169. Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 9. Please pass the following to the President:

I had a largely inconclusive seven hours with Brezhnev today.2 During morning session, Brezhnev and Gromyko bitterly and at length, though calmly, gave vent to their resentment at Soviet exclusion from Middle East diplomacy. Discussion was one of most acid I have had with Brezhnev. It reflected I think not only resentment at US but at the Arabs and a certain recognition that despite their power Soviets have not been wanted as active participants in Middle East negotiations to date. I stressed the need to keep focus on the goal of a settlement rather than on formalities of negotiations to date. I agreed to meet with Gromyko periodically. Soviets dropped subject after some 3 hours along the lines of our meeting at the dacha,3 and they indicated they might come back to it.

During rest of day there was some agreement that we would continue joint efforts to bring European Security Conference to conclusion but I withheld agreement to repeated Soviet urging that CSCE conclusion at summit occur before your Soviet visit. I think such timing would be undesirable from your standpoint and would also deny you leverage during Soviet visit. There was also agreement that US and Soviet technicians get together to examine a ban on underground tests above a certain threshold beginning January 1976. I made no final commitment and rejected an obviously anti-Chinese proviso that US and USSR appeal to others to join such a ban. On other topics, Soviets showed no inclination to negotiate on MBFR. They also, not unexpectedly, voiced disappointment at trade situation though I assured them that your position remained as you stated it most recently to Patolichev.4

In sum, major issues, i.e., SALT, Middle East and MBFR, have so far been inconclusive and there has been somewhat desultory quality to rest of Soviet performance. At the same time, Brezhnev has said that the leadership recently decided to continue on course with US. Also, [Page 795] there is Politburo meeting scheduled Wednesday morning with Grechko, who has just returned from Iraq; this may produce some adjustment in Soviet SALT position. In any event, Brezhnev asked me to delay departure by one day. Because of my other commitments I agreed to delay by about 5 or 6 hours, permitting additional session Thursday.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 49, HAK Trip Files, HAK Trip—Bonn, Moscow, London, Memos, Misc. & State, March 24–28, 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Immediate.
  2. See Documents 167 and 168.
  3. Presumably Kissinger was referring to his meeting with Gromyko at Zavidovo on May 8, 1973; see Document 112.
  4. See footnote 8, Document 168.