259. Editorial Note

On the evening of October 26, 1974, Secretary of State Kissinger met with Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev for a final session of talks before departing Moscow for India the following day. A memorandum of conversation of the meeting reads in part: “Brezhnev: Those very small minor amendments to the overall communiqué we’ve made in the belief that it might be useful in terms of Vladivostok. Kissinger: I agree. You can understand our problem on MBFR. Brezhnev: We can accept it. Kissinger: And we accept. If you make many more concessions like this you’ll have Alaska by next year. (Sukhodrev translates; Gromyko translates again and Brezhnev and Soviet side laugh.)” The memorandum continues: “Kissinger: Now, Sonnenfeldt and Hartman are going to talk to Schmidt; then, we will talk to Schmidt when he comes to Washington. If we keep each other informed on how that concerns CSCE we can make some progress. Brezhnev: I agree. Kissinger: We’ll keep you informed.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, President’s Trip Files, Box 4, November 1974, Japan, Korea, and USSR, General [19]) The full text of the memorandum of conversation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XVI, Soviet Union, August 1974–December 1976.

The final joint communiqué issued at the end of Kissinger’s visit, October 27, reads in part: “Noting the progress achieved by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the two sides will continue to work actively for its successful conclusion at an early date. They also believe that it is possible to achieve progress at the talks on mutual reduction of armed forces and armaments in Central Europe.” (Department of State Bulletin, November 25, 1974, page 704)

On October 28, Counselor Sonnenfeldt and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Hartman met with West German Chancellor [Page 756] Schmidt and Foreign Minister Genscher in Bonn to brief them on Kissinger’s conversations in Moscow. Sonnenfeldt and Hartman reported to Kissinger the same day on their meetings in Bonn: “We next reviewed the CSCE discussion, noting that the Soviets were mostly concerned with the ‘peaceful change’ principle and with the question of ‘equal validity’ and ‘interdependence’ of principles. We said that we had told the Soviets that we would accept whatever they might work out with the Germans who were principally interested in these points. We told Schmidt that it was our feeling that the Geneva conference ought to be brought to a fairly quick end since it was becoming increasingly counter-productive. We noted that following his own visit to Moscow and the President’s talks in Vladivostok there will be a series of intra-Western meetings which will provide an opportunity of reviewing the status of the conference. After that we ought to be able to reach a conclusion on how best to bring the conference to an end. We stressed that it was important that all the Western nations were united in their strategy and tactics in this regard and urged him not to take any steps of his own in Moscow beyond possibly getting some agreement on the two outstanding principles. Schmidt commented that it had been his impression that the U.S. wanted a quick conclusion at the summit level. We pointed out that this was incorrect and that on the contrary we had had reason to believe that both Pompidou and Brandt had earlier committed themselves to a summit conclusion. In any event, we stressed, it was now important that we should all be together on this matter. Schmidt indicated that his only interest was in the ‘peaceful change’ principle.” (Telegram 16889 from Bonn, October 27; National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, Entry 5403, Box 3, Nodis Letters, HAK 1973–74, Folder 7)

After Moscow, Kissinger traveled to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. On November 3, he visited Romania, where he held talks with President Ceausescu. Kissinger summarized his conversations in a message to the President (Hakto 107) on November 4. With regard to the European security conference, the message reads: “We [Kissinger and Ceausescu] then turned to Europe, which we agreed was problem number one. Ceausescu raised anew Romanian desires for some sort of follow-up mechanism after CSCE as a way to inhibit Soviet intervention. I had earlier agreed with the foreign minister [Macovescu] that our representatives in Geneva would meet soon on this question. Ceausescu also stressed Romanian concern over the potential latitude that certain language in the UN Charter could offer the Soviets for interference in former enemy states like Romania. Throughout this part of the talk ran the old Romanian refrain of worry [Page 757] about our working out deals with the Soviets at their expense, but I assured him flatly that we would seek no condominium with the USSR.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, President’s Trip Files, Box 4, November 1974, Japan, Korea, and USSR, Hakto [7]) A memorandum of Kissinger’s earlier conversation the same day with Foreign Minister Macovescu is in the National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 3, HS Chron, Official.