98. Message From the U.S. Leadership to the Soviet Leadership1

Trade Issues at the US-Soviet Summit

The summit meeting will provide an opportunity to review the progress made in trade and economic relations since the meeting in Moscow and to set goals for the period ahead.

In accordance with his commitment and the terms of the US-Soviet trade agreement of last October, the President has submitted to the Congress a request for authority to extend MFN treatment.2 The President will be prepared to give the General Secretary a status report on this legislation and an estimate of when it may be possible for the United States to take action with respect to MFN.

Apart from the question of MFN, there are no major outstanding issues with respect to the implementation of the trade agreement of last [Page 319] October. However, the two leaders could set a new goal for total trade between our two countries over a three-year period, for example, 2–3 billion dollars. The President would also be prepared to consider favorably the possibility of raising the level of credit to be extended by the Export-Import Bank to the USSR beyond the $500 million previously agreed. In this connection, it will be helpful to have Soviet estimates of expected credit requirements over the next three years.

The two leaders will probably wish to look beyond the trade agreement and near-term trade and to discuss further the question of longer-term economic relations. In particular, they could review the status of negotiations between American companies and Soviet authorities concerning the export of Soviet natural gas to the United States. The American companies are currently proceeding with their feasibility studies and with work on a protocol looking toward specific contracts, having received Administration approval for these actions at the time of Secretary Shultz’ visit to Moscow.3 In light of the progress achieved in this area at the time of the summit, the two leaders could issue a joint statement endorsing cooperation in regard to natural gas, welcoming the progress made and looking toward the realization of these mutually advantageous projects.

The final communiqué should record the satisfaction of both sides with the progress made in trade and economic relations since the Moscow summit and refer to the goal for total trade over the coming three years mentioned above. The communiqué could also incorporate a statement on the natural gas projects as indicated above.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 496, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 16. Top Secret. A handwritten notation at the top of the note reads, “Delivered to the Soviet Embassy, 6:30 pm, Tuesday, April 17, 1973.” In a telephone conversation with Kissinger on April 14, Dobrynin said that “there is the question of Most Favored Nation—Brezhnev understands it has some kind of problems and he asks what the President is doing.” Dobrynin said: “What he is asking now—he is asking to you and the President if you could give him his ideas or his thoughts on this question—what does he think about the timing of all this [sic] things to happen.” He also asked on behalf of Brezhnev “what kind of agreements does the President think can be done during Brezhnev’s visit in the economic fields.” Kissinger agreed to provide a response to Brezhnev’s questions. (Ibid., Kissinger Telephone Conversations (Telcons), Box 19, Chronological File)
  2. On April 10, the President submitted to Congress the Trade Reform Act of 1973, which granted to the President the authority to extend most-favored-nation status to any nation when he deemed it in the national interest to do so. See Public Papers: Nixon, 1972, pp. 258–270.
  3. See Document 84.