The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 USC 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editor is convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of the Foreign Relations of the United States that documents the most significant foreign policy issues and major decisions of the administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. Five volumes in this subseries, volumes XII through [Page IV] XVI, cover U.S. relations with the Soviet Union. As the last of the five, this specific volume focuses entirely on United States policy toward the Soviet Union during Gerald Ford’s two and one-half year presidency, from August 1974 to January 1977.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XVI

This volume represents a continuation of the coverage adopted for the four previous volumes on relations between the United States and the Soviet Union in the Foreign Relations series for the Nixon administration. Rather than focus exclusively on bilateral relations, the current volume presents documentation on the full range of issues that affected Soviet-American relations during the presidency of Nixon’s successor, Gerald R. Ford. This approach allows the reader to see how matters as diverse as strategic arms limitation, European security, the Middle East, Jewish emigration, and Angola intersected to influence the course of Soviet-American relations—or, perhaps more accurately, how the United States and Soviet Union both tried to establish or exploit the intersection of such issues in an attempt to influence bilateral relations for their own interests. Much as these issues were related at the time, this volume must be seen in the context of other volumes in the Nixon-Ford subseries. The reader, for instance, should consult Volume XXVI, Arab-Israeli Dispute, 1974–1976; Volume XXVIII, Southern Africa, 1973–1976; Volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976; Volume XXXIII, SALT II, 1972–1979; and Volume XXXIX, European Security, 1969–1976 which, to the extent that they overlap, document events in depth that the current volume documents in breadth. This volume presents extensive documentation on SALT II, which the subject volume, due to space limitations, could not. Those interested in the extent to which Ford’s policies continued those of his predecessor should consult the contents of Volume XV, Soviet Union, 1972–1974.

The continuity in Soviet affairs was represented—and personified—by the man Ford asked to continue as both Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs: Henry Kissinger. During the Ford administration, Kissinger retained his central role in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy on the Soviet Union. From meetings with Ambassador Dobrynin in Washington to meetings with Soviet leader Brezhnev in Moscow—and meetings with Soviet foreign minister Gromyko everywhere in between—Kissinger carefully managed all aspects of the relationship between the superpowers. His influence remained undiminished in meetings between Ford and Brezhnev at Vladivostok in November 1974 and at Helsinki in August 1975. Documentation on these summit meetings, and on Kissinger’s preparations beforehand, constitute the essential backbone of this volume. Kissinger’s efforts resulted in the Vladivostok Accords, [Page V] which established the basis for what would become the abortive SALT II Treaty. The record shows, however, that his efforts were not always as successful.

This volume documents how Kissinger, contrary to his experience during the previous administration, frequently found his margin for action to determine the course of détente limited by Congress, notably by Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson. Although unaccustomed to dealing with Congress, Kissinger was forced to negotiate with Jackson to conclude an informal agreement on the so-called Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974, which linked the extension of most favored nation status to an increase in Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. This volume devotes considerable space to the negotiations leading to this informal agreement in October 1974 and to the eventual Soviet rejection of its terms in January 1975. The episode demonstrated that détente with the Soviet Union had become an important issue in domestic politics as well as in foreign policy.

The struggle in Washington between politicians and policymakers over détente lasted throughout the Ford administration, illustrated by the controversy over Ford’s initial refusal to meet with Alexander Solzhenitsyn in July 1975 and subsequently influencing the course of the 1976 presidential election campaign (and Ford’s prospects for election). The domestic political effect, as well as the diplomacy of détente is, therefore, a central theme throughout this volume. Finally, although the Secretary of State was the driving force in Soviet affairs, the documents reveal the President also played an important part in these developments by giving Kissinger support and direction to pursue their objectives. Ford, however, not only supported Kissinger on Soviet policy but also supported consultation with Congress. This volume documents how the President not only briefed members of Congress but also listened to what they had to say on the subject. In this regard, Ford—at least in style, if not in substance—suggested anything but a continuation of his predecessor’s approach to foreign policy.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of histor[Page VI]ical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editor for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume. In telegrams, the telegram number (including special designators such as Secto) is printed at the start of the text of the telegram.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the prepara[Page VII]tion and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958 on Classified National Security Information, as amended, and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2008 and was completed in 2011, resulted in the decision to withhold no documents in full, excisions of a paragraph or more in 1 document, and minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 13 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that the record presented in this volume presented here provides an accurate and comprehensive account of the U.S. foreign policy towards the Soviet Union from 1974 to 1976.


The editor wishes to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the archivists at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in particular Donna Lehman and Helmi Raaska, but also Karen B. Holzhausen and Geir Gundersen. Special thanks are due to John Earl Haynes of the Library of Congress for facilitating access to the Kissinger Papers, which the editor was able to use with the kind permission of Henry Kissinger. The Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense provided full access to their records.

David C. Geyer collected the documentation for this volume, made the selection, and annotated the documents under the supervision of M. Todd Bennett, Chief of the Europe and Global Issues Division, and Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the series. Dean Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan [Page VIII] Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Erin Cozens did the copy editing. Do Mi Stauber prepared the index.

Dr. Stephen Randolph
The Historian

Bureau of Public Affairs
May 2012