159. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrey Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Anatoliy Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the US
  • Mr. Makarov, Assistant to Gromyko
  • G. M. Kornienko, Chief of American Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor, State Dept.
  • Walter Stoessel, American Ambassador to the Soviet Union
  • William Hyland, State Department
  • Jan Lodal, NSC Staff

Gromyko: Well, on Europe we may have to raise other matters after we have gone over these basic matters. In any case, we want to return to the CSCE later2 but now let’s take up SALT.

That it is now an important problem is now quite clear to both sides. There is no need to speak at length about this, to emphasize the great importance of it. The stage of emphasizing is now behind us. I believe that in the same spirit that we discussed this question in Vienna,3 in this spirit is the way to implement the Vladivostok Agreement and we should continue discussions today. And it would probably be good to begin now where we left off in Vienna and have in view the substance of discussions since then. But I think that in the meantime there have been no momentous developments.

Kissinger: No, we have not had extensive discussions since then.

Gromyko: I would ask you to say a few words to start off. You are our guest and I will take advantage of that fact.

Kissinger: I said that there were three major problems: first, the problem of verification; second, the problem of cruise missiles; and third, the problem of Backfire. And there is the additional problem of how to define the upper limit of a heavy missile. If each generation of missiles continues to grow, then the distinction we made at the time of [Page 626] the Interim Agreement between light and heavy missiles will completely disappear.

Dobrynin: But you had not raised that in Vladivostok.

Kissinger: No, but it was raised in Geneva. I gave your Ambassador a paper4 on our ideas with respect to verification, with respect to cruise missiles, and some ideas on Backfire and on mobiles, the last in the form of a question. With respect to verification, we tried to meet Soviet concern with respect to the one missile that has been tested with two warheads. With respect to cruise missiles, however ambiguously it was handled in Vladivostok, it is clear that it did not cover sea-based platforms. But we are prepared to put sea-based platforms under the same restrictions that we gave you on cruise missiles. And on Backfire we gave you some ideas on basing and on tankers. We asked for your thinking with respect to mobiles, both land and air-based. This is where we stand.

Gromyko: Yes, those questions did arise and they still exist. Other questions also exist. You named the problems, as in your previous communication, but do you have anything to add to the substance.

Kissinger: No, we are waiting for your reaction and to analyze your reaction and then we can make this a point of departure for further discussion.

Gromyko: Let us now discuss the questions one after the other. First go over one and then go on to others. Obviously, in the discussion of appropriate questions we will discuss one in the context of others, that is, speaking for the Soviet side.

Kissinger: Yes, of course.

Gromyko: We have given very careful thought to the variants you put forward under the first question of verification.

Kissinger: And you have decided to destroy all your land-based missiles. That is one idea that occurred to us but I was saving it.

Gromyko: And is this the moment for raising it.

Kissinger: You seem to be in the right mood.

Gromyko: Let’s climb the staircase one step at a time and start with the question you named as the most important. We have given careful thought to the two variants of this question that you raised as No. 1. Under the first variant you suggested that the total number of MIRVed missiles include all types tested at least once as a MIRV; specifically you were referring to all three types of missiles that you term the 17, 18 and 19. Under the second variant you made an exception for the heavi[Page 627]est missile, specifically for what you term the 18. Since that was tested as both a single and a MIRV missile, you suggested that the missiles with MIRV be deployed separately in one area and in another area the missiles with single warheads be deployed. All of these proposals were based on information available to you as to which missiles were tested only as MIRVs and which missiles were tested as single and as MIRV. The Soviet side did not agree with this information but, in any case, we gave careful thought to it and have come to a conclusion. But before I set out our proposal I want to put it in context of another issue. I want it to be in context of cruise missiles. What I will say in reaction to your proposals with respect to the first question should be treated as a complex.

Kissinger: In other words, as a condition. We cannot take one without considering the other.

Gromyko: Yes, all of these problems are so very complex.

Kissinger: Your normal procedure is to make concessions in each category.

Gromyko: I will take that as only a semi-joke. But this is the tactic you have resorted to, but in other matters. Some matters are interlocked, hanging as links in a chain.

Kissinger: You have learned the lesson too well. Dobrynin used to lecture me on what a bad practice this was, but now you are not only doing it, but you are giving me a lecture about it.

Gromyko: I never lectured you.

Kissinger: No, I was referring to your Ambassador.

Gromyko: But the subjects then were different.

Kissinger: I can now look forward to: first, links within SALT, and then second, linking SALT to other matters.

Gromyko: That is another matter, but let’s climb the staircase. You know of the agreement reached on air-to-ground missiles at Vladivostok and you know how that is reflected in the Aide-Mémoire.5

Kissinger: Somewhat ambiguously.

Gromyko: In our view it does not reflect ambiguity but we are familiar with your interpretation; you spoke of it in Vienna. We can’t make any exception for cruise missiles. We believe it was agreed in Vladivostok to count in the 2400 ceiling all air-to-ground missiles with a range over 600 kilometers. This should stand and should include cruise missiles as well. Taking a very different point of view cannot succeed. It would be suicide to leave outside of the agreement and give great freedom to development of these weapons. It would be tanta[Page 628]mount to building a dam against a stream and then letting the stream break through to the left and right. This approach would mean a new development of the arms race which neither side needs and we cannot accept it. This is not a hitch in the negotiations but something to which we attach paramount significance. Therefore, the agreement reached at Vladivostok includes ballistic and cruise missiles and we bear in mind other cruise missiles, sea-based and on the surface of the water, apart from those submarines on which agreement has already been reached, that is, ballistic submarines.

Kissinger: Nothing was said about this in Vladivostok.

Gromyko: But Vladivostok should be expanded, proceeding from the logic of the situation. That being accepted, we are prepared to reach agreement on a basis that will constitute a radical step with respect to the first variant. We are prepared to include in the established ceiling of MIRVed missiles of 1320 all missiles we have tested as a MIRV, that is, 17, 18, 19, those specific missiles. In that event your second variant does not apply.

Kissinger: You are saying that every SS–17, 18 and 19, that we are permitted to count them as MIRV, even if deployed as a single warhead, that would be your problem, but we count them all.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: This constitutes a considerable step.

Gromyko: Yes, but the question arises of how to go about the modernization of missiles. The logical conclusion is that regarding the replacement of outdated other types of missiles tested only as a single warhead, that we will replace them with missiles only tested as a single warhead.

Kissinger: So that any missile tested as a MIRV, like the 17, 18 and 19, would then count as a MIRV; but on the other hand, if other missiles were tested as a MIRV, then deployed for modernization, they would be counted?

Gromyko: No, you have turned it upside down, substituting cause and effect; in the process of modernization only that missile tested as a single warhead would replace older missiles tested as a single warhead.

Kissinger: You can replace old, single warhead missiles with single warhead missiles and those new missiles are not tested as a MIRV?

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: You have the right to modernize all your missiles.

Gromyko: Yes, at some time.

Kissinger: I mean that under the agreement you have the right to modernization. Those missiles tested as MIRVs count as a MIRV, those tested with only single warheads count as a single.

[Page 629]

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: I see no problems; I think that sounds reasonable. Those missiles tested as a single warhead you want to replace with a single warhead.

Gromyko: The way you frame it sounds less advantageous to you. But you understand it?

Kissinger: Yes, I understand it; you want to be able to be able to replace old missiles with new ones, but not be counted as MIRV. But they would not be of the same type (as MIRV)?

Gromyko: Of course not of the same type.

Kissinger: Single warhead missiles would be replaced by missiles of a different type, but with single warheads.

Gromyko: We would replace older missiles for modernization only with types tested as a single warhead of a different type.

Kissinger: So all 17, 18 and 19s—all would be counted as a MIRV; but if you decide to develop, say a missile called the 20, 21 or 22, with a single warhead, it would be counted as a single warhead.

Gromyko: Yes, by way of modernization. We will install missiles of a single type that would be tested only as a single warhead.

Kissinger: But not of the same type as the 17, 18 or 19?

Gromyko: You think this is too good to be true?

Kissinger: No, I understand, but this is linked to counting all cruise missiles over 600 km in range. I have no moral scruples against linking, but your Ambassador used to go around Capitol Hill lecturing against linkage.

Gromyko: All of this is mutual, it applies the same for the US; it is reciprocal.

Kissinger: We have come to very sorry states if you have to insist on reciprocity, and not do this out of good will. But let me go back; I want to understand what this means for us: we have the Minuteman II and the Minuteman III, the first as a single warhead and the latter is MIRVed; if we want to modernize the Minuteman II we have two choices: either replace with a MIRV within the total ceiling, and then have to dismantle other MIRVs, or replace with a missile that has a single warhead.

Gromyko: I would reply yes, but in respect to these missiles other terms apply, that is the silo capacity in the first agreement cannot be increased by more than 10–15%.

Kissinger: The Vladivostok agreement says that missiles on bombers with a range of over 600 km would be counted, but does not say that missiles on transports or ships; with respect to submarines, sea-based ballistic missiles on submarines are covered, it does not refer [Page 630] to ships. Is your proposal conditional on counting all cruise missiles or only those on bombers, which is a literal reading of Vladivostok.

Gromyko: This is what we are proposing: the rule of logic must apply to warships and transport aircraft; the only exception is strategic bombers and the previously mentioned ballistic missile submarines.

:s100/96 Kissinger: You are saying cruise missiles on ships and submarines . . .

Gromyko: Only torpedo submarines.

Kissinger: . . . will be counted.

Gromyko: No, banned, not to be deployed.

Kissinger: So your proposition is that cruise missiles can only be deployed on bombers and be counted, and then ban . . .

Gromyko: (Interrupting) of a range over 600 km . . .

Kissinger: all cruise missiles with a range over 600 km.

Gromyko: with a range over 600 km are banned.

Kissinger: Let me sum up your proposals: all cruise missiles with a range over 600 km on bombers are counted; all cruise missiles with a range over 600 km on ships, or submarines or transports are banned.

Gromyko: Yes, excluding ballistic missile submarines.

Kornienko: And ballistic missiles on surface ships.

Kissinger: What about cruise missiles based on land.

Kornienko: You mean intercontinental range cruise missiles.

Gromyko: The land-based intercontinental cruise missiles would be listed under a separate heading, because it is of a new type. On land-based missiles we propose to ban them.

Kissinger: Ban or count them?

Gromyko: We want to ban them; ban.

Kissinger: Let me sum up; I am not being pedantic, but trying to clarify what you are saying: first the only vehicles permitted with cruise missiles over a range of 600 km is a bomber; if it has a range over 600 km it is counted if on bombers.

Gromyko: Counted in the 2400.

Kissinger: If on other movable platforms, ships, land, submarines, transports or sea turtles, with a range over 600 km they are prohibited.

Gromyko: Maybe an exception could be made for sea turtles.

Kissinger: We are training 325 of them.

Gromyko: You have understood correctly, unless you build a platform and call it a sea turtle.

Kissinger: On land-based, everything above 600 km is banned, or only intercontinental range.

Gromyko: Only land-based intercontinental range cruise missiles (are banned).

[Page 631]

Kissinger: What is the definition of intercontinental, about 5300 miles.

Gromyko: Those termed intercontinental are defined under the previous agreement.

Kissinger: Land-based cruise missiles with a range shorter than intercontinental are permitted, and not counted?

Gromyko: Our proposal relates to intercontinental—the definition agreed that you speak of is regarding the definition that covers one point in our territory to another point in your territory; the figures were resolved in the agreement.

Kissinger: They are prohibited? Let me understand, for example, a cruise missile of 2000–3000 km would be permitted on land.

Gromyko: Yes, that is a different category, limits do not apply; in short, that is not an intercontinental range missile but that is an intermediate range—that is both cruise and ballistic.

Kissinger: Let me repeat: your position on cruise missiles with a range over 600 km on movable platforms will be counted, but a cruise missile on land, of intercontinental range, banned but less range not counted, except on strategic bombers which are counted.

Gromyko: Yes, counted.

Kissinger: Let me sum up: all cruise missiles on strategic bombers of a range greater than 600 km will be counted . . .

Gromyko: (Interrupting) Of course.

Kissinger: (Continuing) but all cruise missiles on any other movable platforms are banned over 600 km, and all cruise missiles of intercontinental range on land will be banned, but of a shorter range not counted, and that is all linked to your proposal on verification.

Gromyko: Absolutely linked, organically. You are surprised that a strategic bomber which carries cruise missiles should be counted, but that is because it makes a cruise missile international, because it is on a bomber.

Kissinger: Can I go back to verification, because frankly this is the first comprehensive proposal, and I would like to study it and possibly make a counterproposal. I understand that with respect to land-based, but do you have any ideas on SLBMs. Would the principle apply that missiles tested with MIRV would be counted as MIRV on submarines?

Gromyko: All MIRVed missiles on submarines would be counted as MIRVed. The principle would be valid and operable for both sides. There may be some details to be worked out.

Kissinger: Let me understand it: I understand your cruise missile position, and on verification every missile, land or sea-based, tested as a MIRV will be counted and included in the 1320; this includes the 17, [Page 632] 18 and 19, and whatever missiles you will have begun testing on sea-based. With respect to modernization, for land and sea-based, if you replace a missile with a single warhead, it will be a missile only tested as a single.

Do you have any ideas on Backfire bombers?

Gromyko: Yes, we absolutely rule out the possibility of considering this particular aircraft to be a strategic bomber. It does not possess the characteristics of a strategic bomber. As you know, we feel that you can single out some characteristic and say it is better than some characteristic of another aircraft, but on the whole it does not possess the characteristics of a strategic bomber. Your proposal on locating them in the southern portion of the USSR—we cannot accept that proposal. I repeat that it does not present qualities of strategic bombers, and I am surprised that you regard it so.

Kissinger: Your position on the concrete procedures for verification—it is a very significant step forward, very significant; on cruise missiles we have to study it and give you our counter considerations; assuming we go to CSCE on the 30th, then well before that we can give you our considerations, so that the General Secretary can study them and discuss it with the President. I recognize that they are organically linked, so the problem is not solved. We will study your cruise missile proposal with great care so that the President and General Secretary can discuss it. On verification, I may ask some additional clarifications. You have accepted principles that we can live with. It is a very serious effort; I know it was not easy for you.

Gromyko: It was not easy for us; very difficult. On the question of increase in silo building capacity of missiles: you know the aspect you spoke of in Vienna; it is significant to both sides from the standpoint of avoiding a great increase in silos each time: you spoke of no increase in volume greater than 32 percent. In terms of horizontal dimensions not more than 15 percent, and then we discussed horizontal, vertical and both ways, but we would not exceed 32 percent in volume. We believe that this method could be adopted: at the discretion of the parties one could increase horizontally and vertically or both but not exceeding 32 percent, and of course not more than once; otherwise, every year we would be turning light into heavy missiles. You spoke of the need to agree and we propose to agree not to increase by more than 32 percent.

Kissinger: You are saying that the volume cannot be increased by more than 32 percent—or are you saying that modification can be 15 percent in either direction, but then you can’t go down 32 percent and zero increase in diameter. We want two restrictions: first, as stated in the older Interim Agreement, there cannot be more than 15 percent increase both ways . . .

[Page 633]

Gromyko: Let me explain; we have been thinking it over and we are saying the same thing: if you increase horizontally by 15 percent, it boils down to the same thing: an increase in diameter by 15 percent, in geometry it amounts to a 32 percent increase. Now we assume you are not limited to horizontal; say, increase diameter by 10 percent and for the remainder it is allowed to be done vertically but by a figure that will not lead to an increase of volume by more than 32 percent.

Kissinger: But the provisions of the Interim Agreement are maintained, that is you can increase by no more than 10–15 percent, you cannot go in any direction more than 15 percent; you can go in both directions, but the increase cannot be more than 32 percent of the volume.

Kornienko: (Interrupting) No . . .

Kissinger: If you combine say 5 percent one way and 10 percent another, you can, provided that the total does not increase the volume by more than 32 percent; you take the provision of the Interim Agreement and add a provision that it is not permitted to lead to more than 32 percent increase in volume.

Kornienko & Gromyko: No, no . . .

Kissinger: (Continuing) If you go less than 15 percent in one direction, you can go another percentage in another direction, provided the total volume increase does not exceed 32 percent. For example, if 10 percent increase in one direction, you could increase ten percent in another, provided that the volume did not exceed a 32 percent increase.

Gromyko: Let me state it once again. There are specific terms: whatever modification is made, it would not lead to an increase in volume of more than 32 percent. Each party decides on modification, horizontally, vertically, or in both directions, but providing this does not lead to more than 32 percent.

Kissinger: But suppose you did not change the diameter, then you could dig down 32 percent.

Gromyko: No, 32 percent of the volume.

Kissinger: But if the radius does not increase, the formula is length times pi R squared—there would be no change . . .

Gromyko: 32 percent deeper would not be 32 percent in volume . . .

Kissinger: If you go down it does not square the radius.

Gromyko: No . . .

Kissinger: Let me try to solve it simply: to sum up: you cannot go more than 15 percent in any direction, but you can go in either direction in combination, provided you do not increase by 32 percent in volume, but not more than 15 percent in any one direction.

Kornienko: No, the most important rule is not more than 32 percent.

[Page 634]

Kissinger: But then the 15 percent limit is abandoned.

Gromyko: That is your reply; that is a one-sided approach; we can’t act to accommodate your understanding. We have other technology. We will stick to volume increase.

Kissinger: We have to study it to see if we understand. You suggest a limit on volume to answer our concern that new generations not grow to heavy missiles. You want to substitute for the Interim Agreement limit of 15 percent a modifying clause to state that 32 percent is permitted. You are saying to replace the 10–15 percent limit with another provision saying no more than 32 percent is permitted. Your proposition is to replace the Interim Agreement limits of 15 percent by a permitted increase of 32 percent.

Gromyko: But the two are different; 15 percent is 32 percent in volume.

Kissinger: For two ways? Can you go 15 percent and 15 percent?

Gromyko: No, that is 52 percent, that is a new idea we can consider.

Kissinger: We can proceed in two ways: if we keep the Interim Agreement, on no more than 15 percent, then add the limit of no more than 32 percent of volume then you could go 15 percent in one direction and 8 in another.

Gromyko: No, no.

Kissinger: Can you explain.

Gromyko: An increase of only 15 percent in diameter gives an increase of 32 percent in volume.

Kissinger: But if you go 15 percent down, you have some percentage left to go sideways.

Gromyko: Yes, if you go 15 percent down then you have something left over for diameter.

Kissinger: But if you keep the Interim Agreement, you cannot go 15 percent more in any direction.

Gromyko: Under the old agreement the increase in diameter gives an increase of 32 percent; but if you go down it gives less, then you can do more.

Kissinger: If this proposition were added there would be no problem; you could not go more than 15 percent in any direction, but not more than 32 percent increase in volume; if we keep the Interim Agreement and add a provision that you cannot exceed 32 percent in volume.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: You can achieve 32 percent as long as you do not increase by more than 15 percent in any direction.

[Page 635]

Gromyko: No.

Kissinger: You can go down by 32 percent.

Gromyko: Both sides could go in any direction by . . .

Kissinger: Then you are changing the Interim Agreement.

Gromyko: The Interim Agreement does not specify you cannot go 15 percent in both directions.

Kissinger: Under no conceivable interpretation can you go in any direction by more than 15 percent. No Soviet spokesman has ever taken this position. We can amend it to just volume or keep the Interim Agreement and add a provision.

(Short Break)

Gromyko: You could think it over; you could offer another position. We think you should stick to objective criteria. But if you have revised your position . . .

Kissinger: My answer is that we either modify the Interim Agreement, or add a provision that we will not exceed 32 percent in volume.

Gromyko: That is not what this is about. You say add a provision, but that is not the question. We are merely making it more precise.

Kissinger: We are not arguing. If the Interim Agreement remains in force and this is added, then it is clear that neither side can go more than 15 percent in any one direction; no other reading of the agreement is possible.

Gromyko: That is unacceptable as far as depth is concerned; but in terms of diameter it is 32 percent.

Kissinger: Mr. Foreign Minister, if we reach an agreement on a volume ceiling, then each side is free to increase by anything it chooses, but can never go more than 15 percent in any one direction.

Gromyko: If you can go 15 percent both ways this is new, this is 52 percent.

Kissinger: If we agreed on 15 percent before, it must mean something. You are now proposing that the 15 percent limit be replaced by the 32 percent limit—if so, we can study it.

Gromyko: We thought that you had raised it.

Kissinger: We understand your position, we need to study it.

Gromyko: But if you say you go down 15 percent, then get the remainder in diameter, then either side is free to get the remainder, but cannot go deeper than 15 percent?

Kissinger: Otherwise, we can keep the older agreement.

Gromyko: The 15 percent limit was the starting point for diameter changes.

Kissinger: This is a new interpretation. But let us study it, and we will let you know at the time of the meeting with the General Secretary.

[Page 636]

Gromyko: But what we said about one modification to the silos still stands?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: We also have the question of how far each side can go to increase the capacity of its missiles in modernization. Our position is (reading from document) a heavy ICBM is an ICBM with a starting weight (corrected by Kornienko “a launching weight”) in excess of the heaviest of light missiles deployed by the sides at the time of signing of the agreement.

Kissinger: That would be the SS–19?

Gromyko: We would not quarrel with that.

Kissinger: This is the right approach and we may have a counterproposal, but taking the heaviest of the light missiles is the right approach. Let us analyze it. Have you also thought about the time period by which reductions would have to take place.

Gromyko: Yes, we are thinking in terms of what you said about months not years. We would say up to 12 months, maybe earlier, but not more.

Kissinger: Let us think about this. Have you also thought about a time when talks on reduction would start?

Gromyko: You said something about this in Vienna, is there anything more?

Kissinger: No.

Gromyko: We are prepared to meet your concerns.

Kissinger: By then Jackson may be President, and you can negotiate with him.

Gromyko: We could start even in the same year as the agreement enters into force. We do this to help the Administration meet its critics.

Kissinger: This will be very good.

Gromyko: I now say what you expect me to say, that when talks start, we will raise forward based systems and presence of weapons in third countries.

Kissinger: Each side can say whatever they please, that is your business but it will not be in the treaty.

Kissinger: Do you have something on mobiles. Let me ask you a question: would you have gone back to Moscow without raising mobiles if I had not mentioned them.

Gromyko: I wondered why you were in such a good mood.

Kissinger: But what is your answer.

Gromyko: That is a secret, but it is likely I would have mentioned something. What is your position?

[Page 637]

Kissinger: We frankly have not made up our mind.

Gromyko: So you want to know our position to make up your mind. How long will it take.

Kissinger: About a month.

Gromyko: What will you pay for our position.

Kissinger: Why should we have to pay, we may accept it.

Gromyko: Will you.

Kissinger: Since you have land-based mobiles and we do not . . .

Gromyko: We want to have land-based banned, ban deployment.

Kissinger: And on air.

Gromyko: In Vienna we talked about land only.

Kissinger: Yes, they are permitted on bombers and counted. Your position is that you are prepared to ban deployment of land-based ICBMs but not testing?

Gromyko: Deployment.

Kornienko: (Reading from document) “The parties undertake to refrain for the duration of the agreement from deployment of mobile land-based ICBM launchers.”

Gromyko: And also of ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of over 600 km on all aircraft except for bombers and all other aircraft and ships.

Kissinger: Your proposals represent an advance and are in a constructive spirit and we will make counterproposals in the same manner.

Gromyko: We are certainly pleased to see that you appreciate it was not easy to take the steps we have taken, especially on the complex of the first two matters. I have to say something on new weapons; we speak of new weapons currently such as an orbiting ICBM. I mentioned at the outset that it would be a good thing if the new agreement included appropriate provisions banning new types of weapons of strategic armaments. There are several specifics: (1) cruise missiles of intercontinental range; (2) sea-based cruise missiles over 600 km in range; (3) fixed position in water and seabeds of ICBMs. There are some specifics. It would be good if there could be a discussion in forthcoming sessions on new types of strategic arms and new systems. Our position was set forth in the speech by General Secretary Brezhnev,6 we attach great significance to this, not because it is a Soviet proposal, but be[Page 638]cause it arises in the course of our discussions; new types and new systems of mass destruction. What we mean can be new systems or new weapons in the existing environment—in the subsoil or existing but modernized systems; and of course there can be completely new types, say, a plane that could carry 100 rockets . . .

Kissinger: (Interrupting) How did you find out?

Gromyko: (Continuing) Or a plane that could circle the globe in seconds.

Kissinger: Or a sea turtle.

Gromyko: I can’t go deeper at this time, but we attach great importance to it. Our leadership attaches great importance, and Brezhnev personally. I hope you will bring this to the attention of President Ford.

Kissinger: We will consider it in a positive spirit and study it.

Kissinger: On the seabeds this may be possible.

Kissinger: I have a question: how do we treat this bureaucratically? Do you submit it here (Geneva)?

Gromyko: The three specifics are included in our proposal.

Kissinger: Which ones?

Gromyko: The one on cruise missiles, one on the seabeds, and one on sea-based cruise missiles of a range greater than 600 km.

The ideas mentioned in the General Secretary’s speech could be discussed in the year of the entry into force of the new agreement, but that does not mean we could not discuss it multilaterally, but we will discuss it in the new negotiations, but we would welcome an earlier start.

Kissinger: But I meant on verification, silo dimensions and so forth.

Gromyko: Agreement in principle should be reached in our meetings and then given to the delegation for concrete formulations. But if you prefer, we could tell the delegations, but it is more natural to handle it at this level and then hand it down.

Kissinger: I think that is better, because if we submit it now it will leak. We can make a counterproposal. Do you have your proposals in writing.

Gromyko: No.

Kissinger: We may reduce it to writing and check with Dobrynin, and those other elements in our position the delegations can continue to discuss. On land mobiles, verification and time for dismantling, we may not be able to get to a conclusive point when Brezhnev and the President meet, but they can have some preliminary talks. We can give our preliminary reactions through Dobrynin so that the discussion between the President and the General Secretary can consider the ques[Page 639]tions. As Brezhnev said to our Congressmen, he expects me to meet with him before the summit. Before that we can have some consideration of ideas at the meeting in Helsinki and a discussion on how to proceed.

Gromyko: (Reading from message handed him) They say that Mintoff is not answering.

Kissinger: What will we tell the press: we could say that we discussed CSCE and SALT but did not conclude our discussion; otherwise, they will want to know how we concluded; we will say we are continuing tomorrow. We could say the discussions were constructive and in a positive atmosphere.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions, 1974–1976, Box 1, USSR Memcons and Reports, July 10–11, 1975—Kissinger/Gromyko Meetings in Geneva (1). Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at the Soviet Mission.
  2. Kissinger and Gromyko discussed the CSCE during meetings at 5:15 and 10:15 p.m. on July 10. Memoranda of conversation are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Documents 313 and 314. See also Document 160.
  3. See Document 150.
  4. Reference is presumably to the memorandum Scowcroft gave Dobrynin on May 10. See footnote 3, Document 150.
  5. Document 97.
  6. In his speech on June 13 in Moscow, Brezhnev proposed a multilateral agreement on the prohibition of new weapons of mass destruction. The Embassy in Moscow reported on the speech in telegrams 8264, June 13, and 8274, June 14. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)