87. Message From the Soviet Leadership to President Nixon1

We would like to say frankly that we ourselves do not have data regarding the weapons deliveries from North to South Vietnam. As for the Soviet Union, it stands—as we have repeatedly and quite definitely stated—for the strict implementation of the Quadripartite Agreement on Vietnam of January 27 by all its parties. We proceed also from the fact that the agreement signed at the Paris International Conference on Vietnam must be strictly and punctually observed.2 It is in this way that the Soviet Union on its part is and will be active.

While the war was in progress in Vietnam, we, as is known, helped the DRV with armaments but the situation has changed with the end of the war and with attainment of peace. We want, strictly confidentially, to bring to the personal knowledge of President Nixon the fact that in these new conditions our present deliveries to North Vietnam are connected only with peaceful purposes of economic restoration of that country. At the same time, we would like to draw the attention of the President to the following circumstance: When our weapons were delivered to the DRV, it was done primarily through the territory of China or the Chinese ports. It is quite possible that part of the weapons sent at that time and destined for the DRV might have settled somewhere in China. We do not exclude a possibility that those weapons might have reached the DRV later.

In the communication transmitted to us by the US side,3 there was a hint that there is a possibility that the United States may again embark on the road of military actions in Vietnam or, in other words, on the road of violation of the peace agreements. Taking into account what in the present circumstances would be the consequences of such actions for the situation not only in Vietnam but in the whole world as well, we [Page 298] would like to believe that things would not turn in that direction. We believe that restraint and equanimity will be displayed by the US and that adherence to peaceful aims regarding which there was an understanding reached between us at the meeting in Moscow, as well as to the provisions of the Act solemnly signed by the two of our countries together with other participants of the Paris conference will be clearly demonstrated. (According to the information reaching us from various sources, considerable quantities of American armaments are being received as before by Saigon authorities. To what extent this information corresponds to the real state of affairs is, of course, known better to the US authorities.)

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 496, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 16. Top Secret. Kissinger forwarded the message to Nixon as an attachment to a summary memorandum, April 17. Kissinger wrote that the note came “in response to our representations regarding weapons deliveries in Vietnam” (see Document 81). Dobrynin had delivered the message to Scowcroft on March 23. That day, Scowcroft forwarded it to Kissinger, who was in Mexico, in message Tohak 93, with the question: “Do you wish the message to be given to the President?” (Ibid.)
  2. The Vietnam Peace Accords signed in Paris on January 27 (see Document 74) included a provision for convening an International Conference on Vietnam, which began in Paris on February 26. The Final Act signed on March 2 called for, among other things, strict implementation of the peace agreement. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume X, Vietnam, January 1973–July 1975, Document 25.
  3. Not further identified.