143. Letter From the Soviet Leadership to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Confidence building measures at the All-European conference on Security and Cooperation

The question of confidence building measures has been already agreed upon through this confidential channel.

On January 17 Dr. Kissinger stated the following position of the US which, as he said at that time, was approved by the President for transmitting to Moscow:

“The US supports two limited measures: announcement in advance of major military maneuvers and invitations for observers to attend these maneuvers. In our view both measures could be voluntary and it would be left to each party to determine their implementation”.2

Precisely in such terms we formulated our proposal to include in the agenda of the All-European conference the question on some measures for strengthening stability and trust in Europe.

That is why we have naturally counted upon cooperation between our delegations at the multinational consultations in Helsinki towards limiting the measures for strengthening trust and stability by the two provisions which were named to us by the White House and accepted by the Soviet leadership.

Meanwhile in Helsinki the US delegation stands for also including among the measures aimed at strengthening trust and stability of a provision, concerning prior notification about large movements of forces.

Maybe there is a misunderstanding here, and we hope that the position of the US delegation in Helsinki will be brought to conformity with our confidential agreement.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 496, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 16, Pt. 2. Stamped “Classified by Henry A. Kissinger.” A handwritten notation at the top of the first page reads: “Delivered at 3:25 p.m., Apr. 24, 1973.” An attached, typewritten note from Dobrynin to Kissinger reads: “Dear Henry, Enclosed is the material I mentioned to you on Saturday (just to remind).” At the bottom of the note, Dobrynin added by hand: “Thanks for the text of your speech. Most illuminating.” A transcript of a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Dobrynin the same day at 6:25 p.m. reads in part: “D[obrynin]: That was a good speech you gave yesterday. K[issinger]: [Omission in transcript] about the European Security Conference. D: I think it was a good speech in general. It was large scale speech. You make a quite good presentation.” (Ibid., Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Transcripts (Telcons), Box 19, Chronological File) For the text of Kissinger’s speech of April 23 on the “Year of Europe,” see Department of State Bulletin, May 14, 1973, pp. 593–598.
  2. See Tab A to Document 123