206. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrey Andreyevich Gromyko, Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee, CPSU, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Georgiy Markovich Korniyenko, Member of the Collegium and Chief of USA Department, Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Joseph J. Sisco, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs


  • Syrian-Israeli Disengagement; Palestinians; CSCE; SALT

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]


Secretary Kissinger: How about our bilateral relationships? I see the Finns have introduced the proposal that we talked about in Cyprus.2

Foreign Minister Gromyko: I don’t know whether they have introduced it.

Secretary Kissinger: I gather the tactics were worked out in Washington.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: I do not believe it has been introduced yet.

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Secretary Kissinger: We will help manage it. We are having a lot of trouble with the Europeans regarding the Summit. I have sent a letter recently.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Personalities in Europe have changed. I hope you will do something.

Secretary Kissinger: We will move it along as I told you we would when we spoke in Geneva.3

Foreign Minister Gromyko: We have not approached either the French or the new Chancellor of Germany.

Secretary Kissinger: We approached Scheel, Callaghan,4 and a number of others individually. So far we have not had a very positive response.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: I can’t say that the French took a negative stance. We haven’t approached them. I think this new government will be more flexible.

Secretary Kissinger: So was Brandt.

Foreign Minister Gromyko: Definitely. I don’t see how Schmidt and Giscard can take a more negative stance.

Secretary Kissinger: I have exchanged personal letters with them. They are good friends.

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 216, Geopolitical File, Soviet Union, Dobrynin, Anatoliy, Chronological File. Secret;Exdis. The conversation took place at the Soviet Embassy. Kissinger was in Syria to discuss the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces on the Golan Heights after the Arab-Israeli War of 1973. Kissinger briefly discussed CSCE with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abd al-Halim Khaddam on May 28: “Kissinger: I had my eyes on Princess Grace’s daughter myself. Khaddam: If European security could be achieved at this level, it would be good. [Laughter]Kissinger: If I were your President, I wouldn’t worry about the European Security Conference. If it achieves security, it will be an accident. Khaddam: European security is no longer important to the rest of the world. The powers now are fifth-rate powers; the countries that caused World War I have lost influence even on the continent. European security no longer has world dimensions. Kissinger: Exactly. Khaddam: The concerns seem to be things of internal significance. Boundaries, economic issues. Kissinger: They have Foreign Offices but no longer the power to conduct diplomacy.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1028, MemCons—HAK & Presidential)
  2. See Document 203.
  3. See Document 201.
  4. Kissinger’s letter to Scheel is in telegram Secto 21/2643 from Geneva, April 29. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850071–2338) Kissinger’s letter to Callaghan is in telegram Secto 22/2644 from Geneva, April 29. (Ibid., P850071–2340)