172. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1

Secretary Dent has sent you the following report2 of his meeting with General Secretary Brezhnev:

“1. I had hour-long talk with Brezhnev April 9. Ambassador Stoessel, Jack Bennett of Treasury and Lewis Bowden of Commerce were with me.

“Throughout conversation Brezhnev was somber, obviously preoccupied with what he feels is slowing tempo of détente relationship. He blames this squarely on what he called ‘misguided statements’ by a few individuals in the Congress and perhaps elsewhere in U.S. which are taken as signal by American businessmen not to move forward. He complained that many U.S. businessmen take positions when they were talking to you but changed their minds when you leave, intimating that some are easily scared out of ‘cooperation’ with the USSR in economic field.

“2. Brezhnev cited two cases: Rockwell negotiations for possible purchase of YAK–40 aircraft and Hammer deal on fertilizers, both of which he maintained had ground to halt.

“3. I pointed out record was not really that bad since much progress had been made in past 20 months, proof of which was that our trade had reached $1.4 billion last year. As evidence of movement, I cited recent approval by Ex-Im Bank of $36 million loan for new trade center in Moscow. Moreover, I told him you were personally interested in seeing fertilizer deal get backing from Ex-Im Bank and we hoped that would take place soon. As far as YAK–40 was concerned, I told him its use in U.S. would depend on conclusion of an airworthiness agreement between us and we were prepared to negotiate one when they were.

“4. Senator Jackson is clearly Brezhnev’s bugbear these days. At one point, on being told by aide that U.S. would not give licenses for sale of some of machine tools on display at U.S. exhibition, he commented perhaps we should get permission from Jackson. I said Senator [Page 820] Long3 had indicated to me last week he was hopeful about being able to pass constructive legislation this year, but he did not react to this.

“5. I told Brezhnev you were interested in our continuing efforts to find mutually satisfactory subjects for inclusion in a long-term economic cooperation. We agreed our representatives would meet soon with view to working out new text by next meeting of Joint U.S.–USSR Commercial Commission on May 21.

“6. Brezhnev said he looks forward to your forthcoming trip here and asked me to tell you that he and his colleagues deeply appreciate your efforts to fulfill the responsibilities which you and he jointly assured toward each other in 1972 and 1973. He hopes there will be new agreements to sign, ‘notwithstanding the difficulties,’ in order to show we are moving toward good neighborly relations. I promised I would pass these sentiments on to you.

“7. To sum up, I sensed from conversation Brezhnev and company are disappointed and confused over seeming slowdown in our commercial relations. At the same time, he appears convinced that course you and he have embarked on will be judged by history to have been course of ‘great realism.’”

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 22, January–April 1974. Secret. A stamped notation at the top of the page reads: “The President has seen.”
  2. Attached but not printed is Dent’s report, transmitted in telegram 5235 from Moscow, April 9.
  3. Russell B. Long, Democratic Senator from Louisiana, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.