331. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • President Kekkonen’s Dinner
  • Reaction to Brezhnev’s Speech at CSCE Summit
  • Brezhnev’s Health
  • The Middle East


  • UK
    • Prime Minister Wilson
    • Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Callaghan
  • France
    • President Giscard d’Estaing
    • Minister of Foreign Affairs Sauvagnargues
  • FRG
    • Chancellor Schmidt
    • Foreign Minister Genscher
    • Gisela Anders, Interpreter
  • US
    • President Ford
    • Secretary of State Kissinger
    • Harry Obst, interpreter

(These excerpts refer only to the first hour of conversation at the lunch table. The remainder of the conversation, held in the garden, discussing the pre-agreed agenda was held by the eight participants only without the presence of interpreters or notetakers.)

President Kekkonen’s Dinner

Both the President and Chancellor Schmidt complained about the unfortunate seating arrangement at the dinner and in the plenary of the CSCE. President Ford remarked that he spent virtually all his time talking to Erich Honecker and Archbishop Makarios. Chancellor Schmidt also complained about his delegation being seated next to the GDR which left him no choice but to converse with Mr. Honecker. Secretary Kissinger commented that the long talk Makarios had with the President was ironic inasmuch as the United States Government had not previously agreed to a meeting between the two.

Reaction to Brezhnev’s Speech at CSCE Summit

President Giscard asked the participants about their reaction to today’s (July 31) speech of Leonid Brezhnev.2 President Ford commented that he had found it very interesting inasmuch as it had been restrained and very moderate in its statements. At any rate, it definitely had been quite different from what it could have been. Chancellor Schmidt agreed. He said that there had been no “stings” in the speech and that it had been more moderate than that of Gierek. Prime Minister Wilson said that he was surprised that the speech actually contained some reference to actions based on the Helsinki documents. Secretary Kissinger said that Brezhnev’s statements on “no interference” had been read by some as meaning that he was ready to bury the Brezhnev Doctrine.

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Brezhnev’s Health

When the question of Brezhnev’s health was raised, President Ford commented that Brezhnev had clearly seemed very tired at the end of the very long sessions he had had with him in Vladivostok. Prime Minister Wilson said that he definitely thought that Brezhnev was looking much better than when he had seen him in Moscow in February.

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

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 14. Secret. Drafted by Obst. The conversation took place at the Residence of the British Ambassador.
  2. For the text of Brezhnev’s speech, see Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Vol. XXVII:22 (August 27, 1975), pp. 6–7.