38. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The President
  • The Secretary of State, Henry A. Kissinger
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt
  • Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko
  • Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin
  • Viktor Sukhodrev, Interpreter

[Omitted here are comments by Gromyko unrelated to SALT II.]

[Gromyko:] Now, about SALT and the agreements already achieved. There is no need to talk about their significance. All of this is very obvious and we must now look to the future. We want to find ways to convert the provisional to a permanent agreement, and reach understandings on additional matters of interest. I am familiar in a general way with the views given at your instruction to Dobrynin by Dr. Kissinger.2 I should add that this is a subject we are studying with the greatest attention, and in all of its aspects. We want to find points of contact and a basis for agreement. So far we have not completed our studies on a number of possible variants, but we will do so soon. The General Secretary and I are only just back from our vacation—although for him it was not much of a vacation. But he has not yet studied it from the point of view of the next stage, but he is now doing so and giving it all the attention the subject merits. As regards the ideas put forward by Dr. Kissinger, we are studying them with all due attention, as they should be studied, in the context referred to above.

[Omitted here are comments by Gromyko unrelated to SALT II.]

The President: First, Mr. Foreign Minister, please extend to the General Secretary and all his colleagues my good wishes. Second, with regard to my visit to the Soviet Union—as far as my own view is concerned, the timing could be the latter part of May or early June, but we [Page 121] should recognize that we want a major accomplishment and that is why SALT has such a high priority. I think that is what the General Secretary and I agreed to. So we should be sure that a permanent agreement will be on the way, plus anything else that your fertile minds can come up with. It should not just be symbolic.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT II.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 68, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 19, July 13–October 11, 1973. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. Kissinger met with Dobrynin on several occasions after the June summit and touched on these “additional matters” related to SALT II. During a conversation on July 10, Kissinger requested verifiable evidence that new Soviet construction at a launch site was not for additional ICBM launchers. At the July 10 meeting, Dobrynin also stated that the Soviets might be prepared to resume SALT II talks in August. The memorandum of conversation is Document 134 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974. A briefing memorandum for a meeting in early August is Document 32.