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request for improved diplomatic facilities and treatment in the Soviet Union.
It is almost incredible that the Soviets have the gall to continue this attitude when, at the same time, we are making substantial bilateral progress on a number of post-Summit fronts—including progress on the trade front!
My earlier memoranda have reviewed the problems with regard to the Leningrad consulate and the new chanceries. The Soviets have now informed State that the proposed building plus penthouse formula for their Mt. Alto site is unacceptable and they cannot agree to our requested height for the new US chancery in Moscow.
You are personally aware of Embassy Moscow's wretched conditions. The Soviets have not budged on a playground for the Embassy children. As reported in the cable at Tab A, the subject of a new facility for an Anglo-American school is brushed aside by Korniyenko (we have been pushing this for 10 years), who also expresses complete ignorance of US recreational boating requests which the Embassy has been making for months—all this at a time when the Soviets have been enjoying their new Pioneer Point dacha in Maryland, complete with two speed boats soon to be joined by a hydrofoil.
It seems to me that the time has come in our relations when the Soviets should be made aware that the President expects simple, human requests made by our people in Moscow and Leningrad to be treated in the same positive spirit reflected in other aspects of our post-Summit relations.
I think you ought to take this up with Dobrynin.
That you inform Dobrynin of our displeasure over the continuing negative attitude being taken by Soviet authorities to the most elemental US requests such as those relating to schooling and recreational facilities in the USSR.5
3 Sonnenfeldt's earlier memoranda were not found.
Deputy Chief of Mission Adolph Dubs reported in telegram 9846, that Korniyenko had told him that the U.S. "offer of fifteen foot penthouse on a reciprocal basis did not constitute real progress.”
5 No response to Sonnenfeldt's recommendation that Kissinger inform Dobrynin was found.
Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, October 2, 1972, 1:20–3:45 p.m.
Andrei Gromyko, Foreign Minister of the USSR
Europe; Nuclear Understanding; Jackson Amendment; Middle East
[The conversation began over cocktails in a room adjoining the dining room.)
Dr. Kissinger: When I tell people that I find you pleasant and amusing they think I have been totally corrupted by my visits to Moscow. (Gromyko reacted to this with his best deadpan expression.)
FM Gromyko: It is very interesting what is happening with the Chinese and Japanese. You know you have much better relations with the Chinese than we do, and of course you have much better relations with the Japanese than we do.
Ambassador Dobrynin: So when you refer to your Asian ally we can't be sure who you mean!
Dr. Kissinger: Frankly, I think the Japanese have been much too eager the way they have been going about it. There was no need for them to do it this fast.2
FM Gromyko: Orientals are like this. They have a different sense of time than western countries. With western countries—with the British, with the French—the sooner you reply the better. When one makes a proposal it is a good thing to reply quickly. With orientals it is just the opposite. They may wait a week or a month or six months and not respond. They feel it is inconsistent with their dignity to reply quickly.
Dr. Kissinger: Your Vietnamese allies also have a strange negotiating technique. A few months ago they proposed a series of principles. With some slight changes, making the obligations mutual instead of unilateral, we accepted them. A week later they came back with a
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 495, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 13. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting took place at the Soviet Embassy. Brackets are in the original.
2 A reference to the joint statement issued on September 29 by Japan and the People's Republic of China announcing the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
wholly new set of principles. We accepted those, too. But then a week after that they rejected them all completely, saying we didn't need any principles.
[The group then went into the next room for lunch.)
FM Gromyko: All three of my leaders, Mr. Brezhnev, Mr. Podgorny and Mr. Kosygin, asked me to convey their regards to you. Dr. Kissinger: Thank you. I have the warmest recollection of my
: visit to the Soviet Union and the way I was treated.
FM Gromyko: And our talks were very good.
Dr. Kissinger: Our last talks were very good. We have the whole Jewish community after us as a result! Seriously, we will handle this. We will not raise the subject again. Liberal journalists in this country who used to criticize us for years for being too tough with you now criticize us for not being tough enough. But this is simply amusing for our domestic politics; it has no foreign policy significance.
[Luncheon was then served.]
Dr. Kissinger: The reason Anatoliy is so successful is that he controls my supply of caviar. I can always tell the state of Soviet/US relations by how forthcoming he is.
Ambassador Dobrynin: Then more supply is needed.
FM Gromyko: It is true. I have heard that the fish in the Caspian Sea are going more over to the Iranian side, perhaps because there is less pollution. You know we have a big fish called the Beluga. One fish can give a 100 kilos of caviar. These fish are in the Volga in Siberia, and in Lake Baikal. You know Lake Baikal is very beautiful.
Dr. Kissinger: Yes, Anatoliy showed me a film about that once. It was very beautiful.
Ambassador Dobrynin: If you go there we will make another film of it, with you there. We will call it "Lake Baikal and Henry”—or “Henry and Lake Baikal," whichever you prefer.
Dr. Kissinger: I may bring a movie star with me next time to the Soviet Union. General Antonov will be pleased.
Ambassador Dobrynin: There is a story about Hammarskjold and Khrushchev. Khrushchev invited Hammarskjold to come out in a boat.
3 Kissinger visited Moscow from September 9 to 15. See Documents 37–39 and 41-44.
4 See Document 46.
• Dag Hammerskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations from April 1953 to September 1961, and Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU from September 1953 to October 1964.
This was at Pitsunda on the Black Sea. Hammarskjold thought it would be a big boat where he could sit on the bridge and drink his cocktail; it turned out to be a two-man row boat. Not only did Hammarskjold have to row—this was probably the first physical thing he ever did in his life—but also there was no room for an interpreter. So the two of them were out there alone for almost an hour and could not speak a word. When they came back Hammarskjold said it was an excellent conversation!
There is also a story about Kosygin and Castro? who went out in a small boat. Their interpreter had to swim along behind them! But the interpreter was a cowardly bureaucrat and did not admit that he could not swim. So the interpreter would push his head above water and translate-glub, glub—and then disappear again beneath the water!
FM Gromyko: It was simultaneous translation!
Dr. Kissinger: You knew Roosevelt, didn't you? You were at Yalta. What was your impression of his health?
FM Gromyko: He was healthy but tired. He had a very far away look.
Amb. Dobrynin: What were the relations between Roosevelt and Stalin?
FM Gromyko: Once when we were at Yalta, Stalin, Molotove and I visited President Roosevelt at Livadia Palace, which the President was using as a residence. When we were leaving and going down the stairs Stalin said to us, “He is a very good and very able man. Why has nature punished him?"
Dr. Kissinger: You know, before his paralysis he was a very frivolous man. He had the reputation of being a playboy. Mr. Foreign Minister, you have an astonishing range of experience in your career.
FM Gromyko: At Yalta, Stalin was having dinner with us. We were all sitting around a table like this. Beria' was sitting here, and Molotov and myself. We were at the Yusupov Palace. Stalin turned to Beria on his right and said, “You know, you are a Russian Himmler”, and everybody laughed. Stalin laughed, Molotov laughed, I laughed.
Dr. Kissinger: Did Beria laugh?
Dr. Kissinger: He loses either way, if he agrees or if he does not agree!
7 Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba.
8 Vyacheslav Molotov, Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars from December 1930 to May 1941.
o Lavrentiy Beria, head of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) from November 1938 to January 1946.
FM Gromyko: This was often the style of Stalin's humor.
Ambassador Dobrynin: How did Stalin prepare himself for these meetings? Do the papers exist?
FM Gromyko: I don't know. They are probably in the files.
Ambassador Dobrynin: Did he order papers from the Foreign Ministry? He did not have good relations with Molotov.
FM Gromyko: Probably. I was in Washington and I was not yet his deputy.
Ambassador Dobrynin: The Foreign Minister was Ambassador at
Dr. Kissinger: It is not unusual to want to promote able young men. The problem is how to come to someone's attention. How did this happen?
FM Gromyko: Stalin knew me. When I was first appointed Minister-Counselor to Washington, Stalin heard about it and called me for a conversation. So later he knew me.
Dr. Kissinger: I was always enormously impressed with Stalin's foreign policy after the war. Russia had suffered tremendously, and we had the atomic bomb. Russia was enormously weak but managed to create the impression of great strength.
FM Gromyko: But we never had so many tanks and other equipment as we did at the end of the war.
Dr. Kissinger: But it took great strength of will on Stalin's part to create the impression.
FM Gromyko: Stalin's main aim was to keep the obligations with the allies. We could have taken Western Europe in a few days. But his main obligation all the time was to keep the obligations he made with our allies. And the main obligation of the allies was to keep Germany peaceful.
Dr. Kissinger: What was his greatest quality?
FM Gromyko: There were two things. A very powerful and deep intellect.
Dr. Kissinger: I believe it.
Dr. Kissinger: That's enough. That is a powerful combination. I think his foreign policy before the war was correct, from the Soviet point of view. The treaty with the Germans.
FM Gromyko: We all thought at the time and afterwards that it was correct. After all, what did we agree to with the Germans? We agreed not to attack. Who can object to that?
Dr. Kissinger: But you were not ready for a war in 1939.