265. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Soviet Foreign Minister
  • Anatoli F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to USA
  • G.M. Kornienko, Chief of USA Division, Foreign Ministry
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • Announcement of Kissinger Visit; Vietnam; SALT

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT.]


There is also a small problem on SALT. Semenov unfortunately said a little too much. This is another problem. The President himself sent me a message personally.2 Let me read part of it to you:

  • “As Al may have already messaged you, any SALT announcement by me now presents a serious problem. Rogers called me Saturday and told me that Semenov had given Smith exactly the same offer that you set forth in your message of April 22.
  • “I realize that we can point out that there is a shade of difference since you now have apparently an agreement with the Soviet to include SLBM’s whereas we could say that Smith only had an agreement to discuss the inclusion of SLBM’s. On the other hand, I fear that we have the problem in making any Presidential announcement that Smith and his colleagues will simply say that I was trying to point to your trip and my upcoming visit as having been responsible for accomplishing a breakthrough in SALT which Smith had already accomplished at lower levels. Perhaps we can find a way to handle this problem but I think in view of the call I received from Rogers we will find it pretty difficult.”

And Anatol can tell you it is very very unusual for the President to write me at all.

Gromyko: This is a very improbable thing.

[Page 786]

Dr. Kissinger: Let me propose this, Mr. Foreign Minister. The President can step out to the press when he sends Smith back to Helsinki and say that he had been in touch with Mr. Brezhnev and that a new proposal had been made to Dr. Kissinger here.

Gromyko: Certainly.

Dr. Kissinger: You should tell your number two guy to keep quiet. What is his name? Kishilev. He and Garthoff think they are running the negotiations themselves.

Could someone bring Ambassador Beam over here now?

[Kornienko goes out of the room to call Semenov in Helsinki. He returned a few minutes later, saying that Semenov was at the office and they would try again later.]

[Dr. Kissinger and Foreign Minister Gromyko, who had been standing and walking back and forth through most of these discussions, then sat down in adjacent chairs by the table, and the discussion resumed.]

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 72, Country Files, Europe, USSR, HAK Moscow Trip—April 1972, MemCons. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The conversation took place at the Guest House on Vorobyevskii Road. All brackets, except those indicating the omission of unrelated material, are in the original. The full text of the memorandum of conversation is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 160.
  2. See Document 264.