89. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin
  • Henry A. Kissinger


The conversation came about because Dobrynin had sent me an Aide Mémoire while I was in San Clemente in reply to the conversation I had had with him on June 23, 1970.2 In this reply, the Soviet Government indicated that they would be prepared to make an agreement at Vienna on ABMs and on the issue of accidental and provocative attacks, but that they did not think it likely that an agreement could be reached on the limitations of offensive weapons at Vienna. I wanted to get clarification on that point.

I deliberately conducted the meeting in a somewhat cool and aloof manner. I asked Dobrynin how he explained the first section of his Aide Mémoire. Did it mean that agreement on offensive weapons was impossible or that agreement would be very difficult? Dobrynin said that in view of all the important objections that they had raised, the offensive limitations would have to be dealt with in two stages—an agreement in principle to be followed by detailed negotiations. He did not believe that this could be accomplished in the three weeks that were remaining in Vienna. He did want me to know, however, that the Soviet leaders had shown their good faith by instructing Semyonov first, to stay in Vienna at least until August 1st, and secondly, to concentrate for a while on the provocative and accidental attack aspect in order to give us a chance to develop our position.

I said to Dobrynin that we were going to have a meeting the next day to consider various aspects of the matter, particularly whether we could agree to a separate ABM ban. I also told him that I noticed that the last two paragraphs of his Aide Mémoire explicitly established the concept of linkage which they had strenuously rejected the year before. Dobrynin replied that they had become convinced by the persuasiveness of my argument that this was a correct course. We left this part of [Page 302] the conversation with my saying that I would let Dobrynin know after the meeting of our advisors whether we would agree to a separate ABM ban. Dobrynin added that, if that were done, the agreement could be signed later on this summer by the Foreign Ministers, perhaps at the United Nations. I said that this was a matter we could discuss after there had been an agreement in principle.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Geopolitical File, Box TS 36, Soviet Union, Chronological File, 7/70–1/71. Top Secret; Sensitive. The conversation took place in the Map Room of the White House. The full text of the memorandum of conversation and the attached Soviet aide-mémoire are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XII, Soviet Union, January 1969–October 1970, Document 177.
  2. See Document 83.