308. Note From President Ford to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev 1

The President has carefully considered the oral message from General Secretary Brezhnev delivered by Ambassador Dobrynin on June 16.2 The President agrees that there has been major progress in recent weeks at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and he fully appreciates the constructive role of the Soviet Union in bringing this about. From a review of events at the conference, it can be said that there is now a strong movement to bring it to a successful conclusion in the very near future. We are not aware of any deliberate efforts to delay the conference; in any case, the United States will continue, as it has in the past, to use the influence at its disposal to bring about compromise solutions on issues where differences still exist.

As the General Secretary will have been informed, we moved immediately following the very positive Soviet proposals concerning the advance notification of maneuvers—and we agree that these were indeed a breakthrough—to have this problem solved on the basis of the Soviet parameters. While we regret that it did not prove possible, despite our efforts, to persuade others to go along with the solution proposed, it is our strong conviction that a compromise can be achieved in the very near future. If the depth of territory subject to notification were set at 300 km, the United States believes it can persuade its allies to accept the other parameters as proposed by the Soviet side.

The President would like the General Secretary to know that we have been in the most intensive contact with our Allies in recent days in an effort to bring matters to a rapid conclusion and we will continue these contacts. We remain prepared to set the beginning of the final stage during the week of July 21 or, at any rate, before the end of July. Once the question of maneuver notification has been settled, our representatives should be in immediate contact to determine how best to bring about conference acceptance of this time frame, bearing in mind the fact that more than 30 sovereign states are involved.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 7, Soviet Union. No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the page reads: “Delivered to Amb. Dobrynin 1:45 p.m., Tues., June 17, 1975.” The note was drafted by Sonnenfeldt and forwarded to the President by Kissinger. (Ibid.)
  2. Document 303.