260. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • His Excellency Dr. Bruno Kreisky, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria
  • Hannes Androsch, Minister of Finance
  • President Gerald Ford
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Lt. General Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

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

Kreisky: [Omitted here are unrelated comments.] I think we can get something at the Conference in Helsinki, if he [Brezhnev]understands we need to get something so it is not just a show.

President: Basket III.

Kissinger: The problem is not us but Western Europe. Each European leader wants to show a success to its Parliament. If we could get a consolidated European position, we could get some Soviet concessions. If you would help on this …

Kreisky: Yes. Sweden is with us. To establish an energy agency of the west is very significant. Like the EPU in its time. It is important not only for Europe, but also eventually the Soviet Union and Poland. There will be a network of pipelines from the East. This should be discussed in CSCE. It will be important for the follow-on conference. Energy cooperation is going on now.

[Page 758]

The next question is: some small results should come from the Vienna MBFR talks. There should be results because of opinion, not only in Europe, but also the Soviet Union. Brezhnev too needs results. He is not in trouble but he has been trying for four years. We shouldn’t just say us all the time.

Kissinger: I agree. This generation has a four-year stake in these negotiations. They also have the fear of war in their bones. Our problem in every multilateral negotiation—we have Jackson, but also the Europeans, who pleaded with us in ‘69 for concessions and now accuse us of selling out. Any way you can help …

Kreisky: Yes. The next generation nobody knows. Also the Chinese attitude. Chou tried to tell us not to believe in the Soviet Union, détente, etc. But they are Communists too, so there is some strategy there too.

I am glad you are going to meet Brezhnev in Vladivostok. Brezhnev is very serious—that is his real weakness. Khrushchev was not. Kosygin is the most honest and brightest. He is running the country economically. Brezhnev doesn’t know that. Kosygin was against Czechoslovakia.

Kissinger: Kosygin is by far the most intelligent. Brezhnev is very emotional.

Kreisky: He is very Russian.

President: I am looking forward to meeting him. We are hoping for meaningful progress which will lead to something next summer. You know Resor who is there on MBFR. It is our allies that are creating the problem. Every time we try to formulate something, they block us …

Kissinger: Basically the Europeans aren’t scared, so they feel free to be tough. They make Talmudic arguments. Some of them have made a proposal which might have a chance, but by the time the Europeans get through with it … On SALT we have a good chance.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 7. Secret. The conversation took place in the Oval Office.