307. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Kissinger and the Soviet Ambassador (Dobrynin)1

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

D: Just for your information, because I called you yesterday,2 for your own—we approached I should say, there was a British, I guess French and West German—similar but without mentioning as I understand difficulty about this conference [from now on].

[Page 879]

K: Now, I think frankly—I talked to the Germans yesterday.3 We don’t say it that explicitly. If you could accept 300 kilometers, we can take care of the other two items—of the size of the forces and the days—and I really don’t see how 50 kilometers can make any real difference.

D: No, you see the question is, quite frankly and off-the-record—the question is not a difference or no difference, the question rather is as Gromyko shall say himself—feels a little bit in a rather awkward situation. And I know what I’m telling you because he was so sure really that when—

K: Well, I was pretty sure. And frankly, I’ll tell you this—let me tell you this, if you want to wait—if you want to have the conference delayed til September, I think you can get 250. If you wait long enough, they’re going to give ground.

D: Yeah, I understand.

K: So it is really a question of—I don’t think they’re going to hold out beyond the end of the summer, but if you want rapid progress, then I think that’s the answer.

D: Well, I may put this as your remark as thinking aloud, but not as a recommendation, all right?

K: That is my—you know, that is my advice as a friend.

D: I understand.

K: From our point of view, there is nothing to be gained. I mean, the basic thing—

D: [What I speak about, not too highly] because I’m just telling you quite frankly, Henry—this is rather a matter now—maybe he could [not comment?]; I’m sure he could be as of now, it stands exactly, because I know what I’m telling you. Because he himself convinced Brezhnev and all the other leaders that now he has the word of Henry so everything is all right. And then if it turns out not to be the case, it doesn’t matter who will really hear … Unintentionally. No, I’m just telling you.

K: What I think we can—so look, my judgment turned out to be right. What turned out to be wrong was the speed with which I could get it implemented.

D: Yeah. So if you say they could wait until September, then it will be all right. Do you think that it’s possible then to have this agreement or would you have it with you? I mean—

K: I think there is a better than 50/50 chance that we can overcome the objections if you wait long enough.

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D: Yes, until September.

K: If you wait until September. But I don’t think we can do it without going—you know, then we go through 3 weeks of stalemate, and then we can say look here, we’ve now done our best and now we think you ought to move.

D: I understand your point. Well, I could mention to Gromyko that you are just thinking aloud of the situation.

K: Conversely if he wants to move fast, we will support 30,000 and 18 days, so you get two out of three.

D: But it’s most important that other—this is exactly one.

K: Oh, none of them are important.

D: Out of three. No, I understand. It is not whether the matter is of his personal thing. It’s not really a question of more importance, I agree with you. But it’s a question of how he—I don’t know how he is handling now.

K: I don’t even know how they are going to count the 30,000. And how that’s going to be considered.

D: Yeah, I understand. So as of now, I mention to you that you think it’s another pretty good [omission in original transcript] but rather a question of as your own thinking.

K: That’s right. And I’m sending over a formal note.4

D: You send already, yeah?

K: I am sending it now. I am giving it to General Scowcroft.

D: Okay. So he will send it to me.

K: Okay. I’ve got to run. I’ve got to see the German.5

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger and Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 3, Dobrynin/Kissinger Telcons (3). No classification marking. Brackets, with the exception of those indicating omission of unrelated material, are in the original.
  2. No record of this telephone conversation has been found.
  3. See Document 306.
  4. Document 308.
  5. Genscher. No record of this meeting has been found.