149. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko, Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee, CPSU, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff
  • Viktor Mikhaylovich Sukhodrev, Counsellor, MFA (Interpreter)


  • CSCE Summit; India–Pakistan

Gromyko: Your press is very ingenious.

Kissinger: But we are going to beat them down. I am going across the country and speaking.

Gromyko: Of the newspapers, which ones do you recommend I read?

Kissinger: In Washington, the Washington Post and New York Times are the most influential because everyone reads them. In the country, in St. Louis, no one reads the New York Times and the Post.

Gromyko: Well, Mr. Secretary, what do you think we should discuss, just the two of us?

Kissinger: I leave it up to you.

Gromyko: After all, in which direction are you and your friends conducting matters at the All-European Conference? Can I tell General Secretary Brezhnev and my colleagues the thing is in good hands, that Dr. Kissinger and President Ford have things firmly in hand and are working toward an early conclusion?

Kissinger: We are working toward a summit the last week of July. What is the Monday?

Sukhodrev: [Checks calendar] The 28th.

Kissinger: No.

Sukhodrev: The 21st.

Kissinger: Yes. We are planning on that week.

Gromyko: Regarding the length of time to be set aside, I have had several occasions to talk this over with the General Secretary, and his [Page 570] opinion is not in discord from President Ford—that is, two, two and a half, three days. That too is acceptable to us. It should be conducted in a businesslike style. Who needs those speeches?

Kissinger: I talked to Kreisky and he agrees. I’ll talk to Schmidt tomorrow.2

Gromyko: I heard he wants four–five days.

Kissinger: So have I.

Gromyko: But I don’t think he will be very strong on it.

Kissinger: If we can get Schmidt, I think the French and British will go along.

May I tell him this is agreeable to you?

Gromyko: You may. You may.

Another question I have is this: Yesterday you and I discussed certain specific matters regarding the European Security Conference.3 You said you would continue to be in touch with your West European friends—this is our understanding.

Kissinger: That is correct.

Gromyko: Are you sure they won’t cast reproaches on you for being in some kind of collusion? Am I correct you were speaking with their knowledge?

Kissinger: No. It was my best estimate.

Take the confidence-building measures: If we say 30,000, 21 days and 250 kilometers, that I am sure we can get them to accept. If we said less, I can only say we will try. I am not saying it is impossible. It is our best estimate.

Gromyko: I was now asking really about the broad fact. In your estimate, will no one reproach us for collusion?

Kissinger: On what?

Gromyko: On CSCE generally. The French will say, “we are not bound”? I am just asking; because in the past it has happened.

Kissinger: Yes. Look, it is a problem, and it depends how it is handled. If we come to an understanding here and you let us handle it first with them before you approach them . . .

Gromyko: All right.

Kissinger: I think it is better we deal with it.

[Page 571]

Gromyko: All right. Let me say quite frankly what we would be prepared to accept on these CBM’s. I was quite frank in my opinion yesterday on the depth of the zone. I would like you to understand our situation. And the same with the numbers.

Kissinger: Thirty.

Gromyko: But as regards the time limit of notification, we would be prepared to agree to 18 days. Our private position was twelve. We would be willing to do 18.

Kissinger: Why don’t we talk urgently to our allies, and let you know by next Monday, or Tuesday.4 We want to move it to a conclusion. There is no sense arguing about two days and 50 kilometers.

Gromyko: All right. Do that.

Kissinger: I think they will find it 50 kilometers too little. But why don’t we talk to them and make counterproposals if we have to?

Gromyko: Up ’til now we have felt that whenever the U.S. really had the desire, problems were solved to mutual advantage. It happened in many cases, and we feel it will happen in the future.

Kissinger: We will talk to them.

Gromyko: As regards journalists, we have revised your text5 and made amendments. Korniyenko is supposed to give it to Hartman. But as regards the first part, human contacts, that is for the delegations to go into because I haven’t had time.

Kissinger: Except we should discuss them together. Our delegations can do it. Journalists and contacts together. Let them do it at Geneva. But they will move it.

Gromyko: Yes, but please don’t forget to give your delegation instructions at Geneva. In earlier cases when we reached agreement, sometimes we had the impression they didn’t get instructions.

Kissinger: Sometimes we had the impression your delegation didn’t get instructions. [Laughter] Maybe our delegations are both very cautious. We will do it, in the meeting. It depends really on what instructions you give. We have made a major effort; we would like to see some Soviet move.

Gromyko: Please don’t demand of us the impossible. Surely you don’t want to topple the Soviet system with that document.

Kissinger: I had great expectations. [Laughter]

Gromyko: We don’t try to topple the capitalist system.

Kissinger: If the Soviet system toppled, which I don’t expect by this document or otherwise, I am not sure the successor wouldn’t be more [Page 572] of a problem. The government Solzhenitsyn would establish would be more aggressive.

Gromyko: To us, Solzhenitsyn is a zero within a zero.

Kissinger: On Basket III, we have met several of your points, and made a major effort. On several points of yours yesterday, I told you your positions were reasonable.

Gromyko: On “appropriate” points.

Kissinger: But also it depends on whether you accept some of the other points.

Gromyko: Then on those several points, Korniyenko probably already has given you our final communiqué. He has probably already done it.

Kissinger: It should not be significantly shorter than on the earlier occasion. It can be somewhat shorter.

Gromyko: This is a little bit shorter. It might be hard to go into detail, and not good to repeat formulas.

Kissinger: Let’s look at it.

There is one point I raised at dinner, that is, our view of Indian intentions, especially since India is buying a lot of Soviet arms. I just hope you keep an eye on it. Because so far, we have sold nothing to Pakistan. We have lifted the embargo but sold nothing.

Gromyko: India’s behavior gives us no concern.

Kissinger: If there were another Indian attack, it is something we would not take lightly.

Gromyko: We, generally speaking, are behaving very modestly regarding arms supplies to India. Maybe the information you have is exaggerated. We have absolutely no information that would cause us any concern regarding Indian intentions. There would be no sense for us to ignore any danger there because we are very concerned with the situation there, if there were any. And we say this to India.

Kissinger: And we say it to Pakistan and Iran. There is no danger now. It is for the long range.

Gromyko: We will act in this direction.

Kissinger: Good.

[At 10:17 a.m. the Secretary and Foreign Minister Gromyko joined their colleagues in the conference room for the main meeting.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions, 1974–1976, Box 1, USSR Memcons and Reports, May 19–20, 1975—Kissinger/Gromyko Meetings in Vienna (2). Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Rodman. Brackets are in the original. The meeting was held at the Soviet Embassy.
  2. A memorandum of Kissinger’s conversation with Schmidt in Bonn on May 21 is in National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 91D414, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–77, Box 23, Classified External Memcons, May–December 1975 (Folder 1).
  3. See footnote 5, Document 147.
  4. May 26 or 27.
  5. Not found.