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


  • Dark Side of US-Soviet Relations

The seemingly routine telegram at Tab A2 offers a reminder of the Soviets’ continuing “Cold War” approach to the United States’ modest [Page 186] request for improved diplomatic facilities and treatment in the Soviet Union.

It is almost incredible that the Soviets have the gall to continue this attitude when, at the same time, we are making substantial bilateral progress on a number of post-Summit fronts—including progress on the trade front!

My earlier memoranda have reviewed the problems with regard to the Leningrad consulate3 and the new chanceries. The Soviets have now informed State that the proposed building plus penthouse formula for their Mt. Alto site4 is unacceptable and they cannot agree to our requested height for the new US chancery in Moscow.

You are personally aware of Embassy Moscow’s wretched conditions. The Soviets have not budged on a playground for the Embassy children. As reported in the cable at Tab A, the subject of a new facility for an Anglo-American school is brushed aside by Korniyenko (we have been pushing this for 10 years), who also expresses complete ignorance of US recreational boating requests which the Embassy has been making for months—all this at a time when the Soviets have been enjoying their new Pioneer Point dacha in Maryland, complete with two speed boats soon to be joined by a hydrofoil.

It seems to me that the time has come in our relations when the Soviets should be made aware that the President expects simple, human requests made by our people in Moscow and Leningrad to be treated in the same positive spirit reflected in other aspects of our post-Summit relations.

I think you ought to take this up with Dobrynin.


That you inform Dobrynin of our displeasure over the continuing negative attitude being taken by Soviet authorities to the most elemental US requests such as those relating to schooling and recreational facilities in the USSR.5

  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. Confidential; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Sent for action.
  2. Attached but not printed is telegram 9846 from Moscow, September 27.
  3. Sonnenfeldt’s earlier memoranda were not found.
  4. Deputy Chief of Mission Adolph Dubs reported in telegram 9846, that Korniyenko had told him that the U.S. “offer of fifteen foot penthouse on a reciprocal basis did not constitute real progress.”
  5. No response to Sonnenfeldt’s recommendation that Kissinger inform Dobrynin was found.