291. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

The President: Your speech sounded great.2 How did the Gromyko meeting go?3

Kissinger: He was on his best behavior. They basically just want to get back into the game. On SALT, on the Middle East, he wants Geneva. I said they would get nowhere. If they kept mentioning the PLO they will get nowhere. He indicated some flexibility, but I am not sure we want the Soviets involved.

[There is some discussion of the campaign.]4

Kissinger: The Soviets will be a little mad about my speech.

The President: I haven’t looked at the brief.

Kissinger: He wants to consult on Law of the Sea, non-proliferation, and the Middle East. On SALT, they are ready to move. He wants me to come to Moscow. I am against it, but it is a crime what has happened.

The President: I agree completely. What some members of this Administration have done.

Kissinger: I would say this whole year has been bad. The campaign has not been fair to them, but their action in Angola and now their rhetoric in southern Africa are a serious block to better relations.

[Page 1087]

On SALT I made a pitch for the Rumsfeld position and he just brushed it aside. He’ll never agree to exempt Backfire and cruise missiles.

You could have a SALT agreement by February. But we have to repair the damage. You can see from Genscher5 the Soviets are approaching the Europeans rather than us. We can keep the Europeans in control as long as they think we have the inside track, but otherwise they will establish their own contacts. So I would tell him we will repair things after November.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Soviet-American relations.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversations, 1973–1976, Box 21. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. See footnote 9, Document 289.
  3. See Document 289.
  4. Brackets in the original.
  5. A reference to Ford’s meeting with Genscher; see footnote 9, Document 290.