284. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrey A. Gromyko, Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee, CPSU and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Anatoliy F. Dobrynin, Ambassador to the United States
  • Georgi M. Korniyenko, Chief of the American Department and Member of the Collegium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Vasily G. Makarov, Chef de Cabinet to the Foreign Minister Oleg M. Sokolov, Chief, American Section of the American Department
  • Viktor M. Sukhodrev, Counsellor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Interpreter)
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Ambassador Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., Ambassador to the USSR
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor of the Department of State
  • Arthur A. Hartman, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs
  • William G. Hyland, Director, INR
  • Jan M. Lodal, NSC Staff
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • CSCE

Gromyko: [points to portrait on wall, next to tapestry] There is a good view of a hunter there. It’s good for Sonnenfeldt. We need a wild boar.

Kissinger: Sonnenfeldt will shoot it.

Gromyko: Perhaps, as we agreed, we could start by having an exchange on European affairs and the European Security Conference.

Kissinger: I agree. And Mr. Foreign Minister, since we’re technically on our ground, I’d like to take this opportunity to reaffirm what I told you privately:

The basic line of United States policy remains intact and we are determined to overcome problems where differences exist. I want to say this in front of my colleagues, and I was asked specifically by President Ford to say this.

Gromyko: Let me say briefly what I’ve just had occasion to tell the Secretary of State personally, that the line of the Soviet Union towards the United States is the same as the line that has taken shape in recent years mainly as a result of the Soviet-American summits and the documents signed by the two countries. We, for our part, are rigorously following that line and we believe both sides should pursue it. We feel we should not allow events or any countries or combination of countries to cause any harm to that policy or the principles underlying that policy. In other words, we should follow the line to strengthen détente and Soviet-American relations and strengthen peace.

That is something that reflects the thinking of the entire Soviet leadership and of General Secretary Brezhnev personally.

Kissinger: Should we turn to European matters?

Gromyko: Yes, I think we should turn to European matters and take up the European Security Conference first.

[Page 824]

Kissinger: As one of the world’s great experts on the European Security Conference and as the only Foreign Minister who has read the documents, why don’t you start.

Gromyko: I don’t know.

Kissinger: Did I tell you the story about Vladivostok, how you undermined the President’s confidence in me?

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: He [the President]turned to me and asked “What is he talking about?” and I said I didn’t know. [Laughter]. That problem is settled—between “equal validity” and “equal applicability.” I had two difficulties—I couldn’t tell the difference between the two positions, and what is more embarrassing for a Foreign Minister, I didn’t know which side had which position. [Laughter].

Gromyko: Your mind must have been on more significant matters than the European Security Conference.

Kissinger: It’s now solved, isn’t it?

Gromyko: Let us then turn to those matters, and I trust our discussion will be both serious and productive.

Kissinger: That is our intention.

Gromyko: I may have to say some words on this subject that may not be very pleasant for you to hear. Maybe pleasant, but not very pleasant.

Kissinger: The Foreign Minister is a disciple of Maréchal Foch, always on the attack.

Gromyko: Of late we have formed the impression that the American position at the Conference has become harsher and tougher on several matters related to the European Security Conference and the questions in that forum. In the past the Soviet Union and the United States have in several examples shown they can cooperate quite well. In this context, I’d like to refer to the understanding you and I reached in Geneva on peaceful change of frontiers, and there are other examples of such cooperation. But of late—I say this just half in jest—I say it’s as if someone had switched somebody else for the American delegation at Geneva, though it’s the same good people. Someone has done this.

Kissinger: Sonnenfeldt.

Gromyko: I hope the line pursued by the United States will be a line aimed at removing differences and reaching agreement. Of course, only you can give clarity to this situation. I say this by way of introductory remarks and I’m sure you’ll have something to say in reply.

Kissinger: Mr. Foreign Minister, I’m aware of your view that the United States has perhaps not proceeded as rapidly as desirable. I do not believe this is the case. I believe perhaps it’s the Soviet Union that [Page 825] has not made all the moves it could. Be that as it may, I have reviewed the European Security Conference and we believe it’s possible to conclude the European Security Conference in substantially the time frame we’ve discussed, and concluded at the summit level, and have it all concluded by the end of July.

So perhaps we could most usefully spend our time on what needs to be done.

The principles are done. Quadripartite rights and responsibilities. We have the problem of Basket III, of confidence-building machinery, and while we are here we should say something about how it [the summit]should be conducted—the length of time, speeches, if You’re ready.

Gromyko: I am ready.

Kissinger: So that’s how we think we should spend the time.

Gromyko: I certainly agree to that approach. Let’s direct our gaze into the future and see how we can do away with the remaining complexities and difficulties and see how we can conclude in the period we have agreed upon.

Kissinger: On confidence-building measures, the differences concern the number of days of prior notification, the depth of the zone to be covered, and the size of forces that would be concerned. Those are the three issues.

Regarding the length of time, the Soviet view is 14 days and the Western view is 40 days.

Hartman: 49 days.

Kissinger: [to Hartman]: How did we arrive at that?

Hartman: Seven weeks.

Gromyko: Ours is 12 days.

Kissinger: Well, we won’t accept 12.

On the depth of the area, we have said 500 kilometers, and you had said 100 kilometers. On the size of forces, you had said 30–35,000, informally. What is the formal position.

Hartman: 40,000.

Kissinger: And we had said 20–25,000.

We are prepared to find a compromise on all of these points, and not to insist on our position, if you don’t insist on yours. And we could instruct our delegations accordingly to find a compromise.

Gromyko: Let’s take up point by point. Depth.

Kissinger: On depth, we’d be prepared to settle in the middle, say 300 kilometers, we had said 500 and you had said 100.

Gromyko: [Thinks] That is not the basis. Even now, 100, when you say it takes all the territory, when compared to Western Europe, our [Page 826] territory is larger, and the whole line, from north to the south. Try to compare it—all the territory, a stripe down.

Kissinger: There is more territory because the Soviet Union is larger?

Gromyko: Eastern Europe is covered. But this is not taken into account by your and the Western European delegations.

You mentioned formal and informal positions.

Sonnenfeldt: On numbers.

Gromyko: No, on depth.

Kissinger: We gave you no informal position on that.

Gromyko: On numbers.

[Kissinger and Sonnenfeldt confer]

150. I think 150 is much larger if you compare the territory.

Dobrynin: In square miles.

Kissinger: Our problem is some of our allies—I don’t want to mention names because we don’t want to be in the position of negotiating separately—say that 300 is their minimum. So we want to agree on something that has a chance to be implemented. I really think the lowest number we could get without difficulty or checking with our allies is 250 kilometers. This is not bargaining because I’ve taken no interest, but we think that’s the lowest.

Gromyko: 150 is our position. This is on depth.

On numbers …

Kissinger: The official allied figure is 12,000. Our personal compromise is 20–25,000. Your position is 30–35,000.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: If we would get everything else worked out, we’d recommend to our allies something between 25–30,000 and that would bring us very close to each other.

[There is a conference on the Soviet side.]

Gromyko: On 30,000, that’s good. We would be prepared to agree on that, but without being conditioned on another condition. 30,000, that we could agree on, because that represents the maximum you are prepared to agree to and it’s the minimum we are prepared to accept, but we cannot accept the other figure regarding depth. But the area of the Soviet Union that would be subject to notification would be greater than all of the area in Western Europe.

As regards the third element, that is, the time of notification, frankly speaking we believe this question is raised especially artifically. Why should we be expected to give two months’ notice in advance?

Kissinger: Seven weeks. So we can mobilize to go to war.

[Page 827]

Gromyko: Let us reason coolly on this. Maybe for one country, one regiment or two or an entire division is a great force which, when it starts moving, really causes the whole world to shake, and maybe they take three or four months to plan. It may take three months for them to get boots and uniforms fitted. But for us a division is nothing.

Kissinger: You’re talking about number.

Gromyko: I’m talking about preparation.

Kissinger: My view is, when we need the warning we won’t get it, and when we get the warning we won’t need it. If one is going to attack, one can violate the agreement.

So I’m not going to insist on seven weeks. I was supporting you. Because I was prepared to settle for six and one-half weeks.

Gromyko: I was just about to come out in solidarity with you when you said the same thing about me.

Two weeks.

Sonnenfeldt: From twelve to fourteen days.

Gromyko: Two weeks ahead of time we notify you that 30,000 troops are about to move.

Kissinger: In two weeks that information couldn’t possibly get from the Secretary of Defense to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They couldn’t put it on the agenda of a NATO meeting in two weeks.

Gromyko: Maybe we should put an effort to rectify matters where it is really needed.

Two weeks.

Kissinger: I gave up four days; you gave up two days. How about 30 days?

Gromyko: Mr. Secretary, I can’t give an agreement to that because we think, especially after what you said about the real importance of such matters, that someone is just giving vent to psychology matters.

Kissinger: The whole thing is psychological.

Gromyko: The whole thing is being lauded to the skies.

Kissinger: But you want it to be, because that gives the European Security Conference its importance.

Gromyko: You think it’s that that will give it importance.

Kissinger: No, it’s “equal applicability” compared to “equal validity.”

Gromyko: Is that Mintoff’s view?

Kissinger: Mintoff got a tremendous reception in the People’s Republic of China and hasn’t been the same since.

Gromyko: We read about that.

Kissinger: The minimum we could convince our friends to do is 25 days.

[Page 828]

Gromyko: In that case we will have to leave that question open.

Kissinger: All right. Then we have depth and warning. …

Gromyko: We cannot accept that figure.

Far more important than this question of number of days are the questions of depth and warning. On numbers, like Apollo, we’ve managed a docking.

Kissinger: If it’s too short a time and too narrow [an area], it has no significance.

Dobrynin: Here, you can pick up the telephone and call anywhere in two minutes.

Gromyko: Mintoff must have frightened everybody.

Kissinger: A very persuasive man.

Gromyko: He must be virtually terrorizing everyone at the Conference.

Kissinger: He’s threatening to join Libya.

Gromyko: Let me add to that, that those who want agreement on a different time should give earnest thinking to our latest proposal. And generally speaking, a strange phenomenon is visible at the Conference, that it’s only the Soviet Union and the Socialist countries that should retreat and retreat and retreat and then we’ll come to an agreement.

You know our delegation at the Conference has told the Conference that the Soviet Union is prepared to send notification to all participating countries and not only to those bordering on the Soviet Union.

Then when we mention a depth of 100 kilometers, that depth will apply also to Turkey.

Kissinger: What do you mean?

Hyland: Turkey has to notify countries of movements 100 kilometers from its borders.

Gromyko: Turkey won’t have to notify everyone of movements, but only those 100 kilometers from its borders.

Kissinger: Not on Bulgaria and Greece. [to Sonnenfeldt:] Well, what’s your answer?

Gromyko: I’m sure your advisers are advising you to accept that proposal.

Dobrynin: they’re all making notes urging you to agree.

Makarov: Even Sonnenfeldt.

Gromyko: Even Sonnenfeldt.

Try measuring in terms of square mileage the size of the zone about which we intend to give notification.

Kissinger: Yes, but that’s not the problem. It cannot be done on the basis of territory, but it has to be done in terms relevant to the problem people are concerned about.

[Page 829]

Dobrynin: It’s on the whole border, north to south.

Kissinger: Let me say this: that the problem of voluntary notification raises this problem. When we testify to Congress we will say that though it’s voluntary, we will expect it to be done, and if it is done and not notified, it will be inconsistent with the spirit of the treaty.

Sonnenfeldt: Agreement.

Kissinger: Agreement. If it is not voluntary, since we will hold you to it anyway, we could be more flexible on other elements.

Gromyko: When we mention the figures we are prepared to accept, we can accept them only on the condition that the principle of the voluntary notification is recognized. This is the principle we discussed with you at Geneva. All we accept is conditioned on that.

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: And we discussed it with France and England, and they accepted. So we consider that’s accepted.

Kissinger: Yes, but …

Gromyko: We received the suggestion of the form of words from Britain or NATO; we are not entirely satisfied with those, but we have some amendments. Not big ones, but some amendments.

Let me also say, if the voluntary principle is accepted, the mechanism of notification would operate more effectively in fact than if some other principle will be agreed upon. It’s a less sharply worded formula, and would affect the scheme of things less than the other formula. It would be more acceptable politically and legally, and would in fact be more effective. I want to emphasize, more effective.

Kissinger: But in fact that means there would be notification.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: And we would testify to that effect to Congress.

Dobrynin: Yes, Henry.

Gromyko: If you are prepared to look into this British formula, we are prepared to discuss an amendment to it.

Kissinger: May I see it?

Sukhodrev: This is in Russian, sir.

Gromyko: But we are prepared to lend it to you in Russian. At a very low interest rate.

[Hartman looks for it]

If you are prepared, I could make our suggestions.

[Sukhodrev hands over Tab A.2 Hartman discusses it with Secretary Kissinger]

[Page 830]

Korniyenko: The top part, Mr. Secretary.

Sukhodrev: The top part is the British.

Kissinger: What’s the second part?

Korniyenko: Some neutral countries.

Gromyko: Don’t pay attention to that.

Korniyenko: The Minister would like to suggest some changes in the British text.

Gromyko: My suggestion is the following:

Sukhodrev: Here is the amendment.

Kissinger: We’ll agree to take it out if you add 50 kilometers.

Gromyko: We already added 50 kilometers. [laughter]

Kissinger: 50 more. We have both learned that in some parts of the world that you never get paid anything for services already rendered.

[There is a conference on the Soviet side.]

Gromyko: The preamble does not cause enthusiasm.

Kissinger: I have no particular recollection of this preamble. If this is the agreed text, I have no problem with deleting “therefore” from the preamble. Let us check it. If this is correct text, we agreed to drop “therefore.”

Gromyko: This is the original English.

Kissinger: We’ll agree to drop the word “therefore.” If the British disavow this, then we’re in a new situation. But on the assumption that this is the agreed text, we agree to drop the word “therefore.”

Gromyko: Check with your delegation and verify it.

Kissinger: We will do it tonight. By the end of the meeting tomorrow, we’ll have it.

Gromyko: What I’ve told you is my tentative concern. Tentative.

Kissinger: We just want to check. If they confirm it, we agree to drop the word “therefore.”

Gromyko: The Third Basket.

Kissinger: We’ll leave this then. I just want to check. We have not settled the issues of depth …

Dobrynin: And timing.

Kissinger: And length of notification.

Can I have a 3-minute break?

[There was a break from 7:25 to 7:34 p.m. The meeting then reconvened.]

Makarov: [Shows a bottle of mineral water on the table labeled Güssinger.] Kussinger.

Kissinger: I saw it. I had the same idea.

Gromyko: Cult of personality. [Laughter]

[Page 831]

[Kissinger and Sonnenfeldt confer]

Kissinger: Shall we leave the confidence-building measures now and go to Basket III. Have we finished?

Gromyko: Let’s take up Basket III.

Kissinger: All right.

Gromyko: Let me ask you: Is it your intention to set up a state within a state? Because that’s a new one in international practice. Up until now we have spoken in terms of—and this is something you have spoken of on several occasions—that domestic legislation must be respected. Now it appears—and I repeat you have spoken of it on several occasions—that newsmen are to set up a state within a state?

Kissinger: That’s already the case in the United States.

Gromyko: On that we can only sympathize with you, but here we are dealing with an international agreement.

Kissinger: We have made a major effort to get our allies to make a global proposal on Basket III, where in turn, we have made a major effort to meet your concerns. If this is acceptable as the basic approach, in Geneva we could instruct our delegation to be flexible in dealing with yours and make an effort to meet your concerns. But we have made a major effort.

As for journalists, no one has suffered more from journalists than I have, so I have no particular affection for them. But in the United States how it will be received will depend very much on how the press presents it, so to be hard on all the press points would be counterproductive.

Gromyko: To accept it as the basis for discussion wouldn’t solve the problem. We would be prepared to discuss the text, but only after we get clarification on what we regard as the most thorny, the most prickly. So let’s take those points up one by one.

You, in that text, try to put forward the point of view—even though not in those literal words—that journalists should enjoy absolute freedom. If we accept the point of view that both journalists and the practices of the states concerned would take into consideration the laws operating in the country concerned, that would help us overcome that difficulty.

Kissinger: Don’t we already have that in there?

Gromyko: But, secondly, there is the question of sources of information and accessibility of those sources.

We see one provision, one clause, which says in effect that there must be free access to information including individuals. Now we see that as a sally against us, and we don’t think any state could sign such a clause. We don’t have any laws that state that journalists cannot have access to individuals. There are no such laws. So if the present situation continues in being, that should suit everybody [Page 832] concerned. But to demand that we give our stamp of approval to an idea which for some reasons—and you know best for what reasons—is aimed against us, is at best an insult.

And there is the clause calling for equality in terms of treatment between journalists and so-called technical personnel. I’m sure there are people who come in your office every couple of months to check on maintenance and so on; it’s as if we called them diplomats. Just because they work in the same roof.

Kissinger: Are you sending people into my office to check my telephones?

Gromyko: It is the same with journalists and technical people—why should we extend the same rights to them on the same footing? That’s not in your interest. That’s another one that has thorns in it. Even from a purely technical standpoint, if a certain apparatus is used unlawfully, whatever such persons are called—whether journalist, technician or an angel—he’ll get slapped down.

Kissinger: There is no question about doing something unlawful. There is no question here of sending TV crews onto your strategic missile bases.

I have to go back to the original question. If we could reach an agreement on this as the basic approach, we could take a look at some of the concerns you raise. We are not saying every point here is on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. I can say now, several of the points you raise here are reasonable—without going into language.

Gromyko: Let’s take out the parts of it that are objectionable, and we will not be against taking it as a basis for discussion.

Then there is another question, and that is the freedom of broadcasting. Where did that question spring from? Let me quite frankly say, do you expect us to sign a document whereby we would be sanctioning the creation of radio stations directed against us and other Socialist countries? Do you expect us to accept that?

Kissinger: We can always try. I didn’t think you would notice it.

I understand your point on this one. There are two aspects to this. So that we get to the key issues. I have innumerable times expressed my view on Basket III. I don’t think you’ll change your system as a result of Basket III.

Gromyko: I think there are grounds for doubts.

Kissinger: This paragraph has to do, to put it crudely, with jamming. I think it’s poor drafting. It shouldn’t be put in terms of sanctioning broadcasting into the Soviet Union. we’d be prepared to put it into better language.

Gromyko: The problem here doesn’t simply boil down to polishing the text. Because you yourself would never accept calling for broadcasting of all forms of propaganda for friendship, peace, détente. …

[Page 833]

Kissinger: I wouldn’t accept it?

No, it’s not a question of polishing the text. It’s a question of encouraging information flow and not interfering with legitimate broadcasting. One is a positive concept; one is a negative concept.

Gromyko: The word “legitimate” wouldn’t solve anything because immediately we’d come to polarization along ideological lines. You know we’d never accept broadcasting that undermined our system or offended public morality. There are some countries that permit publication of pornography or other materials.

Kissinger: Your objection is to access to individuals as laid down in this document, second to treating technicians as journalists, and to this text. Those are your objections.

Gromyko: No. It’s not just freedom of journalists. What about questions of security?

Kissinger: What do you mean by freedom of journalists?

Gromyko: If a journalist drove up to a missile installation, I don’t think he’d be comfortable there after a while.

Kissinger: Where is it in the text?

[Hartman indicates for the Secretary the place in the text, in his briefing paper.]3

But this makes a specific reference to areas closed for security reasons.

Gromyko: You submitted many versions.

Kissinger: The version we submitted on May 18 refers to “regulations relating to the existence of areas closed for security reasons.”4

Gromyko: We have areas closed for security reasons, but we would have to open up some.

Kissinger: [reading from briefing paper] The text says “to ease on a reciprocal basis, the procedures for arranging journeys by foreign journalists, thereby facilitating wider travel by them within the country in which they are exercising their profession subject to the observance of regulations relating to the existence of areas closed for security reasons.”

Gromyko: It says “wider” in comparison to the existing situation. It means we would have to get rid of some areas.

Dobrynin: We want the status quo.

Kissinger: My impression is that it’s not easy for journalists to travel in the Soviet Union. It would have to be somewhat wider, yes.

[Page 834]

Is security the only reason?

Gromyko: Yes. Only security.

Kissinger: Can a journalist just buy a ticket and go to Khabarousk?

Stoessel: He would have to get permission.

Dobrynin: It is the same in your country.

Kissinger: But we would abolish some too. It would be reciprocal.

Gromyko: I don’t think this can be done.

Kissinger: Let me say a word on some other matters, I see your concerns. On this one, all we want is that in areas permitted for travel, that it be facilitated on a wider basis than before.

Gromyko: I’m sure travel in open areas and assistance given to such travel is greater than in many countries, even the United States.

Dobrynin: In six years, I don’t remember a single case where the State Department arranged a tour for Russian journalists.

Kissinger: It’s a different system. We don’t organize trips, but we approve them.

Gromyko: We pay attention more to “facilitate” in this country.

Kissinger: You can also keep an eye on them better that way.

Dobrynin: You can too.

Kissinger: We suggested this to take account of the concerns of the journalists. Do you have any other concerns?

Gromyko: Let me make just one general comment. The media and journalistic people generally should be concerned with one basic task—to strengthen friendship among peoples, and they should do nothing hostile to the social system of the country of their stay.

Kissinger: Can we apply that to American journalists in America?

Gromyko: It would be an interference in your domestic affairs! But when formulated proposals are placed before us, it turns out they amount to absolute freedom. When someone walks down Park Avenue and insults someone or knifes someone, the police can’t do anything?

Kissinger: It happens every day on Park Avenue. We had Human Kindness Day in Washington last week—we had five people killed. I went to a meeting of the Organization of American States last week and I noticed my security had increased. I asked why? They say, “they’re celebrating Human Kindness Day across the street.” One senior official lost an eye.

Gromyko: You have efficient writers on your staff. You can change it.

Kissinger: This is something we worked out with our allies, and we made a major effort to meet your concerns. This was not made on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

Gromyko: You said that.

[Page 835]

Kissinger: There are some of your points we could take into account.

Gromyko: If you take them into account, I would like to see what text you come up with.

Kissinger: I suggest our Ambassador meet with yours in Geneva, rather than my negotiating it here where I can’t consult with other countries.

Gromyko: If that is your suggestion, there is nothing we can do about it. That’s an expression of a perfectly good desire. But even when we make certain understandings with you, it is very hard to get it across to Geneva.

So what I want to emphasize here is the question of time.

Kissinger: I agree with you. If we work with your characteristic precision, Mr. Foreign Minister, I think we are going to have trouble meeting the deadline. If you can tell us tomorrow which of these paragraphs you can accept, if we give you a new text on three paragraphs, after which the negotiation only begins—as the entrance price to a negotiation …

Gromyko: Which do you want? Who can do it? We or you? We, ourselves, could sit down and look.

Kissinger: That’s a good idea. We’ll take Korniyenko. It’s nine paragraphs.

Gromyko: Do you swear by that? Only nine paragraphs?

Kissinger: Ours has nine.

Gromyko: This is a human text.

We’ll give you a text with our corrections.

Kissinger: Ours begins with human contacts.

Korniyenko: There are two separate things, contacts and information.

Kissinger: Yes, but we’ve given you both and we’d like a reaction to both.

I think this would be a good way to proceed.

Gromyko: I haven’t yet read the text on contacts.

Kissinger: This is an historic occasion. Never have we had an occasion when my friend Gromyko hadn’t read every document.

Korniyenko: We just got it from Moscow.

Kissinger: When did we [you] present it?

Korniyenko: Today in Geneva.5

[Page 836]

Kissinger: If you keep in mind that the fewer changes you have, the easier it will be to meet your concerns on the key paragraphs.

Gromyko: All right.

Kissinger: What else?

Gromyko: You mentioned certain organizational matters with the third stage in Helsinki.

Kissinger: Yes. One of our concerns, Mr. Foreign Minister, is the length of the Conference. If we give every speaker a half hour, it would take four and a half hours [days]. The most our President can give is two and a half days, and we would prefer two days. The symbolic importance is not in the speeches made, but in the documents that will be signed. The newspapers will have to report every day. It will devalue the conference. We should focus on a few key speeches.

Gromyko: I spoke also to the General Secretary on this. He, too, would prefer three days, two and a half.

Kissinger: We think it should be two days for speeches and a half day for ceremony.

Gromyko: we’re thinking in the same categories.

Kissinger: So, shall we work in the same direction?

I’ll tell you, the President won’t come for more than two and a half days, so if they want more, it will have to be at a lower level.

Gromyko: How can we work it out as far as length of time is concerned?

Kissinger: It will be tough.

Gromyko: Mintoff the Terrible.

Kissinger: Mintoff the Terrible will want a half hour. The Greeks and Turks will want a half hour.

Gromyko: we’re thinking in the same terms.

Kissinger: The alternative is to begin at the lower level and have the heads of state arrive later.

Gromyko: That will not be good.

Kissinger: If necessary, we’ll agree to 10 minutes for everybody.

Gromyko: I think it’s better what you said—five key countries.

Kissinger: If 35 heads of state each speak a half hour, that’s 17 hours. No head of state can leave while another head of state is speaking.

Gromyko: Yes.

Kissinger: It’s mind-boggling.

Gromyko: You convinced us.

Kissinger: Let’s work together on it.

Gromyko: Let’s work together on it.

[Page 837]

Kissinger: I have to tell you, the President just can’t come for five days. I think two days of speeches and one day of ceremony.

Gromyko: You convinced us.

Kissinger: Reluctantly.

Gromyko: So, the other way: We convinced you.

Kissinger: Let’s discuss post-Conference machinery.

Gromyko: What’s your thinking?

Kissinger: We would support the Danish proposal,6 that a group of deputies meet two years from now to discuss …

Gromyko: Foreign Ministers?

Kissinger: Deputy Foreign Ministers, senior officials.

Gromyko: What will be the terms of reference?

Kissinger: To see how best to implement the agreement, and to see what steps should be considered.

Gromyko: Some kind of conference?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: In two years, such a group would be convened?

Kissinger: Yes.

Gromyko: To see how it’s going?

Kissinger: And to see what could be done to strengthen the terms of the agreement and to consider possibly what permanent institutions there might be.

Gromyko: You are not in favor of consultative machinery?

Kissinger: No.

Gromyko: The terms of reference should be simple: to consider the terms and possible institutions.

Kissinger: I would add: to review the progress in implementation, and number two, your formula.

Gromyko: Let us think this over.

Kissinger: All right.

Gromyko: Will your European friends go along with this?

Kissinger: I think we could convince them.

Gromyko: What about the neutrals?

[Page 838]

Kissinger: The neutrals are more difficult.

Gromyko: What about Mintoff?

Kissinger: Yes. We could discuss shortening the interval, if this helps anybody—to 18 months.

Gromyko: Three to four years.

Kissinger: No, shorten it.

Gromyko: So we would have more experience.

Kissinger: This would not help us with the neutrals.

Gromyko: Fine. Let us think it over.

Kissinger: All right.

Should we have something to eat?

Gromyko: Probably. For the time being. [Laughter]

Kissinger: For the time being? That’s all we wanted you to do. We don’t expect you to eat all night.

Gromyko: we’re in a plot with the Secretary of State to have the dinner last only 30 minutes flat.

Kissinger: We can’t do it with dinner, but we’d appreciate it if we could do it with lunch tomorrow. Seriously. A working session. All my colleagues would appreciate it—a very light lunch.

[The meeting ended]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 7, Soviet Union. Secret;Nodis. Drafted by Rodman. The meeting took place in the Gobelin Saal of the Hotel Imperial. All brackets, with the exception of those noting errors in the text, are in the original. The night before, Kissinger had met with his staff at the hotel to discuss the upcoming meeting with Gromyko. Lodal’s handwritten notes from the meeting read in part: “We met to go over CSCE, SALT, ME [Middle East]. CSCE—he yells at Hartman because Hartman can’t give him the substance of what the issues are (example in travel).” (Ford Library, NSC Program Analysis Staff, Jan Lodal Convenience Files, Box 6, Memcons and Summaries of Discussion)
  2. Attached but not printed is the a British text on confidence-building measures with headings in Russian.
  3. Not found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 283.
  5. Telegram 3772 from Geneva, May 22, reported that the Soviets presented their response to the West’s global initiative on human contacts and information informally in meetings with the U.K., U.S., Irish, and Danish delegations on May 21 and 22. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files) See Document 290.
  6. According to telegram 2806 from Geneva, May 5, the Danish delegation to the CSCE tabled an EC-Nine proposal for “follow-up based on an interim period followed by a meeting of high-level officials in 1977 to review the results of CSCE.” The telegram reported, “The Danish proposal drew predictably mixed comments, with Western delegations, including US, supporting it, and Eastern and neutral countries critical.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)