95. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

The meeting took place in order to discuss our counterdraft on the nuclear treaty, which I had sent Dobrynin from San Clemente on April 2. [Tab A]2

The US draft of April 2 had added language into the Preamble to protect third countries and had reworked both Articles I and II to incorporate language about our “goal to create conditions” which would exclude the use of nuclear weapons.

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Dobrynin handed me the attached communication from Brezhnev to the President on the subject [Tab B].3 He pointed out that the impact of our draft had been very unfortunate. It was in effect a return to the declaration of last summer,4 which showed that next to no progress had been made despite all the assurances given by the President and the hope held out by me. He said this was now a rather serious matter in the Soviet Union. First of all, this was likely to be the most significant achievement of the Summit, and therefore if it went by the board it was hard to see what would come out of the Summit. Second and most importantly, he could assure me that it had profound consequences for the Soviet domestic situation if this overture of Brezhnev’s were going to fail. He would therefore, ask me to look very carefully at the draft again. He thought that Moscow would accept inclusion of reference in the preamble to conditions if we could restore much of the first article. I told him he would have an answer by Thursday.5

Dobrynin then handed me a communication about the European Security Conference [Tab C],6 the gist of which was that progress had been disappointingly slow even though the Soviet Union had made major concessions. He wondered whether a more effective procedure might not be for him to meet with Rush periodically on European Security Conference matters. I told him that it would be better for Stoessel to meet with Vorontsov and then they could pass their problems on to Dobrynin and me.

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Finally we dealt with the issue of Jewish emigration, on which Dobrynin handed me the two attached communications [Tab D].7 I asked him whether we could use them officially with the Congress, and Dobrynin said yes, that we could.

He finally handed me a communication about the conversations that had been taking place in Moscow with Madame Binh [Tab E].8 I told him in all seriousness that if these violations continued, I would guarantee some decisive American counteraction and we would be back to the situation of last year. Every country had an obligation to maintain the ceasefire in Vietnam and we could not, as a great power, tolerate its brutal flouting within three months of the Agreement before the Agreement had been given any chance at all of working. I also pointed out to him that we would appreciate Soviet influence with Hungary and Poland to assure better compliance with the Agreement, and particularly if the ICCS collapsed just before the Summit that too would have very grave consequences. Dobrynin told me he would communicate this to Moscow.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 496, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 16. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place in the Map Room at the White House. Sonnenfeldt sent Kissinger an April 9 briefing memorandum prior to the meeting with Dobrynin. (Ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 67, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Map Room, Aug. 1972–May 31, 1973 [1 of 3])
  2. Attached but not printed. See Document 85. All brackets are in the original.
  3. Attached but not printed. Brezhnev wrote that an agreement once seemed at hand as “our positions have become closer and that the only thing that remained was to work over the wording of certain provisions in order to complete the preparation of the document.” After having received the U.S. draft, however, Brezhnev had reached a “somewhat different conclusion.” The Soviet Premier appreciated the fact that “the President is directly dealing with this matter.” But, he added, “we would not be frank, if we do not say after having studied the latest proposal of the U.S. side, that we are becoming greatly concerned.”
  4. Presumably the draft Dobrynin gave Kissinger on April 21, 1972. See Document 17.
  5. April 12. Kissinger discussed the draft treaty in daily telephone conversations with Dobrynin April 12–14 and 16–17. Kissinger also discussed it in telephone conversations with Sonnenfeldt on April 13 and 17. (All National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 19, Chronological File) Based on the conversations, Kissinger forwarded a revised draft to the British Embassy on April 18. (Ibid., Box 496, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 16) Kissinger discussed the revised draft with Brimelow in a telephone conversation on April 19. With regard to various formulations discussed by Kissinger, Brimelow said: “I don’t see that we have any major interest either way.” (Ibid., Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 19, Chronological File)
  6. Attached but not printed. For a summary, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 134.
  7. Attached but not printed. For a summary, see Document 96.
  8. Attached but not printed. The note reported on the visit of Nguyen Thi Binh, Foreign Minister of the Communist People’s Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam, to Moscow. According to the note, Binh, who had led the PRG delegation at the Paris Peace Talks, “cited a number of facts demonstrating that Saigon authorities have in fact been trying, since the first day after the signature of the Paris agreement, to hinder in all ways possible its implementation in every respect.”