37. Editorial Note

The President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry A. Kissinger traveled to Munich, Moscow, London, and Paris September 9–15, 1972. In Munich, Kissinger attended the Olympic games and met with German leaders on September 10 to discuss the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the upcoming German elections. The record of conversation is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany, 1969–1972, Document 372.

Kissinger then proceeded to Moscow, where he met with Soviet General Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev, Minister of Foreign Affairs A.A. Gromyko, and Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. Planning for Kissinger’s visit began even prior to the Moscow Summit. During his secret pre-Summit trip to Moscow in April 1972, Kissinger indicated that he might return again in September. On April 23, Kissinger suggested to Gromyko that “we then continue discussions during the summer. Conceivably, I could come back here in September, on which occasion we could reach agreement on an overall solution [in the Middle East].” (Ibid., volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 150)

Dobrynin recalled from his July visit to San Clemente what President Nixon’s goals were for Kissinger’s September trip: “Work [on the next summit] could start, Nixon said, in September with a visit to Moscow by Kissinger, and this was Nixon’s immediate agenda: Europe presented no major difficulties, and he agreed to an East-West conference on European security, which was sought by many European countries and supported by Moscow. Confident that the SALT treaty would be ratified, he suggested we start exchanging ideas through our private channel on the second stage. The United States was also sounding out its allies on limiting conventional weapons. The trade and economic discussions begun in Moscow should be continued because they showed promise, he said, but they might encounter difficulties in the Congress. He also wanted to consider further joint steps on the Middle East and Vietnam, the latter especially because of its paramount importance in view of the election campaign just starting.” (Dobrynin, In Confidence, page 258) Kissinger, during his August 11 conversation with Dobrynin at the Soviet Embassy, indicated that a lend-lease agreement and economic issues would be a high priority during the September negotiations to the point that Under Secretary of Commerce James Lynn was prepared to join him in Moscow (see Document 25).

[Page 98]

Kissinger noted in his memoirs that he arrived in London on September 14 in order to brief Prime Minister Edward Heath about his meetings with the Soviets. It was announced that Kissinger would then proceed to Paris where he would brief President Georges Pompidou. “But habits of secrecy are hard to break. In order to gain the six hours needed for meeting Le Duc Tho I flew to Paris by a small plane from a British military airport early in the morning of September 15. To mask my movements, Do Not Disturb signs were left on the doors of our suites at Claridge’s Hotel, and the Presidential plane remained at Heathrow until it flew off to Paris later in the day.” (Kissinger, White House Years, pages 1331–1332)