to achieve.

K: Not easy for us to achieve. It is difficult for both of us.

B: But we will achieve security for all parties concerned, including Israel. We certainly favor that, bringing about security for other parties concerned and letting them live there in peace. And, our auspices will be there. Whenever details required something, they could be subject to future discussions between us.

K: Let me consult my colleagues.

B: This is something that we could initial and inform the President, President Nixon accordingly so that this could be submitted immediately to the Security Council.

K: Let us agree on the text and then agree to procedures.

B: This could then be submitted today to the Security Council.

K: Let us talk about it for a few minutes and then discuss choices. We want something that will lead to an efficacious solution. I will tell you my frank opinion after . . . You are suggesting a US-Soviet joint resolution.

B: Yes.

(There was a 15 minute break for consultations.)

G: In the statement we should state such and such a time for the cease fire.

K: That will complicate it even more. Let us give suggestions for point three. We suggest to say this: where it says “decides immediately and concurrently with the cease fire, negotiations under appropriate auspices,” we want to say negotiations “between the parties” under appropriate auspices. And with respect to the conclusion, there is one of two possibilities which are up to you. Either we say “within secure and recognized borders” and add “free from threats or acts of force” which is the actual 242 language, or stop the whole thing after the words “Middle East.” Those are two suggestions we have. Then if we can come to agreement, we will have to make some decisions on proce[Page 593]dures so we can actually bring about what we decide. This is a quote from the Resolution.

G: There is no need to repeat it.

K: Well, then the resolution will stop at “Middle East.”

B: If we add the words “negotiations between the parties,” let’s look at it from the point of view of realism. The Arabs and Israelis will not be in agreement beginning negotiations between themselves. That is one side of the problem. The second is when we say “under appropriate auspices,” you and we agree that these will be our auspices and I believe both the Israelis and Arabs will be pleased that we the great powers will be acting to promote a settlement.

K: Not Israel. Not Israel, believe me. In fact, I wonder whether we should do what the General Secretary said about saying ahead of time how we interpret “auspices.” We have no difficulty agreeing between ourselves. But if we want a resolution tonight, it will create additional difficulty.

B: Then we agree not to say anything beforehand.

K: I think it is better.

B: I agree. Say nothing before the resolution, I agree to say nothing before the resolution is adopted. We then have a private agreement that as soon as an agreement is adopted, we announce it to our respective friends.

K: Let us agree when we tell it to them. I frankly think we should let a few days go by until we get things calmed down.

B: We agree. OK. Let it be three or four days after the resolution is adopted.

K: No problem.

B: Then, there’s another matter we should foresee and discuss. Let’s say the Security Council is in session, and this resolution is submitted, and the resolution refers to negotiations “under appropriate auspices,” and since the Security Council is not just we and you but other members, permanent and non-permanent, the question might arise immediately what are those auspices? What do our representatives reply to questions like that?

K: We will decide that afterwards. But first, to be quite honest, Mr. General Secretary, the question is how much time do we want to spend on this. If you want to mention 242 in paragraph 2 which the Israelis violently object to, we have to mention “between the parties” or something like it. Maybe Kornienko can come up with a better phrase, something that can be pointed to as a process of negotiation.

Dobrynin to Brezhnev: “parties concerned,” he is trying to make it more explicit.

[Page 594]

B: Since point one and two are calling upon the parties concerned, the parties actually fighting in the area, when we turn to point three and say immediately and concurrently, the cease fire relates directly to the Arabs and Israeli . . .

K: Point two is clear . . . by implication since we refer to cease fire earlier in our reference to those combatants. It stands to reason that the negotiations are to be conducted also by them. If we pinpoint it, to say that there are to be negotiations between the parties, that might cause a lot of queries in the Security Council. By implication it is clear. We also refer to “appropriate auspices,” and this is to be we and you; with our auspices therefore, they get together and talk.

(There was a brief break while Brezhnev and Gromyko conferred.)

B: One other point we would like to suggest which may even have been overlooked or perhaps even objected to at the outset. Let me suggest “Decides to start immediately and concurrently with the cease fire negotiations between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices” and all the way down to the words “in the Middle East.”

K: Let me take two minutes with my colleagues. Really, it will take only five minutes.

(There was another brief break.)

K: We agree. We just want to change the English, but the translation won’t take us 30 seconds.

G: Same situation here.

K: I knew Dobrynin would take over today. He’s already running our government.

B: I am all ears.

K: Mr. General Secretary, we agree to this, and we just suggest a change in English which does not affect the Russian; “decides that immediately and concurrently to the cease fire negotiations start between the parties concerned.”

D: It doesn’t change it.

K: It doesn’t change the Russian. Otherwise the English sounds wrong.

B: Can we shake hands?

K: Yes, but we have another practical thing we have to discuss. (They shake hands.)

B: I think we have done a very good thing today, and I think you and I have been true to the hopes vested in us by the President. I need about 20 minutes to talk with my colleagues. I am sure they will agree. I don’t know what the Arabs will do to us about this. Possibly they will declare war on us.

[Page 595]

One request we make of the President and yourselves, and that is to submit this resolution today, and to do our utmost to insure its adoption today. That is one. And two, we must agree on some kind of timing for implementation of the cease fire. It should be mentioned in the resolution—5 hours, or 3 hours, or immediately. We must agree on some kind of timing. The best thing we feel would be to name a certain hour, so that we avoid any differences in this [Omission in the original].

K: How about 24 hours after adoption of the resolution?

B: That’s a whole day.

K: In the Viet Nam case we gave 72 hours. It takes that long to get orders out.

B: But the situation here is different, and otherwise they will continue fighting throughout the day and night, and kill thousands more of their people. I am not making any comparisons of losses on either side, losses on the Israeli and on the Arab side. Going on fighting for another day or night could kill thousands more.

K: I am just wondering about a practical matter Mr. General Secretary. If it is voted tonight, then as a practical matter it has to be communicated to the nations concerned and they have to take decisions. If you say “immediately,” then they are already in violation of the resolution the minute it is passed. If it is 24 hours this would give them a realistic deadline.

B: OK, let’s give them 12 hours after the adoption of the resolution. There shouldn’t be any communication problem.

K: We have right now a practical problem. The Israelis I know will demand a release of prisoners as a condition of the cease fire. They have already said so publicly.

B: But there are prisoners of war on both sides. There should be an exchange. We are certainly in favor of both sides releasing every prisoner on both sides, right down to the line. We will certainly bring all our influence to bear to bring that about.

K: This will be a very big help.

B: I will back this with the entire prestige of our country, government and all. On a reciprocal basis, of course, and we could not make it part of the resolution.

K: No, no, we can’t. Another practical matter. Let us aim for a Security Council meeting at 10:00 tonight New York time.

G: In Moscow would be 5:00.

K: I must get back to the Guest House. I have to communicate to the President. I have to inform the governments, draft instructions for Scali. I wanted to ask permission—if we want to move fast, we would [Page 596] like to talk to the British, French and Australian ambassadors here. This will guarantee it will go fast through the Security Council.4

B: We surely appreciate the need for you to get in touch with the President. But I am in general guided by what the President said in his letter. Whatever we agree will be . . .

K: Mr. General Secretary, he will agree. I won’t play games with you. The President will accept it, but he has to know it and understand it, and it will take me an hour to write a memo to the President. I have to write also instructions to Scali and to our bureaucracy. I will be busy for two hours, and it will take about 2 hours to transmit all of this to Washington and get it into the President’s hands. 12 hours—we will never make it. Even with this, it is now 3:30. We will be back at the Guest House at 4:00. 5:00 a.m. Moscow time is in 13 hours. If the British and French and Australians don’t know what’s happening, it’s going to waste more time. I have to write a message. We need two hours to get the message out. Another two hours. Then they have to get their instructions in New York. We can say 9:00 New York time, 4:00 a.m. Moscow time.

B: The President of the Security Council can always delay a little bit.

K: When we ask for a Security Council meeting we have to agree among ourselves.

B: The request we feel should be handed in to the Security Council immediately.

K: No. Excuse me Mr. General Secretary, my suggestion is to do it at 4:00 p.m. New York time, which is going to be tight. And, to ask for a 9:00 meeting.

K: At 1:00 a.m. Moscow time, 6:00 p.m. New York time. Malik and Scali jointly ask for a Security Council meeting. They could say they want it immediately with the understanding it take place in three hours. (There was further discussion about the time.)

G: I myself have had the experience of calling a meeting of the Security Council, and what it takes is really 30 minutes to get it together.

K: Mr. Foreign Minister . . .

G: Once a proposal has been made it takes no more than one hour.

K: Let me explain. We will not be ready, practically to have everybody ready and informed. Based on our bureaucracy, what has to be [Page 597] done in Washington, it is Sunday. There is a danger of moving too fast. A lot of governments are going to start the wheels rolling . . . we don’t want them to go into the Security Council with opinions already formed.

G: Three hours between application and the meeting?

B: Good, at 4:00 a.m. Moscow time.

K: If you want my basic opinion . . . not worried about it, 9–10, we ask for the meeting.

B: We agree. The meetings start at 4:00 a.m. Moscow time. But the basic resolution, what amount of time do we give for implementation of the resolution?

K: Should we put this in the text? May I make another suggestion, just to speed things up? I think the most important thing I can now do is to communicate with the President, but I think later this afternoon, if you agree, I should meet with the Foreign Minister or Vice Foreign Minister so that we can work out parallel instructions for Malik and Scali so that they know how to cooperate. One other thing. When asked about under whose auspices, we should say the US and Soviet Union are prepared to offer good offices to these parties.

B: Where would that be done?

K: Malik and Scali can say that at the Security Council.

B: I agree, but I suggest here between us that we reach specific wording. When we say “auspices” it means the Soviet Union and the United States will act.

K: Yes, and the President already said this in this letter to you, more or less.

B: When will we say this to the combatants?

K: Afterwards. We have to understand what we mean by “auspices.” No one can stop two great powers from discussions. So this is what we are free to do.

B: If we say “auspices,” it means we should be parties in the negotiations, not just postmen. If we say “auspices” it means that a representative from your side and from our side takes part in whatever negotiations are held.

K: When it was first proposed to us we were told it meant that if the parties agreed. Now let me say on behalf of the President, he has decided to play an active role in cooperation with you in bringing about that settlement. But whether that means we sit actually in the conference rooms, or influence it from the outside, if we try to settle that tonight, there will be unnecessary delay. But as a practical matter, we are prepared to make a very major effort.

B: I think perhaps we are reducing to zero all we have agreed. There can be no talks between the sides without auspices.

[Page 598]

K: We are prepared to do it.

B: Otherwise Qadaffi5 or somebody might start something, then where would we be. At this point, especially at the beginning of negotiations, there must be the presence of representatives of our two sides.

K: We are prepared to do it and prepared to recommend it. The only question is that tonight I don’t think we could get it accepted.

B: I would say suggest that, although there can be no 100% certainty. I would be prepared to assume responsibility for this to be carried out in the way we see it. We should take part in at least the early parts of whatever negotiations are held. We will not sit there throughout. We will be there and consult with one another.

K: We will strongly impress on Israel that we want to take part in the key moments of negotiations. We do not think we should try to obtain that particular agreement tonight.

B: It is not a matter of obtaining agreement tonight. What we have to do first and foremost is to obtain Security Council resolution today. We must have an understanding what we mean by “auspices” not merely consultations among ourselves. It means we are assuming obligation, the burden if you like, of telling the Israelis and Arabs our understanding of the word “auspices.”

K: Let me sum up so we are very sure. Our understanding of “auspices” is that at the opening of negotiations and at some critical moments the U.S. and Soviet Union will be participants in the process of negotiations.

B: We will participate.

K: Right, not at every session, but at key points. This is our understanding. The actual implementation we will have to work out afterwards, because we cannot get it accepted tonight.

B: In short, the US and the Soviet Union are active participants in the negotiations.

K: Not in every detail, but in the opening phase and at critical points throughout.

B: Perhaps we could formulate it in this way. The Soviet Union and the United States are active participants in the negotiations which shall be conducted under their auspices. Details of what particular moments will be worked out in the process of the actual negotiations, but also with a view to not letting the process of negotiations slip out of our hands.

K: I must tell you honestly the Israelis will violently object to Soviet participation.

[Page 599]

B: Then, other side might object to American participation.

K: Therefore, for us to guarantee 100% would be unrealistic, but we will use our maximum influence. That I can honestly promise. We have no interest in a relationship with you, Mr. General Secretary, in which we break an understanding with you.

B: But that is something which I would like to have laid down as an understanding jointly reached, on our interpretation of the meaning of the word “auspices.”

K: What I have written out is that the negotiations will be conducted under our auspices and we will participate in them at crucial moments.

B: In other words in the solution of all the key issues.

K: Yes.

B: In the interests of achieving a durable and reliable peace in the area.

K: Right. But it must be brought about after the cease fire. We cannot do that tonight.

B: I agree. First implement the first part, i.e., the draft resolution to be submitted to the Security Council.

K: Our understanding is what we have given to you. I will write it out to make sure we understand exactly what is given to you. I don’t want to be impolite, but the most useful thing I can do in the time frame we have is to get in touch with the President. The understanding is exactly what I have given you.

B: Right. Then you can get with Gromyko.

K: If we can meet three or four hours after we have sent out our messages. One other technical thing. Could our people set up open telephone lines between me and Scali?

B: Yes.

K: During the Security Council meeting tonight, we will get our people to work together.

B: I will give instructions right away. (He gets up and makes a phone call.)

K: After we have made the announcement, Malik and Scali have to work together. You and I, Mr. Foreign Minister, should draft their instructions.

B: Do you want the telephone from your residence?

K: Right.

B: By the time you get back to the residence, I promise to have something ready for you.

K: We should also have agreement that neither Malik nor Scali will accept amendments except by mutual agreement.

[Page 600]

B: Absolutely, and we consider that we have reached agreement.

K: I technically have to ask the President’s approval.

B: I am very sincere. I am not saying goodbye.

K: The President could overrule me. It could happen, but I tell you as a friend, it won’t happen.

(There was a brief discussion of a possible preamble. Gromyko pointed out this would take time and suggested simply leading in with “The Security Council.” The Secretary agreed.)6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 76, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Kissinger Trip to Moscow, Tel Aviv, & London, October 20–22, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in Brezhnev’s office in the Kremlin.
  2. See Document 142 and footnote 5 thereto.
  3. On October 18, Nixon replied to Brezhnev’s earlier message. He acknowledged Brezhnev’s proposals, called for continued discussions between the two countries about the situation in the Middle East, and asserted that détente would fail unless peace was brought to the Middle East. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 204.
  4. At 6:30 p.m., Kissinger met with the British, French, and Australian Ambassadors to the Soviet Union and informed them that the United States and the USSR had agreed on the text of a resolution that would be introduced in the Security Council at 9 p.m., New York time. (Memorandum of conversation, October 21; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 76, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Kissinger Tripto Moscow, Tel Aviv & London, October 20–22, 1973)
  5. Colonel Mu’ammar Qadhafi, Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Libya.
  6. The resolution was introduced in the Security Council and adopted in the early morning hours of October 22 as Resolution 338. For a summary of the proceedings in the Security Council, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1973, pp. 196–198. The text of the resolution is ibid., p. 213. Kissinger’s report to the President on this meeting was transmitted in message Hakto 9 to Scowcroft, October 21, 1530Z. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXV, Arab-Israeli Crisis and War, 1973, Document 222.