52. Editorial Note

On February 1, 1974, Secretary of State Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin met for dinner at the Department of State, primarily to discuss Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko’s visit to Washington and his meeting with President Nixon on February 4. The discussion turned to other issues including SALT II. According to the memorandum of conversation by Kissinger:

“We then turned to SALT.

Dobrynin said that the equal throw-weight proposal was creating major problems in Moscow. The Soviet military were pointing out that this would mean, first, that they would have much fewer MIRVed missiles, and second, that their large missiles could have no MIRVs at all. I said no, their large missiles could have MIRVs. He said yes, but in that case they could only have 50 or 60 MIRVed missiles.

“I told him one way of handling this problem would be to reduce some of the non-MIRVed missiles. Dobrynin seemed surprised and [Page 191] asked whether we would really be prepared to dismantle some of our missiles. I said in principle, yes. Dobrynin asked whether we would be willing to dismantle some submarines too. I said in principle it was more difficult for us, but we would be prepared to discuss reductions in all categories, including airplanes.

Dobrynin said in his judgment this was not a matter in which we could make any progress with Gromyko. It had to be settled with Brezhnev when I got there in March. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Country Files–Europe–USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 22, January–April 1974)

On February 4, President Nixon met with Gromyko and discussed multiple topics. On SALT II, the President told the Foreign Minister: “our intentions are to reach an agreement at the summit and this will have my personal attention.” (Ibid., Box 71, Country Files–Europe–USSR, Gromyko 1974) Both memoranda of conversation are printed in full as Documents 157 and 159 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974.