68. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin1

D: Hello, Henry.

K: Anatol!

D: How are you?

K: Okay.

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D: What the weather there is?

K: The weather is perfect.

D: You have already swimmed a little bit?

K: I what?

D: Did you swim a little bit?

K: Yes, and I took a long walk. I may even take off a half a pound.

D: I know it is a difficult struggle.

K: It is a hopeless struggle. (Laughter)

D: (Laughter) And it is difficult for me too. Henry, I just received from Mr. Brezhnev a telegram addressed to the President.2 I would like to read it to you.

K: All right.

D: “I and my colleagues have learned with deep satisfaction that the course you have taken towards lessening of international tension and towards improvement of relations between our countries received now such a convincing support by the American voters. We believe that this factor played a significant role in the decision of the population of your country which was passed on the election day.

“That is why Nikolai V. Podgorny, Alexey N. Kosygin, my other colleagues in the leadership and I personally express satisfaction on your reelection as President.

“I wish to express the conviction that the relationship and mutual understanding, already built between us as a result of the Moscow meeting, will not only continue but will also be deepened. We hope that in not distant future the deeds that have been started will come to successful completion and that a next important step will be made in the development of the Soviet-American relations. That would correspond both to the interests of our two countries and to the interests of world peace.

Sincerely, L. Brezhnev

(November 9, 1972)

K: This is a very, very nice telegram. As it happened, I was going to call you and then Col. Kennedy said you were coming in anyway. Because the President asked me to acknowledge the telegram from Podgorny3 and to tell you first, of course, that he will write a personal reply to Brezhnev,4 but to tell you that the peace started in the first, and will [Page 238] be accelerated in the second; that this improvement in our relations is one of the cardinal principles of his policy.

D: I understand.

K: And we really look forward to working even more closely with you in the second term.

D: I understand. You say he will write Mr. Brezhnev and—

K: And you can tell that already to Mr. Brezhnev. I will bring a reply with me on Monday.5

D: On Monday?

K: How about you and I having lunch on Tuesday.

D: On Tuesday, fine.

K: I’ll be back Monday but I’m busy. The meeting has been put off four days.6

D: Oh, I see! When it will be now?

K: On the 20th.

D: On the 20th. Okay, what time?

K: When we have time.

D: Yes, on the 20th. Okay, so this will—

K: Definitely fixed for this Sunday.

D: Okay, you look to me or I will come to you?

K: Why don’t you come to me.

D: Okay, at one o’clock. I leave this with Col. Kennedy, but you can relate it to the President.

K: We will relay it to the President today.

D: Yes.

K: Are you going to release it to the press?

D: I don’t know about this one—this is what sent to the President. He asked to do this way, Mr. Brezhnev. He said if possible to forward to you and the President in Florida. Because he said be in touch with Mr. Kissinger but this you should stress more briefly by telephone directly to the President, but I don’t know whether I could do it or not.

K: Right. I will transmit it to the President within the next half hour.

D: Yes, okay. But if you think it best for me I could do it with pleasure, or is it more difficult?

K: Why don’t I ask him?

D: Okay, I will leave it here, okay?

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K: Well, I think he’s out on a boat.

D: Oh, I see.

K: But he can call you at the Embassy.

D: That is no problem, and I will receive it with pleasure. I have now read it to you but if possible I would like—Mr. Brezhnev asked me if possible to reach him by telephone.

K: Well, let me see whether I can get the President.

D: If it possible you would do, I would like to read it to him myself.

K: Right. Well—

D: You understand why?

K: I, of course, understand why. The only thing is, of course, if this becomes public your Chinese allies will declare war on us.


D: I don’t know. It would be my guess you don’t relay it to the public—this one—Podgorny’s is already published.

K: I’m joking, we are proud of it.

D: Podgorny’s has already been published I know, but—

K: There’s nothing to hide in our relationship with you, it’s one of the best things we’ve done.

D: I understand, but this here—if he personally wrote it and he usually on very rare occasions he wrote to me a telegram. He wrote this time and said please do it first if possible. Well of course you know I’m going through you, but at the same time—

K: Why don’t you stay there for five minutes and I’ll see if I can reach the President.

D: Okay, I will remain here, okay.

K: And I’ll call you back.

D: Okay, thank you very much.

K: Right.

D: Right.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 27, Chronological File. No classification marking. Kissinger was in Key Biscayne and Dobrynin was in Washington.
  2. The letter is NSC Files, Box 495, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 14.
  3. See Document 67.
  4. The letter has not been found.
  5. November 13.
  6. A reference to the Paris peace negotiations with Le Duc Tho.