92. Editorial Note

On September 28, 1973, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin from 10 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. at the White House. According to a memorandum of conversation, Gromyko began with a brief discussion of the Jackson–Vanik Amendment, the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty, and European security, and then turned to the Middle East:

“Your assessment and ours do not fully coincide, even if at first sight it seems that we do since both sides feel the situation is complicated and dangerous. But we have a different assessment of the danger because we feel the possibility could not be excluded that we could all wake up one day and find there is a real conflagration in that area. That has to be kept in mind. Is it worth the risk? A serious effort has to be made for a solution because a solution will not just fall down from the sky.”

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President Nixon responded that he also believed the Middle East to be a priority, and pointed out that he had given Secretary Kissinger a direct assignment to push for an agreement with the Soviets. “While we may have differences on how it comes out,” Nixon said, “we want progress on an interim basis certainly, or perhaps on principles.” Before the meeting concluded, the President added that he would be sending Kissinger to Moscow within 60 to 90 days to pursue this matter, but that the Secretary “has lots to do so this is the soonest we can do it.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 71, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Gromyko 1973) The full text of the memorandum of conversation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974.