140. Oral Message From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Ford 1

Leonid Brezhnev has attentively considered what was said by Dr. Kissinger on behalf of President Ford during the conversation with the Soviet Ambassador on March 292 regarding the firm intention of the United States Government and of the President personally to continue the policy of relaxation of tensions and also regarding the fact that the President did not intend to undertake any actions either of an internal or international nature which might bring into conflict the United States and the Soviet Union or harm their relationship. Leonid Brezhnev and his colleagues in the leadership take note of the Presi[Page 545]dent’s assurances in this respect and on their part would like to reemphasize that their own intentions are also the same. Of this, the President can rest firmly assured. We have always stood and stand for the deepening and widening of mutual understanding and cooperation between our countries; we are for the removal by mutual efforts of all that hinders at times the constructive and stable development of Soviet/American relations.

An important part in this matter is assigned to the new Soviet/American summit meeting, this time in the United States. An agreement in principle on such a meeting was confirmed in Vladivostok. Now, the matter is to clarify the time of holding this meeting and to prepare it properly.

In determining the most convenient and mutually acceptable time of the visit of Leonid Brezhnev to the United States, we and the President naturally have also in mind other major international as well as internal engagements which are planned for the current year.

With due account of this and taking into consideration what was expressed by the President, we believe that an approximate timetable of important meetings this year with the participation of both our countries could be as follows:

(1) Renewal of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East. June is, in principle, acceptable to us but, of course, this question should be agreed upon by all the interested parties.

(2) Final stage of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. July, and we consider this time agreed upon with the United States side.

(3) Visit of the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU Leonid Brezhnev to the United States. Approximately two months after the close of the work of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. More precise dates of the visit could be agreed upon later.

As to a new meeting between Andrei Gromyko and Henry Kissinger for exchange of opinions on the Middle East problem and other questions of interest for both sides, this meeting could take place in Moscow, say on May 20–21.

It goes without saying that when needed bilateral exchange of opinion on all arising questions will be continued as before on a regular basis through established channels.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 7, Soviet Union, Apr–May 1975. No classification marking. According to a handwritten note, the text of the message was dictated to Kissinger by Vorontsov at 5:15 p.m. on April 10. In a memorandum to Kissinger on April 14, Sonnenfeldt and Hyland commented on the message from Brezhnev: “As you have said, there is a sense of linkage among the various dates and events, especially the Brezhnev visit: the timing of the visit itself is linked directly to the close of the CSCE.” (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 137.