17. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Ambassador Anatoli Dobrynin
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

Dobrynin saw me at his request with a message that I would be welcome to arrive on September 10, that Brezhnev would conduct the conversations with me himself, and that the Soviet side would prefer to make the announcement only after I had left, just as we had done last time. I said that under present circumstances, with the election campaign, this would be a very difficult thing to do and would raise needless issues of secrecy. I, therefore, proposed making the announcement on the Monday or Tuesday of the week preceding my departure. Dobrynin said he would check with Moscow and let me know.

Nuclear Understanding

Dobrynin then handed me a letter from Brezhnev [Tab A]2 and the draft treaty [Tab B]3 on renunciation of the use of nuclear weapons. The draft had been adjusted so that now NATO allies would be covered but third countries would not be. Dobrynin asked what I thought of it. I said, “Let me understand: Under Article 3 of this treaty, if you attack NATO we attack the Warsaw Pact; Article 1 renouncing the use of nuclear weapons does not apply.” He said, “That is correct.” I asked him, “Are you prepared to express this in some agreed understandings that could be published?” He said yes. I then said, “Let me ask another case: Supposing we attack a country that is not allied with you but whose independence you value, such as India, would you then be prohibited from using nuclear weapons by this treaty?” Dobrynin said, “Yes, by this treaty.” In other words an attack on China would bar us from using nuclear weapons.

Middle East

Dobrynin then asked a number of questions about what approaches we had made to Egypt, and I assured him that we had not made any. But he seemed very uncertain.

[Page 43]

This conversation, like the one the day before, ended on an extremely cordial note with profuse thanks by Dobrynin for everything that had been done on the West Coast.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 13. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the White House Map Room.
  2. Printed as Document 15. All brackets are in the original.
  3. Attached but not printed.