130. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Andrei Vavilov, Interpreter
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • CSCE; Cyprus; Middle East; Economic and Energy Consultations; Europe; MBFR


Gromyko: I would like to summarize some things, and on what questions we would be awaiting your considerations or replies. Questions that have been opened.

First, the question of Confidence-Building Measures. You promised you would give a certain formulation.

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Kissinger: I told Hartman to meet with Kovalev this afternoon and see if you can work it out.2

Gromyko: You promised to give formulations and to consult with allies. When you are ready, you can use the appropriate channel. When can we expect them?

Kissinger: After I talk to Hartman. Within the next two weeks.

Gromyko: Fine. Then you understand the sooner the better.

The second question is peaceful change of frontiers. You said you would be talking with Schmidt. But you are going to Paris, not Bonn.

Kissinger: I will write to him.

Let me sum up: You are prepared to put the phrase either in the section on sovereignty or on inviolability of frontiers.

Gromyko: We will consider it. When approximately can you do this?

Kissinger: Within ten days. I hope. It will give the Germans a sense that they accomplished something.

Gromyko: This question is not agreed on at all, and we want a definite answer and we will consider it. If some frictions remain, we will go back to our previous position.

Kissinger: I understand.

Gromyko: With respect to the date of the ending of the European Security Conference, I have put forward our views on the dates but I expressed a negative attitude on June and July. You promised to consult and reply next Monday.3

Kissinger: By the end of next Monday.

Gromyko: The third question is the question of correlation of principles. You promised to think it over and express your views to us.


The fourth is the question of Cyprus. As I remember, you did not mention any time, but you promised to consider the situation and to consult on it.

Kissinger: No consultations; I said we would consider it within our government.

Gromyko: We would like the period to be as short as possible. You shouldn’t consider it an impregnable obstacle.

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Middle East

Gromyko: (continued) On the Middle East, I will say the following: we had an exchange of information and appraisals and how we understand the aims and about the role of the Geneva Conference. I will say again that if it develops that everything will be done and we will only be invited and have photos taken, then we won’t take it seriously.

If we will contribute to a negotiation that is either partial or complete, that is another thing. But do not think we will tear something from the role of other countries.

We do not walk about with an extended hand. We just stated our position.

Kissinger: On this I want to say we appreciate the spirit of your remarks, which I consider conciliatory. We are in any event coming to the end of any partial steps. Even in these we will consider how to make more explicit a joint role, so you are not just asked to stamp something, which I agree is not appropriate.

In any event, I will go back to the Middle East. I have no specific program. But we will now move rapidly toward joint efforts. It is not a matter of months but weeks.

Gromyko: So we will await more specific considerations from you. The sooner the better. I have put forward certain considerations. We believe both of us should meet our affairs in such a way so as to prevent reproaches from this or that side—that on one side it is said there is an understanding to stop the arms race and on the other side that we are promoting it.

I don’t want to repeat what I have already said. I would like to say we attach importance to this question.

Kissinger: I understand.

Economic and Energy Consultations

Gromyko: We also attach importance to international questions such as economic cooperation in the broadest sense of the word. You know certain complications have arisen; we are aware certain forums exist where these questions are being considered. Don’t you think there is certain room for our consultation on these? We are interested, not as observers. You can’t say we are not affected. We are considering it first from the point of view of peace and détente. If you have any comments.

Kissinger: What specifically do you have in mind? In principle we are prepared to have consultations.

Gromyko: I am posing this question in a broad sense as a matter of principle. There are the questions of oil, prices, the price of raw materials, and economic relations in a broad sense. You know in the mone[Page 514]tary system there are problems and many countries have an interest. I do not await any proposal but just state the principle.

Kissinger: In principle we are prepared to exchange ideas and even explore cooperation. May I make a suggestion? I have a new Under Secretary for Economic Affairs.4 I could send him, and the Assistant Secretary who handles energy, to Moscow to exchange views. I have no ideas in mind, but they could exchange ideas.

Gromyko: We will consider that.

Kissinger: Let me know.

Gromyko: We will inform you.

Kissinger: They are both outstanding men.


Gromyko: What are your views on Europe, on the Common Market? Do any doubts arise, or is everything proceeding normally in Europe?

Kissinger: The big question is whether Britain will stay in.

Gromyko: What is your estimate?

Kissinger: 51–49. To stay in. It will be very narrow.

Gromyko: When will this be?

Kissinger: June. Very narrow. Callaghan will be in favor; other ministers will be against. The Prime Minister will be on the winning side.

Gromyko: What is your view of West Germany? Privately.

Kissinger: Yes. In West Germany, with unemployment, there are two problems. One is a series of elections in which the governing parties may lose. Or lose votes. If it happens, Genscher’s party may get into difficulties. So their domestic stability will be in difficulty. But later this year their economy, like ours, will recover.

In the CDU, whether or not Strauss is Chancellor, he will be the dominant personality.

On European cooperation, we are neutral. We don’t take part in it and don’t encourage it.

Gromyko: What is your estimate of Schmidt’s winning?

Kissinger: It is a slight possibility on the positive side. There are two elements. One is whether the Socialists win; the other is whether the Free Democrats stay above 5%.

Gromyko: I think it is good that we exchange views.

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Kissinger: On the Vienna negotiations on force reductions, we are now considering some reduction of new nuclear weapons and aircraft, but which has the positive side of not only a reduction but of a ceiling.

And I wondered if it is of interest.

Gromyko: Of course, certainly. It is one of our ideas.

Kissinger: If the principle interests you, we will then proceed to inform our allies.

Gromyko: We are interested.

Kissinger: Then we will present it to our allies.

Gromyko: It depends on the nature of the proposal and the relation to other elements.

Kissinger: Of course. But we are considering it in addition to other elements.

Gromyko: The General Secretary asks me to send his warm regards to President Ford and his best wishes to him and his wife.

Kissinger: Thank you. He will write in the next ten days.

Gromyko: And to you and Mrs. Kissinger.

Kissinger: I think this was a positive meeting.

[The meeting ended and Secretary Kissinger escorted Minister Gromyko down to the main lobby, where they addressed the press briefly. Their remarks to the press are attached.]5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 5, Soviet Union, January–March 1975. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Rodman. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s suite at the Intercontinental Hotel.
  2. On the meeting between Hartman and Kovalev and subsequent developments, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 273.
  3. February 24.
  4. Charles W. Robinson entered on duty as Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs on January 3.
  5. Brackets in the original. The remarks to the press are attached but not printed.