172. Note From the Soviet Leadership to President Nixon1

The President has already been informed of the Soviet leadership’s position on Soviet-American summit meeting including our considerations as to the preparation of such a meeting and creating the conditions which would facilitate its positive outcome. The President, no doubt, remembers the statement of the Soviet side of importance which the Soviet leadership attaches in this connection to the lessening of tension and to normalization of the situation in Europe on the basis of recognition of the territorial and political realities formed there, which in our conviction responds to the interests of all states, including the United States.

Since President Nixon has agreed with the considerations which were put forward by the Soviet leaders in connection with the prospected summit meeting,2 this relieves us of the necessity to once again state them in detail.

In Moscow has been noted that there have been lately positive movements in discussions of some questions; on the part of the U.S. representatives there is greater understanding of the situation and more realistic approach towards finding mutually acceptable solutions,—this seems to be the result of the attention which the President has begun to pay personally to these matters.

At the same time there is yet no full certainty whether agreement could be reached as soon as desired. Having this in mind and also taking into consideration that there is not much time left till September, it would obviously be more realistic to agree on some mutually acceptable time which would be closer to the end of this year—for example [Page 549]the end of November or in December. We agree that both sides will in fact proceed from the premises that by that time all what is necessary will be done in order to put into practice that important understanding between the President and the Soviet leaders which President Nixon confirmed to the Soviet Ambassador through Dr. Kissinger on June 30.3 The final time of the meeting and a date of an appropriate publication about this prospective meeting could be pinpointed additionally.

Of course in any case it is important that in anticipation of the meeting both sides would pursue in the relations between themselves and in international affairs such a course which to the maximum degree would ensure the fruitfulness of the meeting. In other words, it is necessary that both sides will allow in their activities nothing that would make the situation unfavourable for the preparation and holding of the meeting and would weaken the chances of getting positive results at such a meeting.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 497, President’s Trip Files, Exchange of Notes Between Dobrynin and Kissinger, Vol. 1. No classification marking. Dobrynin sent Kissinger the note on July 5 with the handwritten message: “I am sending herewith a communication from Moscow which I am instructed to forward to you and through you to President Nixon in connection with the conversations we had on the subject.” Kissinger, who left Washington on July 1 for an announced 2-week tour of Asia, secretly arrived on July 9 at his real destination, Beijing. In his absence, Vorontsov gave the note to Haig, who transmitted it to Kissinger’s aircraft on July 5, and forwarded it to President Nixon on July 6 under cover of a memorandum with the recommendations “that we make no comment to the Soviets at this time” and “that Dr. Kissinger proceed with the other option seeking an early Summit in Peking.” Nixon initialed his approval. (Ibid.)
  2. As our exchanges in the end of January this year showed. [Footnote is in the original. See Documents 127 and 130.]
  3. According to Kissinger’s Record of Schedule, he met with Dobrynin at 8:45 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, Record of Schedule, 1968–1976) No other U.S. record of a June 30 conversation related to SALT or the summit has been found. However, two memorandums prepared by Dobrynin are published in Soviet-American Relations: The Détente Years, 1969–1972, Documents 172 and 173.