69. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee, CPSU
  • Andrey A. Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Ambassador to the USA
  • Andrey M. Aleksandrov-Agentov, Assistant to General Secretary Brezhnev
  • Georgiy M. Korniyenko, Chief of USA Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Viktor M. Sukhodrev, Second European Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Interpreter)
  • Mr. Kochetkov (Notetaker)
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State & Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., Ambassador to the USSR
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor, Department of State
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff
  • Arthur A. Hartman, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • William G. Hyland, Director, Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  • Jan M. Lodal, NSC Senior Staff
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • SALT

Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, I just received a complaint against you from the President [President’s letter to Brezhnev, October 24, at Tab A.].2 It must be about you. Who else does he have to complain about? Me? Gromyko?

Kissinger: I’m working against your getting together, because once you do, I have no possibilities any more.

Brezhnev: I’m glad you have had time to rest. Because you can go to the theatre . . . Once again, you will not go to Leningrad. [Laughter]

Kissinger: Never. I’ve never been in the theatre. I have to bring the President here in order to do it.

Gromyko: The trouble is, by the time we finish, the theatre is finishing. The swans are about to wave their wings for the last time.

[Page 223]

Brezhnev: I was honest when I said I haven’t had time to read this, because it just arrived a few minutes before.

Kissinger: Once when I was on my way here, President Nixon sent a message giving me complete authority, depriving me of any possibility of delaying. It was a great diplomatic triumph.

Gromyko: You told me.

Dobrynin: The Communiqué we gave you yesterday is okay? [The announcement of the Vladivostok summit meeting November 23–24]3

Kissinger: Yes, and we will release it tomorrow at noon Washington time. Seven o’clock Moscow time.

What does the phrase “in vicinity of Vladivostok” mean? Are you building a new city?

Gromyko: It means the same as “in vicinity of Washington” would mean.

Kissinger: We had a message from the Chinese saying they want to send someone to greet us, to welcome us to Chinese territory. [Gromyko and Dobrynin smile; Kissinger laughs.] A formal diplomatic note.

We won’t be in Vladivostok?

Gromyko: If you would like to . . .

Kissinger: I understand the night life is very good there. That’s where the Dutch want a cabaret too.

Gromyko: It’s the taiga. It’s the only place where we have taiga.

Dobrynin: A nice house in the taiga.

Brezhnev: Let us continue, Dr. Kissinger. I’m waiting for replies to my questions of last night.

Kissinger: You asked, Mr. General Secretary, first: What is the meaning of the American statements about military power? And can I conceive of the possibility of an atomic war?

Brezhnev: Not exactly that. My first question was not regarding military might but whether the United States had to be stronger. And the second question wasn’t about atomic war generally but atomic war between us.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: Someone else could trigger it—Burma, or someone.

Kissinger: It is the Burmese nuclear arsenal that we’re concerned about. No, I understood your question.

[Page 224]

The General Secretary said we wanted to be superior. This isn’t, strictly speaking, what is being said. What is being said is that the United States should be second to none.

Brezhnev: I want a specific answer to my question: What do you mean by the statement that the United States has to be stronger for there to be peace in the world? And Henry, please don’t think I’m in any way irritated when I say that; I ask in a friendly way.

Kissinger: I understand. But first I want to say what is being said, and second is the objective reality to which it refers. First, what is being said is that the United States should be second to none. But I won’t stick on that quibble; I now want to explain the objective realities of American defense planning.

With respect to the first point, for many years American strategic policy was dedicated to the proposition of stability. It doesn’t make any difference—whether we said we should be stronger or not, I want to explain to the General Secretary the realities of American strategic planning. For many years, our strategic policy was dedicated to the proposition of stability. By stability we meant a force that was large enough to pose a plausible threat to the Soviet retaliatory force. Now the General Secretary has often referred to the number of warheads we have, but the General Secretary also knows that the vast majority of these warheads—nearly two-thirds of them—are on submarines. He knows that the size of the warheads on the submarines is relatively small. And very small compared to the Soviet warheads. And finally the General Secretary knows that to coordinate an attack from submarines dispersed all over the ocean—to coordinate a plausible attack—is so difficult as to be virtually impossible. In fact, I think the General Secretary should understand that even the number of warheads on the submarines was in reaction to the Soviet program; they were developed when we wanted to be able to penetrate anti-ballistic missile defenses and we wanted to have enough warheads on the submarines to survive these defenses.

Now, therefore, basically our strategic forces are still designed not for an attack but to prevent an attack. We are now—I have to be very frank—at the point where . . .

Brezhnev: Against France? Against Germany?

Kissinger: Against the Soviet Union.

Brezhnev: We have no intention of attacking you.

Kissinger: But you have a force capable of it.

Brezhnev: Even if you take the period of 20 years ago, you couldn’t find a document in which we intended to attack the United States. I must admit, however, that Nikita Khrushchev sometimes allowed him[Page 225]self certain liberties. One of his favorites was that we had rockets that could hit a fly. It didn’t mean anything.

Kissinger: The question was whether it could hit anything else! When one of our generals says he has a plane that can shoot down another plane, at 70 miles, I say, “Fine, but can it hit another plane at two miles?” But since, to speak frankly, twenty years ago you had no capability to attack the United States, but now you have the capability . . . I’m not saying you have the intention, but you clearly have the capability. And I’m not arguing with you, Mr. General Secretary. I’m trying to describe in a dispassionate way the reasoning behind our strategic forces. It is one of the features of the current period that our two countries cooperate more than others, and I’m planning to say this in a speech I’m planning to give. But we also build some forces designed to destroy each other. It is one of the paradoxes of our relationship.

So our present force is not a force designed for attack on the Soviet Union. Now, when we look at the Soviet force, we observe some disquieting phenomena. Your missiles are larger than ours; the warheads of each missile are larger than ours.

Brezhnev: Not bigger, but fatter, thicker.

Kissinger: They weigh more.

Brezhnev: They are fatter.

Kissinger: All right, fatter. They can deliver a heavier payload.

Brezhnev: I’ll reply to that later.

Kissinger: They can deliver a heavier payload, and as Minister Grechko explained to me the last time I met him, they have greater accuracy than we expected.

Brezhnev: If it’s a missile, it has got to be accurate.

Gromyko: How else do we hit a fly?

Kissinger: With accuracy of 200 meters, Mr. Foreign Minister, and a one megaton warhead, you’ll kill every fly. And you’ll give a nervous breakdown to every fly within 10 kilometers. I think they would notice something has gone off.

At any rate, the design of your strategic forces is such that they represent a very grave threat to our land-based forces, whether you plan to use them that way or not.

In this generation, say until 1981 or ’82, you still don’t have as many warheads as we do. But that’s essentially irrelevant, because beyond a certain point there is no conceivable use you could have for them. But after 1981 or ’82, you can multiply your number of warheads because you have this great throw-weight.

Now let me go back to our forces. Within the next six-to-nine months we have to make decisions on the designs of our strategic [Page 226] forces. If we’re in a situation of essentially unrestrained competition, then we protect ourselves against the dangers I’ve described to you. This is not for purposes of superiority but for the purpose of defense. We will then build much larger missiles, and probably larger numbers. And you remember, if you look back to the late 1950’s, Mr. General Secretary, your predecessor made certain threats growing out of his somewhat impetuous nature. When we perceived that we might be threatened by a possible missile gap, we began a very large program of missile production which produced several thousand missiles in a few years. And this genuinely occurred because we thought we were falling behind. And there is a similar possibility now.

Brezhnev: You mean you were indulging in autosuggestion.

Kissinger: In a way this is true.

Brezhnev: It happens some time.

Kissinger: I think you had only about 50 missiles in all of Russia. At that time. In 1958. It was, you are quite right, a case of autosuggestion. This time it’s not autosuggestion because we know what you’re building. And the reason I’ve been so insistent on promoting an agreement on strategic arms is that if we don’t, I know what is going to happen. We will certainly increase our forces and modernize them dramatically. You will certainly increase your forces. At the end of this process, neither of us will be decisively ahead. But while we go through this process, it will be very difficult to keep détente going. Because each side will have to tell its public that the other is threatening its survival in order to justify the large military expenditures.

So this is the meaning of the first question. We do not aim for superiority. In fact, I said in Moscow, when I was here with President Nixon, that I don’t believe significant superiority can be achieved by either side. And therefore our problem is to see whether we can find some means of stabilizing the situation.

Now, with respect to your other question: Do I believe in the possibility of atomic war between us? I do not believe, with the present forces and with foreseeable forces, that a leader can make a rational decision for an all-out attack on the other. Whether, if conditions of unrestrained competition would resume, either side would ever get into a position where it might be possible—I don’t think it’s possible. After all, in every war, the military plans of one or the other side turn out to be wrong. And in a thermonuclear war, a military leader would have to convince a political leader that missiles that have never been fired, whose accuracy is untested against real targets, would have to be fired against targets whose hardness is unknown, and be assured that the targets would not be launched on warning—and I think this requires a degree of confidence that could hardly be achieved.

[Page 227]

On the other hand, it’s conceivable that if local tensions continue and if local conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union develops, given the arsenals on both sides, such a war could develop, even without the intention. Because presumably neither side will let itself be defeated.

So these would be my answers to your questions.

Brezhnev: Any conversation on any subject is always useful because it gives each side the benefit of the other’s experience. So whether the question is cooperation in building a dam or in irrigating lands, or about aircraft, any conversation is useful. All the more so, any conversation about thermonuclear war is useful. I can fully apply that to our conversation, because I feel I’ve been enriched to a certain extent.

I’ve often thought about the difference between the politician and the diplomat. One is often hard pressed to see the difference, because their aims and problems are the same. But it is clear to me that a politician in the proper sense of the word should be straightforward in pursuing a line of policy. But the diplomat sees the task as passing over the subject in silence or shrouding the question so as to prevent the other side from seeing his thoughts. I see you’re a skillful diplomat, and from every meeting I see it’s more and more the case. Instead of giving me a direct answer, you give me a long train of thought.

In our Interim Agreement we didn’t include anything about MIRV’s because we had none but you did, although you didn’t tell me anything about it. You tell me you know what we’re doing, and we know what you’re doing. Though we know nothing about intentions. So you dodged my questions and switched over to warheads. And I’m not loathe to do that.

You explained that in locally-developing situations, atomic war between us is conceivable. But if such a war breaks out—and I can assure you a war like that would never break out from our starting it—it would be the last holy war for the Soviet Union, if not for Latin America or Africa. I would say from my part, very directly, there can be no such war between us. So if you were to address my question back to me, whether I believe in the possibility of atomic war between us, I would reply I do not believe in such a possibility. I would say that regardless of who heads the American Administration, because it depends not on who leads a country but the people of a country. Because there are many people, including scientists, who know what such a war would mean and how many would die. So I don’t admit the possibility of either side taking a decision to launch such a war, of the possibility of such a war. There are some insane people who might say, “Let’s commit suicide,” but they’re a minority of the world’s population.

So that is my answer. When I asked it of you, I said I would be prepared to give my answer.

[Page 228]

Of course we have to discuss other issues. I am prepared to discuss them today and tomorrow. Indeed, let’s do that.

Let’s talk about the number of warheads available to either side, and what advantage there is—whether it is better to have one or five, or to put them on aircraft or whatever. After all, several years ago, in negotiating and concluding the first provisional agreement on strategic offensive arms, it was not fortuitous that you were prepared to give us a certain apparent outward advantage in, say, the number of submarines—62 and 41. Because you did this deliberately, and you at that time had MIRV’s, though you didn’t tell us anything about it.

Then you began to reproach us for building weapons of this type. And you said that since we’ve tested them we already had them. But you know from your experience what the distance is between testing it and having it. An engineer has to test 200 engines before it is reliable or operative. You know we have begun to deploy MIRVs, but you’ll complete that process much sooner than we have.

So it’s quite wrong to say we have more missiles than the United States. We shouldn’t mislead the other side. I’m prepared to vote in favor of a new strategic arms treaty. The first one has played a useful role and I’m sure a new one will play a useful role, and not from the point of view of giving any advantage over the United States.

Dr. Kissinger, if you agree, we could end this general debate and pass to a discussion of the specific issues concerning the form, content and substance of a new strategic arms limitation agreement, first agreeing that our first one will continue to be valid until 1977 and that the new one will, so to speak, cover the old one, and be a new factor restraining both sides.

Kissinger: I agree. And I agree the old agreement with these numbers will remain in effect until October 1977.

Brezhnev: Yes, we can consider that is agreed. The old agreement remains in force until it runs out in October 1977.

Kissinger: Yes.

Brezhnev: Let me just say this paper I received just before I met you is a message from President Ford [Tab A] in which he says he has been busy travelling around various states, which is why he didn’t send a message with you, but he does now to confirm the invariability of the line between the United States and the Soviet Union to make it irreversible. And while there may be various difficulties and ups and downs, he is committed to continue it, and Dr. Kissinger has instructions to negotiate. And I will of course reply to it. And I appreciate the constructive spirit of it.

Kissinger: I will report that. And let me say the President appreciates the special channel that exists between the President and the General Secretary.

[Page 229]

Brezhnev: I certainly appreciate that too. The channel certainly has demonstrated it is very useful indeed. Unless something really untoward happens, I will not complain to the President about you.

Kissinger: I’m terrified.

Brezhnev: I’ll make no final conclusion yet, because there are two days left.

Kissinger: That’s blackmail.

Brezhnev: No, it’s diplomacy. There has to be some differences between the politician and the diplomat.

Gromyko: Politics covers diplomacy the way the new agreement covers the old one.

Kissinger: We also praise Gromyko, which is why he feels so secure.

Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, we’re therefore beginning a serious discussion on what is to be a new agreement between us on a very important issue. And here it is important to reach agreement on quantities, time limits, a new approach, and concrete formulations.

Kissinger: Right.

Brezhnev: I would like you to set out your considerations on these issues, and I’ll give you my views.

Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, we have submitted to you on basic ideas on this subject, to permit you to study it before my arrival. [The U.S. note of October 19, Tab B.]4

We attempted to take into account the difficulty of defining unequal numbers, one for MIRVs and one for total numbers, as we did in the Crimea. Now what we therefore attempted to do is define three periods—the period between now and October 1977, the period between October 1977 and October 1982, and the period between October 1982 and the end of 1983—although this can be summer of 1984; we’re not set on this.

Between now and October 1977, in effect the Interim Agreement would continue. With the existing numbers.

From 1977 to October 1982, the following situation would arise: By October 1982 both sides would be entitled to have 2350 total systems, that is, ICBMs, submarine missiles and long-range bombers. However, since both sides would be introducing some new systems and still have some old systems, in the interval between October 1977 and 1982, the number can be as high as 2500. So in other words, between October 1977 and October 1982 it can go up to 2500 and then down to 2350. For [Page 230] that five-year period. At the end of that five-year period it will be 2350, but in between it can be 2500. In that five-year period, the limit of the 1300 MIRVed systems would be reached, that is, October 1982.

Sukhodrev: The figure of . . .

Kissinger: 1300 MIRVed systems. It’s not compulsory; you can have less! By the end of 1983, or June 1984 . . .

Dobrynin: For both sides?

Kissinger: Yes. We’ve tried to base it on equality throughout. By the end of 1983—or June 1984; we’re willing to talk about this—the total number on both sides should reach 2200 systems. By that time too, heavy systems of both sides should be limited to 250. That means we would not deploy more than 250 B–1, and you would not deploy more than 250 of what we call your heavy missiles—what we call the SS–18, or SS–9.

You would agree not to put MIRV on heavy missiles and we would agree not to put long-range air-to-surface missiles on our heavy bombers.

And then we’re also proposing that both sides agree not to deploy more than 175 missiles or bombers in any one year, and this provision would go into effect immediately.

And finally we propose that the provision of the Interim Agreement prohibiting the construction of new ICBM silos should be incorporated in the new agreement.

Brezhnev: Very simple proposals. It is a very serious question. Could we not perhaps complicate it a bit in substance? How many MIRVs—you’re completing your MIRV program next year—would the United States have next year?

Kissinger: No, we will not complete our MIRV program until the 1980’s. In fact, it depends on what you call our MIRV program. Our presently planned MIRV program we will not complete well into the 1980’s. In the absence of an agreement, we will plan many more MIRVs, so it depends.

Brezhnev: And also what sense will there be in all that?

Kissinger: Sense in what?

Brezhnev: Ultimately we can, acting in that way, reach a situation where we’ll have one MIRV for every human being.

Kissinger: Without an agreement, that’s theoretically possible; but that’s why we are proposing to limit them.

Brezhnev: I don’t remember who it was, maybe an American scientist, who said the Soviet Union already has seven warheads for every locality in the United States. Dr. Kissinger knows full well that is not so. Why don’t you go out and expose such inventions?

[Page 231]

Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, I have been the leading figure in America arguing for the limitation of strategic arms.

Brezhnev: That’s who I am.

Kissinger: So I have tried to explain the situation as I saw it and why I believe limitations are necessary.

Brezhnev: Mr. Kissinger, this is generally so delicate a subject that without complete frankness and straightforwardness in stating one’s position, neither side can sign any treaty. And I’m sure you yourself agree with that proposition. And we neither of us can allow each other to give differing interpretations to one and the same fact. We had a discussion on this subject in March. We don’t consider that conversation a waste of time. But we were not at that time able to reach an understanding, because quite a few of the facts were unknown to us. You kept on reproaching me for our so-called heavy missiles, and we talked about the United States doing something new to your old rockets. That was the kind of conversation we had at that time, the kind that can’t lead to any specific results. We have to speak on this subject in the spirit of frankness and confidence.

Let’s say if instead of Minuteman I you deployed your Minuteman III, how are we to treat that? One can interpret it as one and the same kind of missile, or can interpret it as deploying a heavy missile.

Kissinger: No.

Brezhnev: Otherwise what sense would there be in doing it?

Kissinger: If we’re going to use that kind of argument, we would treat your SS–17 and SS–19 as heavy, and you would have nothing but heavy missiles. We both know the characteristics of the missiles and can make distinctions according to weight.

Brezhnev: No, because the weight is not yet an indication of the capacity of that missile, and weight only indicates power capacity and range—whether it can shoot longer or shorter distances. Of course distance is also a factor to be taken into account. If I want to shoot shorter distances I can put a greater payload on that missile. If, for instance, a Minuteman I can carry MIRVs with a capability of 0.2 megatons, Minuteman III can carry MIRVs with a capability of 0.4 megatons.

Kissinger: Well . . .

Brezhnev: A lot depends on the type of fuel, the quality of metal that is used in building the fuel tanks, and so forth. So it would be wrong simply to say that if one rocket weighs 36 tons and another weighs 37 tons, the second is the more powerful weapon. And there are different guidance systems, and so on.

Kissinger: And that’s why we have defined heavy missiles as ones with throw-weight of 10,000–15,000 pounds, which includes the SS–9. [Page 232] And we did not count your SS–17 and 19, which are three times as large as your SS–11. So we were not playing games.

Secondly, it is true that weight can be translated into range. But once a missile has intercontinental range, it would be foolish to use its weight for range, and from then on, weight is used for payload. So while you can’t make a distinction of a few hundred pounds or one ton, you can make some approximate distinctions.

Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, under the old agreement, we agreed that each side could, within certain limitations, improve its missile systems, that is, but not increase beyond a certain limit the diameter of the silo and increase the number of missiles. You’re improving your missiles and we’re not saying anything about it, but when we start to improve our missiles, including not increasing the diameter of the silos and even decreasing the diameter, why do you say we’re developing new heavier missiles?

Kissinger: No, Mr. General Secretary, there is a misunderstanding. Let me explain where this misunderstanding is. There is always an explosion when I explain to my Soviet colleagues what they’re building.

Brezhnev: Please.

Kissinger: You’re putting new missiles into the SS–11 holes—slowly, not very rapidly—missiles which we call either [SS–]17 or [SS–]19. Even though those missiles are heavier than the SS–11, we are not treating them as heavy missiles for purposes of our proposal. Among your 1300 MIRVed missiles, you could include as many [SS–]17’s and [SS–]19’s as you want.

Brezhnev: Yes, but we’re doing that just as you’re replacing your Minuteman I with Minuteman III. And we’re doing it openly.

Kissinger: That’s right. And we’re not criticizing you either.

Brezhnev: But you’re covering it with netting, and we’re not doing that. We made one representation—3, 4, or 5—so you could be doing anything. [He gets up.] As soon as I cover one of my silos with netting I’m sure I’ll get a representation from you that I’m violating the treaty. But I’m not doing that.

Kissinger: He’s got a point there.

Brezhnev: And I certainly have all the grounds to wonder why Dr. Kissinger has suddenly started covering his silos with netting. We make a representation through Dobrynin, and all we’re told is that it’s the result of some kind of misunderstanding. We could do all sorts of misunderstandings. I don’t think it’s just to ward off rain.

Kissinger: Strangely, that’s what it is for. They’re putting in a new type of concrete.

Brezhnev: Excuse me, I’ll call Grechko and tell him to put new netting on.

[Page 233]

Kissinger: It’s new concrete being put on, and until it’s dried, they put netting on.

Brezhnev: Also something is being done to those silos. And we place whatever rockets into the same silos.

Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, I’m not arguing with you. I’m not sure Viktor’s translation makes that clear. I’m not accusing you of violating the Interim Agreement. I’m not trying to limit the number of missiles you can put into the SS–11 holes according to the Agreement. The 250 heavy limit that we put on applies only to those that are already limited to 300 by the Interim Agreement. And on our side we’re applying it to heavy bombers, or heavy missiles.

Brezhnev: What is the limit of the range of air-to-surface missiles on your heavy bombers?

Kissinger: We said it would be 3,000 kilometers.

Brezhnev: And how many Trident submarines do you want to build?

Kissinger: Within the total limitation of the 1300 MIRVed missiles, we would have the right to put all on Tridents if we wanted. The Trident is smaller than your SS–17 and SS–19. [Brezhnev’s bell goes off in the center of the table.]

Brezhnev: Excuse me.

[Sukhodrev finishes his translation of Kissinger’s statement above.]

You know, all these names you give our rockets, SS–17 and 19, etc., confuse me a bit, because we have basically three types of rockets, as I told you, and we have no intention of deploying new types. And so I call Grechko and ask him if he is deploying new missiles and he says, “No, I’m complying with the Agreement.” And Grechko doesn’t have the right to deploy even a new bullet without my approval.

[He gets up.] I will leave you for three minutes; I have to talk to Kosygin about the meeting I have later with Bhutto.

Kissinger: Bhutto has a new proposal. Maybe we should bring him into the meeting.

[Brezhnev goes out quickly. There is a break between 1:08 and 1:18 p.m., then Brezhnev returns and the group reconvenes at the table.]

Kissinger [to Dobrynin]: Between this and the Jackson debate, I don’t know if I can keep sane.

Dobrynin [to Kissinger]: Now he will be short, and on substance.

Brezhnev: Will they criticize me for calling you Comrade Henry?

Kissinger: They’ll criticize me. They are already doing it.

Brezhnev: That’s something I’d like to see.

[Page 234]

Dr. Kissinger, you have set your views on the provisions of a new agreement. Naturally I have seen the proposals you’ve handed to us beforehand. As they are now, we don’t believe them to be appropriate.

Let me make two comments:

—I’m against having an interim period; I’d like to have it run from 1977–1982.

—And secondly, for the upper limit we would propose for the United States 2000 and for the Soviet Union 2400, taking into account all the factors known to you.

This is something I’d like to leave to you for food for thought. I’d like to recess now to meet Prime Minister Bhutto, and we can meet tonight, and I’ll leave the whole day for you tomorrow.

Kissinger: All right.

Brezhnev: And also, the last time we didn’t discuss limiting the number of bombers and limiting our Typhoons and your Tridents. That’s something we can leave until later. I believe out of these very difficult negotiations will come a very good treaty.

Kissinger: With slightly different numbers.

Brezhnev: That’s your desire too, I trust.

Kissinger: That’s my desire, as I’ve expressed publicly on many occasions—to the great displeasure of many of our military people.

Brezhnev: I won’t comment. They’re insatiable.

Kissinger: You’ve noticed that we have agreed to limit the number of heavy bombers in our proposal.

[The U.S. side confers.]

I’ve explained to my colleagues what the Typhoon is. I explained it was your counterpart to our B–3.

When the General Secretary said 2400 and 2000, did he mean missiles? Or all strategic systems?

Brezhnev: Total systems.

Dobrynin: Do you prefer otherwise?

Kissinger: I don’t think the President will be pleased that I obtained this on the first attempt. Without a struggle.

Brezhnev: So, bon appetit. Did Mrs. Kissinger go to Leningrad?

Kissinger: By tomorrow we will have confirmed the existence of Leningrad. Thank you for arranging a plane for her.

My children too are still talking about their visit to Moscow.

Brezhnev: I remember your son very well, especially. My great granddaughter resembles him a little bit.

[The meeting thereupon ended.]

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger Reports on USSR, China, and Middle East Discussions, 1974–1976, Box 1, USSR Memcons and Reports, October 27, 1974—Kissinger/Brezhnev Talks in Moscow (2). Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Rodman. All brackets are in the original. The meeting was held in the Old Politburo Room in the Council of Ministers Building, Kremlin. Sonnenfeldt’s handwritten notes on the meeting are in National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 5, Misc. Memcons.
  2. Text in Document 67.
  3. No drafts of the communiqué have been found.The final text was released on October 27. See footnote 5, Document 74. The two sides also announced on October 26 that Brezhnev would host Ford at a summit meeting in Vladivostok November 23–24. (Christopher S. Wren, “Meeting of Ford and Brezhnev Set for Vladivostok,” The New York Times, October 27, 1974, pp. 1, 16)
  4. The reference is in error. The note, Document 53, was given to Dobrynin on October 9.