281. Editorial Note

In the course of two meetings with President Ford on May 5 and May 16, 1975, Secretary of State Kissinger discussed the European security conference in the context of an upcoming meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko. A memorandum of Kissinger’s conversation with Ford on May 5 reads in part:

Kissinger: We have another problem with the Soviets. I was going to meet with Gromyko. I was planning to announce the CSCE [Page 818] summit date at the end of the meeting. That is crazy. My advisers generally think I should go ahead since I had cancelled a meeting in March.

“President: I think you could go ahead.

Kissinger: If we meet, they will press me for agreement to a CSCE summit. [Omitted here is discussion unrelated to CSCE.] Jackson and the others will start to hit you about the CSCE summit as a fraud that isn’t worthy of a summit. They will mobilize the Baltics and the East European emigrants. It doesn’t change the situation of the Baltic States.

“President: We must do what we can to explain to them. Can we baby them along? If I or you could talk to them and undercut Scoop.

Kissinger: It is a cause celebre if you meet with them, or even if I do. Let me see what we can do. We could delay the summit, but I doubt we could cancel it.

“President: I think if we didn’t participate, it would appear we were sulking and going back to the Cold War. I don’t think the American people would understand.

Kissinger: The public and the Congress want to be tranquilized about the results of Vietnam. But if you don’t point out the consequences, in a year we will have real problems. As the speeches come up, we should see if we can get statements in about future challenges—not the dissensions in the past.”

A memorandum of Kissinger’s conversation with Ford on May 16 reads in part:

Kissinger: The major problem will be Gromyko. He will have three things: CSCE, SALT, and the Middle East. CSCE is out of our hands; we are staying a step behind the Europeans. The only question is the date. The Soviet Union and France want 13 July. I would not spend more than three days. For everyone to give a speech would take 4–5 days. [Omitted here is discussion unrelated to CSCE.] I’ll agree to the last week of July with Gromyko, if nothing happens. You would come to the last two days and the signing ceremony.

“President: Can I put in my speech that this doesn’t involve territorial matters?

Kissinger: No, it does not affect the Baltic States. We can brief the press on that, but Jackson and the like will hit us on that.” (Both in Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 281, Presidential File, Memoranda of Conversation)