65. Memorandum for the President’s Files1


  • Meeting with Minister Patolichev, Ambassador Dobrynin, William P. Rogers, Peter G. Peterson, Peter M. Flanigan, and Helmut Sonnenfeldt, October 18, 1972

At 2:30 on Wednesday, October 18, 1972, the President met with USSR Minister of Foreign Trade Nikolay Semenovich Patolichev, Ambassador Anatoly F. Dobrynin, Secretaries Rogers and Peterson, Peter M. Flanigan and Helmut Sonnenfeldt (NSC) in the Oval Office. This meeting followed a ceremony at the State Department at which the Lend-Lease settlement and comprehensive trade agreements were signed.2

Patolichev began by extending Chairman Brezhnev’s regards to the President, and the President in turn asked Patolichev to offer his regards to the Chairman. Patolichev, noting that the agreements signed earlier that day were based on the Moscow documents, said this would help toward better relations; he added that though discussions leading up to the agreements had been serious, the participation and interest of the President had been felt. The President responded that Mr. Brezhnev’s interest had also been felt as had the confidence he had shown in his minister. Patolichev confirmed that Brezhnev had indeed been kept fully informed during the discussions and would not let minor disagreements get in the way of progress.

The President observed that the agreements had significance beyond the economic interests affected and could create a climate for progress in the political field; he noted that the two countries are the most productive in the world and that this big step was appropriate to these big countries; he also expressed his desire to make more progress every year. Patolichev replied that we had just removed the obstacles and that economic action would follow shortly. The President added that he was thinking of big deals such as a gas deal.

The President asked Patolichev to tell Chairman Brezhnev that he, the President, would personally follow-up in the economic field and hoped the Chairman would also. He stated he saw the political differ[Page 229]ences diminishing and economic relations becoming more and more important, and that therefore he would follow it personally. Patolichev replied he would deliver this message the next day; he was certain it would be warmly received, and that both he and the Chairman would follow the progress carefully. The President noted that he was impressed with Brezhnev’s ability to keep his eye on the big picture while knowing the details.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Secretary Rogers said that the United States owed a debt of gratitude to the two ministers, Patolichev and Peterson, that had concluded the agreements.

The President observed that this was a special day—for in addition to concluding the historic trade agreements, he was also receiving the leaders of the Congress as they adjourned. He noted that we would need the Congress next year to implement the MFN provision of the trade agreement.

Peter M. Flanigan 3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, President’s Office Files, Box 90, Memoranda for the President, October 15, 1972. No classification marking.
  2. Rogers and Patolichev signed the trade agreement; Peterson and Patolichev the lend-lease agreement. For the text of both agreements, see Department of State Bulletin, November 20, 1972, pp. 595–604. The agreements were summarized in The New York Times, October 19, 1972.
  3. Flanigan initialed above this typed signature.