81. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Ford1

Dear Mr. President:

It is with great attention that I have studied your letter of October 242 and I consider it constructive. I have in mind, first of all, the central idea of your letter which is entirely consonant with our thoughts and aspirations regarding the necessity that the process of positive development of the relations between our countries becomes permanent and irreversible. We appreciate the fact that you so definitely state your intention to continue the improvement of Soviet-American relations.

I would like to tell you once again, Mr. President, that on this road you will meet from our side complete reciprocity and firm determination for cooperation and most close interaction. Our agreement with you concerning the further course of the relations between the Soviet Union and the United States inspires confidence in the success of that really historic endeavor which was jointly started by the leadership of our countries in the interests of the Soviet and American peoples, in the interests of peace and well-being of all peoples of the world.

I received your letter during my talks with Secretary of State H. Kissinger who came to Moscow. Naturally, we took notice of what was said in the letter—that Mr. Kissinger enjoyed your full confidence and was authorized to speak on your behalf.

Mr. Kissinger undoubtedly has already informed you about the contents and the results of the talks. On my part I would like to express to you the following considerations in this regard.

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I believe that those talks were fruitful and useful from the point of view both of searching for a solution of the concrete questions in essence and of the importance of continuity of the active political dialogue which has been established between us. We consider the talks as an important preparatory stage for our forthcoming working meeting.

We regard as important the agreement by both sides, confirmed in the talks, that on the whole the relations between our countries continue to shape up in accordance with the course taken with the aim of their improvement. At the same time we believed it necessary to draw attention to a number of aspects of a negative nature as well, which, by the way, are also mentioned in your letter. In that case we proceeded from the assumption that a timely exposure and removal of all kinds of difficulties and misunderstandings are equally in the interests of both countries and prevent unwanted complications in our relations. I hope that you too adhere to the similar opinion.

You, Mr. President, know that the questions related to further limitation of the strategic offensive arms were central in our talks with Mr. Kissinger. We have thoroughly gone over those questions with due regard to those considerations which were recently forwarded by the American side. In the course of the talks we have expounded both a general concept of a long-range agreement and its possible concrete substance by basic components. In our proposals we proceed from the assumption that in this matter there cannot be a simplified approach, that the agreement should be based upon a realistic evaluation of the security interests of the sides both at present and in the perspective for the years to come.

I hope that you will duly appreciate the position set forth by us in the talks with the Secretary of State on the questions of limiting strategic arms. We are ready to continue to discuss these questions through the confidential channel so that later to reach final understanding on major provisions of a new agreement at our meeting at the end of November.

I must say that in general we attach a great significance to this meeting having in mind that it should provide a new impulse to the development of Soviet-American relations.

Sincerely yours,

L. Brezhnev 3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 5, Soviet Union, Nov–Dec 1974. No classification marking. According to marginalia, the letter was “Delivered by Amb. Dobrynin to Gen. Scowcroft at 10:45 a.m., Wed., 11/6/74 (Wired to HAK 11/6/74).” Kissinger was in the Middle East on November 6, with stops in Cairo, Riyadh, and Amman.
  2. See Document 67.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.