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

[Omitted here is an exchange unrelated to U.S.-Soviet relations.]

K: Anatol, I am sending over an interim answer on that Cyprus thing.2

D: Yeah. Is it official text or just your oral explanation, so to speak.

K: An oral explanation.

D: So what is it about? We are going tomorrow to make joint intervention in Cyprus?

K: Absolutely.

D: I think it will be very nice.

K: We just want to get your— If you send us the disposition of your forces in southern Russia, we will then give you an advice on how to do it.

D: I think you’d even want our disposition in the north? Not in the south of Russia.

K: Why in the north?

D: For us it’s much more easier to jump over—you know, when you have a [missile] along the range, it’s very difficult to use it on a short range. It is better to go all right, so our divisions there used to use a ________ that goes for 10,000 kilometers, not three or two.

[Laughter]

K: Okay, Anatol, I’ll send it over.

D: You will send with your messenger?

K: Yeah.

D: What is the main idea, just without arguing the question.

K: Well, the main idea is that we are willing to exchange ideas—

D: Yeah. About original guarantees, you mean?

K: Well, at the UN.

D: Yeah.

[Page 64]

K: And maybe do some parallel things, but not necessarily joint right now.

D: [inaudible 3–4 words] But, in general, Henry, the idea of now that you know that it’s really quiet— Will you not, I mean, I gather or I understand there are some difficulties in the UN, but including you and me too maybe to have certain kind of guarantees after they have settled their problems where there will be unfinancial (?) [inaudible] I don’t know. Those kinds of things.

K: Well, let’s exchange some more ideas on that.

D: You propose something or you’re just saying in a sense—

K: No, we’re proposing to continue the exchange of ideas.

D: Of ideas. There at the United Nations?

K: We haven’t really thought it completely through yet.

D: I understand. So it’s your answer still saying that we will continue on in next week, yeah?

K: Exactly.

D: Because as I mentioned to you, some of my people . . . very tough. They have the idea that well, why don’t we in a friendly way do something together. You see, there is real politics and there is certain [laughs]—which sometimes which maybe you, I mean, off-the-record, don’t quite understand. Some really have good intentions saying: It’s rather simple. Why we shouldn’t sit down and do something which will be really wonderful things for both so we have good personal relations on a top level. You understand?

K: Yeah.

D: So this sometimes happens. It’s not really any specific tricks or not. So this is just on background I’m saying. Well, I will look through it and send immediately to Moscow for Brezhnev and Gromyko.

K: Right.

D: But the idea of continuation of , yes? I mean, the idea of exchanging of views.

K: Right.

D: Of views?

K: Right.

D: Henry, you’re not going anywhere. I heard somewhere that you are planning to go somewhere outside Washington or for the time being here?

K: I’m staying here.

D: Next week too?

K: Oh, yeah. Oh, that idea of Cyprus—total nonsense!

D: Well, this is the point. I heard that you’re going there just to shuttle in between.

[Page 65]

K: No, look, I can’t make a joke anymore. I was walking through the hall of the State Department when a newsman came up to me and he said: Are you going to Cyprus? I said, “What I want is to shuttle between Nicosia and Limassol.”

D: Laughter.

K: And I thought this was so absurd so they write, “Kissinger is going to Cyprus.”

D: Yes. Good thing you didn’t say exactly between where you are going to shuttle.

K: Well, because they probably didn’t know where either place was.

D: [Laughter.]

K: There is no intention whatsoever of my going to Cyprus.

D: Yeah, I understand.

K: What would I do on Cyprus?

D: No, no, I agree with you. I was surprised very much because on the radio I heard that you—

K: Anatol, when I go some place, it is usually prepared. I don’t go to a place where I don’t know what I’m going to find.

D: That’s why exactly because you go there and many feel that it’s a chance of rather great success. But once you stay there and be involved in this—

K: Well, or maybe even I get caught in a slow process like last time in the Syria-Israeli thing.

D: That’s true.

K: But I won’t go unless I know what the possible outcome can be.

D: This is true. I know this is exactly—you’re using I think the only right [exit] . . . not ours but to know where you go.

K: The conditions are absolutely not right for my going to Cyprus.

D: This is my impression too. That’s why I was (laughter) surprised.

K: Absolute nonsense. Okay.

D: Okay, Henry.

K: Thank you.

D: Bye, bye.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Electronic Reading Room, Kissinger Transcripts of Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. All brackets, except those inserted by the editor to indicate omitted passages, are in the original. Blank underscores indicate omissions in the text. According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger placed the call; the conversation lasted until 10:50 a.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 439, Miscellany, 1968–76)
  2. Document 25.
  3. In a meeting with the President at 9:20 a.m. on August 24, Kissinger presented a different perspective on the Soviet role in the Cyprus talks: “We must keep the Soviets out of the negotiations. We must try to keep the UN Conference from happening or make sure that nothing comes from it. We must show the Greeks they can’t use the Soviet Union against us.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1977, Box 5)