93. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Under Secretaries Committee (Rush) to President Nixon1


  • Review of US-Soviet Bilateral Issues


This is in response to NSSM–1762 and, as directed, does not include such issues as SALT, CSCE, MBFR, nor any issues relating to the US-Soviet Trade Agreement and the work of the US–USSR Joint Commercial Commission.

US-Soviet dealings now cover a wide range. There are several possibilities for future agreements and for augmentation of existing agreements with the USSR, as well as numerous issues now under discussion or pending. Among the pending matters is the question of the term and nature of a new Exchanges Agreement,3 due for renewal at the end of this year.

Possible Future Agreements

A promising area for future US–USSR agreement is the project for opening additional consulates. The Soviets raised this question, suggesting an American consulate in Odessa in exchange for a Soviet consulate in New York.

Another area of possible future agreement is the proposal for a binational park. This project would set aside territories in Alaska and Siberia as nature preserves open to the citizens of both countries, with transportation between the two areas. The Department of Interior and the National Science Foundation have reservations on this project, described in Attachments II and III.4

Augmentation of Existing Agreements

The recent meeting of the US–USSR Joint Commission on Scientific and Technical Cooperation5 revealed that the agricultural sub-[Page 307]agreement could be signed at an appropriate time and that a sub-agreement in transportation might be reached by early June. There are no prospects for an early sub-agreement in oceanography.

Under the space agreement6 there are possibilities for future cooperation in the acquisition and enhancement by NASA of Soviet photos of Mars, and two probes, one by each side, of both Mars and Venus.

In the field of civil aviation,7 there have been indications of Soviet interest in increasing frequencies and extending Aeroflot service to Washington. Several US carriers are seeking permission from the Soviets for charter flights to the USSR during the coming summer.

There are also possibilities for augmentation of our agreements with the Soviets on Preventing Incidents at Sea,8 Maritime Affairs,9 and Fisheries,10 and in the field of social security.11

Possible Renegotiation of the Exchanges Agreement

The Exchanges Agreement is due for renewal at the end of 1973, and negotiations will be held late this year or early in 1974. This agreement covers a broad range of activities which are not included in the specialized agreements (e.g., cultural, educational and information activities as well as certain scientific and technical exchanges), and also provides guidelines to ensure that the conditions of exchanges and cooperative activities under the specialized agreements are uniform and consistent with internal security.

It has been proposed that the Exchanges Agreement be renegotiated as a long-term, general agreement. There appears to be little advantage to us in this idea. The current format provides not only the “umbrella” of general principles under which all exchanges with the Soviet Union are carried on, but also the implementation of programs with specific numbers and quotas. These specifics reduce Soviet opportunities to engage in exchange activities high on their priority list without allowing us reciprocal activities high on our priority list. There might be some advantage in negotiating the next Exchanges Agreement for three years (1974–76) rather than the normal two years, since this would bring the Exchanges Agreement into phase with the Summit [Page 308] Cooperative Agreements, permitting an overall review of the various agreements before their renewal.

Issues Now Under Discussion

Progress toward the establishment of consulates in Leningrad and San Francisco would permit a formal opening at an early date.

Several consular problems are now under discussion with the Soviets. Chief among these are the tardy Soviet response to our lists of Soviet citizens attempting to emigrate to join their American families, Soviet controls on travel of foreigners within the USSR, limitations on the movement of US and Soviet diplomatic and official personnel, and access to the American Embassy in Moscow by Soviet and third-country citizens.

Another pending matter is the issue of unresolved private claims.

The Soviets have proposed a joint high-level announcement of the participation of the Bolshoi ballet and theater in the Bicentennial Celebrations in 1976.

Ground could be broken for the new Soviet and American Embassy buildings as early as this summer.12

Kenneth Rush
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–198, NSSM 176 [1 of 2]. Secret.
  2. Document 83.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 83.
  4. Attachments II and III are not attached.
  5. For a synopsis of this meeting, which began in Washington on March 21, see Department of State Bulletin, May 7, 1973, pp. 584–585.
  6. See footnote 19, Document 70.
  7. The text of the U.S.–USSR Agreement on Civil Air Transport, signed on November 4, 1966, is printed in Department of State Bulletin, November 21, 1966, pp. 792–796.
  8. For the text of the Agreement on Preventing Incidents at Sea, signed on May 25, 1972, see ibid., June 26, 1972, pp. 926–927.
  9. See Document 61.
  10. For a synopsis of the Fisheries Agreement, signed June 21, 1973, see Department of State Bulletin, July 30, 1973, pp. 194–195.
  11. Not further identified.
  12. The full report of the NSC Under Secretaries Committee is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–198, NSSM 176 [1 of 2].