30. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Your Next Meeting with Dobrynin


Beam saw Kuznetsov this morning, as instructed, and drew a very negative reaction to his effort to obtain a Soviet commitment to begin preliminary MBFR talks in conjunction with our agreeing to November 22 as the opening date of CSCE consultations. At Tab A are (1) Beam’s instructions,2 (2) Beam’s reporting cable3 and (3) a memo on how you may want to pursue this with Dobrynin 4—try to get general Soviet agreement to start the MBFR talks within about the same time frame as CSCE talks. You could try to set this up so that you can get this Soviet agreement in Moscow, but it may not be possible to keep the bureau[Page 80]cracy and the NATO allies quiet for three weeks. (Beam’s reporting message was blasted all over hell and gone.) There also is a slight problem that if it turns out that you pull this one off in Moscow, all the old fears about bilateralism will be aroused again.

Consequently, since Kuznetsov did remain silent when Beam asked him to name a date for the opening of MBFR talks, irrespective of any connection with CSCE, you might try first of all to enlist Dobrynin’s help in getting further consideration in Moscow, making clear that while we are not crudely linking our acceptance of November 22 for CSCE talks with the opening of the MBFR talks, there is a political connection which we just cannot ignore. We also have at stake the credibility of what was agreed at the Moscow summit.

2. Soviet Ships to Chicago

At Tab B5 is an updated memo on this messy matter. You may want to call Peterson about it in Miami6 before proceeding with Dobrynin, since it might be preferable to have him make the pitch to the latter and keep you out of it. But there has to be fast action and it has to be through Dobrynin. If the Soviets do not withdraw their request to send the ships and they go in—the first one is scheduled for Saturday—Gleason is going to blow his stack and there may be serious political embarrassment.

The Soviet problem undoubtedly is partly bureaucratic. The Shipping Ministry is probably upset that Peterson talked to Patolichev on something they think is their baby. But Patolichev is well plugged in to Brezhnev and with Dobrynin’s help I think we can avoid a blow-up.

3. Trade Talks

Peterson had a long talk with Dobrynin last week (Tab C)7 the account of which you should read. He took quite a hard line on matters where the Soviets have not yielded an inch or backpedaled. I think this sets up what you will wish to do in Moscow (see my memo in your [Page 81] Moscow book)8 provided we get Peterson and Lynn to get the work done. As far as Dobrynin is concerned you may want at this session to tell him that you will be prepared to talk about economic problems, that they should do their homework since it will be necessary to deal with the issues in a comprehensive manner though in terms of principles rather than specific detail.

If you want to have Lynn to cover commercially, you should alert Dobrynin to the need to issue a visa, to have him met at Moscow airport and to house him—all of this will have to be done by the Soviets.

You should be aware that Commerce today is handing the visiting head of the American Department of the Soviet Foreign Trade Ministry our latest version of a trade agreement. This, too, will keep matters in a holding pattern pending your Moscow trip.

On gas, you may simply want to tell Dobrynin that we are continuing to work up our position9 and expect to have concrete ideas when you get to Moscow.

4. Jewish Emigration

There are newspaper stories that the US has been in touch with the Soviet Government to express its concern about the new Soviet law requiring an emigration fee for educated persons going to “Capitalist” countries. As best as I can determine this is not accurate; however, our consular section in Moscow has been trying to get the text of the new law, so far without success. The issue continues to figure quite prominently in diplomatic traffic between the US and interested Western countries and the Israelis are continuing to keep it alive.10 Dobrynin no doubt understands our problem though it may actually help him in reporting on it if you point out that forces hostile to US-Soviet rapprochement are using it against the Administration in this country.

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5. Nuclear Use

The next text is at Tab D. By way of explanation you may simply want to say that (1) we have gone as far as we can in referring to the actual ban on use, (2) since this is obviously integrally related to political/military relations, the rest of the document seeks to define the evolution in our relations that will make a ban feasible, (3) the issue is highly complicated (viz. the debate we are now being subjected to in the Senate on SALT) and we are going just as far as we can.

6. Vietnam

By way of background, you should be aware that Soviet propaganda—like the Brezhnev letter11—is hitting hard on the bombing. So did Soviet coverage of Le Duc Tho’s Moscow stopover, which was unusual in that a communiqué was issued at all. (Kirilenko and Katushev12 saw him in the absence of more senior leaders.)

7. Middle East

You may want to deny any intention of seeing Heikal13 in Munich. (The Egyptians quite predictably are now busy telling the world that they hope to enlist our help both on hardware and diplomatically. This ought for now to be permitted to stand on its own without encouragement from us.)

Tab D

Draft of the Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War 14


Guided by the objectives of strengthening world peace and international security:

Conscious that nuclear war could have devastating consequences for mankind:

Proceeding from the desire to bring about conditions in which the the danger of an outbreak of nuclear war could be reduced and ultimately eliminated:

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Proceeding from the basic principles of relations between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signed in Moscow on May 29, 1972:

Proceeding from their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations regarding the maintenance of peace, refraining from the threat or use of force, and the avoidance of war, and in conformity with the various agreements to which either has subscribed:

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America have agreed the following:

I. The United States and the Soviet Union declare that in their international relations they will make it their goal to create conditions in which recourse to nuclear weapons will not be justified.

II. The two parties agree that the conditions referred to in the preceding paragraph presuppose the effective elimination of the threat or use of force by one party against the other, by one party against the allies of the other, and by either party against third countries in circumstances which may endanger international peace and security.

III. The two parties agree to develop their mutual relations in a way consistent with the above purposes. If at any time relations between states not parties to this declaration appear to involve the risk of a nuclear conflict, the two parties, acting in accordance with the terms of this declaration, will make every effort to avert this risk.

IV. Nothing in this declaration shall affect the obligations undertaken by the parties towards third countries, nor shall it impair the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations relating to the maintenance or restoration of international peace and security. In particular, nothing in this declaration shall affect the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 67, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Map Room, Aug. 1972–May 31, 1973 [3 of 3]. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Kissinger wrote several notes on the memorandum: “Opening of Consulate;” “Exchange of information when Gromyko is here;” “David Rockefeller;” “26th Representation;” “Gas Committee;” “Middle Ground;” “Grechko;” “Troop withdrawals;” “With Thieu or without Thieu keep framework;” and “Ivanov—reduce sentence.”
  2. Attached but not printed is telegram 149897 to Moscow, August 17.
  3. Telegram 8334 from Moscow; Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 106.
  4. In the attached August 21 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt wrote that Kuznetsov “asserted our approach can only be interpreted as making preparatory CSCE talks conditional on beginning exploratory talks on force reductions. Such a linkage, the Soviet side decisively rejects.” Sonnenfeldt recommended three potential courses of action to Kissinger: “How to proceed: we can (1) accept the CSCE date, and hope to badger the Soviets into MBFR; (2) send MBFR invitations and separately inform the Soviets that we will accept CSCE date in the ‘near future’ without conditions; and (3) stand fast, and continue discussions with the Soviets to nail down parallelism (this would probably be a subject for you in Moscow).”
  5. In the attached memorandum to Kissinger, also August 21, Sonnenfeldt wrote: “Working through normal channels, the Soviet Embassy and a U.S. shipping agent have submitted a request for three Soviet merchant ships to call at Chicago between August 26 and September 15, 1972, to load soybeans destined for the USSR. If we are not to imperil the very delicate U.S.-Soviet maritime negotiations and to avoid the risk of upsetting the ILA’s Gleason with a resultant public statement adverse to the Administration’s interests, it will be necessary for you to intervene with Ambassador Dobrynin to have the Soviets withdraw these requests and to have the cargoes moved instead in third-flag shipping.” On the reaction of Gleason and the ILA to the U.S.-Soviet maritime negotiations, see footnote 6, Document 9.
  6. Peterson was in Miami at the Republican National Convention.
  7. Printed as Document 29.
  8. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 125.
  9. See Documents 24 and 29. On August 21, Kissinger discussed the gas issue in a telephone conversation with Peterson, who said: “You know that we don’t need the gas and we can get it domestically.” Kissinger replied: “But we want it for political reasons.” Peterson then added “even for economic reasons,” and “whatever happens in the United States we’re going to need this gas desperately.” Kissinger replied, “I don’t give a damn.” Peterson continued: “And my feeling is that even if we didn’t need it, unless I am mistaken, the carrot here is of sufficient attractiveness that [it] would be worth a little dough.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 14, Chronological File)
  10. In message Tohak 78, August 18, Haig informed Kissinger that Meir had publicly attacked the Soviets regarding the exit fee issue. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 23, HAK Trip Files, HAK’s Secret Paris Trip, Switzerland, Saigon, Tokyo, August 13–19, 1972, To/Frm 86971 & Backchannels)
  11. Document 26.
  12. Andrei Kirilenko and Konstantin Katushev, members of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee.
  13. Mohammed Hassanein Heikal, editor of the newspaper Al Ahram and confidante of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
  14. No classification marking.