117. Note From the Soviet Leadership to President Ford 1

As it was already stated in L.I. Brezhnev’s letter to President Ford of December 25, 1974, the very basis of the trade and credit legislation adopted by the US Congress in its parts dealing with the USSR is unacceptable for us on the grounds which were laid down in that letter.

This legislation is in clear-cut contradiction not only with an agreement reached between our countries in 1972 on an unconditional elimination of discriminatory restrictions in trade, but also with the principle of noninterference into the domestic affairs of each other.

That is why we, of course, do not intend—we repeat it again—to accept a discriminatory, loaded with all kinds of political conditions status of trade between the USSR and the United States.

[Page 439]

In this connection the Soviet side considers itself relieved of those mutual obligations which have been taken by it in a comprehensive complex of the agreements of 1972 on trade and financial questions.

We reject a suggestion to put into force the Agreement between the USSR and the United States Regarding Trade of October 18, 1972, in conjunction with the new trade legislation adopted in the United States, as it was made in a draft letter handed by the Secretary of State. It also goes without saying that any statements, if made, about alleged assurances from the Soviet Union concerning its internal legislation would be resolutely denied by us as not corresponding to the reality.

We leave it to the discretion of the President how he will inform the US Congress of the position taken by us in connection with the adoption of a discriminatory [sic] towards the Soviet Union trade and credit legislation. It is important only that our position is set forth precisely, in the very way it has been stated by us to the President earlier and in the present communication.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 5, Soviet Union, January–March 1975. No classification marking. Dobrynin called Kissinger at 12:10 p.m. to report the arrival and gist of the Soviet note; Kissinger asked him to send the text to the White House. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1974–1977, Box 31, Dobrynin/Kissinger Telcons (1)) Dobrynin then forwarded the note under a brief covering letter to Scowcroft; according to marginalia on the letter, it was delivered at 1 p.m.