277. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Ford1

Dear Mr. President:

Replying to your letter of March 1,2 I would like at this moment to touch upon one question that was contained in the letter.

I have in mind the issue that we have discussed already many times and exchanged opinion upon, i.e. the question of the Conference on security and cooperation in Europe, and to be more precise—of the date of completing the Conference. We discussed in detail this question at the meeting in Vladivostok and came to mutual agreement. We believe as before that the Conference could have been completed quite [Page 812] within the nearest future, i.e. within the period of time we have agreed upon with you.

Now you name a new date—July. Frankly, the very fact that achieved agreements have repeatedly been changed does produce an impression which is far from being positive.

I repeat, we stand for upholding the agreed time-table and for moving ahead in accordance with it. This is even more important having in mind that the completion of the Conference has been in general delayed without any justification. Now, in our view, it is important to establish at last the final date of the completion of the Conference and then not to depart from it. Otherwise we would ourselves devaluate the meaning of agreements which we achieve.

Therefore we would like to firmly agree to start the final stage of the Conference on the summit level in Helsinki in the last days of next June, say, June 30. I am sure that agreement on that is possible right now, moreover due to the fact that the situation at the Conference has improved after the known understanding.

In your letter you justly state that inviolability of frontiers is the key element in ensuring security and cooperation in Europe. It is with satisfaction that we received the clear reaffirmation by you that the US accepts without qualification the frontiers and territorial integrity of all European states. Your statement is highly appreciated by us.

There is no doubt that successful conclusion of the Conference on security and cooperation in Europe will constitute an important contribution to the cause of strengthening peace and stability on that continent. Its weight and importance will especially grow—and we share your opinion on that—in connection with the 30th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War, which will be marked soon by both European and all other peoples. It is necessary to do everything possible to complete the Conference with good results without further delay.


L. Brezhnev 3
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger and Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 28, USSR, “D” File. Secret. A handwritten note at the top reads: “Delivered to White House by Vorontsov at 5 p.m., 3–8–75.”
  2. Document 276.
  3. Printed from a copy with this typed signature.