97. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Andrei A. Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
  • Georgi M. Korniyenko, Chief of USA Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Leonid M. Shevchenko, Aide to Chairman Podgorny
  • Mr. Bratchikov, Interpreter
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Martin Hillenbrand, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, NSC Senior Staff Member
  • Winston Lord, Special Assistant to Dr. Kissinger
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff (Notetaker)


  • Communiqué; SALT (briefly at beginning and end)
[Page 300]

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

Fon. Min. Gromyko: It would not affect our text.2 Health. In the last phrase, instead of “Soviet leaders and the President of the U.S.,” let us use my favorite word “sides.”

Dr. Kissinger: “The two sides pledge full support”? O.K.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: Europe. Instead of “arena,” try “hotbed.”

Dr. Kissinger: I don’t like “hotbed.”

Fon. Min. Gromyko: Suppose we say “Where both world wars began.”

[Mr. Lord and Dr. Kissinger confer.]

Dr. Kissinger: My colleague says you don’t do justice to the Napoleonic wars if you say only world wars. How about the Schleswig–Holstein question? O.K.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: In the last phrase of the paragraph, why not say “inviolability”?

Dr. Kissinger: I thought we could slip it out without your noticing. Our problem is that “inviolability” implies not even the possibility of raising a territorial question in peaceful terms.

Is that right, Marty?

Mr. Hillenbrand: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: We prefer to stay with this phrase. Fon. Min. Gromyko: [Thinks for a moment.] Maybe there is another English phrase.

Dr. Kissinger: How would you phrase this “inviolability” point? Give me a sentence.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: I would say like this: “They consider that the inviolability of borders of the states of Europe must be observed.”

Dr. Kissinger: How about “They agree that the territorial integrity of all states must be inviolable.”

Fon. Min. Gromyko: It omits borders. Your previous governments—Johnson, Kennedy—always said borders should be inviolable. There was no difference between us. The previous U.S. Government was far ahead of the German Government in this respect.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you have the exact [German-Soviet] treaty? What is the exact phrase the Germans use?

[Gromyko tells Bratchikov to go out to get it.]

Dr. Kissinger: [Points jokingly to the chandelier over the table]: There is a camera in it. Ivan the Terrible invented it.

[Page 301]

Fon. Min. Gromyko: No, Ivan the Terrible invented the air conditioning in this room!

Mr. Bratchikov: [Enters with the Treaty language, and reads]: “The sides consider as inviolable now and in the future the borders between all states in Europe.” There is another clause, “The sides confirm the obligation to unswervingly observe the territorial integrity of all the states of Europe in their present borders.”

Fon. Min. Gromyko: We quoted the Treaty language.

[There followed a long conference on the U.S. side.]

Dr. Kissinger: We will let you know this evening. We will try to find some way of accommodating your thinking.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: Good, it will be very good.

Dr. Kissinger: No previous Administration has put it into a joint document with the Soviet Union. It is one thing to do it this way, and another thing to do it in private statements. And not at the highest level.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: President Kennedy told me …. Dr. Kissinger: We are not contesting the inviolability of frontiers. Our concern is that we don’t want to get involved in the debate. You know, in the German Bundestag, the debate over the permanence of the borders. Hillenbrand will check at the Hotel the English text of the Soviet-German treaty. We will try to find a paraphrase. We are also checking the Berlin treaty to see how Berlin is mentioned.

[There was a short break.]

Mr. Korniyenko: And on the reduction of forces, you still don’t want “foreign and national”?

Dr. Kissinger: No.

Mr. Korniyenko: Why not?

Dr. Kissinger: Because we want to leave open which forces will be reduced.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: You are against the admission of the Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic into the UN?

Dr. Kissinger: No.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: At the appropriate time?

Dr. Kissinger: It isn’t in here.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: It is in our text.

Dr. Kissinger: Our position is that we will not oppose it if the Germans propose it. But we don’t want to get ahead of the Germans. You will have no difficulty with us if the Federal Republic of Germany proposes it.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: About Berlin, we will do it the same.

Dr. Kissinger: Yes.

[Page 302]

Fon. Min. Gromyko: [On CSCE]: “Concrete preparations should begin.”

Dr. Kissinger: We would prefer to omit “in the near future.” Just, “after the signature.”

Fon. Min. Gromyko: That makes it still sooner.

Dr. Kissinger: I know what you are saying. As the President said in the meeting, we don’t think these conversations can begin until the fall.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: Can’t we mention “national and foreign” forces?

Dr. Kissinger: No, we took it out.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: And just “armed forces,” not armaments?

Dr. Kissinger: Armaments is OK.

Fon. Min. Gromyko: What does “reciprocal” mean?

Dr. Kissinger: Both sides. Would you prefer “mutual and balanced”?!

Fon. Min. Gromyko: Reciprocal means “by agreement.” All right, keep this word.

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

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger’s Office Files, Box 73, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Mr. Kissinger’s Conversations in Moscow, May 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. All brackets, with the exception of those indicating omitted material, are in the original. The meeting took place in St. Catherine’s Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace. For the full text of the memorandum, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971–May 1972, Document 288.
  2. Reference is to the draft text of the communiqué for the summit. See Document 98.