188. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Georgi M. Korniyenko, Member of the Collegium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief of USA Division
  • Oleg Krokholev, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Ambassador Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor, Department of State
  • Major General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • William Hyland, Director, INR
  • Jan Lodal, NSC Senior Staff
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • Test Ban

Gromyko: We have 30 minutes. Will this be enough?

Kissinger: We can settle in 10 minutes. I pointed out yesterday2 what the issues are that we need to settle. I don’t think it is possible to draft an agreement here.

Gromyko: Not possible?

Kissinger: Not possible. I think it is possible to draft a protocol that we will finish the agreement in 1974, and specifying a certain threshold, and something on peaceful nuclear explosions.

Gromyko: Specifying a certain threshold.

Kissinger: Yes. So there is some result. 150, for example.

[Page 921]

Gromyko: 150, the threshold.

Kissinger: Yes. 100–150.

Gromyko: How about an intermediate threshold?

Kissinger: We can’t accept it.

Gromyko: You can’t accept it? Yesterday it was said by the President, 100.

Kissinger: I overruled him. [Laughter]

Gromyko: This is real democracy.

Kissinger: He thought you would say 300.

Gromyko: How about the testing fields? The two questions I mentioned yesterday.

Kissinger: You have already agreed to specifying the testing fields.

Gromyko: That is too bureaucratic an approach. The foundation of the agreement should be the capability of each side to identify. On this supposition we are prepared.

Kissinger: If they can work out some conversion table. But then they are almost back to a seismic threshold. For example, if an explosion at a site is considered equivalent to a certain yield, then the reason for it is not so important. Whether it is granite or otherwise.

Gromyko: First, information about fields—you insist on it?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: This is one difficulty.

Kissinger: But we know where it is anyway.

Gromyko: The second one, about the ground.

Kissinger: The second we can handle in one of two ways. Whether we get the data on the ground is decisive only if we have to get the data ourselves. If you agree to a conversion table, we are in a different position.

Gromyko: If we are going to produce all kinds of tables and annexes to the agreement, these kind of bureaucratic things only make it more difficult. It is not necessary. What is important is that the parties will do everything possible to determine the nature of the tests. This applies to both the test sites and the kind of rock.

Kissinger: Mr. Foreign Minister, on test sites, it is in Article 2 of your own draft.3

Gromyko: Our position is not to identify and write into the agreement specific test sites.

[Page 922]

Kissinger: It doesn’t have to be written into the agreement, but we have to know where the test is taking place.

Gromyko: In other words, we are not in favor of agreeing on that matter or writing it down anywhere. We are in an equal position in this respect.

Kissinger: You can read The New York Times, and Dobrynin’s Congressional committees will tell him.

Gromyko: The New York Times is not a Bible.

Kissinger: But the Joint Atomic Energy Committee will tell Dobrynin.

Gromyko: It never writes down instructions for us.

Kissinger: Are you saying you don’t want to do it here at the summit? Or that you don’t want to do it at all? Are you withdrawing your own article? I always knew Korniyenko operated on his own.

[The Soviet side holds a brief conference.]

Gromyko: I have a question to ask. Does your delegation have any proposal on the specific amounts of information required on the rock? Because our delegation has the impression you are trying to request an unlimited amount of data. An enormous amount of data.

Kissinger: I don’t doubt that. I don’t doubt that every clever bureaucrat writes down what he thinks is desirable and they add them together. But let me sum up: I know what we have asked for. We could get by with your paragraph two which is less specific but has the essential elements. In other words, we withdraw our paragraph three and accept your paragraph two. On information.

[The Soviet side holds another conference.]

Gromyko: Is my understanding correct that you are going to omit your paragraph three and accept our paragraph two?

Kissinger: We accept your paragraph two.

Gromyko: You are going to omit your paragraph three?

Kissinger: We would have to look at your paragraph two and see if we don’t want to add a word or two.

Gromyko: And omit your paragraph three?

Kissinger: You are very precise. We substantially accept your paragraph two. You will have to give us an opportunity to discuss your paragraph two but it will be in that framework.

Gromyko: Is my understanding correct that you are talking about two things: First, the test site, that is, a rather big area which contains many areas where tests proceed?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: So you insist on both the general area and the specific area?

[Page 923]

Kissinger: I am negotiating with my two neighbors here.

Gromyko: Cover your ears.

Kissinger: If I don’t understand it, how can you?

Gromyko: Don’t forget: [he points to the chandelier] Ivan the Terrible put in the devices. [Kissinger turns his paper over.]

Kissinger: We need a definition of the entire area, location. Then after the shot, under your own paragraph three, we should be told where the shot was. That’s with respect to location. With respect to geology, we would like general information as in your paragraph three of the protocol for the area. All we need is the geology of the place you are going to test. We don’t need the geology of the whole big area.

Gromyko: Yes. As to peaceful nuclear explosions, did you give us an answer yet?

Kissinger: What is the question?

We will give you the answer.

You mean the NPT?

Dobrynin: It was given to Vorontsov two days ago.

Korniyenko: To have separate talks on peaceful nuclear explosions.

Kissinger: In the framework of the NPT. Yes.

Korniyenko: In October in Moscow.

Kissinger: We agree in principle.

Gromyko: I think we should not postpone agreement on this subject—peaceful nuclear explosions—until we reach agreement on this. This matter should not be stopped.

Kissinger: That is all right with us. If we agree that there will be no peaceful nuclear explosions until we agree. Except below the threshold.

Gromyko: Why?

Kissinger: Because otherwise peaceful nuclear explosions can be used as an evasion of the threshold.

Gromyko: That can’t be.

Kissinger: Then we have no agreement.

Gromyko: You agree there will be a separate agreement?

Kissinger: I am prepared for an agreement if there are no tests above the threshold until there is an agreement.

Gromyko: Practically it will be the case.

Kissinger: Under those conditions, yes.

Gromyko: Let’s adjourn our meeting and discuss it later.

Kissinger: We have fully explored the topic. Businesslike and constructive.

[Page 924]

Gromyko: The President and General Secretary meet at 11:00.

Kissinger: What is the subject?

Gromyko: Both sides are free.

Kissinger: What will you raise?

Gromyko: European matters, the Middle East.

Kissinger: Not on a Saturday.

Gromyko: We are not Moslems. Always when I am in the Middle East we don’t work on Friday.

Kissinger: The same with me. Except in Saudi Arabia. The King of Saudi Arabia knows Moscow is run from Tel Aviv.

Dobrynin: Faisal? He is a great expert.

Kissinger: Your intelligence should look into this. It is an interesting theory.

Gromyko: How did this happen? How did they subjugate us?

Kissinger: Because all their leaders were born in Russia.

Gromyko: Not any more.

Kissinger: We will find a new reason.

Gromyko: Ben-Gurion, yes. The Foreign Minister once, Shertok—Sharett—was from Odessa, or Nikolayev.

You think it hopeless to have an agreement as such?

Kissinger: We would have to let our experts look at it.

Gromyko: But there could be a protocol with details.

Kissinger: Oh, yes. Very detailed paragraphs like your drafts. With the threshold.

Gromyko: With the intention to formalize in a treaty before . . .

Kissinger: Before the end of the year.

Gromyko: How about the duration of the agreement?

Kissinger: Our proposal is to have it indefinite, with a five-year review.

Gromyko: You think a third country should not be mentioned?

Kissinger: I don’t think so.

Gromyko: Some sort of understanding.

Kissinger: Written or discussed?

Gromyko: Confidential.

Kissinger: Why should that make any difference if we can test under the threshold?

Gromyko: Or we can test until the second coming of Christ.

Kissinger: That would be very popular in Moslem countries. It would be taken care of in the review.

[Page 925]

[The meeting then ended, to give time for preparation for the plenary meeting at 11:00.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 77, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Memcons, Moscow Summit, June 27–July 3, 1974. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in St. Catherine’s Hall at the Grand Kremlin Palace. Brackets are in the original.
  2. See Document 187.
  3. The United States and the Soviet Union had been holding technical talks in Moscow since early June to draft a threshold test ban treaty. A draft treaty, showing U.S. and Soviet proposed wording, is in telegram 10157 from Moscow, June 28. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)