135. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Ford1


  • Letter to Brezhnev on CSCE

On March 1 you sent a letter to General Secretary Brezhnev in which you summarized the state of U.S.-Soviet relations, with particular reference to issues which remain outstanding in the SALT and CSCE negotiations (Tab C).2 In the latter context, you expressed optimism that the remaining areas of disagreement could be resolved and that discussions with our allies reflected consensus that the Conference could be concluded at a Summit meeting in July.

On March 8 the General Secretary replied to your letter (Tab B).3 In his letter Brezhnev expresses concern at your suggestion of July, believing that this represents an unnecessary delay. He expresses the view that “it is important to establish at last the final date of the completion of the Conference and then not to depart from [Page 529] it.” Brezhnev proposes that the concluding stage commence on June 30 in Helsinki. Brezhnev also sent similar letters to Prime Minister Wilson, Chancellor Schmidt and President Giscard d’Estaing.

Although not all issues have been resolved, we remain confident that agreement can be reached on the terms of an agreement that would justify a concluding session of the CSCE at the Summit level. Because the remaining negotiations will be difficult, and in view of other commitments on your schedule, we believe it would be wise to remain firm on your original proposal for a mid-July conclusion to the Conference. We have consulted with the European allies at a restricted meeting of the North Atlantic Council yesterday. They have agreed with our position and will respond to Moscow accordingly.

At Tab A is a letter to Brezhnev which expresses appreciation for his March 8 message and reiterates your preference, and that of our allies, for a July conclusion at the Summit. The letter also states, once more, our position that the final outcome remains dependent upon the satisfactory resolution of the remaining issues.

Recommendation: That you sign the letter to General Secretary Brezhnev at Tab A.4

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1974–1977, Box 28, USSR, The “D” File. Secret.
  2. Printed as Document 133.
  3. Not attached. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 277.
  4. Not attached. Printed ibid., Document 278.