30. Editorial Note

Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, visited Washington for a summit with President Richard Nixon June 18–25, 1973. Discussion of the strategic arms limitation talks was limited, if not tangential, to discussions of an agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union on the prevention of nuclear war. President Nixon indicated his desire to steer conversations toward the subject of SALT in his meeting with Brezhnev on June 18, 12:35–3:15 p.m. According to the memorandum of conversation, the President stated: “Let me close with two brief points. One is the very historic agreement that we will sign on Friday. It will be seen as more words than substance unless we can move along on SALT. I hope we can talk about moving SALT along.” On June 20, during a meeting at Camp David, Nixon raised the subject of the SALT principles that Brezhnev had handed to Henry Kissinger, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, during his visit to Moscow in early May (see Document 24). Nixon told Brezhnev that he hoped they could include in the priciples 1974 as a goal for completing a SALT II agreement. Brezhnev responded with a joke that Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin had also left the question open. On June 21, the Basic Principles of Negotiations on the Further Limitation of Strategic Arms was signed by Nixon and Brezhnev; ten additional agreements on other U.S.-Soviet issues were also signed during the summit. The Basic Principles reiterated that both the United States and Soviet Union were committed to the May 1972 agreements and asserted that active negotiations toward a permanent agreement would continue, with the hope of concluding such an agreement in 1974. The full texts of all memoranda of conversation between Nixon and Brezhnev are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974. The full text of the SALT Basic Principles is in Department of State Bulletin, July 23, 1973, p. 158.