60. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Carter1

Dear Mr. President,

The US Ambassador has delivered to me your message.2 In conversation with him I set forth,3 in a preliminary way, my considerations on the questions you touched upon. Additionally I would like to say the following.

We are also satisfied with the advance forward which was achieved of late in the relations between our countries. The task now is to carry it further on, to realize it in practical actions. Between us there is an understanding that first of all it relates to the earliest completion of the work on a new strategic arms limitation agreement.

The solutions of principle, found in the course of recent talks with you in Washington4 on the remaining outstanding questions have opened the way for an agreement to be prepared without delay for signing. Our Delegation in Geneva is thus instructed. I believe that you know about the constructive line which we follow at the negotiations. The main thing is to adhere to the already achieved mutual understanding of principle, not to try to touch up or erode what has been agreed upon. In one word, we are for the conclusion of the agreement at the earliest possible date and we hope that the U.S., on its part, will also do all necessary for it.

As is evident from the message you assess properly the readiness expressed by us to agree that, along with a ban for a definite period on all nuclear weapon tests, a moratorium on nuclear explosions for peaceful purposes would be declared. We expect that the U.S. and the United Kingdom would take at the negotiations such position which would permit in the near future to agree on the complete cessation of nuclear weapon tests.

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Our countries are also discussing other specific questions related to arms limitation and disarmament. We count on achieving in the course of these negotiations practical results.

I would also like to draw your attention, Mr. President, to the important proposals in the field of reducing the danger of war which were put forward by the Soviet Union. Among them are: concluding World Treaty on the non-use of force; achieving an agreement to the effect that the States-Participants of All-European Conference are not to be first to use against each other nuclear weapons; measures on consolidating military relaxation in Europe. The imperative need of solving these matters is obvious and we call upon the U.S. to discuss them.

You are interested in our conception of carrying out the proposal on a simultaneous halt in the production of nuclear weapons by all states and a commitment of the nuclear powers to start the gradual reduction of stockpiles of such weapons up to their total destruction. In my view, now it is first of all important that the nuclear powers would express their positive attitude to this idea as a matter of principle. Of course, it is hard to name right away ready-made recipes of carrying it out into practice. But if there is consent of all nuclear powers then they all could be gathered together and think over as to specific means and ways of realization of this proposal.

We would be ready to hold consultations on the question, you raised, concerning means of anti-satellite devices in space. Such discussion would include, of course, all the systems and means which possess such potential capability including manned space shuttles.

In our view it is important to continue joint efforts of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. for the resumption by the end of this year, as it was agreed between us, of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East. We have been working in this direction and intend to continue to be in contact with the U.S. In settling practical issues it is necessary to have the legitimate rights and interests of all the parties involved into the conflict, without exclusion, ensured. Only such an approach can guarantee a just and lasting peace in that area.

As for the so called question of “adverse” conditions for the U.S. Embassy’s personnel in Moscow the Soviet side has repeatedly given exhaustive explanation on this matter.

In conclusion I wish to lay emphasis on the following: the change for the better in our relations serves in equal degree the interests of both countries, opens a possibility to move further along the way of relaxation of tensions, consolidation of peace and cooperation. It is important to regard with care to what has been achieved, be guided by long-term perspectives of Soviet-American relations, which can fully be and [Page 229] should be developing progressively, on a wide front, on a constructive basis.


L. Brezhnev5
  1. Source: Carter Library, Plains File, President’s Personal Foreign Affairs File, Box 4, USSR (Brezhnev Drafts/Letters), 4/77–9/80. No classification marking. Printed from an unofficial translation.
  2. See Document 58.
  3. See Document 59.
  4. See Documents 50 and 51.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.