86. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger1


  • Memorandum for the President for Vladivostok

Attached is the President’s Briefing Book for Vladivostok which contains a memorandum to him for your signature, as well as comprehensive background material on all the major subjects likely to come up at the talks. This briefing material is fully consistent with our conversations this week. We will also be carrying four other more detailed briefing books on SALT, other arms control problems, multilateral and bilateral issues, with us to Vladivostok.


That you initial the Memorandum for the President for forwarding to the White House.2


Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Ford3


  • Your Meeting in Vladivostok4

There are three important aspects to this meeting:

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1. It is an opportunity for a personal encounter with Brezhnev, who sets considerable store by face-to-face exchanges.

—He is a highly visceral, instinctive politician, whose judgments are influenced by personal chemistry.

—Moreover, he values the intimacy of a personal dialogue with world leaders, and relishes the fact that he is in “regular” contact with the President of the US.

—Finally, he has a tendency to judge policies in light of his assessment of leading personalities.

2. There is the symbolic or atmospheric aspect that surrounds any meeting between leaders of the two strongest world powers.

—The fact of the meeting, therefore, is in itself an important indicator of policy.

—Since Brezhnev sought this encounter, much of the burden for its success is on him.

—To a great extent an early meeting with you commits him personally to continuity in building good relations.

—This is of particular importance at present, since my discussions in Moscow indicate there is a residue of distrust and apprehension in the Soviet leadership, as well as some temptation to wait for a shift to more favorable balance of politico-economic forces in the international arena.

3. There is the real substance of this meeting, which revolves mainly around SALT, but which also will embrace the general character of Soviet-American relations and their future direction.

—On this point the evidence is not conclusive on Brezhnev’s willingness to make concessions and commitments that will lead to a SALT agreement and, therefore, to real progress.

—In my talks in Moscow, and in his recent letter to you,5 Brezhnev has signalled a readiness to do business on the key elements of a new SALT agreement.

—In my view, he seems to be operating within a fairly narrow technical and strategic framework; he may not have much political freedom for bargaining.

—On balance, he cannot afford to leave Vladivostok with a public impression of stalemate or failure, but he cannot pay too high a price in SALT and he may not feel under pressure to do so, especially if he is convinced that we are in a weakened political position and that the Western coalition is falling into economic disarray and impotence.

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Your Objectives

On the personal level, your main aims are:

(a) to demonstrate that you are completely in charge and that you alone will set American foreign policy;

(b) that Brezhnev must deal with you and your policies, regardless of what he may hear or read about the Congress, domestic critics, or future political swings in the US; and

(c) that you are prepared to build a constructive relationship and meet him half way.

Brezhnev’s style is to soften up an adversary by employing a gamut of tactics ranging from indignation and pique to jokes and maudlin sentimentality. Background papers on Brezhnev and other Soviet leaders you may encounter are attached at Tab B.6

—Basically, Brezhnev is not very competent, is inclined to impatience with details, and is often poorly prepared (not to say misinformed). He covers these traits by various histrionics and diversions, though at bottom he is a tough, ruthless opponent, not given to paying off for mere good will.

—He will be wary of you because he does not know you, and also because he has a healthy, instinctive respect for the power of the US and of your office.

Your best approach is to lay out frankly and soberly our position and let him absorb it:

—He may want to get you alone for an intimate chat, in which he will sincerely pledge himself to good relations; but there will be overtones of condominium; in effect, he will be testing to see whether you show any interest in such a relationship—which, in practice, is directed against China.

—While he knows full well that this is a fruitless effort, you will want to be careful not to reject his approach too brusquely.

—There is a certain leverage in letting him believe that we do not rule out some of his more Utopian ideas about the US and Soviet Union acting jointly on all major issues.

Your second objective is to bring Brezhnev to negotiate an agreement in principle on SALT.

—Your main theme is that SALT has now become a precondition for progress in Soviet-American relations.

—You should argue that we are not arbitrarily setting such a precondition, but that neither the American people nor the Congress will understand a détente that coexists with massive arms buildups.

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—You must make new and major budgetary decisions on our strategic forces and what happens in SALT will be critical to such decisions.

—You might say we do not aim to be stronger than the USSR but that in no circumstances will we be weaker—either in fact or in appearance.

Your final objective is to hold out the prospect of significant improvement in relations, particularly in the economic sphere, assuming that the Jackson affair remains resolved.

—He may charge bad faith and complain about interference in internal affairs, and discrimination in such matters as grain deals.

—Your position is that in MFN and Ex-Im credits you have gained 18 months in which constructive developments can take place.

—You will want to make the point that you are perfectly willing to take on critics on the issue of détente, but you can only do so if Soviet-American relations are seen to be in the mutual interest, with benefits to both sides, and are flourishing in arms control negotiations, in bilateral relations and are not contradicted by inflammatory international positions, especially in the Middle East.

—You are prepared to proceed on this basis, and you start from the premise that Brezhnev agrees.

The Major Issues

There is no set agenda, but the talks may proceed along the following lines:

1. a general exchange, with Brezhnev making a formal opening statement followed by your reply;

2. probably a discussion of international issues—European Security and the Middle East, and a discussion of economic relations;

3. a serious exchange on SALT.

There will be a communiqué that, for this particular meeting, should be more general than previous summits unless there is agreement on SALT.

A. The Status of Soviet-American Relations

Your opening statement should feature the following themes (I will prepare a draft):7

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(a) the value of previous agreements and meetings, and our intention of proceeding from this basis in further development of our relations;

(b) the continuity of American foreign policy;

(c) the importance of agreed principles, in particular the necessity to act with restraint in international affairs and to work for the reduction of the dangers of war—as provided for in the 1973 agreement (this will be pointed toward the Middle East);

(d) the critical impact of progress in arms control: in SALT, in the threshold test ban negotiations and in non-proliferation.

You will want to impress on Brezhnev that 1975 is a critical year:

—Soviet-American relations, détente, SALT may be campaign issues in 1976.

—You are prepared to take the offensive next year and you are confident that the American people will support a policy of peaceful and constructive relations with the USSR.

—But it will be fundamental to your efforts that you demonstrate that progress is being made in every aspect: this means a new SALT agreement, responsible behavior in international issues, mutually beneficial economic relations developing in an orderly way.

In this light Brezhnev’s visit next year will be an historic milestone and you are prepared to work to make it a decisive event in our relations.

Our new Congress may be anti-Defense; but it may also be anti-Administration and hence anti-détente if détente is not seen to produce positive results. If the latter happens, the 1976 campaign may get turned into a debate about new military programs and “standing up” to the Russians.

B. SALT (A separate analysis is at Tab C)

To recapitulate our discussions, the status of the major issues is:

1. On overall aggregates:

—We proposed an overall limit of 2200 by 1983 to be reached through an intermediate step of 2350 in 1982.

Brezhnev proposed a limit of 2400 to be reached by 1985, but in the interim limits of 2400 for the USSR and 2200 for the US, arguing that this differential was because of Allied SLBMs.

In the near term, the limit of 2200 has virtually no effect on our weapons programs: it permits 1000 MM, all of the Poseidon force (496) and all of the Trident (240) and B–1 (240), plus the retention of some B–52 and older Polaris submarines.

—The main issue is the appearance of inequality for several years, and acknowledging the principle of counting Allied forces.

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2. On MIRVs:

—We proposed a limit of 1320 for both sides linked to equal overall numbers; this incorporates our plans for the Trident, Poseidon and Minuteman.

Brezhnev accepted this.

These limits are below Soviet capabilities, and will force them to choose between about 800–900 land-based MIRV plus 400–500 sea-based or putting them all on land-based ICBMs and foregoing SLBMs MIRV.

—In either case, the limits would be significant restraints compared with maximum capability.

—The main problem in the Soviet approach would be the inconsistency between equal MIRV limits and unequal total numbers in the period 1977–1984.

3. Other SALT Issues

Brezhnev also proposed that we limit the number of Trident SLBMs giving both sides the same rights, i.e., if we built 240 SLBMs on 10 submarines the USSR could do the same.

—In principle this is an acceptable limit on the modernization of the Soviet SLBM program. We will want to set the limit at about 288 (12 boats) to permit us to reach the 2400 aggregate in 1984/1985.

Brezhnev rejected a ban on heavy MIRV ICBMs in exchange for a ban on missiles of more than 3000 km on modern bombers.

—This may not be a final position; he may be prepared to bargain over a sublimit on the number of new heavy ICBMs (SS–18) equipped with MIRVs, and we may want to settle for a numerical limit on B–1s and heavy missiles, without regard to MIRVs or bomber armaments.


A. Our best counter is to propose that equal numbers be reached earlier, beginning in 1984, which would permit us to reach the 2400 level by extending Trident and B–1 production. This would also have the advantage of having active programs in the last years before expiration.

B. In addition, we could propose a MIRV differential, say 1320 to 1120, during the period through 1984 when overall numbers would be unequal.

—Thus our advantage in warheads would more than offset an advantage in unMIRVed systems.

C. To limit Soviet programs, we can also define sub-limits on new systems: 288 SLBMs on Trident, 250 new bombers, and 180 heavy missiles.

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The outcome of SALT in Vladivostok should be a public agreement signed by you and Brezhnev that settles (a) the question of ceilings and aggregates for the new agreement; (b) the MIRV levels; and, if possible, sets sublimits on new submarine launched missiles on Trident-type boats, new bombers, and new heavy ICBMs.

The negotiation would resume in Geneva on this basis after the first of the year, with the aim of working out a full agreement in 1975, possibly by the time of Brezhnev’s visit.

C. International Issues

1. The Middle East

Brezhnev will no doubt take the offensive; he is rather cocky about having predicted in San Clemente in 1973 that there would be a war—though he disclaims any advance warning. His solution is simply to reconvene the Geneva Conference—in which he would expect to become the champion of the Arab cause including the PLO. He would expect a “joint” Soviet-American position.

At the end of the October War the USSR joined the US in sponsoring UN Security Council Resolution 338, which called for both a cease-fire and negotiation of a peace settlement.8 This was the first time that either the Soviets or the Security Council had explicitly endorsed the idea of an Arab-Israeli negotiation. It was agreed at that time that the US and USSR would jointly sponsor a conference at Geneva as the framework for the peace negotiation.

The Soviet purpose in agreeing to this arrangement was to involve itself in the evolution of whatever political system evolved in the Middle East as a result of the October War. Despite the initial success of Arab surprise attack, the Israeli counter-offensive mounted with the support of a massive US airlift showed that the clients of the USSR were getting the worst of it. By their involvement in the peacemaking, the Soviets sought to stay in the competition for position in the Middle East.

On our side, it was judged that it would be better to have the USSR nominally involved in the process than it would be to have the Soviets left outside to join forces with the radical Arabs to undercut whatever peace efforts might be possible.

At the opening session of the Geneva Conference last December, it was decided that the first effort of the conferees would be to try to negotiate military disengagement agreements. This effort was launched under the aegis of a Military Working Group set up under the umbrella of the Geneva Conference. In January, however, because of the desire of [Page 298] President Sadat for a quick agreement, it proved possible for US shuttle diplomacy to produce the Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement, and again in May the same procedures produced the Israeli-Syrian agreement. These were put nominally under the Geneva Conference, but the Soviets were furious at the success of US diplomacy and the obvious impotence of the USSR even to appear to be involved. During that period, we made a show on occasion of consulting with the USSR but the Soviets—with reason—complained that we were giving them only the form and none of the substance of the consultations, and very little of that.

During President Nixon’s summit meeting in Moscow last June–July, Brezhnev pressed for Soviet involvement. We argued very strongly the importance of continuing our step-by-step approach and agreed that we would consult with the USSR following consultations that both of us would hold separately with the negotiating parties over the summer.

During my last visit to Moscow, the Soviets did not press as hard on the Middle East. The reason for this may well be that they judge that US efforts to make peace have run up against the intractabilities of the Arab-Israeli problem and will probably fall of their own weight. The Soviets have apparently judged that, if they just bide their time, they can move in and pick up the pieces following a US failure. Meanwhile, they have strengthened their support for the Palestinians, whom they judge to be an important movement with wide popular support in the Arab world, and they have actively encouraged Arabs to feel that the US has not delivered either on the progress toward regaining Israeli-occupied territory which American diplomacy promised to deliver over time.

Our view is that, if one more effort at a bilateral diplomacy appears unlikely to succeed, we should throw the negotiations into the Geneva context. The reason we have not done so thus far is that we feel a stalemate is inevitable there because pressures will mount to resolve issues that cannot be resolved all at one time. However, if there is to be a stalemate anyway, it may have a calming effect to have something going on at Geneva, and it may be possible in the Geneva context to put a better face on stalemate. It seems desirable also, if there is to be a stalemate, for the US to broaden responsibility for it.

It is too soon to commit ourselves to the Soviets on any particular approach because we will want time to see whether at least one more major step between Egypt and Israel can be taken. We will have a better idea on this in December. However, it may be wise to open the door for possible reconvening of the Geneva Conference early next year. Therefore, you will want to appear willing for more active consultations with [Page 299] the Soviets and possible reconvening of the Conference without actually committing us to them.

In this connection, it may be worth establishing now the idea that, if the Geneva Conference is to be reconvened and have any hope of success at all, some way will have to be found to make the Palestinians a respectable participant in the Conference. The formula might be that, if the Soviets want the Conference to be reconvened, the price will be pressure on the Arab governments and on the Palestinians to take a position (a) that the issue of Palestinian participation should not be raised at the outset and (b) that the Palestinians are prepared to negotiate peace with Israel. Otherwise—and maybe not even then—the Israelis will remain completely unwilling to negotiate with the Palestinians in any form. We do not want to promise that Israel will agree to PLO participation, but it is sure that they will not unless this requirement is met.

Your main points to Brezhnev should be:

—We are prepared to cooperate and coordinate positions with the USSR, but Brezhnev’s position is simply a carbon copy of the more radical Arab demands.

—There can be no effective cooperation, if this means the US acquiesces in Soviet sponsored positions that are certain to lead to a Congressional revolt, a dangerous deadlock and increase the danger of war.

—In the early stages of peacemaking, we have felt it desirable to move in a series of small steps in order to condition both sides to the idea of negotiating with one another and to the idea that a political process leading toward withdrawal and peace is possible. We believe a useful beginning was made in the two disengagement agreements.

—During the summer, we have conducted a series of bilateral consultations, as has the Soviet government, to determine how best to proceed now following the first disengagement agreements. The Rabat Conference has created a situation which both the Arabs and the Israelis need a little more time to sort out but we should have a clearer picture of how they want to proceed in a few weeks.

—The problem created by the Rabat Conference is that it thrust the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) into the negotiating situation prematurely.9 Israel refuses to negotiate with an organization that does not recognize Israel’s existence. Any negotiation on the West Bank has now been delayed indefinitely by this Arab move.

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—We are quite prepared to see a resumption of the Geneva Conference at an appropriate point, but any attempt to force PLO participation there will stall the conference too. Thus, if the conference were to resume, we would have to have some Soviet understanding that PLO participation would not be pressed at the outset. The USSR and US have agreed previously that the conferees would agree on any other participation from the Middle East. (This was agreed when the US and USSR issued the invitations to Geneva and again in the Nixon–Brezhnev communiqué in July.) The issue is not whether Palestinian interests should be woven into the negotiating process but how this can be done effectively.

2. European Security

The 35-nation Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), involving every country in Europe except Albania as well as the United States and Canada, began in 1972. The Soviets had sought since 1954 to enlist Western support for a “European Security Conference” to freeze the post-war territorial status quo. We and our Allies finally agreed to participate in CSCE following an easing of differences over Germany, with implementation of the 1971 Berlin Agreement and the FRG–GDR basic Treaty.

At present, the negotiations in Geneva are creeping along in all four CSCE agenda items (or “baskets”) which deal respectively with political/security questions, economic and scientific relations, humanitarian cooperation, and post-CSCE follow-up arrangements. This slow pace is partly because the Soviets themselves are stonewalling on issues that would impact on their internal structure, and partly because negotiations involving 35 countries have become a tangled web of nationalistic positions that have only marginal interest for the US.

Thus, we and the Soviets are not really the main protagonists; most of the issues—such as the principle providing for “peaceful change” of borders—are of importance to the West Germans and other West Europeans.

—We cannot force our Allies to accept outcomes that are domestically unpalatable to their political leaders.

—On the other hand, we cannot exert pressure on the Soviets to yield on issues that are so complicated as to be barely intelligible to the general public (for example, there is a debate on whether the agreed political principles to be adopted by the final conference are to be regarded as all “equally valid,” or to be “strictly and equally applied”; this is a disguised dispute between the Germans, the EC members and the Soviets on whether the principle of non-violability of borders is equal to the principle of peaceful change of frontiers—both important only in the question of German unification and eventual European unity).

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In the drafting of a CSCE Declaration of Principles, the Soviets have concentrated mainly on gaining Western acceptance of a “clear-cut” principle of frontier inviolability, which they regard as an important aspect of the legitimization of the European status quo. On military security measures, they agree with us that CSCE should limit itself essentially to two agreements—prior notification of military maneuvers and the exchange of observers at those maneuvers. On issues of economic and scientific cooperation in basket 2, the Soviets have permitted slow, but steady, progress, and Moscow has used CSCE in its drive to obtain MFN and greater access to Western technology. Regarding the sensitive East-West contacts issues of basket 3, they agreed in October to an important text on access to printed information, and accepted simultaneous drafting on several human contacts items. On basket 4 follow-up questions, the Soviets have been down-playing support for creation of a permanent committee to carry forward CSCE consultations in the future, but we expect them once more to press for such a committee toward the end of the Geneva talks.

We support German efforts to obtain a reference to peaceful border changes in the principles declaration, which the FRG needs in its effort to keep alive the hope for eventual reunification of the German nation. We are backing a French initiative to ensure that Four-Power rights in Berlin and Germany as a whole are protected in the CSCE final documents—an issue which will doubtless be discussed when Brezhnev visits President Giscard d’Estaing in early December. In our tacit agreement with Moscow on limiting confidence-building measures to notification of maneuvers and exchange of observers, we also concur that it would be unwise to attempt to reach agreement on notification of large-scale troop movements. We are satisfied with the overall progress in basket 2, where virtually all Western objectives will soon be realized, including a balanced formulation on MFN. In basket 3, the Allies’ principal goal is to achieve agreement on a text on family reunification, a subject of considerable interest to Western parliamentary and public opinion, but they also seek a variety of similar agreements to strengthen East-West human contacts. On post-Conference follow-up activities, we support the EC Nine’s cautious position against immediate agreement on a permanent East-West committee, but we are studying various follow-up proposals before taking a final decision on this matter.

Brezhnev will not be prepared to discuss any of these details, and they are not worthy of your time and attention, during the talks; he will complain of foot dragging and of interference in Soviet internal affairs. The main points you should stress are:

—We will use our influence to work for the conclusion of the Conference by next spring.

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—In your talks with Chancellor Schmidt and President Giscard, you will urge them to find mutually acceptable compromises, but on the understanding that the USSR will be prepared to compromise.

—We will remain in contact through Dobrynin.

A more detailed treatment of CSCE is at Tab D.

3. Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR)

The Soviets are more or less stalling the Vienna talks because they want the political settlement at the European Conference completed before they seriously address military disengagement.

We have constructed with our allies a starting position that would call for:

(a) Soviet-American reduction of about 15 percent of ground manpower (29,000 US and 68,000 USSR) including the withdrawal of a Soviet tank army with 1700 tanks, followed by a second stage of

(b) reduction to a common ceiling for NATO–Warsaw Pact ground forces at 700,000 which would entail further Soviet and Warsaw Pact reduction of about 160,000 and only about 50,000 for NATO.

The Soviets have countered with a symbolic reduction of 20,000 for both sides the first year, followed by reductions of five percent in the second year, and 10 percent in the third year. In all three stages, reductions would be taken by all direct participants and would include ground, air and nuclear forces and related equipment.

Recently, the Soviets have isolated their first step of 20,000 reductions suggesting that it be taken first in a 10,000 US-Soviet cut, then 5,000 German and Polish forces, and 5,000 on each side for all others.

—Our approach seeks to reduce the large disparity in manpower and tanks in Central Europe and would lead to a significant change in the conventional military balance, whereas the Soviet reduction would perpetuate the current ratios of forces at somewhat lower levels. Thus far, we have held off from introducing any nuclear reductions—which might tempt the Soviets to accept asymmetrical conventional reductions—until the FBS issue is resolved in SALT.

You should not offer any specific proposals in Vladivostok for changing the Alliance position because we have not yet worked out any such proposals with our Allies. However, if MBFR is discussed and Brezhnev wants to make progress you could either indicate your willingness, under certain conditions, to include US nuclear elements in the negotiations, or discuss a small, bilateral US/Soviet reduction which would precede any multilateral agreement:

—If you choose to raise nuclear elements you should remind Brezhnev of our suggestion to Gromyko before the October Moscow trip that we would be willing to reduce US nuclear elements in MBFR under certain conditions. We perceive the large disparity in troops and [Page 303] tanks in the central region as being the most threatening and potentially destabilizing element. The Soviets have insisted that our superior nuclear forces threaten them and provide a balance to the conventional force disparity. If the Soviets are willing to reduce this disparity in Central Europe, we would propose to our Allies that the US should reduce its nuclear capability in Europe through MBFR. This would place negotiation of theater nuclear force reductions in the proper forum and provide an offsetting reduction of “most threatening elements” which should move MBFR off dead center.

—If you choose to seek a small bilateral reduction agreement you should stress that the US and USSR have a unique responsibility as leaders of the two alliances to take the first step in reducing their forces. We are prepared to begin with a cut of roughly five percent of our two forces (10,000 US and 20,000 USSR), and ask our allies not to increase their forces while negotiations continue for further reductions by all parties. This step would not prejudice the negotiating positions of either side but would be carried out as a “good faith” gesture to try to break the current deadlock. We cannot accept a reduction of equal numbers for the US and USSR because Soviet deployment in Central Europe is too disproportionate (460,000 Soviet ground forces vs 190,000 US). The Soviets are not likely to accept this proposal because of the 2:1 reduction ratio. Anything less, however, would surely prejudice the Alliance case for subsequent reductions to achieve manpower parity in Central Europe. Moreover, this step might not satisfy Congressional demands for US reductions and would be hard to verify. (Background at Tab E.)

D. Other Arms Control

1. Threshold Test Ban and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions

The test ban treaty signed in Moscow at the last summit limits nuclear weapons tests to no more than 150 KT, beginning in March 1976. When it was negotiated, there was the unresolved question of how to deal with peaceful nuclear explosions, and it was agreed that further negotiation would be held to resolve the question. These talks started in Moscow in October, and are now in recess.

Our basic purpose in the PNE negotiations is to achieve restrictions and verification provisions that would give us assurance that the Soviets could not violate the Threshold Test Ban (TTB) Treaty by conducting weapons development tests under the guise of PNEs.

Our studies have shown that we must distinguish between two types of restrictions: (1) for contained (i.e., completely underground) explosions, a yield threshold no higher than the 150 KT in the treaty; (2) for cratering, i.e., those explosions used in excavations that cause a sur [Page 304] face crater, either to agree on a yield threshold for such explosions or on a rather intrusive on-site observation system to verify their level.

In the first round of negotiations we proposed a 100 KT threshold on “contained” PNEs, but we have been unable to elicit specific Soviet verification ideas on either contained or excavation PNEs.

—The general Soviet line has been that, while verification provisions are necessary, the overall thrust of the PNE agreement should be permissive rather than restrictive.

—This difference in viewpoint reflects the fact that the Soviet PNE program is relatively active and ambitious (for digging canals, for underground gas cavities), while ours is dormant.

—Specifically, the Soviets have linked adequate verification provisions (including observers) to a US/Soviet cooperative PNE agreement, which would provide for joint studies, joint projects, and eventually, joint provision of PNE services to third countries.

This approach, of course, has serious political implications for our relations to third countries.

In preparing for the next round of talks, our principal decision is whether the Soviet approach to a PNE broad cooperation is of interest on its own merits, or, if we reject it, can we expect to gain Soviet agreement to sound verification procedures. We will also have to decide either the more technical issue of proposing specific verification proposals on excavation PNEs or insisting on a Soviet proposal, since they, not we, want these explosions. Further background material is at Tab F.

In Vladivostok you may want to emphasize that:

—We are committed to seeking Senate approval of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, but this can be done only if we present Congress simultaneously with an agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions assuring that such explosions cannot be used for weapons purposes.

—As to US/Soviet PNE cooperation, this idea is now under study. But we do not want to distract the PNE negotiators from their primary goal of seeking adequate verification provisions for PNE under the threshold treaty.

—We urge the Soviet side to make specific proposals on verification so the work on a PNE agreement can be completed.

—Remind Brezhnev that he suggested a system of observers last June.

2. Nuclear Exporters Conference and Non-Proliferation

We are seeking Soviet agreement to participate in a proposed conference of key nuclear exporters. The goal of such a conference would be to achieve multilateral agreement on export restrictions to prevent nuclear equipment, technology and materials from being diverted by non-nuclear weapons states from civil to weapons purposes. The So [Page 305] viets have said they favor taking part in a conference, but we have not yet received official Soviet Government agreement.

During recent discussions, the Soviets showed a tendency to focus the discussions in a bilateral channel and to expand the agenda to go beyond export control questions into a wider range of non-proliferation issues. It is in our interest to confine the subject matter to concrete multilateral export controls, since this is the most pressing and most practical non-proliferation problem we now face. The Soviets have somewhat reluctantly agreed to this approach. They have, however, requested that we establish regular consultations in Moscow on the whole range of nuclear and non-proliferation issues.

In addition to the Soviets, we have also asked the FRG, UK, Canada, France and Japan to join in an exporters conference. The FRG, UK and Canada have replied positively. The Japanese will probably accept as well. The key to going ahead with the conference is the French; they have been negative on such ideas in the past, but we have indications that the Giscard government may be willing to reverse that policy and join in the conference. I also raised the subject of export controls with the Indians, who appear receptive to the idea. More detailed background on this issue is at Tab G.

If this subject comes up in Vladivostok, you may make the points that:

—As the Indian experience has shown, the main practical problem we now face in non-proliferation is preventing the diversion of nuclear exports into nuclear explosive programs.

—Export controls must obviously be exercised by all suppliers or they will not be effective.

—A conference of key nuclear exporters would focus our non-proliferation efforts on this practical problem in a way that would give the best chance of success.

—We, of course, are willing to continue consultations with the Soviets on broader non-proliferation questions, but we would like to concentrate for now on export control problems within the framework of a multilateral conference.

3. Environmental Modification for Military Purposes

We have just completed six days of talks in Moscow on Environmental Warfare.10 They were held in accordance with a Joint Statement signed at the last summit; this statement was preempted when the So [Page 306] viets introduced their own draft convention at the United Nations. It is extremely broad and could jeopardize activities such as ASW.

Our position, which you have approved, calls for banning the most dangerous, though still theoretical, forms of environmental modification for hostile purposes, while retaining tactical forms such as rain-making and fog dispersal. At Moscow, the Soviets showed little give in their position, pressing for their draft convention as a basis of the talks. A second round of bilaterals will probably be held in Washington. Meanwhile at the UN we tried without success to persuade the Soviets to revise a resolution which would refer their multilateral convention to the CCD in Geneva. The matter did not come up during my talks in Moscow. Further background is at Tab H.

If this subject arises in Vladivostok, you should say:

—We were disappointed that the Soviets introduced a resolution and convention on Environmental Warfare at the United Nations before we had an opportunity to begin our bilateral talks agreed to at the last Summit.

—The recent discussions in Moscow nevertheless helped define the issues and we hope progress can be made when the next round is held in Washington.

—We reaffirm our commitment to seek the most effective measures possible to overcome the dangers of environmental modification techniques for military purposes.

4. Chemical Warfare

At the last summit, we agreed to consider a joint initiative in the CCD for an international convention dealing with the most dangerous, lethal means of chemical warfare. The Soviets gave us a draft convention in August which calls for sweeping measures to prohibit the development, production and stockpiling of lethal CW and has inadequate provisions on verification. We have not scheduled bilateral talks pending a decision on whether to produce binary chemical munitions. We also want to take another look at the verification problem. This question did not arise in my Moscow discussions. If Brezhnev raises the matter, you should tell him:

—In accordance with the Joint Communiqué at the last summit, we will be prepared soon to suggest concrete dates for talks to consider a joint initiative in the CCD on an international convention dealing with the most dangerous, lethal means of chemical warfare.

—We appreciate receiving the Soviet draft CW convention given to us in confidence in August. At first reading however we are struck by its sweeping nature and by the absence of reliable verification provisions. As we have previously made clear the absence of such verification is a basic obstacle to attaining comprehensive limitations.

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E. Trade and Related Issues

1. Overview of US-Soviet Trade

US-Soviet trade has grown rapidly since the trade agreement and lend-lease accord were concluded in 1972. In 1973 it reached a record $1.4 billion, more than twice the level of the previous year. Total trade between the US and the USSR should be approximately $1 billion this year, despite the sharp decline in US exports of agricultural products. US imports are expected to exceed the level of any previous year; this should please the Soviets, who were concerned about last year’s US export surplus of almost $1 billion. The two countries should exceed the goal announced at the June 1973 summit: a total trade turnover of $2–3 billion during the three-year period 1973–1975.

2. The Trade Bill

The Trade Reform Act should be reported out of the Senate Finance Committee shortly after Congress reconvenes on November 18. Assuming no setback because of Gromyko’s letter to me,11 an amendment reflecting the compromise with Senator Jackson in the October 18 exchange of letters will be introduced from the Senate floor. The bill will then go to Conference. The following amendments of concern to the Soviets are now in the Senate bill:

Jackson/Vanikthis will almost certainly require us to include language in an exchange of notes with the Soviets taking into account our inability to assure them of MFN treatment for the full three years called for by the original agreement. The Soviets may balk.

Gurney/Chiles12—this would require us to submit a report on Soviet cooperation in securing an accounting for our MIA’s in Southeast Asia, including the repatriation of any remaining prisoners.

You might tell Brezhnev that:

—I hope that passage of the trade bill will facilitate the further development of trade which we both desire. The important thing is that the bill grants MFN treatment to the USSR. This was not easy for us to obtain. However, I supported it strongly, as had my predecessor.

—As you know it was necessary for us to accept the Jackson/Vanik amendment in order to attain MFN for the Soviet Union. When MFN comes up for renewal in 18 months, we have every expectation it will be renewed and that this will not be linked to any other conditions.

—As for the issue of Soviet emigration policy, both the Secretary and I have made clear on frequent public occasions that we will be [Page 308] guided on this issue only by what you have told us numerous times, that is, that the rate of Soviet emigration will correspond to the number of applicants. We deplore Jackson’s statements on this issue.

3. Export-Import Bank

The Ex-Im Bank bill has been approved by a House-Senate Conference, but Senator Byrd with considerable Senate support has blocked Senate approval of the Committee report and will attempt to defeat it. This would force another Conference. In its present form the bill:

—bans new credits to the USSR until the Trade Reform Act is enacted;

—calls on you to make individual “national-interest” determinations on loans to communist countries of over $50 million;

—the Bank is authorized to extend new credits to the USSR of only $300 million, but you may waive this limitation.

After the recess, there may be attempts to introduce amendments which would:

—prohibit the Bank from financing energy projects with the USSR;

—create a strict $300 million ceiling on Bank exposure to the USSR;

—place a two-year limit on business with communist countries.

You may wish to tell Brezhnev that:

—We are optimistic that the Ex-Im Bank legislation will pass and that it will permit the Bank to play a constructive role in furthering our commercial ties.

—We are prepared to proceed promptly in entertaining requests for credits when the Bill has passed in an expeditious and constructive manner.

4. Yakutsk Project

The project for exploring and exploiting the natural gas reserves near Yakutsk in Siberia is to proceed in two phases. The first phase is exploratory, would be a joint project with the Japanese and would require US Ex-Im Bank loan of $49.5 million as our share of the total cost of $250 million. The second development phase would result in building a pipeline, liquefaction plant and related port facilities at a cost of about $5 billion or more with equal participation by the US and Japan. The Soviets would repay the credits with shipments of one billion cubic feet a day of LNG to both the US and Japan, beginning in the early 1980s and continuing for 25 years.

The Soviets are currently working on a long-term development plan for Siberia and they view long-term cooperative ventures with us as an important justification for détente. However, we have not yet determined the desired role of LNG in our energy balance or the desirability of obtaining it from the Soviets. The Yakutsk project faces strong

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Congressional opposition. If the Soviets raise this matter you should say:

—We are basically in favor of participating with the Japanese in the Yakutsk exploratory project; however, a final decision on credits must await Congressional action on the Ex-Im Bank Bill.

—In the interim we have no objection if the Japanese decide to move ahead with the project on their own.

5. Computer Sales

The Soviets want US computers for the Kama River truck plant foundry, for an Intourist reservation system (IBM) and for an Aeroflot reservation system (UNIVAC). We have interagency agreement to go ahead with the Kama River computer, subject only to establishment of appropriate safeguards. The Intourist and Aeroflot cases will take more time.

Although we must still obtain the approval of our Allies to the Kama River sale through COCOM, news that our own decision is favorable will be highly welcome to the Soviets. The Kama River project is intended as the showpiece of the Soviet Five-Year plan and the computer is vital to its success. The plant will be the largest in the world and its production will equal that of all heavy truck plants in the US. Already over 110 contracts have been concluded with US firms, exceeding $320 million.

You should tell Brezhnev that:

—We are favorably disposed to approve the sale of IBM 370/158 computers for the Kama plant, subject to an agreement on standard safeguards.

—The Aeroflot and Intourist cases are more complex; we are studying them to see if a way can be found to allow their export under our existing legislation and procedures.

6. Aircraft Cooperation

On aircraft, US companies are anxious for sales and the Soviets want, in exchange, to sell their YAK–40 small jet, and helicopters in the US, plus US participation by a US firm in equipping a Soviet integrated aircraft production facility and joint design and development of a new and advanced commercial aircraft. We have made an airworthiness agreement required for the sale of Soviet aircraft contingent on purchases of US aircraft. Our policy, moreover, puts tight limitations on participation of US firms in the design or construction of an integrated aircraft manufacturing facility in the Soviet Union and precludes joint design and development of aircraft.

We have tried to get talks underway on a bilateral airworthiness agreement for certification of the YAK–40. However, the Soviets’ pri [Page 310] mary prospective partner in selling the aircraft, Rockwell International, recently pulled out of the deal.

If he raises these questions, you might tell Brezhnev:

—Within our export control guidelines, there is considerable scope for US-Soviet cooperation in civil aviation.

—We are willing to continue discussions on a bilateral airworthiness agreement with the expectation that other US companies may pick up the YAK–40 project and on the condition that the Soviets will purchase US-manufactured wide-bodied aircraft.

7. Sale of Grain to the USSR

On grain sales, the Soviets don’t seem to appreciate fully our difficulties in meeting domestic needs and balancing foreign requirements in an equitable way. As things now stand, we have agreed to sell the Soviets one million tons of corn and 1.2 million tons of wheat for delivery during the current crop year. We have also offered to supply an additional one million tons of wheat out of next year’s crop or to have it delivered by US firms from other exporting countries.

You should tell Brezhnev:

—Our grain situation is tight. We have been forced to cut back on exports across the board. For example, we estimate feed-grain exports to Japan will be cut from 10.2 to 9.5 million metric tons and to the EC countries from 11.1 to 8.2 metric tons from the period 1973–74 to 1974–75.

—Maximum cooperation is needed, particularly in this period of world food scarcity, between our countries. Misunderstandings could be avoided if we exchange forward estimates on grain production and foreign trade as we agreed to do under the Agricultural Agreement.13

[Omitted here is a list of attachments.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 5, Soviet Union, Nov–Dec 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. Kissinger did not indicate his decision on the memorandum.
  3. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The original is an uninitialed copy. Sonnenfeldt and Hyland forwarded a first draft of this memorandum to Kissinger on November 9. (National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 5, Soviet Union, Nov–Dec 1974) A revised draft, with substantial revisions to the section on SALT, is ibid., Box 6, SALT, Nov–Dec 1974. Sonnenfeldt also forwarded a copy of the final version to Scowcroft on November 14. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables of President Ford, 1974–1977, Box 2, Presidential Trips File, November 1974—Japan, Korea & USSR, Briefing Book—Vladivostok (1))
  4. A paper describing the locale of Vladivostok is at Tab A. [Footnote in the original. None of the tabs is attached.]
  5. Document 81.
  6. For the background paper on Brezhnev, see Document 87.
  7. Kissinger forwarded a draft of the President’s opening statement in a memorandum to Ford on November 20. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables of President Ford, 1974–1977, Box 4, Presidential Trips File, November 1974—Japan, Korea & USSR, General (24))
  8. Resolution 338, adopted by the UN Security Council on October 22, 1973, called for a cease-fire in fighting between Egypt and Israel and for negotiations for a political settlement in the Middle East in accordance with Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967.
  9. At the Arab League Summit held in Rabat October 26–30, Arab leaders issued a communiqué that called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state and recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.
  10. The text of the joint statement issued at the end of the November 1–5 talks was transmitted in telegram 16802 from Moscow, November 5. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  11. Document 75.
  12. Senators Edward J. Gurney (Republican, Florida) and Lawton M. Chiles, Jr. (Democrat, Florida).
  13. The Agreement on Cooperation in Agriculture was signed by Secretary Butz and Foreign Minister Gromyko in Washington on June 19, 1973. For text of the agreement, see Department of State Bulletin, July 23, 1973, pp. 161–162.