242. Editorial Note

On August 8, 1974, Richard M. Nixon announced his resignation as President of the United States. Vice President Gerald R. Ford assumed the Presidency at noon on August 9.

On August 9, Secretary of State Kissinger wrote in a letter to Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko: “Regardless of what you may hear or read in the next few weeks, I can assure you personally that President Ford intends to continue and develop further the policies that have guided our relations with the USSR under President Nixon. He has asked me to remain in office and to devote special attention to Soviet affairs.” Kissinger continued: “The change in the Presidency will not end the criticism that our policy toward the Soviet Union has been subjected to over this past year. I will soon make a major speech on this subject, which will commit the new Administration to the process of improving Soviet-American relations. But I hope that in Moscow the most serious thought will be given to the substantive issues facing us—in CSCE, MBFR, and SALT—so that there will be no loss of momentum when these negotiations resume.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, KissingerScowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 27, USSR, The “D” File)

Kissinger also met with the Ambassadors of the NATO Allies at 2 p.m. on August 9. In preparation for the meeting, Counselor Sonnenfeldt sent Kissinger a memorandum on August 8. With regard to the European security conference and MBFR, Sonnenfeldt wrote: “As you know, it has become fashionable in some NATO circles to howl with the wolves on détente; the standard points are that we are being soft on CSCE, too eager on MBFR, and sacrificing European economic interests (in the Trade Bill) to our Soviet interests. Although on this occasion you should not raise these matters yourself, it is possible that one of the representatives will do so. In that event, you should be firm and crisp.” (National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 3, HS Chron, Official) A memorandum for the President’s file about Kissinger’s meeting with the NATO Ambassadors on August 9 reads in part: “Looking at the current items on the US-European agenda, Secretary Kissinger said with regard to CSCE that our consultations are proceeding satisfactorily. On MBFR, we should soon have occasion to discuss the Allies’ position.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Agency Files, Box 13, NATO)