185. Editorial Note

On June 25, 1974, President Richard Nixon left Washington for a two-day state visit to Belgium. In his memoirs he described the trip: “Our first stop was Brussels, where I attended ceremonies marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of NATO. I thought that it would be especially useful to dramatize the continuing viability of the Atlantic alliance before sitting down with Brezhnev. In my formal statement to the NATO Council, I said that the period of détente was one of great opportunity but also great danger. We had to face the fact that European politics had changed completely. We had to accept the fact that fear of communism was no longer a practical motivation for NATO; if NATO were to survive, it would need other binding motives to keep it together.” The text of President Nixon’s statement before the North Atlantic Council, delivered on June 26, is in telegram 4583 from Brussels, June 26. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)

Two days later, Nixon and his party left Belgium and continued on to Moscow for the summit. He described his arrival in his memoirs: “With our airport reception in Moscow on June 27, Summit III got off to a very auspicious start. Brezhnev himself was there, bounding across the tarmac to meet me. A fairly large crowd had been allowed to stand behind barriers and wave paper flags. Unlike 1972, there were also crowds along the streets to the Kremlin.” (The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, pages 1026–1027)