13. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Your Meeting with Dobrynin, August 15, 1974

Attached is a checklist of various issues currently in play with the Soviets.

Jackson Negotiations

If you have not already done so, you should bring Dobrynin up to date on the negotiations with Senator Jackson. A copy of the latest draft of the letter is at Tab E.2 You wanted to check the point on individuals holding security clearances—that they will be informed when they can expect to be eligible for emigration. You may also wish to note that there will probably be no reference to numbers, but that there will have to be a substantial increase in the rate if the guillotine is not to fall within a matter of months. You could also mention that Jackson et al. will be looking for an annual rate of at least 45,000 fairly soon.

In regard to the Jackson problem, you may want to note the opening of the Polsky trial on August 15 (he is a leading dissident, applicant for emigration since 1968 who is being tried for reckless driving) and the helpful effect of lenient treatment and permission to emigrate in his case.

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On SALT, there have recently been intelligence reports of alleged Soviet second thoughts regarding their summit position. One report, probably stemming from Arbatov, has it that the Soviets now feel they should have been more flexible. Another, on the contrary, has it that the Soviets are undertaking a major study of US MIRVs; if they find they cannot catch up soon, they will make a reasonable proposal; if they judge they can catch up, they will stay rigid.

Whatever the case, you should tell Dobrynin that we are busy trying to put substance into the concept of a 1985 agreement. We think it essential to get overall ceilings in an agreement so that there is at least a sense of limitation. If launcher/bomber ceilings are equal, it might require us to add to our forces, since Soviet levels are running so high. We prefer not to do this and to go no higher than presently projected levels (2250). Then, if the Soviets insist on playing out their own projected levels (ca 2500), we will have to have disparity in MIRVed launchers. We remain greatly concerned about the SS–18; what would it take to limit or stop it altogether? We think it important to make a start on reductions: what about a trade of Polaris and Y Class boats (maybe 10 each)?

You should try out the idea of concentrating in Geneva on elements of an agreement and concepts: overall levels, MIRV levels, special limitations on new heavy weapons, reductions. I think it is premature to talk about the FBS/MBFR link via the nuclear package.

Tab 13



I sent you a memo on the resumption of the talks earlier this week (Tab A).4 If you approve of the mid-September starting date you should tell Dobrynin:

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—We are prepared to reconvene SALT in Geneva in mid-September. Alex Johnson will be in touch with the Soviet Embassy on the details.

—We believe the most constructive approach to this phase of Geneva talks will be a broad exchange on the concepts which might underly an agreement.

—If the Soviets agree with this approach, we would propose that neither side table concrete proposals, but be prepared rather to address the conceptual framework for further limitations.

Chemical Weapons

You have tentatively agreed to have US/Soviet consultations on chemical weapons in August. Vorontsov gave us a draft convention (Tab B)5 last month to serve as the basis for discussion. It is simply the Soviet position to ban development, production, and stockpiling of all lethal CW which you turned down in Moscow last March. We are doing a joint NSC/State analysis of the Soviet draft, which will be ready within a few days.6

You should say to Dobrynin:

—We are now analyzing the Soviet draft CW convention, but at first reading we are struck by the sweeping nature of the proposal and by the absence of reliable verification provisions.

—After we complete our analysis, we will have more definitive views for the Soviets.

—Owing to the press of activities connected with the transition, we may find it more convenient to meet in September rather than in August. We will be back in touch on this.

Environmental Warfare

Last month the Soviets proposed a joint US/Soviet initiative in the UN based on the Soviet position we thought we had talked them out of in Moscow. You suggested to Vorontsov that both sides defer a UN approach until after our agreed consultations in October.7 Nevertheless, the Soviets have gone ahead with their UN initiative unilaterally (Tab C).8 You should tell Dobrynin:

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—We do not believe the Soviet UN initiative was constructive in light of our agreement to discuss environmental modification bilaterally in October, and our expressed wish to defer steps in the UN.

—We are concerned that a UN debate will invite uninformed and exhorbitant proposals from other countries.

—We are prepared to go ahead with our bilateral talks in October.

—In the meantime, we hope the Soviets will join us in deferring formal UN consideration until after our bilateral discussions.


The Soviets have proposed that talks dealing with Article V of the NPT and Article III of the TTB be linked in a single series of meetings in Moscow in late September.9 We have no particular problem with this, but we would like to wait until the interagency study is further advanced before responding.

You should tell Dobrynin:

—We have under active study both the NPT preparatory talks and the discussions on handling PNEs in the context of the threshold test ban.

—We will be back in touch shortly regarding the timing and venue for these talks.10

Bilateral Issues

The Soviet Desk has been discussing with Vorontsov timing and other details on our various bilateral talks. A status report is at Tab D.11 You should tell Dobrynin:

—I understand the Department and the Embassy have been working out details for talks under the various bilateral cooperation agreements.

—I do not believe there are any problems, but if there are, let me know.

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We persist in our efforts through the Geneva recess to convince the Allies to define precisely what would constitute an acceptable CSCE Stage II outcome, and the Nine12 continue to resist such a specific definition of our objectives. The Soviets are hanging tough and Brezhnev, in making a familiar pitch for a CSCE Summit to Moro in Moscow in late July, asked rhetorically what would happen if CSCE failed since he did not believe people would welcome a return to the Cold War. The Allies are not yet ready to face Brezhnev’s point, and there is a good possibility that CSCE Stage II will drag on in divisive debate in Geneva through the end of the year. There is probably nothing to be gained by raising CSCE with the Soviets before Gromyko’s visit to UNGA.


Until we have completed interagency studies looking toward a revision in our opening negotiating position in Vienna, we have nothing new to say to the Soviets on the subject.


Problems on the autobahn associated with the FEA have died out and never represented more than a ritualistic Soviet assertion of their ability, which we never doubted, to hinder Allied access to Berlin.13 I see no point in your raising the subject with Dobrynin.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 8, Soviet Union, Aug–Sept 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. No record of the conversation between Kissinger and Dobrynin on August 15 has been found.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Kissinger wrote on the top of the first page of Tab 1: “Sonnenfeldt” and “Ratification of ABM.”
  4. A copy of the August 13 memorandum is attached but not printed. On the original memorandum, Kissinger initialed his approval of delaying resumption of SALT II talks in Geneva until the week of September 16. Sonnenfeldt notified Johnson on August 19. (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 6, SALT, June–September 1974)
  5. Attached but not printed at Tab B is a copy of a letter from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger, dated August 6. The original letter, including the attached Soviet draft convention, is ibid., Box 8, Soviet Union, Aug–Sept 1974.
  6. David Elliott and Michael Guhin of the National Security Council staff analyzed the Soviet draft convention in a memorandum to Kissinger on August 22. A copy is attached to a September 5 memorandum from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger. (Ibid.)
  7. Kissinger underlined “in October” and wrote “Moscow” in the margin.
  8. Attached but not printed at Tab C is telegram 2752 from USUN, August 8.
  9. Kissinger wrote and underscored twice “Yes” in the margin after this sentence.
  10. Kissinger wrote “NPT paper” in the margin by this point, but then crossed out the “T” in “NPT.” The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed by the United States, Soviet Union, and United Kingdom on July 1, 1968. (21 UST 483; TIAS 6839) The Treaty on the Limitation of Underground Nuclear Weapon Tests, also known as the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, was signed at Moscow on July 3, 1974. For text, see Department of State Bulletin, July 29, 1974, pp. 216–218.
  11. Attached but not printed at Tab D is an August 14 memorandum from Wells Stabler, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, to Sonnenfeldt on follow-up to the June–July summit in Moscow, including a proposed schedule of talks on an energy agreement, housing and other construction, a long-term economic agreement, an artificial heart agreement, an electro-transport project, biosphere reserves, and consulates general.
  12. Reference is to the nine members of the European Community: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, and United Kingdom.
  13. In late July and early August, East Germany, supported by the Soviet Union, disrupted ground access to and from West Berlin for one week to protest the establishment there of the West German Federal Environmental Agency.