303. Oral Message From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Ford 1

I would like once again to draw your attention, Mr. President, to the question of the European Conference on Security and Cooperation having in mind today’s, to be frank, rather strange state of things in Geneva.

On one hand, there is not just a simple movement forward at the Conference especially lately, but a major breakthrough. Now practically the whole set of issues put on the agenda of the Conference has been resolved on the basis of the balance of interests of the sides.

We think you would agree that to a great extent it was possible to achieve due to the goodwill shown by the Soviet Union. Given a desire to complete final agreement on the Conference documents, it would be literally a matter of days to clear fully the way to holding its final stage at a summit level in Helsinki. A similar view, as we have noted with satisfaction, was recently expressed in public also by you at a press conference.2

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However, we cannot help getting the impression that some new pretexts are being constantly sought, some artificially created and worthless issues are being tossed in with the aim to delay the conclusion of the work in Geneva. Over several weeks in a row the attempts are being made to conduct the matters in such a way that the Soviet Union and other socialist countries would make unilateral concessions. It is clear that this is not the way that could lead to a successful conclusion of the common cause which this Conference in fact represents. We have conceded all that might have been conceded, and what, by the way, the U.S. side had requested in confidence that this would be followed by complete agreement. It is difficult for us to judge who is behind all this and what goals are pursued by this. But if someone conscientiously takes up the course of delaying the Conference then we at least should have been told about it straightforwardly.

We talk about all this with frankness since we believe that reservations and lack of clarity on this account could damage the mutual understanding that exists between our countries on the questions of the European Conference.

It may be hardly contested that by now there exist all objective prerequisites to bring the Conference to a conclusion within the shortest period of time. Only one thing is needed—the political decision on the part of the governments of all the countries represented at the Conference.

I would like to express the hope, that you personally, Mr. President, and your Government will proceed, including your contacts with other Western countries, in such a way as to contribute in a maximum degree to the conclusion of the second stage of the Conference and to hold its final phase starting on July 22, which has been agreed upon between us.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 7, Soviet Union. No classification marking. Sent to Kissinger by Dobrynin on June 16 under cover of a letter that stated: “taking into account the urgency of the matter, I decided to send it to you by messenger. I will appreciate early comments to this message.”
  2. President Ford said during a press conference on June 9: “While I was in Europe, I discussed with many European leaders the status of the European Security Conference, their views. It appears that there are some compromises being made on both sides between the Warsaw Pact nations and European nations, including ourselves, that will potentially bring the European Security Conference to a conclusion. Those final compromises have not been made, but it’s getting closer and closer. I hope that there will be sufficient understanding on both sides to bring about an ending to this long, long negotiation. If it does, in the near future we probably would have a summit in Helsinki.” (Public Papers: Ford, 1975, p. 795)