178. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

D: You leave tomorrow . . . the whole day?

K: Yes.

D: I would like to discuss the general aspects of the situation.

K: How about Friday morning?2

D: I will tell you what I have now. You had me check with Brezhnev about this date. What I will give you today you may receive an answer for Friday. He continues to attach importance to the visit to the United States.

K: Let me get to another telephone.

D: Ok.

D: In the connection of the further development of Soviet-American relations. Specifically in connection with the Paris agreement on SALT talks. In setting concrete dates of this visit we proceed from the fact that by that time of the visit they should be complete. Brezhnev drew the impression that the President adheres to the same opinion in the two things.

K: That’s correct.

D: Brezhnev saw a certain flexibility in regard to the visit in taking into consideration all the circumstances and first of all that both sides should have a greater confidence in successful agreement on the SALT talks. We suggest to the President to agree now that this visit should take place either at the end of November or in December if it is acceptable to the President. The second possibility is thinking first if a December visit would be a little better in the opinion of Mr. Brezhnev. As to the date of the official announcement, in November or the first part of December.

K: What is your definition of the end of November?

D: About the 25th.

K: We do not want to offer you areas.

D: The first part of December in our opinion would be better.

K: Let me check. It is purely a question of dates. Is January out of the question for you?

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D: I do not know. I will check.

K: And you check on the first half of January.

D: It is the Party Congress. He will be there.

K: I will check with the President and I will let you know Friday.

D: Ok.

K: Ok, good.

D: I have two unofficial things I want to say to you. What is this all about Solzhenitsyn?

K: Goddamnit! I do not even know who Rustand is.3

D: He is assistant to Nixon.

K: He is an appointments secretary. He knows as much about Solzhenitsyn as your three year old granddaughter. There is nothing to it.

D: Ok. Yesterday your Secretary of Agriculture said it is better to postpone all feed grain deals with my country until September.4 Do you agree with this?

K: Let me think it over. I think we can handle it. Have you had an answer to what I discussed with you?

D. No. You just look into this matter from the point of your situation. I am a little bit lost.

K: Let me check it. There is no directive from us to do it this way.

D: Maybe it is public relations.

K: It is exclusively public relations.

D: For my own I would like to know.

K: I will let you know Friday.

D: Ok.

K: I will call your office tomorrow.

D: Ok.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, 1974–1977, Box 31, Dobrynin/Kissinger Telcons (3). No classification marking.
  2. August 15. No record of a meeting between Kissinger and Dobrynin that day has been found.
  3. On August 12, the Associated Press reported that Warren Rustand, the President’s appointments secretary, “told the Scottsdale Rotary Club that Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger insisted that original agreements made to prevent Solzhenitsyn’s imprisonment had to be maintained before the President’s trip to Eastern Europe.” “Rustand indicated that the incident went further than Kissinger’s concern about the delicate diplomacy questions before Ford’s trip to meet world leaders in Helsinki, Finland. Instead, Rustand said the origins of Ford’s refusal to meet Solzhenitsyn went as far back as the Soviet Nobel Prize winner’s initial exile from the Soviet Union last year.” (Ford Library, Nessen Papers, Box 295, Handwritten Notes, August 12, 1975, Solzhenitsyn Visit) Later that afternoon, the Associated Press reported Kissinger’s denial that there had been any deal “as to how Solzhenitsyn was to be treated in the West.” The report also included a statement by Nessen, who explained that Rustand “told White House officials he was misquoted.” (“Solzhenitsyn–White House Issue Revived,” The New York Times, August 13, 1975, p. 4)
  4. See footnote 3, Document 177.