109. Memorandum of Conversation1

PARTICIPANTS

  • The President
  • Soviet Foreign Minister A. A. Gromyko
  • Soviet Ambassador A. F. Dobrynin
  • Secretary Rogers
  • Mr. Kissinger
  • Viktor Sukhodrev, Interpreter, Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • William D. Krimer, Interpreter, State Department

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT.]

SALT

The President said that it was his impression our two sides were rather far apart on substantive agreement on Strategic Arms Limitation. We did think, however, that it was a constructive phenomenon for the two sides to be discussing this major issue. On November 2, the conference would resume in Helsinki. We were prepared to enter these discussions in the same spirit as we had entered them last year. He was going to instruct the U.S. Delegation to SALT to explore all possibilities of agreement. He recognized that this would require some [Page 353]time because the vital interests of the two countries were involved here. He felt that hard bargaining on both sides would be involved, but that some agreement could result from this bargaining process.

Mr. Gromyko said the Soviet Union approached these negotiations in all seriousness, fully aware that the questions under discussion were extremely difficult. His side would do all in its power to reach agreement. While in their view, a broad agreement would be the most desirable, if for some reason such broad agreement could not be reached at the present time, narrower agreements could be accomplished. In the future, such narrow agreements would also serve as a basis for a broader understanding. His delegation would conduct the negotiations in Helsinki in this spirit.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 490, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1970, Vol. 3. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the Oval Office. The full text of the memorandum of conversation is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIII, Soviet Union, October 1970–September 1971, Document 23.