24. Memorandum for the President’s File by the Executive Director of the Council for International Economic Policy (Flanigan)1

At 10:30 on August 11 the President met for 30 minutes with Secretary Peterson, Dr. Kissinger, and Peter Flanigan in the Oval Office. Secretary Peterson was to report on the Peterson-led delegation to Moscow for the first meeting of the US–USSR Commercial Commission.

Peterson told the President that the Soviets were hard negotiators and were occasionally sticklers for a non-substantive point. Peterson was convinced, however, that the Soviets need the deal more than the U.S. does from an economic point of view, and that Brezhnev needs it from a personal point of view.

In describing his long meeting with Brezhnev on the Black Sea,2 Peterson said that the two issues obviously important to Brezhnev were a gas deal and the settlement of lend-lease.

With regard to a gas deal, the President made clear that he wanted at least a very strong appearance of interest on our side. He recognized Brezhnev’s personal commitment here, and wanted to meet it by very obvious cosmetic actions if we could not meet it by substantive actions.

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With regard to lend-lease, Peterson urged that if the President agrees to a lend-lease settlement (Peterson believes concessions in this area are possible), he insist the lend-lease settlement be a part of an overall deal and that the President stay tough on a comprehensive trade agreement. The President agreed with this proposal.

The President instructed Kissinger to work out a message3 which could be sent to Brezhnev regarding our interest in a gas deal, and also to give thought to the best way to reach a lend-lease settlement.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 89, Memoranda for the President, Beginning August 6, 1972. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 21
  3. Not found.