217. Letter From President Ford to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Dear Mr. General Secretary:

I have been giving careful thought to the state of our relations generally and to the situation that has arisen in the negotiations on strategic arms limitation. I am concerned that a sense of uncertainty and even drift has appeared in our relations. This is reinforced by the deadlock which emerged from the most recent exchange of messages on strategic arms limitations.2 I believe there is a risk that if this situation persists it would serve neither the interests of our two countries nor those of the world at large. In these circumstances, I believe steps should be taken by both of us to reverse the present trend. Assuming that you share this view, I would be prepared to send Secretary of State Kissinger to Moscow to review with you the entire range of [Page 855] American-Soviet relations especially to explore ways of resolving the present deadlock in the strategic arms limitation negotiation. In doing so, I would proceed from the assumption that you agree with me that such a visit should yield positive results, including significant progress in resolving the disagreements on strategic arms. Quite clearly, failure to achieve positive results would represent a setback of considerable magnitude to the line of policy you and I have in the past agreed upon.

If this proposal and the reasoning underlying it meet with your approval, the proposed visit by Secretary Kissinger could take place either during the weekend of December 13–14 or on December 18–19.

As you may know, I am participating in meetings on economic policy with several of my colleagues in France this weekend,3 but I would of course be pleased to receive your reaction to the above suggestions at any time.


Gerald R. Ford4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 6, SALT, Nov.–Dec. 1975. No classification marking. According to marginalia, the letter was delivered to Ambassador Dobrynin by messenger at 9:15 a.m. on November 17.
  2. Documents 212 and 214.
  3. President Ford attended the Economic Summit in Rambouillet November 15–17.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.