70. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU
  • Nikolay V. Podgorny, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
  • Aleksey N. Kosygin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR
  • Andrey A. Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Georgy M. Kornienko, Member of the Collegium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Andrey M. Alexandrov, Assistant to the General Secretary
  • President Nixon
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • General Alexander M. Haig, USA (ret.), Assistant to the President
  • Amb. Walter J. Stoessel, U.S. Ambassador to the USSR
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor of the State Department
  • William G. Hyland, Director, INR
  • Jan Lodal, NSC Senior Staff


  • ABM; Test Ban

Brezhnev: Mr. President, what is the first subject for discussion today?

President: I think ABM. We want to make sure that Kissinger and Gromyko don’t sign something that is not in our interest.

Brezhnev: Yes, that is very important. For my part, it is important and we are setting about a solution in the correct way. A certain time has passed and our scientists have concluded that we can spare this and I feel we should agree with their findings. Not only will we be saving money but we will also prove the direction we want to go is toward peace. It will be most expedient and significant in terms of increasing confidence between our two countries and, therefore, I feel sure that we will reach a unanimous decision in this field. And so we are prepared to sign an agreement tomorrow.

President: Good. Yes, we will then be limited to one ABM for each side but will have the right to exercise a change.

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Brezhnev: Yes, at the option of that side. As far as the zone for ABM is concerned I only request that the area not be in the region where Dr. Kissinger lives.

Kissinger: You see what understanding I have achieved in only two years.

Brezhnev: You see how solicitous we are of your health.

President: Considering our bureaucracy we could probably do without Washington easier than you could do without Moscow.

Brezhnev: The scientists show that ABM has little effect but let them have their one area and do what they want although we could get by without ABMs altogether. We feel people will take the correct view. They will regard it as another step to gain confidence. You always advance step by step and perhaps we can eliminate the one remaining site in the field.

Kosygin: The main thing to point out to the public is that we are removing and limiting ABMs not because we are technically unable to produce a new system but that we do not need it. There are two ways the public may react. There will be a feeling of concern that they are not adequately protected. But the other way will be the result of increased confidence on both sides.

Podgorny: In short, people will be more certain that neither side wants to attack the other.2

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to SALT or ABM.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 77, Country Files–Europe–USSR, Memcons, Moscow Summit, June 27–July 3, 1974. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held in St. Catherine’s Hall at the Grand Kremlin Palace. Nixon arrived in Moscow on June 27 for the Summit with Brezhnev. The memorandum of conversation is printed in full as Document 187 in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Vol. XV, Soviet Union, June 1972–August 1974.
  2. The Protocol to the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems was among the seven protocols, treaties, and agreements signed in Moscow on July 3. The Protocol addressed the deployment and destruction of ABMs; the full text is in the Department of State Bulletin, July 29, 1974, p. 216.