123. Letter From President Ford to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev 1

Dear Mr. General Secretary:

I want to take the occasion of Ambassador Dobrynin’s departure for Moscow to reiterate one fundamental point of my policy: my determination to continue on the course of the improvement of US-Soviet relations as charted at the historic summit meetings over the last three years. As I explained in my letter of January 9, 1975,2 this principle applies to the enhancement of our cooperation in economic and other fields of bilateral relations, and also to our continued cooperation in the international political field. There is no question but that our two countries, as a political reality, share a special responsibility for the peace of the world.

In addition, in the spirit of consultation which marks our relations, I want to convey to you some of my thoughts about the current situation in the Middle East.

The United States has always been conscious of your nation’s interests in this area—its strategic importance to you and your natural role as a friend of many countries in the region. Our joint role in the area was stated in the understandings reached in Moscow on October 22, 1973, which produced Security Council Resolution 338, the Geneva Peace Conference, and the unprecedented and hopeful process of peaceful settlement that was launched.

No final settlement in the Middle East can be achieved or could endure without the support and cooperation of the Soviet Union. The United States and Soviet Union must work together in the closest cooperation in such a settlement. In the meantime, it is the responsibility of [Page 449] both our countries to act in a manner that eases tensions and facilitates the search for peaceful solutions. As you have so often pointed out, Mr. General Secretary, the situation in the Middle East remains difficult. Until achievement of a final and comprehensive settlement, the danger of an outbreak of hostilities remains and cannot be ignored.

The United States is therefore currently attempting to see if there are any preliminary steps which can be taken to moderate the tensions in the area. We are under no illusion that any such steps constitute a lasting solution. It is our hope, however, that they will facilitate the process of moving to achieve more comprehensive political solutions.

In the interests of ensuring that every possible step which could ameliorate the situation in the Middle East is taken, the United States would be prepared to consider any suggestions you may have for possible cooperative action between us to achieve further interim progress once the steps the US is presently engaged in have been completed. I believe a discussion along these lines could be fruitful. If the Soviet side is receptive to this idea, I would be grateful to hear your ideas, Mr. General Secretary, on ways in which such a discussion might proceed. I believe there are many unexplored possibilities of constructive cooperation.

In the meantime, let me reiterate another point I made in my letter of January 9: that the candor and mutual confidence of our conversations in Vladivostok represent a firm basis for our moving ahead over the range of our relations. I am asking Ambassador Dobrynin to convey to you personally my own high expectations for our successful collaboration in the months ahead. He will bring you also my personal best wishes for your health and happiness.

Sincerely,

Gerald R. Ford
  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. According to a typed note, the letter was “delivered to Soviet Embassy by NSC messenger 1/21/75, 6:45 p.m.”
  2. Document 115.