67. Message From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 1. 1. Please get immediate approval to following message from President to Brezhnev and then deliver urgently to Vorontsov. Explain to President that message is essential to make clear to Brezhnev President’s direct concern with talks here. Full report follows. In first meeting today Brezhnev tended to play down President’s interest and his personal backing of my mission.2

2. Begin text: Dear Mr. General-Secretary: As you proceed with your conversations with Secretary Kissinger, may I share with you some of my views on the future course of Soviet-American relations.

First of all, I wish to make clear that Secretary Kissinger is speaking for me with the same authority as on all previous visits and I hope with the same good results. He has, as you know, my full confidence.

I recognize that in recent weeks we have encountered certain difficulties, but these are not fundamental in nature. What is fundamental is our mutual agreement that the improvement of Soviet-American relations is in the mutual interest of our two countries and must and will be continued under my Presidency. This is the main point in my instruction to Secretary Kissinger.

The talks you are beginning will, of course, be frank and candid and may even reveal areas of difficulty, but whatever temporary ob[Page 219]stacles may arise, I am confident that, with patience and devotion to our joint objectives, we can make substantial progress; I recently asked Secretary Kissinger to set forth in considerable detail the view of my administration on Soviet-American relations. Whatever else may be said or written about Soviet-American relations, my posture is clear: We believe that a positive, constructive relationship can be made permanent, and thus irreversible. I have instructed Secretary Kissinger to conduct his negotiation in this spirit.

I will not go into the details of your agenda, but permit me to underscore one basic point. As you may know, I have had several meetings with my National Security Council on matters of strategic arms control. On this I have emphasized to my advisors the necessity to bring competition under control through agreements that are equitable and realistic; for we cannot hope for, or expect that our relations will flourish in an atmosphere of unrestrained military tensions. Thus, I have authorized Secretary Kissinger to discuss with you the cardinal elements of a new agreement which we might address in our forthcoming meeting. No other action would demonstrate the transitory nature of our differences and the permanent character of our mutual interest.

Indeed, I am looking forward to our meeting in Vladivostok. It is a testimony to the new course of Soviet-American relations that this meeting is regarded on both sides as a natural development.

I have been travelling recently and unfortunately did not have the occasion to convey these thoughts to Ambassador Dobrynin before he left, but I wanted you to have my views personally. Sincerely, GRF. End text.

3. Warm regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables of Henry Kissinger, 1974–1977, Box 3, Kissinger Trip File, October 20–November 9, 1974—Europe, South Asia, & Middle East, HAKTO (1). Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Flash.
  2. In message Hakto 7, October 24, Bremer advised Scowcroft: “Secretary asks that the message in Hakto 1 be delivered immediately even if the President is out of town. He needs to have message for tomorrow’s meeting.” (Ibid.)