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Preface

The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of States is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. Under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, the staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which was signed by President George H. W. Bush on October 28, 1991, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series must include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of the Foreign Relations of the United States that documents the most significant foreign policy issues and major decisions of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. Five volumes in this subseries, volumes XII through XVI, cover U.S. relations with the Soviet Union. This specific volume documents United States policy toward the Soviet Union from June 1972 until August 1974, following closely the development of the ad[Page IV]ministration’s policy of Détente and culminating with President Nixon’s resignation in August 1974.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XV, June 1972 until August 1974

This volume continues the practice of covering U.S.-Soviet relations in a global context, highlighting conflict and collaboration between the two superpowers in the era of Détente. Chronologically, it follows volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, which documents the May 1972 Moscow Summit between President Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. This volume includes numerous direct personal communications between Nixon and Brezhnev covering a host of issues, including clarifying the practical application of the SALT I and ABM agreements signed in Moscow. Other major themes covered include the war in Indochina, arms control, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), commercial relations and most-favored-nation status, grain sales, the emigration of Soviet Jews, Jackson-Vanik legislation, and the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. The private backchannel, documented through telephone transcripts and memoranda of conversation, between Henry Kissinger, who for most of this period served as Secretary of State, and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin continued to function as the principal line of communication between the two superpowers. The backchannel was key to making progress on the most problematic issues in U.S. Soviet relations, and provided a face-to-face means of diffusing potentially confrontational subjects, such as growing Soviet concern about the United States’ recently established relationship with China. This period included high-level meetings and summits, both in the United States and the Soviet Union, documented here in detail, including Kissinger’s conversations with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko leading up to Nixon’s final visit to the Soviet Union in June 1974. These frequent meetings and discussions allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to avoid open conflict and, to the extent possible, cooperate on managing crises around the world.

Taken as a whole, the five Soviet Union volumes in the Nixon-Ford subseries, 1969–1976, document the core issues of the Cold War, as seen through the prism of U.S.-Soviet global relations. This volume provides an account of the U.S.-Soviet worldwide confrontation, competition, and cooperation during the 26 months covered. Extensive annotation directs the reader to relevant sources in other Foreign Relations volumes, and to archival and published sources. Editorial Notes provide helpful background and explanatory information. Readers interested in the larger context of relations between the United States and Soviet Union should consult additional volumes of the subseries including, volume XXXII, SALT I, 1969–1972; volume E-2, Documents on Arms Control [Page V]and Nonproliferation, 1969–1972; volume XVII, China, 1969–1972; volume XLI, Western Europe; NATO, 1969–1972; volume XXXIV, National Security Policy, 1969–1972 and, volume XXXIX, European Security.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation and reporting telegrams are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the documents were drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the original document are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide sum[Page VI]maries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 USC 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to notify the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Nixon White House Tapes

Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the PRMPA and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Adminis[Page VII]tration and the Nixon Estate. In February 1971, President Nixon initiated a voice activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, members of Congress, and key foreign officials. The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editor has made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts produced here. Readers are advised that the tape recording is the official document; the transcript represents an interpretation of that document. Through the use of digital audio and other advances in technology, the Office of the Historian has been able to enhance the tape recordings and over time produce more accurate transcripts. The result is that some transcripts printed here may differ from transcripts of the same conversations printed in previous Foreign Relations volumes. The most accurate transcripts possible, however, cannot substitute for listening to the recordings. Readers are urged to consult the recordings themselves for a full appreciation of those aspects of the conversations that cannot be captured in a transcript, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and other applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security, as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2007 and was completed in 2009, resulted in the decision to withold two documents and make excisions in six documents.

The editors are confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume, and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the documentation and editorial notes presented here provide an accurate and comprehensive account of the [Page VIII]Nixon administration’s complex policy toward the Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974.

Acknowledgements

The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editors wish to express gratitude to the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access. Special thanks are due to John Earl Haynes of the Library of Congress who facilitated access to the Kissinger Papers. The editors were able to use the Kissinger Papers with the kind permission of Henry Kissinger. The Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense provided full access to their records.

Douglas E. Selvage and Melissa Jane Taylor collected the documentation for this volume, made the selection, and annotated the documents under the supervision of M. Todd Bennett, Chief of the Europe and Global Issues Division, and Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the series. Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Renée A. Goings did the copy and technical editing. Do Mi Stauber Indexing Service prepared the index.

Ambassador Edward Brynn Acting Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs November 2011