8. Memorandum for the President’s File by the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • The President’s Meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin, 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 12, 1972


  • The President
  • Anatoli F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the USA
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

The President welcomed Ambassador Dobrynin to San Clemente. The Ambassador said he liked San Clemente the best of all the President’s residences. The top people needed time to think, he said, and this was a good place for it. General Secretary Brezhnev, too, was a very busy man; he always had piles of papers to work on. The next time the President came to the Soviet Union he must come to the General Secretary’s resort on the Black Sea.

Dr. Kissinger pointed out that first Mr. Brezhnev would have to come here. Ambassador Dobryinin replied that we can do both in the next four years.

The President then observed that the progress in U.S.-Soviet relations was due to the work accomplished through the KissingerDobrynin channel. When he thought of what had really happened on the critical issues, it was clear that what progress we made in the future depended on this channel. There must be an understanding at the highest level.

The President stressed that nobody’s interest was served by having the Vietnam war continued. The only question was how to end it. But both sides must want to end the war.

The bigger problem, the President continued, was how we could build on the achievements of the Moscow Summit and make further breakthroughs. He cited the possible understanding on non-use of nuclear weapons as an example.2

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Ambassador Dobrynin replied, “You can count on us.” General Secretary Brezhnev was looking forward to Dr. Kissinger’s return visit around September 10 or a little afterward.

The President cited the Middle East as the other problem that we were interested in pursuing actively. He was looking forward to the General Secretary’s return visit to the United States. Could we develop the agenda for our future work? the President then asked. Dr. Kissinger mentioned the El Paso natural gas project.3 The President said that the vistas for trade can be very big.

The Ambassador concluded by saying that General Secretary Brezhnev sent the President his best personal wishes. The Moscow Summit had positive results and was so evaluated in Moscow. The Soviet leaders looked forward to both Secretary Peterson’s forthcoming visit and Dr. Kissinger’s visit in September. If the two countries could reach a nuclear agreement, it would considerably ease the world situation, he added.

There were additional pleasantries, and the meeting ended.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 494, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 12. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place in the President’s office at the Western White House. Nixon was in San Clemente from July 1 to July 18. Dobrynin was on a business trip to the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco when Nixon invited him to spend a few days in San Clemente.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 299.
  3. A possible reference to the involvement of the El Paso Natural Gas Company in a U.S.-Japanese agreement to help in the development of the natural gas fields in Yakutsk in Siberia. The Soviet Union sought bank loans and credits to help finance its development projects.