193. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Igor D. Morokhov, First Deputy Chairman of the State Committee for Utilization of Atomic Energy
  • Roland M. Timerbayev, Deputy Chief of International Organizations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Georgi M. Korniyenko, Member of Collegium of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chief of USA Division
  • Vasili Makarov, Aide to Gromyko
  • Mr. Komplektov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Oleg Sokolov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Zaitsev, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Interpreter)
  • Mr. Bratchikov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Interpreter)
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Amb. Walter J. Stoessel, Ambassador to the Soviet Union
  • Major General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor, Department of State
  • William G. Hyland, Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
  • Jan M. Lodal, Senior NSC Staff
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • Test Ban; Environmental Warfare; SALT [Briefly]

Test Ban

Gromyko: Well, I think we can start. No introductory words are needed, apart from the fact that we have to start our work. Which question shall we start with? After this question, I make a suggestion: I suggest we discuss underground tests.

Kissinger: I agree.

Gromyko: If it is possible.

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: Suppose we formulate one point in this way: It concerns peaceful tests. It is not a precise text but something like this: “The sides declare they will employ their efforts so as in the nearest possible time [Page 952] to reach agreement on the question of peaceful nuclear underground tests, explosions.” I think such an obligation, such a commitment, would be enough. It wouldn’t look like a formal condition. So as the real agreement comes into force on the other side, it would be strong enough so the two powers will turn this obligation into an agreement, especially taking into consideration the fact that the period is enough, even if you take the beginning of 1976. I cannot imagine we can’t get agreement in a year and a half. Naturally, there may be obstacles that may stand in the way. For the reasons I explained on the plane, I cannot be bold in that connection. I hope you understand us.2

Kissinger: I understand you, Mr. Foreign Minister. My difficulty is agreeing with you, not understanding you. As a practical matter, we cannot implement this agreement until the loophole of peaceful nuclear explosions is closed. We can’t be in a position where we have permitted you to conduct tests above the threshold in the guise of peaceful nuclear explosions.

Gromyko: Your argument is clear, but we consider there are no grounds for doubts, for fears. I want to give you two arguments. About one we already talked. We are ready to consider in a favorable direction the possibility of exchange of observers. We are ready. Now, second: suppose that in the opinion of one of the sides there are grounds for doubts about the actions of the other, we have a special article which guarantees the fundamental interests of the security of the state. A state can withdraw from the agreement. We don’t think any of the sides would put itself into the situation where it would give grounds to the suspicion of the other side. I have already explained this on the plane. I think it is sufficient.

Kissinger: I understand your point; I think we understand each other’s point. Why don’t we say something like: [reads] “The other provisions of this Treaty do not extend to underground explosions carried out by the parties for peaceful purposes. These shall be governed by an agreement to be negotiated and concluded by the parties before the date specified in Article I.”

Gromyko: All right, it is clear. But I put the question to you: If it happens by one or another reason that it is delayed with regard to peaceful tests, and if more than one side does it, say, the two sides will blame each other for the delay in the agreement, the Soviet Union is in a position where it is prohibited to use peaceful nuclear tests. And there will be these reproaches. Do you understand my point?

[Page 953]

Kissinger: I understand. When the Foreign Minister and I disagree, it is not because we don’t understand each other; it is because we understand each other only too well.

Let me ask: If there is no agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions, should we not implement this treaty?

Gromyko: We will observe the treaty. But taking into account other aspects would tie our hands with regard to peaceful nuclear explosions, if there is a delay in this agreement.

Kissinger: You are afraid we will stop your peaceful program by either delaying this agreement or dragging our feet on peaceful uses.

Gromyko: The absence of an agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions should not mean this agreement shouldn’t come into force. We fear your new formula means that if the provision on peaceful nuclear explosions isn’t implemented, there is a delay. You will think it is because of our position and we will think it is because of yours. But we will be left in a position where it will not be possible to carry out peaceful tests. This is the sense of your proposal. If not so, tell us.

Kissinger: One of two things will happen—you are quite right: Either this agreement won’t go into effect, or the peaceful program will have a moratorium until agreement is reached on peaceful nuclear explosions.

Gromyko: You mean, by the first case, that the treaty won’t come into effect?

Kissinger: We won’t, as a practical matter, be able to ratify unless there is some assurance on peaceful nuclear explosions.

Gromyko: If it is so, then we reject completely this proposal, and on two grounds. Not only the one I already gave, that it would leave us in a situation where we would be without the right to carry out peaceful explosions, but also because the first agreement on underground explosions will not come into force without reaching agreement on peaceful explosions. We couldn’t even agree on one of those grounds, and you give two.

[The U.S. side confers.]

Kissinger: My assistants think you don’t need such big explosives. They will be glad to tell you how to run your business.

Let me state the problem as I see it. There are two problems: One, is a peaceful nuclear explosion a weapons test? The second is, does it violate the threshold? When a peaceful nuclear explosion is below the threshold, we don’t care if it is a weapons test. When it is above the threshold we do care because it could be used for circumvention of the agreement.

Gromyko: Let’s not talk about below the threshold; we are talking about above the threshold. Below threshold, we are in agreement; it is free.

[Page 954]

Kissinger: Wait a minute. I don’t want you to betray yourself with your usual impetuosity. Mr. Morokhov3 gave Mr. Stoessel something on below-the-threshold tests—when?—which is acceptable in principle.

Stoessel: This morning.

Kissinger: That is acceptable in principle. We would have to modify it but I think we could come to an understanding about this. He gave us two parts—one for above the threshold, and one for below.

Gromyko: As far as below the threshold is concerned, the question is out because the sides are free in that area.

Kissinger: Not completely, because for military purposes, tests below the threshold, the sites have to be specified. For peaceful purposes, the sites are specified from case to case. According to your own draft. So I consider the draft of Mr. Morokhov a positive contribution. I think it can solve the problem of peaceful testing below the threshold.

Gromyko: Just in the area of detection by the sides, but this is quite another matter.

Kissinger: No.

Gromyko: This is quite another matter. It has to do with verification. National means.

Kissinger: True, it is another aspect. I think it is useful because we won’t have the geological data and we will need additional data when tests aren’t taking place at the test site.

Gromyko: You mean national means for verification?

Kissinger: I believe essentially national means, with, however, the requirements contained in your own first paragraph, that is, that you inform us of the time and place and geological information about that place, and for observers as in paragraph three of your draft.

You don’t have “geological.” That is one refinement I would add.

Gromyko: Mr. Secretary of State, we shall return to this text. We don’t think this text will create problems. But we want a clearcut answer to two questions. First, tell us about the agreement we are negotiating right now: will it come into force, if before the indicated time of coming into force it turns out there is no agreement on peaceful explosions? Or will you interconnect these two? You precondition this on the agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions? That is the first question. The second question: assume there is a delay until January, March, July 1976 and by some reasons there is no agreement. Although we [Page 955] think, on our part, we could come to an agreement before. But suppose we come across some difficulty; do you think in this case we have no right to carry out explosions for peaceful purposes? If you base your position on this, we categorically can’t accept this position. Take the Non-Proliferation Treaty, paragraph five. It says that nuclear powers not only by themselves can use it but can assist non-nuclear countries for using it for peaceful purposes. We would like to have an answer to those two questions.

When I looked at this text myself, I understood it this way: To the first question, yes, the first agreement enters into force whether there is agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions or not. As to the second question, it is not clear. We didn’t come to the conclusion that there is an answer in this text.

Kissinger: The two questions are clearly linked. The answer to the second question gives the answer to the first question. Let us say yes to the first question: the agreement goes into force regardless of whether there is agreement to the second. Then we would say a peaceful nuclear explosion below 150 kt can be conducted according to the Protocol, with the addition given by Mr. Morokhov. With respect to peaceful nuclear explosions above 150 kilotons, there would have to be, in my judgment, a moratorium until agreement was reached. Or there could be a special arrangement for each explosion. I am talking about the above-threshold now. There could be a special arrangement.

Gromyko: [Smiles] Well, Mr. Kissinger, let us not lose our time speaking about what happens below threshold. Because we agree.

Kissinger: No, there is a problem, Mr. Foreign Minister, because on peaceful explosions, we would not have information about tests off the test site, which would clearly be the case. But it is an easily soluble problem.

Gromyko: We do not understand your suggestion. Explosions for peaceful purposes are used not in a range but in the mountains, to connect rivers, to make water reservoirs. What do the sites have to do with this?

Kissinger: On the ranges we will exchange information on test sites, and I understand we are reaching agreement on calibration shots. We would be close to agreement. On other sites, there could be a variation in yield of a factor of two to three, and even below the threshold it could be used for evasion. So even below the threshold there is a problem. But with goodwill and exchange of information it can be settled. Above the threshold it becomes progressively more unmanageable.

There is 1 proposal I could make which you will not accept: that each side provides the device to the other that will be exploded. I am serious.

[Page 956]

Gromyko: You know, below the threshold there is no problem.

Kissinger: No, there is a problem.

Gromyko: It is artificial. When you have to decide whether an explosion is above or below, there is a problem, but when you say there is a problem you unnecessarily delay it. On an explosion above, we could exchange a very very big volume of information, which would permit us to draw conclusions.

Kissinger: The information we exchange refers to test sites; it does not refer to the sites for peaceful explosions. I grant you this problem is more easily solved.

Gromyko: You have a certain amount of truth, that there are no testing sites for peaceful purposes. Then why do you not take into account what we have said: a corresponding conclusion should be negotiated, including an exchange of observers. I said this and you ignore it.

Kissinger: No, I know it. But when you say exchange of observers, we have to agree what they will observe.

Gromyko: [Laughing] Exactly. This is what should be negotiated—talks regarding explosions for peaceful purposes. I can’t take the terms of reference out of my pocket. Perhaps you do. If you do, lay it on the table.

Kissinger: No, I believe it is a soluble problem, with goodwill. But I would like it solved before the agreement goes into effect. Which is nearly two years from now.

Gromyko: Meaning the agreement on explosions for peaceful purposes.

Kissinger: As I said, there are two possibilities. We could have provisions for peaceful nuclear explosions below the threshold incorporated in this agreement in such a way that your second question would not arise. Because it wouldn’t take much drafting. Removing the question of peaceful explosions below the threshold from this agreement; I think this can be done.

Gromyko: You are putting conditions. Is it forbidden to carry out peaceful nuclear explosions if there is no agreement on explosions above the threshold?

Kissinger: Explosions above the threshold are excluded until there is an agreement.

Korniyenko: A moratorium.

Gromyko: You propose to exclude them.

Kissinger: From now until the treaty goes into effect, there are no restrictions at all. After the treaty goes into effect, there are restrictions on peaceful nuclear explosions until this is agreed.

Gromyko: It is unacceptable. Tell us on what grounds. Do you want to tie our hands in advance?

[Page 957]

Kissinger: We are not trying to tie your hands. If you can have two peaceful nuclear explosions above the threshold, in effect free, how can we possibly explain to our people they are not weapons tests?

Gromyko: You accept that when we get agreement, we let your people come and you will let ours. We got agreement on that; then you just brush it aside. I don’t understand that.

Kissinger: Suppose we accept Mr. Morokhov’s suggestion; what is your idea of what would concretely happen with explosions above the threshold? You say observers. But you don’t say what they do there. I am just taking your second paragraph. If we haven’t come to agreement on the terms of reference for them, are you free?

Gromyko: Free. We are hopeful we shall find common language. We have the same tasks.

Kissinger: Assuming we accept unchanged your Article 3, and the terms of reference are unchanged, you feel free . . .

Gromyko: Free to go as we want.

Kissinger: You could, by refusing to agree to the terms of reference for representatives, use peaceful nuclear explosions for circumvention. How can we explain that?

Gromyko: You raise these possibilities of our intentions.

Kissinger: Our Congress will never ratify.

Gromyko: We should be positive and not listen to one or two opinions.

Kissinger: It takes two-thirds.

You know and we know we have no intention of circumventing the agreement, because the media will make it evident. In your country we won’t know whether it is for peaceful purposes.

Gromyko: We invite your representatives to be at the spot.

Kissinger: But until we know where the representatives can go, how close he can go, what he can inspect, we don’t know what it means.

Gromyko: Mr. Kissinger, why do you give us so hardly-thought up questions? As if you didn’t know their transport. We will give soap for them to wash their hands.

Sonnenfeldt: And sun glasses.

Kissinger: We have a year and a half to work it out.

Gromyko: You are against the text you presented, because we proceeded from your own text.

Kissinger: Mr. Foreign Minister, if Ambassador Stoessel presented a text which created confusion in your mind, it shows he wasn’t as good a student of mine as I thought.

Gromyko: I won’t interfere in your internal affairs!

[Page 958]

Kissinger: I see no alternative to either making it dependent on an agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions above the threshold, or have a moritorium on peaceful nuclear explosions until there is an agreement.

Korniyenko: Our Supreme Soviet also would not ratify an agreement of this kind if we delayed it ad infinitum. It would not ratify a document which let the American side drag it out indefinitely and delay our peaceful explosions because of artificial problems on terms of reference.

Gromyko: I have a proposal: Let’s have a ten-minute break.

Kissinger: Good. Without inspection. [Laughter]

Gromyko: You usually like inspection, but this time not.

Kissinger: No, we want to know what the terms of reference are. You might put our inspector in a dacha in the Crimea.

[The meeting adjourned from 6:15 to 6:40 p.m. and then reconvened.]

Gromyko: So, in which direction are we going? Further, where is the truth situated?

Kissinger: That is the question Pilate asked Christ: What is the truth?

Gromyko: Who will say Eureka?

Kissinger: I don’t think the Foreign Minister will spend twenty minutes on a problem without coming up with an answer.

Gromyko: There was a third-grade class in the U.S. and the teacher asked, “Who was the person who said Eureka?” One pupil said Archimedes. The teacher said, “Yes, but when did he say it?” The pupil answered, “While running from the bathroom, he was saying ‘I found it, I found it.’” The third question was, “What did he find?” The pupil said: “Soap.” [Laughter] Probably you elaborated or worked out some approximation to the truth.

Kissinger: No.

Gromyko: Further from the truth?

Kissinger: We were wondering what would happen when we reconvened. Stoessel said, probably Gromyko will accept Morokhov’s proposal.

If we made the two agreements conditional on each other, we wouldn’t be bringing pressure on you because if they didn’t go into effect, you could continue your peaceful nuclear explosions.

Gromyko: It gives little to us, such a kind of agreement. It is necessary to find a solution to meet your interest as well as ours . . .

Kissinger: I agree.

[Page 959]

Gromyko: . . . that the first agreement should enter into force without being conditional on the other one. Similarly, the second one should be assured independently. This is the position.

Let’s delete the time period, the concrete condition, and say we will exert all efforts to the speediest conclusion of such an agreement.

Frankly speaking, in general, we think, if you don’t have another kind of instruction, the U.S. and USSR could agree on peaceful purposes before this date. Because we think you too have a desire on that score.

Kissinger: Then we have no problem.

Gromyko: Yes. So let’s not put it as a condition. Let’s say the sides will apply energetic efforts to agree on peaceful nuclear explosions in the nearest time.

Kissinger: Mr. Foreign Minister, I don’t question your good faith. But when I negotiated with your allies from Hanoi, whenever we wanted to write a provision where we knew nothing would happen, we put into the agreement “the parties will do their utmost.” Because we knew both sides would do nothing. So my Legal Adviser won’t let me use that phrase. It is possible to say: “Underground nuclear explosions shall be governed by an agreement to be negotiated and concluded by the Parties.” As long as you understand that, while it doesn’t have a conditional phrase in it, we wouldn’t ratify until the agreement is concluded.

Gromyko: You wouldn’t ratify what? The first agreement or the second?

Kissinger: We would tell our Congress we have made this agreement but we can’t in good conscience ratify it until we have the second one. But at least the agreement wouldn’t be written in conditional form.

Gromyko: We are agreeing on an acceptable agreement, but the first agreement won’t be ratified without the other. So what can I report tomorrow?

Kissinger: I share your confidence we will be able to come to an agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions. We have over the weekend queried all relevant agencies, and I have the impression that they would work on such an agreement with a positive attitude.

Gromyko: Your agencies?

Kissinger: Our agencies who would have to do the technical work.

Gromyko: Your President would look into it; in our country it is the Politburo. In the first instance it is me that is conducting negotiations with you.

Kissinger: That is right.

Gromyko: Suppose I go to the meeting tomorrow and tell my colleagues that Mr. Kissinger said he would use a more flexible formula [Page 960] for joining them together without a hook, but he says the first one wouldn’t enter into force without the second. What kind of progress is that? So where is the truth?

Kissinger: There is no way around these two choices. We can come to an agreement for peaceful nuclear explosions below the threshold, and then the treaty can go into effect, with a moratorium on tests—peaceful nuclear explosions—above the threshold. Or we have to link the two together. There is no way around it. We can be extremely flexible in the way we formulate that linkage so it is not very apparent. You summed it up very effectively.

Gromyko: So it gives nothing. You are just blocking.

Kissinger: Not at all. We have a year and a half to come to an agreement on one category. That is the only loophole. That is the uncertain area.

Gromyko: You are putting forward an impossible condition, that we agree that you would be in the way of an agreement coming into force if the second is not concluded.

Let’s formulate it in another way. Let’s find a most imperative form but delete the variant of linkage of the first to the second and not turn the linkage into a precondition of entering into force of the first. Let’s try to find such a formula. I tried to put forward the formulations: “efforts,” “energetic efforts,” “express confidence that their efforts will be crowned with positive results.” But without formal linkage. You want to put it on steel hooks.

Kissinger: What is the imperative formulation?

Gromyko: A variant of yours, when you link it to the date. We can say the two sides will do their utmost so as to reach agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions and they express confidence their efforts will be crowned with positive results.

Kissinger: Look, we can put anything into the agreement, and such a formulation is not inconceivable, provided you understand the Senate will not ratify it unless we close the loophole.

Gromyko: Then the formulation makes no difference.

Kissinger: That is right.

Gromyko: Because Americans will delay our peaceful explosions.

Kissinger: Mr. Foreign Minister, what I want to stress is, in any event you can have peaceful nuclear explosions below the threshold, and for the vast majority of peaceful projects 150 kilotons will be enough.

Gromyko: You put that in a very clear way. This question is clear, and practically it does not exist.

Kissinger: So we are talking about very few peaceful explosions above 150 kilotons. I would be amazed if you have done more than ten peaceful nuclear explosions in your whole program.

[Page 961]

Gromyko: Right.

Kissinger: Small explosions for peaceful proposes we will solve. So we won’t interfere with your program.

Gromyko: You are stressing this; this question doesn’t need to be discussed.

Kissinger: No, it does, because if you suddenly did ten tests off the test site, even below the threshold, we would wonder why, because we would have much less data. But this is a soluble problem. So we are talking about the very few above the threshold. I don’t know how many you have done; I am checking it. Maybe you can tell me.

Gromyko: We are talking about ones above.

[Kissinger and Lodal confer about numbers of Soviet peaceful nuclear explosions.]

Kissinger: What we are discussing is trying to figure out from our data the number of peaceful nuclear explosions above this threshold in the last three years. Mr. Morokhov could tell us in thirty seconds. We think it is six in the last three years.

Gromyko: It is a question of a general educational character. [Laughter]

Kissinger: Our practical problem is: You know I have been before the Senate the day before I left, because of a loophole which you know, having been there, doesn’t exist.4 It had no reality; it was imaginary. Here we are talking about a loophole which anybody could find. So either we will impose this condition or the Senate will. So I understand we can eliminate the conditional phrasing. It will not change the reality but it will ease the formulation problem.

Gromyko: What is the course of the Administration? It would go to Congress, or more so that you yourself would come out in favor of shelving it?

Kissinger: I would come out in favor of accepting it but I would say we wouldn’t deposit ratification until we have the other.

Gromyko: So what is the use of the agreement?

Kissinger: We would have every confidence we could work out the other agreement. After all, it doesn’t make us look particularly good to have worked out an agreement that isn’t implemented. See, our estimation is—I don’t want to debate it—between 1964 and 1974 almost all your peaceful nuclear explosions were below the threshold, and only four were above the threshold in the last three years. So we are not talking about a problem that will arise every two weeks.

[Page 962]

Gromyko: In this case we are talking about a question of principle. To us what is impossible is the principle itself. So what kind of alternative do you have, on the basis of which we could come to an understanding?

[Kissinger, Stoessel, and Sonnenfeldt concur.]

Kissinger: I have no trouble with an imperative formulation, with removing the conditional aspect to the text. And that will change the public impression of it. But it doesn’t change the reality.

Gromyko: An extreme imperative formulation gives nothing if you declare the agreement will not be approved.

Kissinger: You see, at this point we don’t have to go to the Senate because we don’t have to go to the Senate until three months before the Treaty goes into effect. So we don’t have to make any conditions. And I assure you our intention is to bring the negotiation on peaceful nuclear explosions to a conclusion, and we will certainly guide our bureaucracy to that effect.

Gromyko: It is not essential that today you notify Congress that you won’t send it. The main thing is that you wouldn’t approve and it wouldn’t go into force.

Kissinger: No, we would submit it to the Senate soon and explain. But we could tell them to take their time in ratifying it.

Gromyko: Then what will be the behavior of the Administration?

Kissinger: We would be in favor of the treaty.

Gromyko: You would strive for adoption?

Kissinger: We would strive for adoption. But I don’t want to mislead you: There will in fact be a linkage. But if you and we work at it, we can solve it. If you really want peaceful nuclear explosions, without cunning—which I really believe—then it shouldn’t be so difficult to work out the arrangement.

Gromyko: There is part of the truth in that. We know there is a situation in your country that a group of Congressmen and Senators can put up obstacles you can’t foresee.

Kissinger: You have some experience in this respect.

Gromyko: On most-favored-nation.

Kissinger: I know. But that condition will be imposed either by us or by Congress. It would be much better if we do it because that way we could control it.

Gromyko: Would the Administration fight for the agreement?

Kissinger: Of course. We would fight for it publicly. Seriously, what we would like in America is to have a debate on this and on SALT as quickly as possible so we can get an end to these stories that we have made agreements to the disadvantage of the United States. It is not in [Page 963] our interest for us to make an agreement that the Senate defeats. It is against our domestic interest. It is also against our foreign policy interest for the Politburo to agree to a text that the Senate rejects. It will make it less likely that they will agree again.

Gromyko: You have another formulation without a specific date?

Kissinger: No, we haven’t. But it is not difficult to find.

Gromyko: There is no need for a strong formulation. Just say it will be done, if you make your condition.

Kissinger: We could say: “Underground nuclear explosions shall be governed by an agreement which is to be negotiated and concluded by the Parties at the earliest possible time.” And we say nothing about conditions. You probably have a much better one right in front of you.

Gromyko: We have your text.

Kissinger: We don’t need a stronger one. With the one condition, that we would want this loophole closed, we would fight hard for an agreement.

Gromyko: You talk so much about the fact that entering into force will be linked, then doubt emerges about how can we strive for agreement.

I would take the text for studying it.

Kissinger: All right.

[The U.S. side confers.]

Gromyko: What other questions can we come to next? The communiqué.5

Kissinger: Maybe the communiqué, but can we settle whatever remains in the Treaty? Aside from that one.

Gromyko: All right, the other provisions.

Kissinger: On duration, Article 5, I understand you had some question about our provision “including the yield provision specified in Article I.”

Gromyko: I haven’t yet seen it. I am reading it. [The Soviets confer]

Kissinger: Please. We are accepting your five-year proposal.

Gromyko: You know, at first glance it is acceptable, up to the words “including review of the yield provision indicated in Article I.”

Kissinger: I have never met your colleague Morokhov before but I don’t think he is a positive influence on this negotiation.

Gromyko: Let’s not go deeper into that. [Laughter]

Kissinger: Because he is the one behind peaceful nuclear explosions. You and I could settle it easily.

[Page 964]

Gromyko: About eight years ago we were putting a proposal and I talked to some of your predecessors, and I take him out of those to blame. But before that . . .

Kissinger: In proposing that, we were trying to be constructive. Let me suggest “including possible downward revision of yield levels.” So it can only be downward.

Gromyko: We are in favor of deleting these words. I understand you want to go half way to meet us; don’t.

Kissinger: We were trying to offer a prospect. Why were you opposed? I just want to understand.

Gromyko: It shakes the agreement a little. There will be something cooking in three months, six months.

Kissinger: It will be only in five years.

Gromyko: We would prefer to delete.

Kissinger: We wanted to keep in mind your concern for a complete test ban and to be positive.

Gromyko: Our position is reducing, decreasing, and there was introduced a quota.

Kissinger: But that doesn’t affect the threshold.

Gromyko: It is a kind of mine planted under the agreement from the beginning. We would be talking, and then something comes up.

Kissinger: You are too suspicious.

Gromyko: Only moderately. We would prefer not to have such a privilege.

Kissinger: Can we then delete this phrase, but we can say when the five-year review comes up, either side is free to raise the matter of reducing the threshold?

Gromyko: Of course, either side is free.

Kissinger: This may have been drafted poorly. Can we say: “At the time of review”—not before—“the question of downward review can be considered.”

Gromyko: This question, other questions.

Kissinger: You would rather not say it, but it is understood.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: I know when I am defeated.

Gromyko: Either side has the right.

Kissinger: That is all we wanted to achieve. If you prefer not to have it in the agreement, it is not a matter of principle.

Gromyko: We prefer it.

Kissinger: I go along with you.

Gromyko: Good. Settled. Next? Maybe we take and review Article 6.

[Page 965]

Kissinger: There is no Article 6.

Gromyko: Where did you lose it? On route here? From the Crimea? Yesterday we had a boat trip.

Kissinger: The only part of Article 6 we have left we made part of Article 5, but if you would like the third paragraph of Article 5 as Article 6, I will make that concession.

[The Soviet side confers.]

Oh, are you waiting for me?

Gromyko: Who will over-wait whom?

Kissinger: You are much more experienced; I always lose.

We don’t want an accession clause.

Gromyko: Why?

Kissinger: Your allies will be unhappy.

Gromyko: Ours will not be unhappy.

Kissinger: I can think of one that will be unhappy.

Gromyko: Are you ready to share that secret with us? The question is about states possessing nuclear weapons.

Kissinger: That is right. We don’t even have diplomatic relations with it.

Gromyko: It is quite a daring declaration—to say this ally would be unhappy. That is going too far.

Kissinger: That is true. But with this treaty, we would have to exchange information with every state that accedes to it. That would present problems.

Gromyko: About the other countries, do you have any questions?

Kissinger: No, we would prefer no accession clause.

Gromyko: All right, we will think over it.

Kissinger: The effective date.

Gromyko: I want to tell you from the very beginning we expressed the hope that you would accept in the final analysis the date of the first of January. The time period is long, and as we say, to think for half a year it doesn’t make great weather. Half a year is half a year. That makes two years. The question is so important from the humanitarian point of view, the time factor should be more taken into account. Therefore, we would like you to agree to the 1st of January.

Kissinger: The 1st of January I am afraid is too complicated for us.

Gromyko: Postponing the agreement to the 1st of July undermines too much the strength, the authority of the agreement.

Kissinger: My watch says it is June 31st.

Gromyko: Then in this case, you are not in Moscow, you are in Washington or the Middle East.

[Page 966]

Kissinger: Probably the Middle East. Most likely Damascus.

Gromyko: A metamorphosis. Probably a vacation.

Does your watch indicate the date when you get your salary?

Kissinger: I don’t get a salary.

Gromyko: You live under Communism already!

Kissinger: In our system they take from each according to his needs and give to each according to his ability. That is why I don’t get any.

Gromyko: Ambassador Dobrynin didn’t report this.

Kissinger: A silent revolution.

Gromyko: First in the list.

Kissinger: To each according to his ability. That is why I have an upaid staff.

Gromyko: I would defend them.

Kissinger: Except the Ambassador.

Gromyko: I would defend them. I would defend them.

Kissinger: Why don’t we think about the date?

Gromyko: All right.

Kissinger: The only other question is a question of the calibration chart. Paragraph 1 (d).

Gromyko: Are you in favor of this formulation?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: Let’s come back to it tomorrow.

Kissinger: All right.

When is your idea when this should be signed?

Gromyko: Either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: There is no other choice. [Laughter] The day after tomorrow we will release the communiqué.

Kissinger: So it would be better if we signed all the others tomorrow.

Gromyko: It would be good to sign it tomorrow. This one, and the two we talked about on the plane, and this is the fourth.

Kissinger: The four. The SCC one we shouldn’t sign publicly.

Gromyko: We can sign it.

Kissinger: But not publish it?

Korniyenko: No.

Kissinger: Stay out of it, Korniyenko. It is difficult to sign with television and not publish it.

[Page 967]

Korniyenko: We didn’t publish the technical agreement on the Hot Line.

Kissinger: We can work it out. I will talk to our press man.

Environmental Warfare

Gromyko: Environmental warfare. I made an observation on your text.

Kissinger: I haven’t seen it.

Gromyko: Korniyenko and Dobrynin made it.

Kissinger: Orally.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: Yes, I understand; I am familiar with it.

Gromyko: That the way it is written now is more a permission than a prohibition.

Kissinger: And that is not an unreasonable comment. [He looks for the paper] Goddamn.

Gromyko: What is the problem?

Kissinger: I expressed an opinion about our legal adviser by damning a nonexistent entity in your philosophy. [Laughter]

Your problem is that “restraint” seems permissive. I am looking for a neutral word so you can say you are for banning it, and we don’t have to say anything.

Gromyko: We can do it together.

Kissinger: I have the impression that our views will not be different from yours over a period of time, but I need time to prepare our situation. Words like “measures for effective control.”

Gromyko: “Stand for” instead of “favor.”

Kissinger: That is provisionally all right.

Gromyko: Let’s not go further.

Kissinger: “Advocate,” “support,” “endorse.”

Gromyko: “Support” that somebody’s doing.

Kissinger: Let’s leave “stand for,” “control over the use for military purposes.”

Gromyko: Weather does not shoot, but can be used for military purposes.

Kissinger: “For military purposes,” that is: “stands for the broadest possible control over environmental modification techniques for military purposes.” This is not final; it is an idea.

Gromyko: Let’s break for ten minutes.

[Page 968]

Kissinger: All right. [To Sonnenfeldt:] Why don’t you go off with Aldrich6 and write it out. Get Stoessel in too.

[The meeting adjourned from 7:58 to 8:10 p.m. and then reconvened.]

Kissinger: Should I read the appropriate paragraphs, Mr. Foreign Minister?

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: After the preambular paragraph, “Advocate the broadest possible . . .”

Gromyko: “The widest possible measures not to permit,” or “with the purpose of prevention.” “With the purpose of not permitting.” This is the meaning.

Kissinger: I think this is about as much as we can do. “Over the use of environmental modification techniques for military purposes.”

Korniyenko: “The broadest possible measures for control.”

Gromyko: The whole purpose is not to permit.

Kissinger: Our ideas are not identical yet.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: Then let’s say “control over modification techniques for military purposes.”

Gromyko: Control may be control in favor of military application.

Kissinger: “Broadest possible limitation?”

Gromyko: This is the worst one could possibly think. How would there be limitation? Right now suppose we have X number of rockets, and we say in the future not more than X multiplied by ten. I think we are thinking in the same direction but let us express certain policy in this field.

Kissinger: I know. But the furthest we can go is something along the lines I indicated. “Control over techniques.” In America it would be seen as a big step forward.

Gromyko: But this could mean control in any direction. Control could be to multiply only by five and not by ten.

Kissinger: We had “restrain,” which means down.

Gromyko: “Restrain” means we will go in the direction of military purposes but only gradually, by doses, step by step.

Kissinger: “To curb”? To curb is to restrain, almost the same.

Kissinger: “Restrain” is more general; “curb” is more strict.

Korniyenko: It means “permit but . . .”

[Page 969]

Kissinger: Maybe it isn’t ripe yet in our country.

Gromyko: It is with difficulty that I can think of the country, say country X, that is not ripe for prevention of modification of natural factors.

Kissinger: I have given you my best judgment.

Gromyko: Let us eat something.

Kissinger: All right. But remember, I am incorruptible.

[Dinner was served in the dining room from 8:20 to 9:10 p.m. Afterwards the group reconvened in the meeting room.]

Gromyko: Shall we resume our deliberations?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: Can Mr. Sonnenfeldt give us his ideas?

Sonnenfeldt: I give the word to the Secretary of State.

Kissinger: You see we have already had our review. “Advocate the broadest possible safeguards against harmful uses of environmental modification techniques for military purposes.”

Gromyko: There is harmful use for military purposes and not harmful uses? Since in a war there are always two countries at least, what is harmful to one is not harmful to the other. What is good for Carthage is not good for Rome.

Kissinger: I was just thinking of it the other way around. And history is written by the victor, so one doesn’t know what it looked like from the Carthaginian point of view.

I think the best we can do is a formulation that lets you interpret what you want but leaves vagueness. “Advocate the broadest possible measures to deal with the dangers of environmental modification techniques for military purposes.” But not to say “prevent,” “eliminate.”

[Both sides confer.]

Gromyko: “Both sides decided to enter into negotiations on measures to deal with the dangers of the use of environmental modification techniques for military purposes.”

Korniyenko: “Both sides decided to enter into negotiations on measures to deal with the dangers of the use of environmental modification techniques for military purposes.”

Gromyko: How do you translate “to deal with?”

Korniyenko: In this sense, to do away with.

Kissinger: In the sense of doing away with the dangers, not with the use.

Korniyenko: If you mean only “do something with,” it is not good.

Kissinger: I am trying to leave it more ambiguous.

Gromyko: What you are suggesting is promotion of the dangers.

[Page 970]

Kissinger: I don’t think any English-speaker would understand that as meaning “promote.” It implies removing the danger or eliminating the danger. The problem is the danger of use. If we wanted to say “eliminate the use,” we would say “eliminate the use.”

I don’t know the Russian word for “to deal with.”

[Both sides confer.]

It may be an insoluble problem. We may have to defer for a few weeks or months.

Gromyko: We are very sorry. You say the country is not ripe; I don’t think the country is not ripe. It is a matter of statesmen.

Kissinger: We are prepared to start negotiations if the goal isn’t stated too precisely. “To eliminate the dangers in the use of.”

Gromyko: That is not good. That means the use is sanctioned.

Korniyenko: The dangers of using.

Gromyko: The dangers of use, that is another matter.

Kissinger: You want to interpret it to mean “to ban,” and we cannot yet do this, although the tendency of the negotiations will probably be in that direction.

Maybe I should talk to the President about that.

Gromyko: Please.


Gromyko: Maybe it would be advisable either here, or in another room, or with a more restrained circle, to discuss the other subject.

Kissinger: SALT?

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: These are all the people who are working on it anyway for me.

Gromyko: All right. We can just continue.

We would like that you take a more realistic position on this question. As far as the figures are concerned, we talked about them.

Kissinger: The figures I gave yesterday.7

Gromyko: Exactly. Maybe let us go to the adjoining room. Take one of your colleagues, and Comrade Korniyenko will come with the interpreter. Because if we go in this combination, many of your colleagues will come tomorrow with a shaky head. Take anyone you want, but we will come with only myself, Comrade Korniyenko, and the interpreter.

Kissinger: All right.

[Page 971]

[Secretary Kissinger, Mr. Sonnenfeldt, and Stoessel conferred in the next room with Gromyko, Korniyenko, and Bratchikov from 9:30 to 10:20 a.m.]8

  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 the “Tolstoi House” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Brackets are in the original.
  2. See Document 192.
  3. I.D. Morokhov, Vice Chairman of the State Committee for the Utilization of Atomic Energy of the USSR, was Stoessel’s interlocutor in the threshold test ban agreement technical talks. See footnote 3, Document 188.
  4. Kissinger held a news conference on June 24 in which he addressed charges that he negotiated a loophole in the 1972 ABM Treaty. Excerpts were printed in The New York Times, June 25, 1974, p. 14. See also “KissingerJackson Debate Grows Heated,” ibid.
  5. See Document 199.
  6. George H. Aldrich, Deputy Legal Adviser.
  7. See Document 190.
  8. See Document 194.