134. Memorandum of Conversation1
- Henry A. Kissinger
- Anatoliy F. Dobrynin
I said I was prepared to discuss the letter that Dobrynin had said we might send to Kosygin (copy attached). Dobrynin corrected my statement by saying I had proposed the letter. He had merely agreed to it. I said, it is true, I had proposed the letter, but he had suggested that at our next meeting—which was today—I should have a draft. Dobrynin agreed with that formulation.
Dobrynin read the draft very carefully and then asked me a number of questions; for example, with respect to paragraph 5.c., he asked what was the meaning of the phrase that there could be no new construction started after April 1. I said since there was a limit of no construction of any sort after January 1, it seemed to me that this was self-explanatory. Since the Soviet Union would not be able to finish anything that they started after April 1, it wasn’t probable that they would start anything. Dobrynin said it would be easier for them to accept the terminal date than the starting date; in other words, they would agree not to do any construction of any kind after January 1, 1972. Dobrynin also questioned whether it was realistic to propose an agreement on offensive weapons be reached by July 1, 1972. I agreed that that could be extended to January 1, 1973. Dobrynin suggested that we eliminate the two paragraphs on MIRV’s, since it was self-evident that these would be permitted. He also questioned paragraph 6.c. in its context because he thought that this would be a better explanation for paragraph 7, rather than it by itself and, in any case, it was up to the discretion of each side whether it wanted to give such a list.
Dobrynin also questioned whether it was better to have a five-year expiration clause or whether we could have it in the same manner as the nuclear test ban with both sides having the right to abrogate when [Page 406] their supreme national interest was involved. I told him this would certainly be a fair counter-proposal to make by their side. Dobrynin did not question the three missile sites but suggested that the Soviet Union might come back to NCA limitations. He said he would have a massive translation job to do that night and promised me an early answer. He thought this should be well wrapped up before March 15.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 79, Country Files, Europe, USSR, SALT, May 20, 1971 Announcement—State Department. Top Secret; Sensitive. According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, the meeting took place in the Map Room at the White House from 7:15 to 8:25 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976 Record of Schedule) The NSC staff extracted this discussion of SALT from a memorandum of conversation of the entire meeting, which covered a range of topics. The memorandum of conversation, which is the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 490, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 4, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIII, Soviet Union, October 1970–September 1971, Document 121.↩