166. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee
  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Member of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Andrei M. Aleksandrov, Assistant to the General Secretary
  • Georgi M. Korniyenko, Member of the Collegium of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief, USA Department
  • Mikhail D. Sytenko, Member of the Collegium of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief, Near East Department
  • Andrei Vavilov, USA Department
  • Oleg Sokolov, USA Department
  • Viktor Sukhodrev, USA Department (Interpreter)
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the USSR
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor of the Department
  • Arthur A. Hartman, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
  • Carlyle E. Maw, Legal Advisor, State Department
  • Alfred L. Atherton, Jr., Assistant Secretary-Designate for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs
  • William G. Hyland, Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, State Department
  • Jan M. Lodal, Senior Staff Member, NSC
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • SALT; Other Arms Control; CSCE

General Secretary Brezhnev: I received a group of Japanese economists and businessmen here today.

How are your children?2

Secretary Kissinger: They are getting on beautifully. And we appreciate very much the arrangements you have made.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: I interviewed them today. Before they go I will tell them who you really are.

[Page 716]

Secretary Kissinger: The arrangements were not only technically very correct but humanly too.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I had a say in that, I will tell you. The journalists, too, have a program.

Secretary Kissinger: I saw their reports this morning; they were really quite good. It was a good idea [for you] to see them for a few minutes. Their reports were very favorable.

General Secretary Brezhnev: The world press has been writing about these meetings. They are all warning me to be careful.

Secretary Kissinger: Warning you? They are accusing me of wanting relations with you so much I will give away anything. It is mostly from members of the peace movement on the Vietnam war who have now switched sides. In America.


General Secretary Brezhnev: I trust you have solved everything during lunch?

Secretary Kissinger: No. Let me explain our difficulties, and let me explain how it will present itself in the United States. You will remember from my public testimony when Senator Jackson attacked the first agreement, we defended it on the grounds that MIRV made up for the imbalance in numbers in the first phase. If we now extend that agreement, and add to it a provision of 1,000 MIRVed missiles, there will be two criticisms made, at least: One, that the numerical advantage now will become effective because of the number of warheads. Second, because the Soviet Union has more MIRVs on each launcher than we do, you will have a numerical advantage not only in the number of missiles but in the number of warheads. Thirdly, because the Soviet warheads are heavier than ours, it means the land-based force of the Soviet Union will be able to acquire a first-strike capability against ours. And therefore if there is not some ceiling on land-based missiles that takes account of the different numbers of warheads on each of these missiles, the position will become very complicated. In addition, we have the problem that at the level of 1,000, we would have to stop deploying MIRVs soon, while you would be starting yours. We would have no way of knowing if you are stopping. You will reach 1,000 at the very end of this process. So if you put, say, 500–800 on your land-based missiles—I give you the arguments quite honestly as they will be put to us—and if our calculation is correct that you have six on each, you would have 3,000–5,000 warheads, and you would be able to destroy our Minuteman.

I don’t want to give you ideas, but these are the arguments that will be made. I just wanted to give you the reasoning of our people.

[Page 717]

General Secretary Brezhnev: I want to be absolutely clear in my mind where we stand. In connection with the figure you mentioned, 1,100, how many land-based missiles would we be entitled to MIRV, and how many on submarines?

Secretary Kissinger: We would propose, on that calculation, a ratio of about 5:3 land-based missiles, and we would therefore propose 500 land-based missiles for ourselves. This would give you slightly more warheads than we.

Ambassador Dobrynin: Eight hundred for submarines. [Kissinger nods yes.]

Foreign Minister Gromyko: And you 600.

Ambassador Dobrynin: You are more generous for us!

Secretary Kissinger: It would give equality in warheads. You about 1,800 to our 1,500 warheads on land-based missiles.

[They confer.]

When I first met your Ambassador, he didn’t know what a missile was. Now he participates very actively. [Laughter]

General Secretary Brezhnev: If I agree to this, this will be my last meeting with Dr. Kissinger, because I will be destroyed.

Secretary Kissinger: My problem is that exactly the opposite is true if I agree to this [points to Soviet proposal].

[Both sides confer. Brezhnev winds his mariner’s clock, and it chimes for 6 o’clock. It is 6:03.]

General Secretary Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, this is an interesting watch. [He shows a French-made watch which shows the whole mechanism. He points again to the cigarette-holder with the six cartridge-like holders.]

It is like the American MIRV. Looks like six but you say three.

On your submarines, you have 12.

Secretary Kissinger: Ten.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Twelve! I will prove you have 12.

You say we have six whereas in actual fact we don’t. So if we look at this officially, we are entitled to ask you for an advance. I didn’t want to introduce this element into this, so we should count in good faith.

Secretary Kissinger: No, I will tell you our numbers. So Dobrynin’s generals won’t have so much work to do—so they can concentrate on Congress and help us with the Trade Bill. We had one test with 12 for submarines, but the warheads were so small we couldn’t see them. So we are deploying them with ten. It doesn’t make any difference. But on what is deployed, we have ten.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We have not even started even the work to deploy ten or 12. That is the crux of the matter. I for one want to [Page 718] say this to you in a sense of responsibility. If we were talking about destroying these weapons on one side or the other, it would be a different matter. But that is impossible because you have done so much work to launch these, including submarine-launched missiles. So we should look for a more acceptable solution. So in order to remove the arguments of Jackson, if he represents the American public opinion, to eliminate their arguments we could try to find some other common ground, but not on this basis.

I mean, our last agreement was not a fortuitous agreement. We had precise figures; you and President Nixon had accurate data. No attempt was made to conceal the fact that you were ahead of us in MIRVs. Then suddenly we see this complete turnabout, which puts us in such a position of unequality. I wouldn’t like to use inaccurate figures.

Secretary Kissinger: Which figures are inaccurate, Mr. General Secretary?

General Secretary Brezhnev: You don’t have three.

Secretary Kissinger: Three on Minuteman.

General Secretary Brezhnev: And 12.

Secretary Kissinger: Ten.

General Secretary Brezhnev: But we don’t have any. We still have so much thinking to do on them, and you will know when we have ten. We will have to admit it ourselves. But that is nothing but pie in the sky. Let’s try to speak in more realistic terms. Maybe we should try to find another figure for a ceiling. But for us to have only 300 while you have 500 is something else. If you have ten MIRVs on one type, you can have the same number of other types as well. And you have already mastered the technology and we have not.

Secretary Kissinger: But you would have 1,100 single warheads.

General Secretary Brezhnev: MIRVs are something else again.

Secretary Kissinger: But if you add them up, you would have 1,100 and we would have 500.

Let me establish one principle. If we have any agreement on MIRV, there has to be a ceiling on land-based missiles. We don’t have to agree now what the ceiling is.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: MIRVed.

Secretary Kissinger: MIRVed. I am not now talking about what the number is.

[They confer.]

I will tell you why. Because if you don’t have a ceiling, we won’t really have a meaningful agreement. Let me explain our reasoning. There is no way you can inspect the MIRVs on a submarine. So after [Page 719] you test your submarine MIRV, for our calculation we have to take all the submarines that can take that missile as having MIRV. The same is true for us.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But that requirement is adequately met by establishing a total ceiling. Only a total.

Secretary Kissinger: No, because for the first few years you could build an increasing number.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But it would be a total ceiling, with the ratio between land-based and sea-based determined by the countries themselves. The only problem will be to find the number.

Secretary Kissinger: You will probably be deploying within a year. That is our estimate.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: It is certainly to your advantage we can’t deploy it all at once.

Secretary Kissinger: Our problem is, if you deploy 1,000, you can keep going during the period of the agreement, and then put everything in sea-based.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: That would be completed during the period of the agreement. You have already deployed.

Secretary Kissinger: But what will we do without an agreement?

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Without an agreement there is no ceiling, and you can do an unlimited number.

Secretary Kissinger: That is exactly the point. Without an agreement you could put everything into land-based missiles, and we would never know.

We can build 1,000 Minuteman, MIRVed, if we want. There are 500 Minutemen which, under our agreement, we are prepared to MIRV.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: How can you say we want unlimited numbers when we have a ceiling? When you say we can’t deploy in the first year, it is in your advantage.

Secretary Kissinger: Never in the past have you deployed more than 250 missiles in a year. So during the period of this agreement, you could deploy 1,000 MIRVed missiles, each very much larger than ours. During that same period we would deploy very few under the agreement, because we have already deployed close to 1,000. So for the five-year period, it is, practically, a means for you to catch up. I am just telling you the arguments we will be faced with. And each of your warheads is larger than ours.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But surely there is a contradiction. You say you are nearing the end of your deployment, and that we are only trying to catch up and we will catch up by the end. But the situation will change and we will have to revise the agreement anyway.

[Page 720]

Secretary Kissinger: By the end of the period you will have the possibility to destroy our Minuteman.

General Secretary Brezhnev: In short, then it appears there are versions that are good for you, but as soon as we fall behind you want us to stay behind. We won’t endorse unequal security conditions.

Secretary Kissinger: Our military says we accepted unequal conditions in the first SALT agreement.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: As the General Secretary said, not only you but we have military men.

Secretary Kissinger: But you have 1,400 and we have 1,000 ICBMs, and we have 48 and you have 62 submarines.

I am not contesting that agreement.

We are now debating whether we want a rate of deploying MIRV missiles . . . By any theory, you will deploy more MIRVed missiles than we did.

We will face the present difficulty.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But we never accepted the view of Jackson, that the previous agreement was unequal.

Secretary Kissinger: There is no way you could possibly deploy more than 1,000 in five years.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But you can’t say there is no limit; the limit is set by the total ceiling.

Secretary Kissinger: Suppose you dig 500 holes in the first year.

Ambassador Dobrynin: We can’t do that under the agreement.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: If you say it might take three years to get an agreement; Dobrynin can know what goes on. He gets what he needs.

Secretary Kissinger: But we don’t meet as many of our Congressmen as he does.

Let me do some calculations. First, there must be some ceiling on land-based missiles. Leave aside the figure. But within that, what is your idea of the relationship of the various missiles? Do you have an unlimited right to put MIRVs on land-based missiles?

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Each side would be able to choose the types of missiles it wants to save.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t have a heavy rocket.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But you use the advantages you have—factual advantages—and your program is almost complete.

[Both sides confer.]

General Secretary Brezhnev: Should we perhaps pass over to something else?

[Page 721]

Secretary Kissinger: All right. Let me—how should we therefore leave this? Just for our consideration. Should we talk about it again here, or should we leave it until the Foreign Minister comes to Washington?

General Secretary Brezhnev: I think we could take it up again while you are here.

Secretary Kissinger: All right. Our concern is to have some ceiling on land-based missiles and some ceiling on the heaviest missiles.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: MIRVed.

Secretary Kissinger: MIRVed. We are talking about MIRVed, yes.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Whenever a question is too challenging or difficult, the best thing is to put it in your briefcase and sleep on it. Then you will ask yourself what the fuss was about.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

General Secretary Brezhnev: So maybe we should discuss another question relating to this military sphere.

Secretary Kissinger: We could discuss MBFR—or did you mean the things the General Secretary mentioned this morning?3

General Secretary Brezhnev: This morning: Tridents, B–1, withdrawal of nuclear weapons from the Mediterranean, the ban on underground testing—all of these are important issues.

Secretary Kissinger: Of these issues, I am quite confident we can agree on the ABM proposal. No second ABM. I am quite sure we can agree to that.

General Secretary Brezhnev: It is quite useless work anyway.

Secretary Kissinger: On B–1, I don’t think we could stop work on it. But we could agree not to deploy it to operational units during the period of this agreement. And freeze the number of heavy bombers during the period of the agreement.

General Secretary Brezhnev: What about Trident submarines?

Secretary Kissinger: With respect to Trident submarines, I believe we would have to do it in terms of what the General Secretary said—that is, if the agreement is extended, we would have to deploy three of those submarines.

General Secretary Brezhnev: During the period of the agreement?

Secretary Kissinger: In the last year of the agreement.

General Secretary Brezhnev: In 1980.

Secretary Kissinger: In 1978. One in 1978, and the others in 1979. That is a delay; that is lower than otherwise . . .

[Page 722]

General Secretary Brezhnev: So that would mean approximately an additional 75 MIRVed missiles.

Secretary Kissinger: Seventy-two.

Mr. Korniyenko: But instead of other submarines. Because if the agreement is prolonged, the figures will be kept.

Secretary Kissinger: But—we can discuss it—the agreement is basically for 44 submarines. We have an understanding that we will build only 41 during the period of the agreement, which is in a letter from the President.

General Secretary Brezhnev: True. But then we should be entitled to build new ones too.

Secretary Kissinger: New types or numbers?

General Secretary Brezhnev: Because Trident is a new type.

Secretary Kissinger: Within the 62 you can build new types.

General Secretary Brezhnev: But that surely is a departure from the agreement already entered into, and that again would mean prejudicing the basic principle of balance. Merely because of what somebody from the Pentagon tells you. We are being told things too.

Basically, we are building types of submarines you are familiar with, not building anything new. You are talking about having Trident, a product in hand, but wouldn’t build them in the period of the agreement. But you would afterward.

Secretary Kissinger: No, we said we wouldn’t have any of them operational or on sea trials during the period of the agreement.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Will not be commissioned.

Secretary Kissinger: That is correct. That is no disagreement. Our definition of “commissioned,” which we all agreed to, with respect to when weapons have to be destroyed, is when a boat is put into the ocean. And we won’t have any Tridents during the life of the Interim Agreement.

Ambassador Stoessel: They will be ready.

Secretary Kissinger: They will be ready, but they won’t be tested during the life of the agreement. And then it takes six months of trials. Jan?

Mr. Lodal: More like a year. Thirteen months. They are launched, then after four months, there are 13 months for sea trials.

Secretary Kissinger: So 17 months?

Mr. Lodal: More like 16 or 17 months.

Secretary Kissinger: That is our program; it could be speeded up, I suppose.

[Secretary Kissinger looks over the schedule of Trident deployments and confers with Sonnenfeldt and Lodal.]

[Page 723]

No, it is thirteen months. This is the schedule of Trident.

They are criticizing me for giving away too much.

General Secretary Brezhnev: There are no secrets.

Secretary Kissinger: Our only protection is, so much is known that no one can tell the difference between what is true and what isn’t.

General Secretary Brezhnev: On ABM, as I see it, we can reach agreement.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

General Secretary Brezhnev: What about the ending of underground nuclear tests, by way of a joint statement or agreement?

Secretary Kissinger: As I told your Ambassador, it is very difficult for us. But your idea today—that the end be put in some future period—is something new, which I hadn’t heard.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: January 1, 1976.

Secretary Kissinger: So we would like to consider this a little further.

General Secretary Brezhnev: You are welcome.

There is another question, which I omitted to mention this morning, that is, an agreement banning activity modifying the environment for military purposes, detrimental to the well-being and health. That seems to us a very humane field of endeavor, which would benefit mankind.

Secretary Kissinger: I told your Ambassador we actually have a study on this, which it will take some weeks to complete.4 Maybe we will get some ideas while I am here.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Well, we could try and set out our views on this matter.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes.

General Secretary Brezhnev: There is also the question I did mention this morning, the withdrawal of American and Soviet atomic submarines carrying nuclear missiles and aircraft carriers carrying nuclear weapons from the Mediterranean—in short, all nuclear weapons.

Secretary Kissinger: That I believe would be more difficult.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Why?

Secretary Kissinger: Because our aircraft carriers are there not only in connection with our relationship but also in connection with our relationships in the Mediterranean.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Since we both agreed to be very frank in our dealings with each other, let me say I don’t find that argument at [Page 724] all convincing. I mean, for instance, what would you say if we introduced atomic weapons into all socialist countries and said it had nothing to do with our relations but came from our relationships with socialist countries and that is that?

Secretary Kissinger: But our impression is you do have nuclear weapons in socialist countries.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We have no atomic weapons anywhere and don’t give atomic weapons to anyone.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t give them to anyone but these aircraft carriers are related to the situation in the Middle East.

General Secretary Brezhnev: That would be tantamount to our giving surface-to-surface missiles to Egypt and Syria and saying . . .

Secretary Kissinger: That is different, Mr. General Secretary. Aircraft carriers are under American control.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Egypt and Syria would be only too happy to have surface-to-surface missiles.

Secretary Kissinger: The Egyptians told us you gave them surface-to-surface missiles. And Arabs never tell an untruth.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Sadat was offended at us for not allowing him to fire surface-to-surface missiles even without nuclear warheads.

Secretary Kissinger: One [was fired] on the last day of the war.

General Secretary Brezhnev: They were under our control the whole time.

Secretary Kissinger: We thought it was a very constructive move. But we haven’t given surface-to-surface missiles to the Israelis.

General Secretary Brezhnev: That may be true, but I am talking about the situation as it stands. Incidentally, Egypt tells you one thing and us another.

Secretary Kissinger: I find it hard to believe Arabs wouldn’t tell you the exact truth. [Brezhnev and Gromyko smile; Kissinger laughs.]

General Secretary Brezhnev: I think my smile says enough.

Secretary Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, I am sure some countries in the Middle East are telling you one thing and us another, and would like nothing better than to have us quarrel because of them. Relationships in that area are even more temporary than elsewhere. So we have no illusions.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We have some information that Libya is about to unite with America. Or Libya wants America to join it, under the aegis of Qaddafi.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: But you can’t have two Presidents!

[Page 725]

Secretary Kissinger: That is why I thought they would unite with Saudi Arabia. But it is an interesting idea. Soon they will have more dollars than we do.

Ambassador Dobrynin: It is true.

General Secretary Brezhnev: It would certainly look good if you and we could agree to withdraw nuclear weapons from the Mediterranean. Surely that would be welcomed throughout the world. We would thereby certainly show the world’s public that we are earnest and serious partners. For after all, what reason is there for us or you to swim in that basin? And surely all of the countries of that region would welcome that agreement.

Well, I don’t want to believe that question is over and done with, because I know Dr. Kissinger so well that I am sure he will think it over and come up with something tomorrow.

Secretary Kissinger: Maybe not tomorrow.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Maybe after lunch. Taking account of an eight-hour difference in time, it will be the day after tomorrow.

One other question I didn’t list: a possible agreement to ban chemical weapons.

Secretary Kissinger: To ban the use of chemical weapons, or production?

General Secretary Brezhnev: Both production and use. Now you see the kind of important documents we can sign by the time of the meeting.

Secretary Kissinger: Ban the use—that we can almost certainly do. I want to be specific. Banning the use will be no problem; I mean it can be done. On banning production, the argument will be made that there is no way to inspect it. Our production is not very great.

Ambassador Dobrynin: Some chemical weapons are lethal.

Secretary Kissinger: You propose the end of production of lethal ones?

Ambassador Dobrynin: Yes.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Up to now, you and the British and the French have been in favor only of a partial ban on the use, not on production. So no forward progress has been made. What we are suggesting is that you and we enter into an arrangement that can be the basis of an international arrangement. Because it can be solved only on an international basis.

Secretary Kissinger: What is the exact attribute?

Ambassador Dobrynin: The most lethal.

Secretary Kissinger: Less lethal are okay?

[Page 726]

Ambassador Dobrynin: All chemical lethal. Others would be continued to discuss [sic].

Secretary Kissinger: All chemical lethal, a ban on use and production.

Ambassador Dobrynin: Yes.

Secretary Kissinger: Any chemical if used in sufficient quantities can be lethal. Because we have one chemical that prevents you from counting down. You can only count up. So no rocket ever gets fired.

We will study your proposal very seriously.

General Secretary Brezhnev: You remember this question was mentioned in the communiqué.5

Secretary Kissinger: Very well.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Of both the Moscow and Washington visits,6 and both sides said they would do their utmost to bring about an international agreement banning the use of chemical warfare. We inscribed it in two joint documents but they are not going anywhere. The time has come to give the whole matter new impetus. Surely a solution to this question, or a joint statement on our part, would give impetus to détente, and would remove a danger.

Secretary Kissinger: We will examine it with the attitude of coming to agreement.

General Secretary Brezhnev: As a minimum, we could probably at least agree to a phased banning of that weapon.

Secretary Kissinger: What do you have in mind specifically?

General Secretary Brezhnev: Phase it out in terms of time, saying that by such and such a year it will be prohibited and removed from the arsenals of states.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: At Geneva your representatives were in favor of leaving in the hands of states some types, because they said you needed some, like tear gas.7

Secretary Kissinger: But that doesn’t apply here, because we are talking about lethal.

Ambassador Dobrynin: As the first stage.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: It would be the first step.

[Page 727]

Secretary Kissinger: You mean first lethal, then non-lethal—not that in five years lethal would be phased out.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Something in the communiqué could be said along these lines.8 [To Sukhodrev:] Read it.

Mr. Sukhodrev [reads]: “Attaching great importance to the achievement in cooperation with other countries of an agreement, excluding from the arsenals of States such dangerous weapons of mass annihilation as chemical weapons, the USSR and the USA have agreed to come out with a joint initiative on this issue. Accordingly, they intend to table in the Committee on Disarmament a draft of an international convention which would prohibit the development and production of the most dangerous, lethal types of chemical weapons of warfare on the understanding that discussions on the question of prohibiting the remaining types of chemical weapons will be continued.”

General Secretary Brezhnev: Something along those lines.

Secretary Kissinger: We have to study it, but we will do so with a positive attitude. And we will give a reply very soon.

General Secretary Brezhnev: You really don’t want to get out of the Mediterranean?

Secretary Kissinger: [Laughs] Not this week.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Alright, then you stay here another week.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Alright, it is a very important question, so you will stay here another couple of weeks and travel around, and maybe then . . .

Mr. Aleksandrov: Leningrad.

Secretary Kissinger: Leningrad doesn’t exist! It is a rumor but it is unfounded.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: A legend.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I had two Japanese calling on me. One is 83, the other is 78, and they just got back from Leningrad at 8:30 this morning.

Secretary Kissinger: Our experience is you can’t always believe what the Japanese tell you!

Foreign Minister Gromyko: You know them better.

[Page 728]

General Secretary Brezhnev: I haven’t met Japanese all that often, although I get quite a few messages from them recently. I just got two from Mr. Tanaka.9

Secretary Kissinger: One for each island?

[Snacks were brought in.]

General Secretary Brezhnev: New cookies?

Secretary Kissinger: Now I know it is a serious proposal.

General Secretary Brezhnev: That is why I offer them to you. First we had those dry rusks, now we have real cookies. That is all for you; nothing for Sonnenfeldt.

Secretary Kissinger: I am thinking of leaving Sonnenfeldt here.

General Secretary Brezhnev: You can’t imagine the hard time I would have if he stayed.

Secretary Kissinger: I can, because I have had it. You can’t imagine it.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I am beginning to understand.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: On one hand he sits there, looking like he agrees with everything.

Secretary Kissinger: With Sonnenfeldt it is a close race between the difficulties he causes and his indispensability.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I guess since he is here, he must be of some use to you.

Secretary Kissinger: He is unfortunately of some use, or I would have fired him a long time ago.

General Secretary Brezhnev: He is an interesting man. Here we are, criticizing him, and he sits there silently.

Mr. Sonnenfeldt: I take it as praise.

Secretary Kissinger: I must warn you, Mr. General Secretary, Sonnenfeldt can read upside down.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Anything written there I can just hand over to you.

So we agree we withdraw nuclear weapons from the Mediterranean [laughter], which is a very important achievement.

Secretary Kissinger: Why don’t we start with the Black Sea and work our way south from there?

General Secretary Brezhnev: Let’s do it simultaneously.

President Nixon is sure to be pleased if we solve at least one problem in a whole day.

[Page 729]

Secretary Kissinger: I think that one we will have to study much further.

General Secretary Brezhnev: As soon as I raise a businesslike question, you say you have to study it. I can’t imagine I caught you unawares.

Secretary Kissinger: Our Chief of Naval Operations, who is already very melancholy, would fall into a deep depression.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Why don’t you find a more cheerful man for that job?

Secretary Kissinger: We’re changing him in June.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Why not earlier?

That would really be a question that would cause a world-wide resonance. It’s really a question that requires a solution. Maybe you do need to study it; maybe you will organize a couple of scientific research institutes. It’s a really important question. What are we doing swimming around there, with our submarines chasing each other?

Secretary Kissinger: We could discuss restrictions on deployment in the Mediterranean.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Perhaps we should discuss increasing our deployment.

Secretary Kissinger: There was one period, the end of October, when there wasn’t enough room, there were so many ships there.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Really it’s not a very pleasant subject, the idea of our two navies, our submarines coming to the surface and waving to each other, saying okay a few times. Our people certainly take a dim view of it; it looks like the Americans just want to be everywhere. We are not suggesting you withdraw and we remain. Of course, conventional ships and merchant ships can stay, if they are required. But if rocket-armed warships are there, that changes the picture. It suggests your military men have a certain concept in mind, and ours get to thinking. And there you are, faced with contradictions, signing documents on limitation of strategic arms and poking around the world.

I have had occasion to say, and I will repeat, the best outcome would be to burn all the others and sign one—that the U. S. and USSR undertake never to attack each other, and if another attacks one of them they come to each other’s help. We would be willing to submit it to Parliament, and you to the Congress, and everyone would support it. Otherwise we keep talking about it. Some call it condominium or call us superpowers. Instead of its proving our good intentions, various ill intentions are being ascribed to us.

I fully realize, Dr. Kissinger, that certain things are being presented by you under the influence of the domestic situation as it is taking shape in the United States. But when years will have passed, and [Page 730] second- and third-rate things have fallen past, President Nixon will be proven right.

Secretary Kissinger: I agree.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Years will pass, and a new President will be in office. But it is one thing to get nominated for President, another to get down to basic issues.

Secretary Kissinger: I agree with you, Mr. General Secretary, I have said in every public statement that the establishment of peace between the United States and the USSR is the paramount issue of our time.

General Secretary Brezhnev: And it is you and we and President Nixon who must continue to give impetus to the process.

Secretary Kissinger: And you can count on us. We will fight our domestic opposition on this issue.

I will consider seriously what you have said on strategic arms limitation. But you should take into account also our problems. Because if we can achieve something this year, even if it is not perfect for both sides, it will be a tremendous achievement for the peace-loving element on both sides. If we can overcome the intrinsic difficulties of the proposal, we will fight our opposition on that issue.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I am certainly pleased to hear that. But the trouble is, when we get to the details, it seems hard to find a common language.

Secretary Kissinger: We should both study what has been said today. I will certainly study yours.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Believe me, I have done a lot of work on this, first and foremost as Chairman of the Committee on National Defense—and who should be insisting on a national advantage, but I’m not. I am both General Secretary of the Party and Chairman of the National Defense Council. So it is my responsibility to preside over the defense of the country. But I wouldn’t proceed from the same attitude as the Chief of the General Staff. You see that my proposals, one after the other, are aimed at lessening the danger of war. Instead, I get the reply that this requires further study; this has to be weighed, etc. But with military technology being what it is, and the exchange of information being what it is, each side knows nine-tenths of what the other is doing.

Let me just say, I would be willing, before your very eyes, to destroy 100 launching sites. Would that change anything? Nothing. President Nixon was right in saying in our first meeting that the Soviet Union could destroy the United States seven times over, and the United States could destroy the Soviet Union seven times over. That is probably correct. So what do we do, destroy each other? Here we are, bickering over throw-weights and warheads, etc. When you get home, you could put it into computers and you’ll see we get no advantage from [Page 731] our proposals. Although it’s a difficult problem in our minds, forward-based systems. You treat that as incidental. But our military people and I have to take that seriously. Don’t think that’s something out of a pack of cards—it’s nuclear weapons.

Secretary Kissinger: No, it is essentially correct.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I am not saying this to pick a quarrel. It has to be taken into account. In the military field alone I have listed so many proposals; what kind of opposition could there be?

Secretary Kissinger: Take chemical weapons, to be specific. Our problem is we have no way to know whether you’re producing them or not. If that could be solved, we would have no problem with banning production.

We have no intention of using them.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Let’s find a way to solve that.

Secretary Kissinger: I can tell you now: If that can be solved, we will agree to stop production. That is the only obstacle.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, when we were signing the agreement on limitation of strategic arms, I honestly didn’t know you would have 12 warheads on your missiles.

Secretary Kissinger: Ten.

General Secretary Brezhnev: All right, ten. I knew we didn’t. Doesn’t that affect the factor of confidence? Because I knew the President Nixon I was facing was not the Nixon of the Kitchen Debate.10 Because I saw this was a President Nixon who had come to recognize the realities of life, to establish peace or else to go back to the worst periods of the Cold War. I saw he was guided by a noble intention and I valued that highly.

Secretary Kissinger: This reality has not changed.

General Secretary Brezhnev: And all these attacks on him really have no bearing on the major issues we face. They are just trying to get him down.

Secretary Kissinger: You should not think the position we have advanced here is the result of domestic difficulties. In foreign policy we do not have these difficulties. Our problem with your proposal is this: You say 1,000 missiles can be MIRVed. This is the maximum you can MIRV in this period, so we don’t see what restriction you are accepting. Secondly, as we have always told you, if there is no restriction on [Page 732] land-based forces, it produces an inherent inequality. I put aside now the numbers; I’m talking about theory. This is not compensated for by the inequality in sea-based forces, because, first of all, sea-based forces do not threaten each other. We can’t destroy your submarine missiles with our submarine missiles. But you can destroy our land-based missiles with yours if you have a sufficient number of MIRVs. So in order to prevent that danger, we want to bring about an approximately equal number of MIRVs. This has nothing to do with our domestic situation.

So this is the theory under which we are operating. And I can assure you we will be attacked for that. I can assure you my present position with Congress is sufficient. So we can carry any reasonable agreement that we can defend. But there has to be some limitation on land-based missiles. With a complete freedom to mix, we don’t have an adequate basis for what you call equal security.

On some of your other proposals: I told you our difficulties. That was the case before our domestic difficulties, and is the case afterwards. That has always been our position.

On the ABM site, we have agreed.

On the test ban, quite frankly, it looks to us in one of its aspects as directed at third countries, and we have always been reluctant to make such agreements.

On the other hand, we are determined to do our utmost to make major progress this year and we won’t be deterred by political difficulties. I think your Ambassador can confirm that the President and I can get sufficient Congressional support for any reasonable agreement. And it’s terribly important, because if we can defeat now the opponents of relations between the Soviet Union and the USA, then we have achieved an almost permanent victory. The reason they are so determined is they know soon it can’t be reversed.

So frankly, our difficulty with your proposal on SALT is its intrinsic nature, not our domestic difficulties.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I’m not linking it with the domestic situation, but let us recall in 1972 the U.S. and USSR signed a convention on banning the production of biological weapons.11 The question of control didn’t arise.

Secretary Kissinger: You know why? Because we said [to our military:] “If they used biological weapons, we could use chemical weapons.”

Ambassador Dobrynin: But you could use atomics.

[Page 733]

Secretary Kissinger: That we could use atomic—it’s a particular threshold.

General Secretary Brezhnev: In the field of underground nuclear testing, we are proposing that our two nations declare we won’t, but if other nations don’t, we’ll feel free . . . How is that directed against third countries?

Secretary Kissinger: Because since we both know that allies of the two sides won’t stop, we are not reaching an agreement.

[They confer.]

[To Dobrynin:] I see Vinogradov12 is back. You are not taking the Geneva Conference seriously.

Ambassador Dobrynin: Bunker will be back?

Secretary Kissinger: I’m sending him back.

Ambassador Dobrynin: For one day; then he will disappear.

Secretary Kissinger: For a week.

Can I take a 5-minute break?

General Secretary Brezhnev: Certainly.

[There was a break from 8:18 to 8:47 p.m.]

[Maw and Atherton were invited in and introduced. Sytenko joins the Soviet side.]

Secretary Kissinger [referring to Dobrynin]: I caught him in Las Vegas once.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: And he didn’t report to the Ministry! He told me about it later, much later.

General Secretary Brezhnev: How much time do we have? Can we have a serious discussion on the Mideast?

Secretary Kissinger: My impression was that you preferred not to discuss the Mideast, perhaps because there is not enough time.

General Secretary Brezhnev: It is indeed a serious question. If we went into it, it would take at least two hours.

Secretary Kissinger: Should we leave it until tomorrow morning?

General Secretary Brezhnev: I agree, first thing in the morning—10:00, 10:30.

Secretary Kissinger: Whichever you wish.

General Secretary Brezhnev: 10:30.

Secretary Kissinger: Here?

General Secretary Brezhnev: Yes.

[Page 734]

Secretary Kissinger: Good.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Is it comfortable for you here?

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, except for the cakes, which are too fattening.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We are having more sent in—a special kind, nonfattening.

Secretary Kissinger: Not entirely!

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Anyway, they’re not MIRVed.

Secretary Kissinger: There was a time when your Foreign Minister never spoke on military matters.


General Secretary Brezhnev: Perhaps we could have a brief survey of the European Conference.

Secretary Kissinger: Good idea.

General Secretary Brezhnev: If we delve a little into the past, we both recall in our meetings we agreed to consult with each other and coordinate actions regarding the basic objective of both of us, that is, to assure the success of the All-European Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This was the policy principle we agreed upon and set in communiqués in Washington and Moscow. It would be correct if in this present meeting we carried out a brief survey, with a view to bringing the Conference to a successful conclusion in the nearest future. I would go even further and say that if we can bring about the completion of the European Conference before President Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union, this fact would give still greater significance and weight to the President’s visit, and would be a greater political asset. It would lessen tensions and be in the interests of the United States and its allies and ourselves and our friends in the socialist countries. It would resound very well around the world. We have had occasion to speak of the significance of Europe and the importance of cooperation and peace in Europe.

Secretary Kissinger: We have spoken a lot of Europe unilaterally lately.

General Secretary Brezhnev: But, you will also recall, there was a time when we did our best to secure a successful end to the Conference by 1972. Then we decided to end it by 1973. Now we’re in 1974 and the Conference has not yet ended. And a situation has developed where some people have tried to inject into the Conference elements which are alien to the principles the Conference is trying to establish—principles of cooperation and good-neighbor relations. I won’t recall who they are; they are either opponents of the Conference, or people who want it [Page 735] to drag its heels, or who don’t want anything to result. Surely that was counter to what our two countries have agreed upon.

Lately there are rumors that the United States and the Soviet Union lost interest in the Conference. I can’t speak for the United States, but it’s not the case for the Soviet Union. We are making every effort to conclude the Conference successfully and making preparations for its conclusion at the highest level.

Several days ago I met President Pompidou of France,13 and I criticized those who are submitting proposals at the Conference that can only impede the work of the Conference. As a matter of fact, I read to him a proposal submitted by his own delegation—it suggested the right to open a company or a theatre in the Soviet Union, not subject to control of the Soviet Union. Surely that was counter to the first principle, that is, noninterference in the affairs of other countries. He was surprised at this and didn’t know it had been submitted.

If it is allowed to drag on for years and years, people will lose interest, and people will speak of it like the old League of Nations, where so many words were spoken. President Pompidou listened to my words; he agreed on the need to sweep aside all obstacles to its rapid success. In my earlier meetings with Pompidou, he was reluctant to agree to a meeting of heads of state. This time he agreed that the leaders could sign the document provided the document was good enough. To this I replied, if the document were not good, I wouldn’t allow the Foreign Minister to sign it either. [Laughter]

Regarding the United States delegation, it’s not impeding the work of the Conference, but neither is it showing any great activity in the work of the Conference. That is something we could perhaps talk about.

Another thing I talked about with Pompidou: In the past, in increasing confidence in Europe, I suggested the possibility of foreign delegations being invited to observe various maneuvers of troops. But no sooner did we come out with that than we were presented with demands to give out information about all, even insignificant, troop movements, even in the Soviet Union, down to the regimental level. But that would require a Pentagon-like apparatus to observe.

Another matter: What if the states in Europe wish to bring about a change in frontiers? How do we reconcile this with the principle of inviolability of frontiers? Surely France has no intention to give up territory, or Belgium. We’ve heard rumors the United States is eager to give up Florida or California.

[Page 736]

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Florida is gone already!

Secretary Kissinger: To Cuba. [Laughter]

General Secretary Brezhnev: Who will support that reference to change in frontiers? The only country interested in that is the FRG, because they are nervous about the GDR. But that question is already resolved, because there is a treaty between the FRG and the USSR, and Poland and the FRG, and the GDR and the FRG—both of which are now members of the UN.

What we could do is agree on something like voluntary change in frontiers by the consent of the states concerned. But reference to that should not be in the part of the final document regarding inviolability of frontiers, but in some other part of the final document, so there will be no intimation of one state imposing its will on others. So that’s how we see the solution to this question.

If Bonn and France act as has been promised, and if the United States acts in the same spirit, we think it would be a good thing to bring the European Conference to a close before President Nixon’s visit to the Soviet Union. This would be a good and significant thing, because it is a fact that the United States is present in Europe. That is a fact.

We feel the All-Europe Conference has at present reached a stage where it is possible, given the mutual consent of all the parties, to end its work as quickly as possible, and then the Conference would yield its result as a contribution to the lessening of tension. That’s my first point.

The second point is the United States has been pursuing a consistent line. The task is to find a way to prepare the final document. We are adding no controversial issues and we are adding no new legal considerations to the guarantees of existing frontiers in Europe. That is a very important fact.

On the basis of consultations between us, we agreed to introduce this element of confidence, that is, that of military observations. But that has now been turned into God knows what. We should eliminate those accretions and retain what is really useful. That is the task we now face. And I trust you realize the need today is to remove all these unnecessary and trumped-up elements and leave in only those elements which are truly necessary and useful.

Finally, there are the questions regarding Item III, regarding culture, information, human contacts, and so forth. I have already had occasion to speak publicly on this subject, but I want to repeat here in our official conversation. I want to emphasize we are in favor of human contact and increase of tourism, etc., but on condition of basic respect for the traditions and customs of every country and respect for whatever social order exists in that individual country. And if anyone is counting on being able to interfere in our internal affairs through the [Page 737] Conference, those hopes are to no avail, I can assure them. I will not conceal my satisfaction that after Comrade Gromyko’s last visit to Washington,14 an understanding was achieved to act in that spirit, and in accord. That would indeed display yet again the desire of both governments to strive for true understanding between the United States and the Soviet Union, in a matter of political importance.

I could speak at greater length on this, but I trust this exposition would be sufficient—unless Comrade Gromyko has anything to add.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: I would say Comrade Brezhnev has been very exact on this.

Secretary Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, we agree with much of what you have said. Above all, we agree a major effort should be made to bring the Conference to a conclusion this year, and within this year as soon as possible. We also share your evaluation that the objective conditions exist for bringing it to a conclusion. Finally, we also agree our two representatives in Geneva, working together tactfully, can speed up the work of the Conference.

General Secretary Brezhnev: That is exactly what I am calling for.

Secretary Kissinger: Let me talk first about various items you mentioned, Mr. General Secretary, and then we can talk about the level at which the Conference can be concluded.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Please.

Secretary Kissinger: Incidentally, I think the consultations between our representatives in Geneva should be handled with the same care we used at the time of the Berlin agreement. But I will work that out with your Foreign Minister and your Ambassador. And, of course, Ambassador Stoessel and Korniyenko have also been in active contact to work out the basic approach. [Korniyenko beams.]

Korniyenko is pleased I can say something positive about him. They’ve had useful talks.

On the individual items: On so-called confidence-building measures. You’re quite right; they were introduced after an initial exchange between our two governments. We share your evaluation that too many items have been introduced that aren’t really central to the main subject. So we believe we should concentrate on the question of maneuvers on which we started—maneuvers of a substantial size, for example, of units of 15–20,000 men. We think a practical means of achieving it would be by means of the British proposal at Geneva, which would be appropriately amended. Not the exact proposal,but . . .

[Page 738]

Ambassador Dobrynin: Division or strengthened division.

Secretary Kissinger: Sixty days’ notice. We would be prepared to amend it.

We’ve not, incidentally, discussed any of this with our allies. This is what we are prepared to do on our own.

On the issue of inviolability of frontiers, we find that idea of the General Secretary has considerable merit. That is, we could put the phrase about peaceful change in, for example, the section on sovereignty, or some other section than the frontier section. And I think the proposal . . .

[Brezhnev reads an article in Izvestiya about Secretary Kissinger.]

Secretary Kissinger: Is it friendly?

General Secretary Brezhnev: No. We knew you would reject all our proposals. This is Izvestiya, our evening paper.

Secretary Kissinger: It is a good picture. It makes me look thinner. That was before I came here this afternoon.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: It can be corrected.

Secretary Kissinger: The article, or the picture?

Foreign Minister Gromyko: The picture.

Secretary Kissinger: So tactically—I don’t know whether it is worth talking about—I like the proposal of your delegate in Geneva, to write that sentence on a separate piece of paper, with the understanding that it will not be in that paragraph on frontiers. And we could cooperate in that effort.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Let me say we feel the most convenient thing would be to write it in that section on sovereignty.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Where sovereignty is mentioned. Sovereignty extends to frontiers.

Secretary Kissinger: The United States and Libya. Your intelligence is too good. You found it out. We wanted to make it a surprise.

I have not studied the exact formulation. We agree that the concept of peaceful change should not—need not—be in the section on frontiers. We agree it could be in the section on sovereignty. And it has to have some specific reference to peaceful change and not simply be related to the concept of sovereignty. But it is not primarily an American problem, let me say. Anything the Germans accept, we will accept.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Why must one country hold the key to the problem?

Secretary Kissinger: We will use our influence to move that sentence. This we promise you. What that sentence is, we will discuss. I think we will find a reasonable solution.

[Page 739]

General Secretary Brezhnev: What’s your view on ending the Conference before President Nixon’s visit?

Secretary Kissinger: It will be difficult, for technical reasons. But we won’t exclude doing it shortly afterward. For example, at the end of July. I am talking about the signature.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I take it you are agreeable to signing the document at the highest level?

Secretary Kissinger: This raises the following problem, about which I will be quite candid.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Please.

Secretary Kissinger: We don’t want to be accused of giving up the position of our allies. So let me separate our formal position from what you can expect—if you do not use it with other countries . . .

General Secretary Brezhnev: That goes without saying. Unless we stand on that assumption, then there is no possibility of confidential communications between us.

Secretary Kissinger: Our formal position is, like President Pompidou’s, that the formal document could be signed at the Summit if it is an adequate document. Let me say that if the document, which we are now working on, is finished in the sense we are now discussing, we will consider it a satisfactory document. This is to explain, on a private basis, the thinking of President Nixon to the General Secretary. And we would work in that direction.

That gets us to the part on cultural exchange. I have said on many occasions to your Foreign Minister that a social system that was established with so many hardships and that has overcome so many obstacles is not going to be changed through cultural exchange.

So for us it is the problem of how to bring it to a conclusion. We think the best solution is the one discussed between Ambassador Stoessel and Mr. Korniyenko. I mean the solution proposed by Ambassador Stoessel, not the one proposed by Mr. Korniyenko! That is, to have the reference to national laws in the basic principles, and then refer back to it at the beginning of Basket III. And we would urge our allies to accept such an approach. We would still have to give some content to the whole basket, but we don’t think that is an insoluble problem.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Let me just say, the solution as you explained is a possible one, that is, in the principles to make reference to national legislation and then to have a reference back to those principles, including the principle on domestic legislation, in the section on so-called human contacts. But since we are not dealing with a work of fiction, the link should have meaning. Namely, in the section dealing [Page 740] with cultural exchange, etc. there should be reference to the fact that these ties proceed on the basis of the principles set out at the beginning.

Secretary Kissinger: Exactly.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: We had no doubt of your understanding. But we were more than surprised that the representative of Holland came up with a proposal that included reference to the principles but the two are separated and there is a link between the two. And we were even more surprised when the other delegations—and yours was no exception—came out in support of that of Holland. What you just said is in accord with our thinking.

Another observation on another matter, that is to add to what Comrade Brezhnev has correctly pointed out, that other delegations have brought out of all proportion the so-called “confidence military measures.” You mentioned the British proposal. The first aspect is volume, that is the figures, the question of the size or figures starting from which information would start. We are told it starts from a division, or a reinforced division, though no one seems to know what a reinforced division means. If we take that approach, as Comrade Brezhnev said, we would have to have an enormous bookkeeping apparatus. The second aspect is geographic—the regions where this would operate. It is one thing to refer to a strip of land adjacent to borders; it is another thing if it includes the whole of European Russia. That is nonsense.

Secretary Kissinger: Certainly everything west of Vladivostok.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Some even include Vladivostok! Fortunately, the Urals are the limit of Europe.

You seem to take a realistic approach.

Secretary Kissinger: We want to be constructive, in the spirit of the agreement reached between the President and the General Secretary. Our preliminary view is that some distance from the frontier is more realistic than the whole of European Russia.

General Secretary Brezhnev: When I discussed this with the President, we talked only about foreign observers coming to maneuvers on a voluntary basis. But what is discussed now has a different aspect. In form, what Dr. Kissinger says makes sense, in the spirit of what was agreed upon. But in substance, Dr. Kissinger introduced a certain element of vagueness.

Secretary Kissinger: No, I’m trying to be constructive. I’m saying that what the Foreign Minister says, about a certain distance from frontiers, is what we will support as opposed to all of European Russia. I think the Foreign Minister will recognize it is an attempt to take into account the Soviet point of view, and it is not identical with the view of other delegations. And I believe on that basis a solution can be found.

[Page 741]

General Secretary Brezhnev: I spoke about the basis for agreement; the question now is to find a concrete formula. And I certainly don’t want Holland to dictate its terms to the Soviet Union. I will never accept that. Holland should be grateful for our attitude toward it.

Secretary Kissinger: I was not familiar with this particular action of Holland. I think a solution is possible.

If I may make a concrete suggestion, Mr. General Secretary . . .

General Secretary Brezhnev: I think my meeting with President Pompidou at Pitsunda showed that Pompidou himself recognizes the absurdity of some of these ideas. And President Pompidou himself said: “Of course I realize the proposal now is that information be given about all of the European part of the Soviet Union, but I realize the territory of the USSR is not limited to Europe but extends to Vladivostok.”

Secretary Kissinger: That is an ambiguous statement.

General Secretary Brezhnev: He said it in a concrete context.

Secretary Kissinger: May I suggest—if Ambassador Stoessel and Korniyenko can work out concrete formulas on these questions and agree on the tactics. Otherwise all Europe will act as Holland did. But if we can agree, we can manage it like the Berlin negotiations.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I agree completely.

Secretary Kissinger: We may need a little time to convince our allies, but if Stoessel and Korniyenko agree, we have a very good chance. In fact, if Korniyenko agrees to anything, it will be a historic event.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Korniyenko always agrees with correct positions.

Secretary Kissinger: He is a very good man. We admire his work very much.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Stoessel too.

Secretary Kissinger: It is not your fault that Korniyenko always gets the better of Sonnenfeldt.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: I’ve never seen an instance of that.

Secretary Kissinger: We think we can meet that Dutch problem in the framework we described.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: You hope.

Secretary Kissinger: We think.

General Secretary Brezhnev: What kind of proposal is it if they want to arrogate to themselves the right to open theaters in the Soviet Union without any control by the Soviet administration? It is not a matter of our being budged from our positions; there is no danger of that. It’s just wrong to have ideas like that.

[Page 742]

Secretary Kissinger: As we discussed, it can be solved with a reference to national laws in the basic principles and then refer back to it in Basket III.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Good. I certainly agree. Let Stoessel and Korniyenko talk about it.

Secretary Kissinger: I think we can find a solution.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I think so too.

Secretary Kissinger: Then the problem of the level will also be satisfactorily solved.

General Secretary Brezhnev: The question of the level is, to a certain extent, also an important problem. If the document is signed by the Foreign Ministers, that is one thing. On no account do I want to belittle the importance of our Foreign Ministers; they are empowered to sign anything. But for the nations of Europe, Canada, United States, I believe signatures of the leaders will be of more significance.

Secretary Kissinger: We have understood your view, and if the document is finished as we discussed, it can be solved in that spirit and at that level.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We certainly wouldn’t empower Gromyko to sign a bad document.

Secretary Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, we all know what the document looks like.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We can’t have two policies in this country, one that is the Foreign Minister’s policy and the other that is official policy.

Secretary Kissinger: We have had that on occasion. We have recently united them!

We will consider it a satisfactory document.

General Secretary Brezhnev: That is the way I look at it.

Secretary Kissinger: I don’t think you and President Nixon will disagree.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I don’t think so.

I think we have had a useful exchange of views today. It has been useful because what Dr. Kissinger has been doing is to advance proposals that are to the advantage of the United States and to the disadvantage of the Soviet Union. But it is not difficult because we now know you better. It is now our sixth meeting.

Secretary Kissinger: I didn’t have the impression that the proposals of the General Secretary threatened the security of the Soviet Union.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Whatever I put forward, I had one underlying motive, that is, strengthening peace.

[Page 743]

Secretary Kissinger: That is in both of our interests. We will think over our discussions in that spirit.

General Secretary Brezhnev: So tomorrow morning, perhaps we might discuss on the Middle East. And any of our associates who have work to do can get on with it.

At 10:30 tomorrow.

Secretary Kissinger: Yes, exactly 12 hours from now. And thank you for your now-traditional hospitality.

General Secretary Brezhnev: That is the way it has always been. I trust it will stay that way.

At times our conversations have been acute but we have done quite good business together.

Secretary Kissinger: If we do as we both wish, that is the best service we can do for my children—and for your grandchildren.

General Secretary Brezhnev: And great-grandchildren.

[The meeting then ended.]15

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 76, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Secretary Kissinger’s Pre-Summit Trip to Moscow, Memcons & Reports, March 24–28, 1974. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in Brezhnev’s office in the Council of Ministers building at the Kremlin. Brackets are in the original.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 165.
  3. See Document 165.
  4. See footnote 9, Document 174.
  5. A reference to the joint communiqué following the July 1973 Washington Summit. For the text, see Puplic Papers: Nixon, 1973, pp. 611–619.
  6. The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the May 1972 Moscow Summit is ibid., 1972, pp. 635–642.
  7. A reference to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament, which met in Geneva in 1972 and again February–April 1973 to discuss, among other things, a treaty on chemical weapons limitations.
  8. The communiqué issued in Moscow on March 28 did not mention chemical weapons. See footnote 9, Document 170.
  9. Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.
  10. The “Kitchen Debate” between Nixon, then Vice President, and Soviet Secretary General Khrushchev, took place at the American National Exhibition in Moscow on July 24, 1959. Sitting in a reconstructed American kitchen, which U.S. exhibitors claimed the average American could afford, Nixon and Khrushchev debated the merits of capitalism and Communism.
  11. Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, signed April 10, 1972. (26 UST 583; TIAS 8062)
  12. In early 1974, Vinogradov was appointed a special envoy to deal with Middle East issues, including the Middle East Peace Conference in Geneva.
  13. Pompidou was in the Soviet Union March 11–13. He met with Brezhnev at Pitsunda.
  14. See Documents 158, 159, and 160.
  15. Kissinger’s report to Nixon on the meeting with Brezhnev, March 25, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 76, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Secretary Kissinger’s Pre-Summit Trip to Moscow, Memcons & Reports, March 24–28, 1974.