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Gromyko [interrupting]: He does not agree with idea of two stages, but wants one solemn document.
Brezhnev (continuing): You should pass my request to the President to look into our intention and aims in pursuing and continuing to work on a clear document. If we split it into stages it would look like we were kicking it aside into a commission, even though our aim is clear. We feel there is a fundamental understanding; I am referring to the first
a clause, as we see it. As regards the other clauses, there could be other work. Efforts should be made to persuade the allies, but proceeding stage-by-stage sows seeds of doubt in the document, and would mobilize opposition. Let those who want to, criticize a signed document. There would be all sorts of talks and conjectures in The New York Times, practice shows this to be true. I recall the clamor about the summit meeting, whether it should be held. There was clamor from China and Korea and others, and from your allies. If we had hesitated, there would have been no summit. But we were firm and carried the day.
Gromyko: We have given careful consideration to formulations you conveyed through our Ambassador for some preliminary stage in the process. And you reached the same conclusion that you repeated today. If we take into account the need to prepare public opinion for a treaty that both sides undertake not to use nuclear weapons, that was already achieved last May. (Reading from Soviet-American Principles:) "Therefore they will do their utmost to avoid military confrontations and to prevent the outbreak of nuclear war." Judging by the reaction in the world to this clause, it was highly assessed. I think, therefore, that, bearing in mind the documents signed in May, public opinion has already been prepared for bolder steps. The preliminary task is resolved. It is better to prepare for the next step, that is to sign a treaty. Lastly, we understood that you are suggesting not categorically two stages. If we understood you correctly, we should take the most concrete path.
Dr. Kissinger: The arguments you have advanced are very persuasive. There may be difficulties in either approach, formal or not. I would like to discuss this with the President. When you come to Washington on October 2, we will give you an answer on the direction to follow. It is possible to begin to work on a formal document, and then come back to a declaration, when we see what the final document looks like. I will speak to the President and give you an answer on October 2, but in a private meeting.
Brezhnev: I would ask that you report to the President the following consideration. The stage-by-stage approach is unacceptable because if an initial document is adopted time needs to pass, until there is a special occasion to explain why there is a need to take the next step. We will be adopting a vague document, and then passing to a more specific one. Under your system four years pass and President Nixon
leaves. That is why we need a more definite document. Additional work can be done to finalize it, to ensure that there is no diktat over others. If we reach an understanding on basic principles, then after your report, work can go on in the private channel.
The question is where and when the document is to be signed. I take it that you want to sign at the time of our visit. We have taken no decision on this. We are most appreciative of the invitation. But this is a general question not connected to the visit. President Nixon signed important documents and I must consider what is signed in Washington. The documents signed in Moscow were welcomed, despite some opposition in the Senate. It is important that appropriate conditions be created for the visit to Washington, but the most important is to work
Dr. Kissinger: To take the last point, we are looking forward to the visit. Without offending others in your leadership, the President expects to receive the General Secretary. The results must be at least of the same magnitude as when the President visited Moscow. We will sign agreements of great importance. We are prepared to begin work on the agenda. Something in this (the nuclear] field would be appropriate to
I am impressed by the force of your arguments, and I will speak to the President. If he decides to forego the intermediate stage, we can work on a more formal document. We will let you know through the channel, but it is my impression that we can proceed in the sense that the General Secretary outlined.
Brezhnev (interrupting translation]: Concerning the visit, after the President's departure, we had an informal exchange, but no formal decision was reached. The opinion was voiced that it would be expedient for me to make the visit. We still have quite enough time to make a public announcement. Quite frankly, something on the Middle ast and Vietnam would lead to a better atmosphere surrounding the visit, and would be more propitious for US-Soviet relations.
Dr. Kissinger: We can settle on a mutually agreed time, so that your visit will make a contribution. We can announce it, but not wait until just before your arrival.
Brezhnev: We can complete our discussion and agree with the view you expressed. You will report the logic of our arguments. We want to act on the basis of confidence and decency in our mutual interests and in the spirit of the aims discussed in Moscow. We can continue through the channel with the aim of reaching agreement.
Parallel with the practical preparations for the visit, we should be preparing and coordinating practical agreements to be signed at that time, as President's visit to Moscow (was prepared). As for courtesy, I have no doubts. I prefer businesslike talks, jokes, discussion man-to-man and productive results rather than ceremonial aspects.
We have made progress in these discussions.
Dr. Kissinger: I think we have made a step forward. We will tell the Foreign Minister our answer, and I think we certainly can proceed as I have said. On our behalf we want to make your visit a significant event and an historic occasion. We will do for you no less than was done for the President, in very difficult circumstances for you. Washington is not characteristic of the United States. The President hopes that you will visit California and Florida. A visit to Florida is obligatory, since that is where the hydrofoil is. This will be an opportunity to visit the first Soviet installation in the United States! But I will not bother with details. We will do our utmost to make the visit not only politically, but humanly and symbolically successful. The President asked me to say this, and I took the liberty of interrupting our discussions.
Brezhnev (interrupting translation]: A Soviet naval installation in the USA! This is important in itself.
Please thank the President, I agree to practical preparations being started. I can say this now. In the course of those preparations we will define what specific documents will be agreed; since we have agreed on the start of preparations we have accomplished 50 percent of the job.
I don't doubt the courtesy; the most important thing is the results.
Let me add one point: The President in his discussions expressed the thought that such visits might take place more frequently-not formal, but brief meetings. We might take a few days off, and see other places, but have businesslike talks and agreements, if not as momentous as ones of last May.
Dr. Kissinger: We agree with that.
Brezhnev: And we do not rule out requests to allow Dr. Kissinger to come here from time to time to take part in talks.
Dr. Kissinger: I am counting on it.
Brezhnev: I thought of taking you into the country, in Zavidovo, where I have a place. We could have some shooting. Do you shoot?
Dr. Kissinger: Not much experience.
Memorandum of Conversation
Moscow, September 12, 1972, 9–10 p.m.
Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU
Brezhnev: There is one question on which I would appreciate your advice. American businessmen come here and they want to meet with Premier Kosygin. If Kosygin or I receive them, they say that they can talk seriously about projects and purchasing of equipment. Now,
say that some industrialists come here and we agree to receive them, what is the reaction of your government? They may not be on President Nixon's side. They may be Democrats or Republicans, I don't know.
The American press says that I am walled off from receiving Americans, but you are here and I am receiving all of you at one time. For instance, Mr. Hammer is here and has put in a request to see me.
Dr. Kissinger: As far as we are concerned, we do not insist that visits should be confined to Republican businessmen. We would understand if you received someone who had different views than the Administration. Your Foreign Office could advise you about the relative significance of various visitors. When you see them, you can assume that whatever you may say will become public. Second, you can assume that your visitor will turn the conversation to his business advantage. Third, you cannot assume that businessmen have an understanding of their own interests. When I lectured once at one of your institutes, I said that, while I did not propose to debate Leninism in Moscow, there was one aspect I wanted to challenge: the idea that American businessmen understood their own interests or how to pursue them. I can give you our opinion on where businessmen stand
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 74, Country Files-Europe—USSR, HAK Trip to Moscow, Sept. 1972, Memcons (Originals). Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The meeting took place in the Council of Ministers Building inside the Kremlin. Brackets are in the original.
and what they can deliver. In any case, the American Government has no objection to your receiving businessmen.
[Brezhnev at this point told a story: There were two old friends who spent each evening together in a local pub. They would have a drink and sit there. One would sigh and say, "da, da" (yes, yes). Then the other evening a third man joined them. The first of the old friends sighed and said, “da, da," and then the second did the same. The third man who had joined them, sighed and said, “da, da, da." The next evening the two old friends were alone at their usual place, and the first said what did you think of our friend who joined us? And the second man said, I don't care for him, he is too talkative.]
Brezhnev: On the European Security Conference, there is a certain measure of agreement reached: Interim consultations on the timing of multilateral consultations are to start on November 22 in Helsinki.? We can register general agreement in Helsinki on an understanding that we will make every effort to achieve productive results, and then continue bilateral consultations.
So, if Dr. Kissinger has no objections we will register agreement on this basis and make every effort to insure that the Conference is held in the first half of 1973. And naturally we will continue contacts through our channel. Does Dr. Kissinger agree with this?
Dr. Kissinger: Not completely.
(Dobrynin and Gromyko begin explaining to Brezhnev that there is more involved and he should read the rest of his notes. Brezhnev understands and continues.]
Brezhnev: So, there is a second half. We agree that about three months after the start of the consultations (for CSCE) consultations could begin on procedural matters on reducing forces and armaments in Europe. We are prepared to enter into these consultations with a view to holding a conference after the completion of the European Security Conference. But there is no linkage between the timing, the venue and participants.
Dr. Kissinger: We can agree with this in principle. Let me be specific: We do not think it a good idea that these two consultations take place in the same place. We accept, and prefer, that they not be physi
2 See Document 34.
3 In an undated memorandum to Kissinger, sent just before Kissinger's departure for Moscow, Sonnenfeldt wrote with regard to CSCE that "we have to decide, fairly soon, how to respond to the Finnish invitation for November 22, but we cannot accept the date until we have a firmer commitment to MBFR." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 73, Country Files-Europe USSR, Moscow Trip, September 1972) The full text of the memorandum is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 110.