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


  • Other Arms Control; CSCE; MBFR; Economic Relations

Brezhnev: I just got a code message from President Nixon. He is very displeased with you.

[Page 766]

Kissinger: It happens every Tuesday afternoon.

Brezhnev: So it is nothing out of the ordinary? I was so pleased. I thought it was something new.

Kissinger: Did you go behind my back and complain to him?

Brezhnev: No, I didn’t complain. It must be something you told him. He must have taken an objective view of the situation.

What do we do? Should we turn to something new? Or return to the Middle East?

Kissinger: I leave it to the General Secretary.

Brezhnev: All right.

Other Arms Control

On ending underground nuclear tests—could we do something?

Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, there are two separate problems. One question is whether you and we want to agree to end the tests at some future time. For example, January 1, 1976, as you proposed. The second problem is whether we should make it in the form of an appeal to other nations and feel free to resume if they test. Since we know that other countries will test after January 1, [1976], that second proposition just means we will find another reason to test after January 1, and it has the objective consequence of embarrassing those other countries.

We could study the question—we have never examined it—of some date in the future, say 2–3 years from now, at which there would be a moratorium. That we could study. The other is difficult.

Gromyko: What is the second proposal you mean?

Kissinger: You have one proposal, but it has the objective consequence of leaving both free to test but with a new excuse.

Gromyko: But the substance of our proposal is that we two agree to stop underground testing as of January 1, [1976]. At the same time we appeal to others to stop.

Kissinger: But if they don’t, we are free to resume. Since we know . . .

Gromyko: But we would not resume testing immediately. We would wait for a couple of years after we would agree to stop. Our own agreement would be effective January 1. For a certain period we two could wait and see what other countries do, and then the agreement itself could contain a clause saying the two would observe the situation for say 1 or 2 years and then consult together to see what to do next, to see what others do.

Brezhnev: Neither you nor we stand to lose anything from that. But we would therefore show the desire of our two countries to proceed along the path of détente and that our line is aimed at furthering détente. So it contains no danger to our two countries.

[Page 767]

Kissinger: No, I understand the proposal. As I said, it has two difficulties. One is the problem of verification, because below a certain threshold we don’t know whether tests are being carried on. That, for a limited period, one could consider.

Brezhnev: I think we could give some thought to giving a certain threshold on tests and discontinue the rest.

Kissinger: That would be something we could study. The second difficulty we have is to make it in the form of an appeal to third countries.

Brezhnev: But that is what we contemplate.

Kissinger: Because this will provoke major disputes with our allies to the East and your allies to the East. Our allies to our East and yours to your East—they’re not the same countries.

Brezhnev: God be with them. We would be entering into an agreement with you. I don’t see anything wrong.

Kissinger: We can have a serious discussion about a test ban with a threshold. Whether to couple it with an appeal to others would be more difficult. And of course, there are detailed issues to be considered, such as peaceful nuclear explosions and how to deal with them. But those are not issues of principle.

Brezhnev: That would be the subject of a special study.

Kissinger: That we could solve.

I think we could find a solution on the basis of a threshold test ban.

Brezhnev: Very well.

Kissinger: And we could start discussions to that effect. I don’t think we should discuss here how to establish a threshold, or peaceful nuclear explosions.

Brezhnev: Very well. I take it then we have reached an understanding in principle.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: Good.

What about the withdrawal from the Mediterranean of nuclear submarines and other nuclear-bearing craft. Did we reach an agreement?

Kissinger: Not completely.

Gromyko: We had the impression we agreed on everything.

Kissinger: I know. When I use professorial language, it is very complicated.

Gromyko: That is a tragedy.

Kissinger: I thought we were talking about the Black Sea and Baltic.

[Page 768]

Gromyko: It is a peaceful lake.

Kissinger: I think that will create great difficulties for us. Especially as it applies to aircraft carriers.

Brezhnev: I really don’t see any difference of principle between submarines and aircraft carriers. Both are capable of shooting at each other. Why should we be there?

Kissinger: Because, as I explained yesterday, carriers have many uses. [They smile.]

Brezhnev: You mean many political uses or many technical uses?

Kissinger: Both. But especially technical uses.

Brezhnev: Then I guess we will have to add some of our missile-carrying warships to effect a balance.

Kissinger: Our Chief of Naval Operations thinks there is already more than a balance.

Brezhnev: That is what our naval chiefs say but the other way around.

Kissinger: That is the tragedy.

Brezhnev: Yes, but surely you and I know how many submarines we have. You know how many we do, and we know how many you do. Because they roam about in a friendly manner, not far from each other.

Kissinger: That is in the spirit of cooperation.

Gromyko: The whole secret is they both watch each other openly.

Kissinger: As I said, missile-carrying submarines are somewhat easier to deal with than carriers.

Brezhnev: And when do you think that question could lend itself to a solution?

Kissinger: Missile-carrying submarines?

Brezhnev: Yes, in the Mediterranean.

Kissinger: First, it would depend on what framework. I’ve never examined that question, to be quite candid.

Brezhnev: I can present a full report on the general picture.

Kissinger: Do you know whether we have missile-carrying submarines in the Mediterranean?

Brezhnev: Certainly. I know the full picture.

Gromyko: Should we give the United States some information on that score? Confidential!

Kissinger: We should exchange information about each other’s submarines.

Gromyko: We can give you information about yours.

Kissinger: And we about yours.

Gromyko: Probably so.

[Page 769]

Brezhnev: Nowadays these types of submarines circle the globe.

Kissinger: I must tell you honestly I have never studied the question about Polaris submarines. I am prepared to study it and give our views to your Ambassador.

Brezhnev: Okay, then we will postpone it until tomorrow.

Kissinger: Tomorrow I can give it to you; I don’t have to give it to your Ambassador. But I don’t think I’ll have any conclusive answer tomorrow.

Brezhnev: Well, at least an approximate answer.

If we go further on, can I re-refer to the banning of chemical weapons?

Kissinger: We can agree to banning the use of chemical weapons.

[The Soviet side confers.]

Brezhnev: Yesterday we read out to you our piece of paper on banning chemical weapons.

Kissinger: Do you want to read it out to me again?

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.”

Kissinger: As I have pointed out in the past, we’ve found no solution to how to assure each other of the ban on production. If we can find a solution to that, we would be prepared to consider it. But we are prepared . . .

Brezhnev: Yes, but if you pose the matter in such a way, you could erect difficult obstacles in the way of other treaties. If you enter into a treaty, you enter into it in a spirit of confidence.

Kissinger: No in the case of lethal weapons. If you have them, it means you don’t have total confidence. But I repeat, we are prepared to ban the use of chemical weapons.

Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Brezhnev: On the European Security Conference, we seem to have reached an understanding on our joint mode of action.

Kissinger: My impression is, on the European Security Conference we have reached an understanding both on substance and on procedure. That is my impression.

[Page 770]

Gromyko: The important thing, however, is to implement that understanding in practice.

Kissinger: Of course. But we have implemented understandings in the past; it is not the first time we have carried out an understanding.

Brezhnev: But the Conference has been dragging out three years. There is no end to the Conference.

Kissinger: Up to now the issues have not been reduced to such a small number, with such a precise understanding.

Gromyko: You mentioned the possibility of the Conference ending some time in July. Do you see any way we can have it end before President Nixon’s visit?

Kissinger: I think it would be very difficult.

Gromyko: What if we tried to prepare all the documents and have them initialed, and leave until afterwards only the signing? That is, have the documents prepared in substance?

Kissinger: I knew the Foreign Minister for years before I discovered his passion for initialing.

Gromyko: It is a very good thing.

Kissinger: That is more nearly conceivable. That I do not exclude.

Gromyko: Because of the substance of our opinion, and the General Secretary’s opinion too, if President Nixon’s visit is on and the substance of the Conference is still in mid-air, our public opinion won’t understand that.

Kissinger: Of course, the visit of President Nixon has to be seen as in the mutual interest, and we can’t accept it as being conditional on anything.

Gromyko: Yes, but it is a matter of atmosphere.

I have fresh information. During the lunch interval, I heard from our delegation at Geneva on the first item, inviolability of frontiers. This refers to the study they are undertaking, that we mentioned, on peaceful change of frontiers. You and we reached a fundamental understanding that the mention of this should not be in the context of the clause on inviolability of frontiers.

Kissinger: That is right.

Gromyko: What they are discussing now is a bare reference.

Kissinger: Right.

Gromyko: The question of where to put it is not yet decided. If you could give your delegation instructions in line with what we agreed. You know best how to work with your allies.

Kissinger: I’ve not exactly proven I know best how to work with our allies! Nevertheless, you correctly understood our discussion yesterday, and we will work in that sense. We already had a preliminary [Page 771] discussion with the Germans in that sense before I came here, and we will work with others after I leave. You can count on that.

Gromyko: Good. Incidentally, the French are better in Geneva yesterday than today. It seems our discussion with Pompidou had an effect.

Kissinger: I was going to claim credit for it. It was the result of our discussions last night. We immediately used all our influence with Jobert.

Gromyko: This gives you a chance to show your abilities.

Kissinger: One country at a time. Last night it was France.

In seriousness, we have agreed on this question, and we will proceed along the lines of our understanding.

Gromyko: Good. And during the interval I again looked into the situation regarding so-called “military détente.” The situation is confused to the utmost, and it has been confused deliberately.

When it came to light that some of the Western countries were putting forward impossible proposals, suddenly they put forward new ones putting the whole of the European USSR under control. This proposal is not yet withdrawn. Belgium, Holland, are putting out these ideas.

Kissinger: I have told you we will not support that proposal.

Gromyko: We appreciate that, but could we have an understanding to act more vigorously to eliminate all these?

Kissinger: Yes; this issue will take a little more time, but you have our assurance. I will discuss it in London on my way through.2

Gromyko: Very good. Very good.

Kissinger: This may be a good way of proceeding.

Gromyko: Because it is the British who are acting as the motive force behind all this.

Kissinger: That is why I suggest it.

Gromyko: We thought the new Labour Government would see it differently, but the law of inertia was applying.

Generally speaking we like your attitude to this question of military détente and these measures. As you know, the matter has three elements: One is the exchange of observers—that is no problem. Second is presentation of information about maneuvers. The third is the presentation of information about troop movements. We share your view of the third, that is, to send it back for further study.

[Page 772]

Kissinger: That is correct. We can weaken these proposals substantially. Basically we should talk about large units or substantial units on maneuvers, not about movement of all military units.

Gromyko: That would certainly facilitate the situation, because one of the complicated elements would be eliminated.

Kissinger: We will talk about this in London in that spirit and see if we can reach a common position. But it will be better if your Ambassador does not go there tomorrow and support the position we were taking on Thursday!

Gromyko: It will be impossible because he is not in London.

Kissinger: But you should not be active in London until we tell you how it came out.

Gromyko: We will do nothing. We can let one secret out: We believe perhaps the Labour leaders could take a more realistic stance; at least that is what our intuition prompts.

Kissinger: That is my impression. The Conservatives were more difficult for you and for us.

Gromyko: That is a page in British history that has been turned over.

On Basket III, I don’t know whether you have seen the pile of documents they have piled on. If you take this pile here [shows stack of documents] you can multiply it by 10, most of it wastepaper.

Kissinger: I’ve never examined those papers. Because I don’t think the Soviet system will be changed by the opening of a Dutch cabaret in Moscow. [Laughter]

Gromyko: Cabaret! I made myself go through the whole basket. If you clear away the rubbish, the real sense boils down to three items: borders; respect for sovereignty, noninterference; and the third is what we just discussed—matters of military détente. In fact, the third one, until recently, wasn’t there at all. At Helsinki, it was decided merely to give some thought to it. I think it would be a good thing if you could look into this, because you will see a lot of those matters don’t relate at all to the problem of security.

Kissinger: I understand your point about Basket III. It has two aspects: One is to relate it to the principles, and the second is to give it some content. Some of the Europeans think that for domestic reasons they have to give some content to Basket III. You and I discussed once that if we can establish a relationship to domestic legislation, you could consider some content for Basket III. I think that with goodwill on both sides, this is a soluble problem. The United States will use its influence not to embarrass the Soviet Union or raise provocative issues.

I have not seen any of the papers. I must be frank. I have not studied them. The United States has not put forward one concrete idea.

[Page 773]

I will put forward one—compulsory visits by the United States Secretary of State to Leningrad.

Gromyko: We will be agreeable, if not in the document, but at least in a footnote. It should be bilateral, because I don’t think the French would sign it.

Kissinger: We should initial it. But we should be able to solve it and you will have no difficulty with the United States.

Gromyko: The others have, though you haven’t. But we agree the crux of the matter is something about domestic legislation. But as for what you say about us being prepared to insert substance into Basket III, it has been said on many occasions, as in the statement by Comrade Brezhnev, that we are in favor of a broad expansion of cultural ties provided they are consistent with domestic legislation. We are in favor of a wide range of humane questions provided they are consistent with respect for domestic legislation.

Kissinger: We are prepared for substance. But I haven’t studied any of the papers on substance. Because I have assumed we would work it out in practice.

Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, I have derived great pleasure hearing the two Foreign Ministers talk at length with each other, and I keep thinking “How are they able to do this?” My conclusion is that I can never be a Foreign Minister. I would have to set aside a couple of years to study the most complicated words from every encyclopedia in the world and insert them one after the other in each phrase. I will set aside a couple of years and maybe then I will be up to it.

My second conclusion is that Foreign Ministers speak in such an interesting way but resolve nothing.

Kissinger: That gives them job security.

Brezhnev: I am really thinking of volunteering for one of these commissions in Vienna. It will be a school of practical study.

Gromyko: But not on Basket III.

Brezhnev: The other day I phoned Comrade Gromyko and I said “My deeply respected Andrey Andreyevich—”

Kissinger: The President never says that to me—but then I am not in office as long as he.

Brezhnev: And I said, “I was quite convinced that as soon as I telephoned, you would raise your phone and reciprocate. And I was so impressed I ventured never to forget that. I was impressed by your gesture for me, and you can be assured of my feelings for you for many years. And availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to know how you feel and at the same time inquire about the health of Lydia Dmitrievna, your spouse, and please pass on to her my best wishes, and please let me express my hope that the forthcoming telephone con[Page 774]versation will give you the greatest pleasure and bring forth no problems. Because my many years of experience give me every confidence you are directing every effort toward these goals that I and my colleagues are seeking, and I am sure our conversation will be a success. Now I will say a few words—but I forget one thing.” But he then broke into conversation saying, “I entirely reciprocate your feelings.” And I said, “Andrey Andreyevich, if I were not assured of your feelings I would not have called.”

Kissinger: He would say to me, “I essentially reciprocate your feelings.”

Brezhnev: My call was to find out when your plane was coming. [Laughter] He said, “It is coming one hour late.” We talked twenty-two minutes. But I wanted to hear the two Foreign Ministers talk to each other.

Kissinger: But I am a new Foreign Minister . . .

Brezhnev: I have one shortcoming: I like a precise discussion. But we talked for twenty minutes about our mutual respect and admiration, and we concentrate on the last word. So I listened to you most attentively. You agreed to inform each other. I will inform President Nixon, Korniyenko, Sonnenfeldt.

Kissinger: I knew Sonnenfeldt was communicating with somebody, because he is not communicating with me.

Brezhnev: I haven’t ever been able to suspect Sonnenfeldt of ever engaging in clandestine activity. The only thing I can guess is that he writes you notes and tells you “Don’t agree to anything they say.”

Kissinger: What really happens is, I move my lips and he speaks.

When I speak to your Foreign Minister, he never says, “I entirely agree.” The most I get is, “I essentially agree with you.”

Brezhnev: As I see it, that is again a case of his reciprocating your words.

“Thank you, Mr. Kissinger, for thanking me for my gratitude. I am deeply indebted to you. Thank you for my hearing of these words so pleasant to my soul.”

That is what is called a respite or disengagement.

Kissinger: I don’t think I would achieve this felicity of phrase . . .

Brezhnev: [referring to Rodman] What is he writing this for?

Kissinger: We need this for our diplomatic language training.

Gromyko: I don’t know what he is writing.

Kissinger: We will initial it. We will introduce it into our Foreign Service charm course.

Brezhnev: I’m quite sure you and all your assistants, and President Nixon, understand full well the significance and meaning of the [Page 775] All-European Conference and are familiar with all the details to date. I know your so-called allies regularly inform you of all the details of what they are going to do. We don’t refer to our East European colleagues as allies but we get reports from them.

We would now like to hear precise firm words, not on details but on the principle. We want to know whether we can bring the Conference to an end in the next one or two months or whether it goes on and on. It is left a bit vague. I am a practical man and I wanted to know the facts. I have to report back to the members of the Politburo on what is going to happen. We hear about “efforts will be made with allies.”

The situation is like this: Countries like Belgium want to set up a theatre here under their own control without the Soviet administration. You say your allies have put forward this or that proposal; that is just to let it go on endlessly. We can speak our mind. We can say the subject matter is European security, not a matter of organizing restaurants in each other’s country. If the United States isn’t interested in that, then I will take that into account, and that is another question.

When there is a question of who should participate, whether it is just the nuclear powers or others, I said, “No, it should be all European countries.” This was the correct view. Luxemburg, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, should all participate.

This is why we are against all attempts to give evasive answers, which only creates unpleasantness in our minds.

We are not putting forward the question of the withdrawal of United States forces from Europe. That is a separate question altogether. Nor do we link it with your “allied commitments.” But in spite of our straightforward approach, others are putting obstacles in the way and trying to gain certain advantages over the Soviet Union.

You know the United States publishes a magazine, “America,” in this country, and we reciprocally publish, “Soviet Union” in the United States. [Brezhnev gets up and fetches a copy of “Soviet Union” and shows it to Dr. Kissinger.] I personally read “America” in my house, and my wife reads it too. So there is no problem about that publication in this country. But now there is a new demand, to set up a printing house in the USSR. Surely that would contradict the principle of noninterference in other countries’ affairs and respect for sovereignty.

So all references to alliances are nothing but attempts to evade the question. What alliance can there be with a country like Holland on setting up restaurants in the USSR? Tell them straight out that it runs counter to the spirit of the Conference. You keep saying you have to consult with your allies.

But I want to be completely objective, Dr. Kissinger, and I appreciate the fact that you’ve made two serious statements. One is that you [Page 776] have the intention to make a serious effort to complete the documents and effect the signing as soon as possible, and second, that you will do everything in your power to ensure the signing of those documents at the highest level. If that is your intention, I certainly welcome it and we can end the conversation on that note.

What is your view on those last words?

Kissinger: My opinion is, we have agreed to use our efforts to bring about an acceptable document, and that in that case conditions will be considered right for signing it on the highest level, as far as the United States is concerned.

Brezhnev: I agree. And I trust you agree in principle that if it were at all possible to achieve it before President Nixon’s visit, that would be very good. Politically it would confirm the ideas President Nixon set out in his last letter to me.3 You will naturally recall the words in that letter—“that we have gone through difficulties but we remain true to the policy we have set, and that there is indeed no alternative to coexistence.” Surely the final document of the European Security Conference would be very important in that respect.

Kissinger: I have said we will act in that direction and I am sure we will achieve it. But I have pointed out that I don’t believe it will be completed before the President’s trip. But we have no fixed view on that subject; it is my estimate. But we can certainly finish it, if not before, then shortly afterward. But you have our assurance we will act in the sense that I have described.

Brezhnev: Good. When we were preparing for our discussions with you, we listed 15 questions we thought were important and of benefit to our two countries. Of those 15 questions, I felt the most important ones, on which results would be the most significant, were the following:

1. Soviet-American relations.

2. Further steps in the field of strategic arms limitation.

3. Middle East.

4. Trade, economic and scientific and technical cooperation between our two countries.

As I say, there are other matters, but these would seem to be the main ones, and they are fully in line with the President’s thinking and with the goals we set for the President’s visit.

Kissinger: I agree.

Brezhnev: Then we can consider our general assessment of Soviet-American relations is a favorable one and we have not come up against any differing view.

[Page 777]

Kissinger: That is correct.

Brezhnev: And we feel that gradually—not as fast as we wish but nevertheless—we are moving in that direction.

Kissinger: On Soviet-American relations?

Brezhnev: Yes.

Kissinger: That is correct.

Brezhnev: We are not in a position of confrontation. On the contrary, we are here exchanging views.

Kissinger: That is the meaning of détente.

Brezhnev: We make no attempt to interfere or inject our presence in the domestic affairs of the United States. That is entirely the concern of President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger. So whatever adverse processes are felt in the United States, there are no adverse processes between us.

In the past period, there have been increasing contacts between business circles and our people, and I have had occasions to receive them.

Kissinger: We strongly support that.

Brezhnev: And at various suggestions made by American companies, people from here have been going over to study the possibility of new deals. And so on this issue we can both state that our assessment is a positive one.

Kissinger: That is correct.

Brezhnev: As I say, I list these matters first because I think this is in line with President Nixon’s thinking, and not to give any impression we want to dodge any of the issues involved.

Then there is the question of the Middle East. Regardless of what number you give it, that is a very complex one. We have had a long conversation, and you and Foreign Minister Gromyko have on this subject. And I would not like to resume the conversation on this tonight. Perhaps we might find occasion to talk some more, or you could with Foreign Minister Gromyko.

Kissinger: As you wish. I am prepared.

Brezhnev: On strategic arms limitation, incidentally, just today we received a report—and I can probably show you tomorrow—that you carried out a test of a new missile, it seems successfully, on one of your islands, and the missile was equipped with five warheads, not three.

Kissinger: If it is Minuteman, that is impossible. If it is the Poseidon, it could be anything up to ten. But if it is the Minuteman, it cannot be anything but three.

Brezhnev: Let me be more specific tomorrow, because I was informed of this at the very last minute.

[Page 778]

Other Arms Control

On ABM, it is my impression we have reached an understanding.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: On the basis of leaving each side one area and ending all work on other areas.

Kissinger: That is correct.

Brezhnev: On ending underground tests, the question remains about the threshold.

Kissinger: We should begin technical discussions on that subject.

Brezhnev: That is, there is an understanding of the question.

Kissinger: That is correct.

Brezhnev: The understanding being that we can continue testing until January 1, 1976 and then call upon others to follow suit.

Kissinger: No, first of all, discontinuation applies to a threshold.

Gromyko: We said that.

Kissinger: Calling upon others, in our view, is not an essential element of this.

Gromyko: We understand you emphasized the need for that question to be resolved.

Kissinger: I think I expressed myself in the manner caricatured by the General Secretary. I consider it an obstacle to agreement. Also we must have technical discussions about the threshold before we can give an absolutely final answer.

[They confer.]

Brezhnev: I think, Dr. Kissinger, we could reach an agreement on that on a bilateral basis, that is, we could agree that we would discontinue testing, say two years, and at the end of that period, review the situation to see where we stand.

Gromyko: Without including a formal proposal in the agreement.

Kissinger: That is a possibility. But we should have technical discussions about the threshold. We are prepared to have them either in Washington or Moscow.

Brezhnev: We agree.

Kissinger: Then we should form an opinion, but in principle.

Brezhnev: Good.

Now, what about the question then of reduction of forces in Central Europe?

Kissinger: I think we should discuss that.

Can we take a 10-minute break? And bring our technical expert in?

Brezhnev: Certainly.

[Page 779]

Kissinger: We are prepared.

[There was a break from 7:05 to 7:30. Mr. Lodal came in. Brezhnev roughed up Lodal’s hair and commented that he needed a haircut; Kissinger agreed. Dobrynin pointed out that Lodal’s hair was not long by American standards. On his way back to his seat, Brezhnev picked up Mr. Rodman’s case containing Dr. Kissinger’s briefing books and walked off into the next room. Mr. Rodman followed him. Brezhnev turned around and came back. Mr. Rodman retrieved the case. Mr. Gromyko affirmed that it was a joke. The meeting then resumed.]


Brezhnev: I would like to say a couple of words on this question.

Kissinger: Please.

Brezhnev: On the question of reduction of forces and armaments in Central Europe.

We were gratified at the start of the negotiations in Vienna on the substance of this important problem. And we discerned in them the joint desire of our countries, together with the other European states concerned, to continue the process of strengthening European security and to complement political détente in that continent with measures of military détente. It is only too natural that negotiations should be conducted not for the sake of the negotiations themselves, but to achieve concrete practical results. We have to note, however, that so far there have been no such results. And in fact, people now are speaking of the deadlock that has taken form at the Vienna talks.

And it is becoming obvious that our Western partners have come to Vienna with clearly exaggerated demands. The approach they are suggesting means nothing short of a desire to alter or amend in their favor the correlation of forces in Central Europe that has taken shape over many years. They start talking about some kind of ceiling or of reduction only of the Soviet and American forces, and also they are calling for a reduction of Soviet forces in a proportion of two-to-one, or even more, compared to American forces. They speak only about the reduction of infantry forces without talking of other types of forces and armaments.

You will realize that if that approach is taken, the talks are bound to end in deadlock. And it is quite obvious that no reasonable or acceptable solution can result from such an approach.

So, therefore, if there is a genuine desire to reach agreement on this problem, it is necessary to take a more realistic view of the situation. I don’t believe you and I can here and now finally resolve this problem, and I have merely described in principle what is happening, emphasizing those things that cannot lead to real results, and I would be happy to hear from you some observations on this score. And then, de[Page 780]pending on how you see things, we could decide either to issue our delegations with new instructions or to discuss the matter at a higher level, or take other appropriate steps.

Kissinger: The negotiations on MBFR have, as you pointed out, Mr. General Secretary, many complexities. One is the geographic disparity of the location of the United States as opposed to the Soviet Union. Any Soviet forces would withdraw a few hundred miles, while American forces would withdraw a few thousand miles. Secondly, we start from a base which is disparate: According to our estimates, the forces of the Warsaw Pact are larger than those of NATO, and the forces of the Soviet Union are larger than those of the United States. And there are some disparities also in individual equipment.

On the other hand, we understand the Soviet concern that as a result of this effort there not just be a substitution of other forces for those of the United States—in other words, that if we withdraw a certain percentage of our forces, the other allies not just increase theirs by the same percentage. And we also understand there should not be a change in the relative weight of the various allies as a result of these negotiations.

So we understand the Soviet desire to have some clarity about the process that would be started.

[Food is brought in.]

Kissinger: It’s about time. I was getting hungry.

Brezhnev: When I got home last night, my wife showed me a picture in Izvestia. She said, Dr. Kissinger has lost weight. I said no, it is something in the photograph.

Kissinger: Your wife is a great diplomat.

Brezhnev: She usually takes no interest in the talks.

Gromyko: Did you tell her Dr. Kissinger was bringing great pressure to bear? [Laughter]

Kissinger: So, we understand that the discussions that have taken place in Vienna may have had some of the attributes that the General Secretary pointed out.

We wonder, therefore, what the General Secretary thinks now of the idea he discussed with President Nixon—of, for example, a cut of 5% of U.S. and Soviet forces, without equipment. In other words, this is a change in our position. With a ceiling to be put on allied forces so they cannot be increased to compensate for this. And with an agreement to move within a specified period to further discussions which would involve also forces of other countries, of all of the participants of the Conference.

Brezhnev: I did talk about this with President Nixon, and I spoke of it to Chancellor Brandt and to President Pompidou. I did indeed suggest that we agree on certain reductions in size of forces, perhaps in the [Page 781] initial stage symbolic reductions, and then let us wait and see several years, with talks continuing in the meantime, and then everybody concerned—the United States, the peoples of Europe, everybody—will see it is possible to live in Europe with a smaller number of armed forces. That would be just one first step.

But some time has elapsed since then, and here I have to use the language of diplomats. First Brandt told me he favored reduction of both national and foreign forces. Now I see there is a certain hesitation in this regard. Pompidou tells me he takes no part in these talks, and he says France is not going to cry over reductions of Soviet and American forces. That is what he told me in the last meetings. That prompts us to think about it.

Kissinger: I think the French army has a long way to go before it strikes terror in the Soviet Army. You can withdraw many forces before that point is reached.

Brezhnev: But I feel at this time we can limit ourselves to just an exchange of views.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: Without, however, losing interest in this activity.

Gromyko: And let the talks in Vienna continue.

Brezhnev: And perhaps after we both thought things over, we could agree to both give our delegations new directives. I’ve been hearing it said that the EEC, which is of course not only a commercial but also a political union, feels one could contemplate a Western Europe without boundaries. This was said to me by certain politicians. I said to Pompidou I didn’t agree it would happen, but if it did, every one of them would have to learn German.

Kissinger: That might be one result of the current tendencies.

Brezhnev: You are proposing an Atlantic Charter, which again makes us think. Some kind of Atlantic Charter instead of NATO. Then there is this Europe of Nine, a kind of union within an alliance. The normal number of teeth is 32; now people are trying to fit 33 into their mouth. Not being a dentist, I have to give some serious thought to what it means.

I know the Atlantic Charter is one of Kissinger’s ideas, and the Nine is one of France’s ideas. Which is why you and Jobert like each other.

Kissinger: It is not clear why Jobert should support something that will lead to the domination of Scheel.

Brezhnev: That is a question that does arise. And in general, various events are occurring in France which certainly give food for thought. I am sure you are familiar with the situation in France. I personally have nothing against Mr. Pompidou—we were the first to sign [Page 782] principles, the agreement on consultations. These were not simple documents. Our trade turnover has increased. This time, at Pitsunda, we spoke least of all on economic issues, on the specifics involved. Generally, France indicated her desire to increase trade and economic cooperation. We took a positive view of this. We could see Pompidou was deliberately avoiding reference to specifics, and, as it were, referring those matters to the relevant departments.

As I saw it, this was one of the effects of the terms imposed by the Nine. I didn’t want to importune him.

That is basically what I want to say. Unless Gromyko wants to say something.

Gromyko: The substance has been set out.

Brezhnev: I don’t know to what extent Pompidou informs you, but what I say is the truth. On several occasions, he repeated that France needs to retain a free hand, to be independent—he said that on several occasions. But since I had heard those words on countless other occasions, I didn’t try elucidating what he meant by a free hand. He did say at one point he thought Kissinger was going to attack France and he was going to defend himself. I say this merely to raise your spirits.

Kissinger: Most of the disputes between the United States and France depend entirely on French rationalistic education, only theory; there is no real basis. It reminds me of what Pétain4 said of those who came from the Ecole Normale—“They know everything; in fact they know nothing else.” There is no concrete basis; the independence dispute is only a theory. We make no attempt to interfere with independent policies, and the ultimate independence and freedom of action of a country depend on its specific weight, not its declarations. You have experience with that with friends on your side of the line.

So we have always treated such phenomena as on a tactical level, so I wouldn’t attach too much importance to them when they apply to France and the United States. We have no intention of attacking France, and I don’t know how Mr. Pompidou wants to defend himself. If in the spirit of cooperation you wanted to inform him he is wasting his energy . . . As for the Nine, it is our understanding they are thinking of forming a defense community, and a political union.

Brezhnev: That is my information too.

Dr. Kissinger, I was reminded here. This is one part of the [Pitsunda] talks I want to read to you. It relates to the U.S.-Soviet talks on SALT. “Pompidou said that France welcomed these talks and would be happy if they led to a halt in the arms race between the two powers, because it is dangerous. At the same time, France was happy not to be a [Page 783] participant in these talks because she didn’t want their consequences in any way to touch upon France.”

Another of his suggestions was that the next working meeting like Pitsunda be held in Paris. We didn’t discuss any dates. I invited him to pay an official visit to the Soviet Union, but again, we didn’t discuss dates. I informed you.

Kissinger: We appreciate this. We are not concerned with France’s policy, and these were all consistent with our expectations. But we appreciated the exchanges we have had on the subject and your informing us.

Brezhnev: So perhaps, returning to the subject of troop reductions in Central Europe, we could then agree the conference itself should continue to work. And in the meantime, say at the Ministerial level or other level, we could think of ways to give new impetus to the work and bring rapid results.

Kissinger: So as I understand it, the ideas you discussed with President Nixon last year are in abeyance?

Brezhnev: No, why? But for the time being, no practical solution has been found to that problem.

Kissinger: Including that idea advanced by the General Secretary?

Brezhnev: Yes. Because the suggestion is that only a certain percentage of land forces be withdrawn, which would violate the balance, a balance which has been in existence for 30 years. So obviously there is a need to dig a little deeper into this whole matter.

Gromyko: When Douglas-Home, the Conservative Foreign Secretary, was in Moscow discussing this subject, he said it was best to reduce land forces first, especially the number of tanks. When we asked why, he said, “Because the Warsaw Pact has more tanks.” That is not a good reason.

Kissinger: I have never heard a NATO Minister who disagreed. That is very convincing to NATO people!

The question is how serious we are in promoting these negotiations. If each side wants to freeze the superiority it has, there will never be an agreement.

Gromyko: Then let the other participants take a more objective view instead of saying, “Reduce tanks because the other side has more tanks.” Because all forces and armaments should be reduced. It should be a cross-section of all forces in Europe, including nuclear forces. So it is certainly expedient to give further study, but it is also necessary for the Western powers to take an objective view.

Kissinger: So you think at the Summit no understanding can be reached.

[Page 784]

Gromyko: Perhaps as a result of further thought, something could be agreed. Let us agree to think this over. You may want to exchange views with your allies. This is certainly one of the topics we list as for the Summit.

Kissinger: But our experience is that unless there is a preliminary agreement before the Summit, it is very hard to reach an agreement at the Summit.

Gromyko: True, but surely there can be an additional exchange of views between now and the Summit.

Kissinger: I just told Sonnenfeldt I don’t have the impression we will achieve a breakthrough on this subject tonight. But I don’t want to be hasty; that is why I asked Sonnenfeldt.

Gromyko: A breakthrough today, maybe not. But between now and the Summit . . .

Kissinger: Because I would have offered to split the difference, if I knew what your position is.

Gromyko: Could you tell your position?

Kissinger: I already told you. A cut of 5% in U.S. and Soviet forces, to be followed by further reductions of other forces.

Gromyko: Yes, but we said that involved additional forces. What about air forces and other arms? We can’t do as Home said.

Kissinger: But in that stage tanks would not be included, only personnel.

Gromyko: But that is not our proposal. When Comrade Brezhnev put his proposal, he said armed forces, not just personnel. Otherwise it is just counting heads.

Kissinger: By air forces, do you mean personnel, or aircraft too?

Gromyko: Those too.

Brezhnev: Because air forces include arms and not just personnel.

Gromyko: The question now in the discussion in Vienna is the question of reductions of armed forces and armaments.

Brezhnev: I am sure Dr. Kissinger is aware that that kind of approach is groundless.

Kissinger: Can I also, just for my education, Mr. Foreign Minister, ask about the content of your 20,000 symbolic cut put forward at Vienna? Is that personnel or equipment?

Gromyko: We named that as an example but we have never divorced the question of personnel from that of arms, and we have always said cuts should include air forces and nuclear weapons.

Brezhnev: That is what we wrote.

Kissinger: My quick impression is reinforced; I don’t think we will find a solution this evening.

[Page 785]

Brezhnev: I agree with you. But we should give thought to today’s discussion. [Kissinger nods yes.] So let the Conference go on working, and we should give whatever help we can. [Kissinger nods yes.]

Gromyko: [Picks up a briefing paper] This is our proposal: “The Soviet Union and other participants in the talks suggest a reduction of 20,000 with appropriate matériel and equipment.” That is in paragraph 2. This is something that applies to both of us.

And in fact, in the past, Western countries themselves never attempted to disunite personnel and arms. Only very recently this question cropped up. It seems they switch positions whenever it is to their advantage.

Kissinger: We are prepared to discuss cuts that move in the direction of equality. But we should consider the consequences if we fail to make progress in any of the fields of limitation of armaments. If armaments on both sides continue to grow while we declare we are in a period of détente . . . So this is not a question to be settled tonight, but it will have a serious influence.

Gromyko: We are in favor of continuing to give thought to this. Certainly it is quite possible we will have opportunities to make progress.

[Kissinger and Stoessel discuss the Soviet-proposed text of the daily press announcement.]

Kissinger: [to Gromyko] We suggest that if we omit the phrase we had yesterday about the talks being constructive and businesslike, it would have a political significance. Add whatever we had yesterday.

Gromyko: We will include it.

[Gromyko confers with Brezhnev.]

Brezhnev: Good.

Gromyko: Accepted.

Kissinger: [referring to Dobrynin] Is he going to be like his Chinese colleague in Washington, whom we haven’t seen in four months?

Dobrynin: Good. It is quiet.

Economic Relations

Brezhnev: Could we now go over to trade and economic matters?

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: If we sum up what we have achieved in the last two years, we can see the significant advance in economic ties between the United States and the Soviet Union. As comparing 1972 and 1973, trade between the two has doubled and reached $1.5 billion. There have been several agreements concluded between Soviet organizations and American companies, including with an American bank. A representative organization has been set up to promote economic ties.

[Page 786]

But at the same time, we have to note that not everything agreed upon has been carried out, and in the first instance, one has to mention here that the cardinal and fundamental issue of eliminating discrimination against the Soviet Union in trade has not been resolved, and also the question of granting the Soviet Union most-favored-nation treatment. From what we know and what you have told us, we are familiar with your domestic difficulties in this regard. Only too naturally we hope a solution will be achieved as soon as possible. I hardly need to say a lack of solution to this question gives rise to quite a few difficulties. And lack of such a solution, for one thing, prevents me and President Nixon from discussing larger-scale arrangements that are possible in the field of economic ties. This applies to the question of credits.

Although I was gratified to hear that the temporary restrictions imposed on the Export-Import Bank were lifted. A few days ago, I was pleased to read your statement where you very convincingly and reasonably argued the case for granting most-favored-nation treatment to the Soviet Union.5 It has now become possible to proceed further in the question of building a United States trade center in Moscow. But all of this process of first freezing, then unfreezing, impedes this process of developing economic ties.

One significant step along this road could be the signing of a long-term agreement on economic, industrial and technological cooperation. I think last October we handed to you a draft of an appropriate economic agreement.6

Kissinger: We have given you a draft.7

Brezhnev: We handed it to Secretary Shultz in Moscow.

Kissinger: But we gave you a draft.

Brezhnev: Yes. So it would therefore seem that preparation of such an agreement has assumed a practical shape. My colleagues and I be[Page 787]lieve the signing of such an agreement could be an important element in the long-term economic relationship outlined by President Nixon in his conversation with Foreign Trade Minister Patolichev. And I believe this question could be one of the important matters taken up at the Summit meeting.

Frankly speaking, I personally have not had much chance to look into the details of the draft you have given us. However, our people reported to me there was a great difference between your draft and ours. Your draft emphasizes not the main question of developing ties between our two countries, but questions which, though requiring solutions, are in effect of secondary significance—for example, exchanging information in the field of trade, improving conditions for the work of trade companies and organizations. So it remains for us but to voice our hope and desire that we can get down to business-like effort to agree on the text of an agreement. And that your representatives and ours receive appropriate instructions without delay, so they can get down to business promptly.

There are quite a few negotiations presently under way, for example, on Yakutsk gas and other primary products. All these talks can run their course. If the United States is interested in principle in such long-term agreements, the experts will undoubtedly be able to calculate the economic benefits for both sides. So we have to elaborate the common, mutually acceptable and optimum treaty agreements.

Let me say, by way of illustration, that it seemed at first that the United States was interested in receiving energy from the Soviet Union, in the form of oil and gas. On the other hand, we felt that some representatives of American business circles took President Nixon’s statement about U.S. independence in the field of energy8 as signifying a loss of interest in Soviet oil and gas deposits. So there is one specific issue on which it is necessary to have some clarity. Then the specific issue will be seen in its true light. It is also a fact that not only American companies but also European and Japanese companies are approaching us with inquiries about our deposits of oil and gas. Yesterday I met with two prominent Japanese economists and businessmen. They both expressed their great interest in cooperation in these fields, as they had in conversations with Comrade Kosygin. They were very appreciative when I told of our willingness to supply them with a part of our national wealth. Chancellor Brandt, President Pom[Page 788]pidou, and Italy are all equally interested in these projects; not to mention the Eastern European socialist countries.

Or, to take another example, the talks going on now between our Aviation Ministry and the American companies Lockheed, Boeing, and Douglas, for technical cooperation. But those American companies say that so far they have not had a sign of the favorable attitude of the American Administration to this kind of cooperation.

On the other hand, we couldn’t fail to take note of the very fine statement by President Nixon to the American Trade and Economic Council when he said that economic relations should cement very friendly relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.9 So we see friendly statements not reinforced by appropriate actions.

We entered into fairly large-scale deals with Japan, for example, on timber, and at present we are on the threshold of a new agreement with the Japanese on timber resources. And the Japanese I met yesterday told me they were interested in continued Japanese-Soviet cooperation in various projects, including projects on the basis of compensation. And we confirmed our agreement to supply them with 25 million tons of oil.

[Brezhnev looks for a map in his folder of maps, and can’t find it.]

Do you know of the speech I made recently at Alma-Ata?10

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: In that speech, I made public what has already been decided on by us—adopted by the Central Committee and now included in the Plan.

[He finds the map he wants and puts it before the Secretary. They both get up to inspect it closely.]

That is Lake Baikal, and you see the existing railroad [the Trans-Siberian]. It is one hundred years old. The country has grown immensely in the meantime. It is very hard to ship materials to Vladivostok by railroad. The whole trans-Baikal area is a virgin area, which holds enormous reserves of gold, tin, and so on. So we have decided to build a new railroad. Part is already built, from Tayshet to Ust-Kut. That is what the Japanese are interested in. And we will build a new railroad. We won’t ask any credits for that; we will build it by ourselves. This will mean that an enormous new industrial area will be added to the country’s industrial centers. There will be two special en[Page 789]gineering corps; the Komsomol will send 20,000–30,000 young people to work on the railroad. And we will build east and west from there [points to a spot in the center]. Then in 5–6 years we will be talking an entirely different language. The Japanese were very happy about this—to build major towns and cities in the area, and plants.

[Both sit down.]

I merely say this to show the error of old views about the Soviet Union, that we are backward or poorly developed. Maybe we lag behind the United States in some areas, but we are not backward. One year is just nothing. In the overall balance one year can be in favor of one country; the next year in favor of another. So we have to define the major issue, Dr. Kissinger, to define clearly the U.S. attitude and the attitude of President Nixon to this entire question. If that is clearly defined as positive, then we can indeed say, as the President did, that economic cooperation can cement our friendship. Because it is not a flexible policy to say that today we freeze something and tomorrow we unfreeze it.

Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, we have had many talks on economic matters.

Brezhnev: We should do our best to remove all obstacles placed in the way of this by ill-wishers. It is one thing to criticize; it is another to look at how someone comes to power and acts. It is one thing to criticize, and another to plan and organize things.

Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, we have talked about this problem in this room many times. You ask our attitude. Our attitude has been described by President Nixon at the dinner for your Minister [Patolichev, Feb. 26]. It has been stated publicly by President Nixon and stated publicly by me, and has been stated to the Senate Finance Committee. We believe very strongly in the general improvement in our political relations, and we believe a general improvement in economic relations is an essential component of that relationship. We are encouraging both public and private investment in the Soviet Union. We have always considered your long-range economic plans and plans for long-range economic ties between the United States and the Soviet Union an example of far-sighted statesmanship on the General Secretary’s part. We are prepared to cooperate with this.

We have, as you know, encountered a number of domestic obstacles, some of a highly irresponsible nature. You must be aware of the fact that the President and I have worked unceasingly to overcome them. And we will continue to do this.

I have made a few suggestions to your Ambassador which are frankly inappropriate but happen to be connected with our domestic situation.

[Page 790]

As to the specific items you mentioned, Mr. General Secretary, I repeat, we will cease no effort to implement the trade legislation and overcome the additional restrictions that opponents are attempting to impose on us.

On the Export-Import Bank, the temporary interruption that occurred was not the work of the Administration but came totally unexpectedly. Since it has been ended, we already approved $40 million worth of loans. And we are continuing to examine the fertilizer plant and the Yakutsk plant. We have to evaluate this in terms of the domestic situation at this point, because we don’t want to hurt the possibility of achieving a positive solution to the MFN question. But we have every intention of bringing about a favorable consideration.

Regarding the long-term trade agreement, this has the strong support of our Administration. It is my understanding that Mr. Bennett, the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, is coming with Secretary Dent.12 In any event, our negotiators will be instructed to achieve a solution by the time of the Summit.

We will look through the draft with this in mind.

Regarding the long-term projects you mentioned, we continue to maintain our interest in the projects we have discussed with you and we do not believe it is inconsistent with our energy policy. In this connection I would like to reaffirm we are prepared to continue discussion between Mr. Simon or Mr. Donaldson and appropriate officials on your side.13

Regarding aircraft design, the sale of aircraft by the United States would be facilitated in every respect. We would also be prepared to license the export of some equipment of aircraft components. The only thing we don’t want to do is contribute to the 160 airplane.

Brezhnev: We will have to work on that ourselves.

Kissinger: But on the principle of cooperation on aircraft design, we can cooperate.

In short, we agree with the perspectives that have been described by the General Secretary.

Brezhnev: I never heard you ask for our help in building the B–1.

Kissinger: Perhaps at the Summit in 1975 we can agree on the B–2. Then both sides will have the same airplane, and that will simplify many things.

[Page 791]

Brezhnev: It is an excellent idea, and we will suggest cooperating on the 162. [Laughter]

Kissinger: But our most immediate objective is to get the trade legislation passed, which we hope to achieve in June or July. We believe that long-term trade between the United States and the Soviet Union is of mutual benefit and we will do our utmost to encourage it. It is not a unilateral thing we do for the Soviet Union, and we have never looked at it that way.

Brezhnev: What are the real prospects? Do you have a strong conviction that something can be done by June?

Kissinger: Speaking frankly, I believe if our political relations remain good—as I believe they will—and if we can do something on the problems I discussed with Ambassador Dobrynin, that we now have the possibility in the Senate to bring about a compromise that will lead to the granting of MFN. Many Senators told me before I left for the Soviet Union that they were eager to work for a compromise—Senators that have supported Senator Jackson. So this is the immediate problem I shall have when I return.

Brezhnev: I recently was told there was one Senator who deep down is against Jackson—and there are many Senators of that kind—but for the time being they are apprehensive about saying so.

Kissinger: They must be given some excuse for doing it, but they are ready to do it. And we now have support from some groups who were behind this program. I had a meeting with Senator Ribicoff and Senator Jackson, and later with Senator Javits.14 And I believe it will be possible to bring about a solution. Not so much with Jackson but with the others.

Brezhnev: As you know, Jackson is linking this matter with something that bears no relation to this entire matter.15

Kissinger: I agree.

Brezhnev: Relating it to such questions of Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. Later I will give you an official communication on [Page 792] that score.16 I give you this not by way of accounting to anyone, but as gentlemen. I gave President Nixon assurances and I will give him official information.

Kissinger: We don’t consider this a proper subject of inquiry by the United States Government.

Brezhnev: We talked about that; it would indeed be tantamount to interference in our internal affairs. You remember I saw the Senators and read out official data.17 These were true figures that have been given. And I can now give you official figures relating to the true situation as of March 1 of this year.

Our Patolichev has been a little unwell recently. But I trust our others—Alkhimov, Semichastny18—will do the work.

I can tell you—[to Rodman:] this is not necessary for the record—at a recent meeting, my colleagues asked, “Are we interested in any change in our line toward the United States, economically or politically?” And the trade experts were there. And the unanimous judgment was no. I am charged with these negotiations and I can tell you we stand firmly by the line we have stated.

Kissinger: I can tell you President Nixon has no higher goal than to establish firmly the course we have taken, including especially in the economic sphere.

Brezhnev: I feel he is certainly quite right. So I trust by 1975 I will be in Washington again, unless you change policies.

Kissinger: We won’t change policies.

Brezhnev: Then we should give earnest thought not only to this Summit but also to 1975. Because, I like to repeat, to govern means to foresee.

Kissinger: In fact, when the General Secretary comes next time, we hope he will travel around the United States.

Brezhnev: With pleasure.

[Page 793]

Perhaps we can finish for today.

Kissinger: All right.

Brezhnev: I feel we are setting aside quite some time for discussions every day.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: Our Defense Minister Grechko just returned from a trip. In the two days I have been discussing with you, I haven’t met any of my own colleagues, even though I am home. So I would like to set aside a half hour, an hour, tomorrow morning to meet with them. I have to tell them about the critical remarks I have addressed to you.

Kissinger: Maybe they will disagree with the critical remarks.

Brezhnev: So, 11:00.

Kissinger: At 11:00? It is up to you.

Brezhnev: If by any chance there are any changes, I’ll inform you.

Kissinger: And we will discuss primarily strategic questions? Or what else?

Brezhnev: According to my list: energy, the Four-Power agreement in West Berlin, which is not a big question.

Kissinger: Yes, I agree we should discuss it.

Brezhnev: And scientific and technical cooperation.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: And perhaps we might have to return to some of the questions we have already discussed but agreed to think over. Maybe the Middle East, strategic arms; those are two items to which we might return.

Kissinger: If we want to conclude an agreement on strategic arms at the Summit, we have to reach a decision fairly soon.

Brezhnev: Of course. As I see it, it is indeed a fundamental issue. President Nixon singles it out for special attention in his message.19

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: And it is certainly in the focus of public attention.

And congratulations to your daughter tomorrow [on her 15th birthday]. Where are they?

Kissinger: At the ballet.

Brezhnev: Well, have a good rest.

Kissinger: Thank you.

[The meeting thereupon concluded.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Files, 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. Kissinger stopped in London on March 28 en route to Washington.
  3. Document 163.
  4. Henri Philippe Pétain, Chief of State of Vichy France from 1940 to 1944.
  5. Possibly a reference to Kissinger’s March 7 statement to the Senate Finance Committee, in which he said that he would recommend that the President veto the Trade Bill if it did not include most-favored-nation status for the Soviet Union because of Soviet restrictions on Jewish emigration. See “Kissinger Fights Trade Bill Curbs,” The New York Times, March 8, 1974. Documentation on the Nixon administration’s attempts to modify the Senate version of the Trade Bill is in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976.
  6. The Soviet draft was given to Shultz when he was in Moscow to attend a meeting of the U.S.–USSR Joint Commercial Commission October 1–3, 1973. The joint statement issued at the end of the meeting is in telegram 12137 from Moscow, October 3. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  7. The U.S. draft was given to Patolichev during the first meeting of the U.S.–USSR Trade and Economic Council held in Washington February 25–26. Patolichev briefed the press after the meeting; see “Soviet Stresses Trade Conditions,” The New York Times, February 27, 1974, p. 49.
  8. In a speech to the nation on November 7, 1973, President Nixon introduced Project Independence in response to the energy crisis brought on by the Arab oil embargo imposed after the October war in the Middle East. See Public Papers: Nixon, 1973, pp. 916–922.
  9. Possibly during the February 26 dinner that Nixon hosted for the Directors of the U.S.–USSR Trade and Economic Council.
  10. In his March 15 speech at Alma Ata, Brezhnev introduced a new agricultural program and announced the decision to build a railroad line across eastern Siberia and the Soviet Far East. (Telegram 3771 from Moscow, March 18; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  11. The text of the Soviet draft of a long-term economic agreement, given to Secretary of Commerce Dent during the meeting in Moscow, is in telegram 5244 from Moscow, April 10. (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files) See also Document 172.
  12. These discussions have not been identified. William E. Simon was the Administrator of the Federal Energy Office. William H. Donaldson was Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance.
  13. Kissinger met with Senators Jackson and Ribicoff on March 15; see “Soviet Emigration Assurance, Trade Bill Linked,” The New York Times, March 19, 1974[DT], p. A12. The meeting with Senator Javits has not been identified. Kissinger wrote about his ongoing meetings with the three Senators about Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union in Years of Upheaval, pp. 992–995.
  14. A [DT]March 12 memorandum from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger reporting on meetings with members of Senator Jackson’s staff outlines Jackson’s position on Jewish emigration. For the text, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976, Document 207.
  15. A note was handed to Kissinger in Moscow on March 28 stating, “Since the emigration began in 1945 through March 1, 1974, 94 thousand persons (with children up to 16 years of age) left the USSR for permanent residence in Israel.” The note explained the decrease in emigration numbers: “Following October 1973 (the period of military activities), the number of requests to emigrate to Israel dropped more than two-fold.” “During 1973,” the note continued, “the Soviet authorities received more than a thousand requests from former Soviet citizens who had departed for Israel for permission to return to the USSR. The decline in emigration and the rise in remigration has been influenced in the first instance by the irrational and aggressive policies of the Israeli Government, as well as social difficulties in that country.” (National Archives, RG 59, Lot 81 D 286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, 1955–1977, Box 8, Soviet Union—Secretary’s Trip, March 1974) See also footnote 6, Document 162.
  16. See footnote 2, Document 125.
  17. Not further identified.
  18. Document 163.