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That means I am interested in a settlement. We will work on it. We can make some progress in moving this problem off dead center. We can't take intransigent position. I am prepared to move towards a settlement.

General Secretary Brezhnev: We have indeed talked about it extensively last year and even before our meeting. I have no doubt about our agreement in principle. But we must come to an understanding on this issue. We will study your messages carefully. I do not ask that we agree on all the tactics now. We will never leak any of our discussions. We can't reach agreed positions if we start taking sides. We can make a gentleman's agreement. We will be loyal to this promise. Then the channel-Kissinger/Dobrynin—can be used to elaborate the tactics.

I am categorically opposed to a resumption of the war. But without agreed principles that will ultimately help situation in area, we cannot do this. If there is a settlement, we can renew relations with Israel. Without such agreement our further cooperation will be weakened. We shall continue contacts but we will have problems. I know we have found common language regarding aims.

Perhaps I am tiring you out. But we must reach an understanding. We must be careful that is the case. We must act in order to achieve the desired results. The Arab states are not ours: Israel is not yours-we helped form the State of Israel. I am for full respect for the sovereignty of all the states of the area.

I will think over our conversation. You know the role I play in my country, just as I know yours. I will always act in concert with you. You trust Dr. Kissinger; I trust Dobrynin. We will have confidential consultations. If we can now agree on a gentleman's basis on two or three principles, then Dr. Kissinger and Ambassador Dobrynin can implement them. We will keep this here in this room; the people in this room won't disclose what has been said. What goes through this channel goes only to me. All that I say should be seen as the subject of an oral understanding not communicated to anyone.

The President: As for an oral agreement, I can go no further than to look over the Gromyko discussions. I'll be in communication with him. I am trying to find a solution.

General Secretary Brezhnev: It is not necessary for the principles to be in written form. Very well. I agree that we should work on one principle-withdrawal of forces-alone.

Recall how hard it was for us to meet last year. Some people preached to me the impossibility of a meeting. Bear in mind this difficulty. Do not let me leave without this assurance.

The President: This is of course the key question. I will look at this question in the morning. It is not as simple as all that. That could be a goal. But it wouldn't lead to a settlement. We have to face the problem in a pragmatic way.

General Secretary Brezhnev: Without the principle there is nothing I can do. Without a gentleman's agreement we can't use the channel. We need a friendly agreement. Or I will leave empty-handed. We should have an agreement without divulging the agreement to the Arabs.

The President: I will take it into account tomorrow. We won't say anything in terms of a gentleman's agreement. I hope you won't back empty handed. But we have to break up now.


It would be very easy for me to say that Israel should withdraw from all the occupied territories and call it an agreed principle. But that's what the argument is about: I will agree to principles which will bring a settlement. That will be our project this year. The Middle East is most urgent place.

General Secretary Brezhnev: I want to mention the agricultural problem. There is the question of grain. I want to give you a draft of a letter in which we can have an exchange of letters on the subject of buying 5 million tons of grain for the years 1973-1980. I will get you the text. It will be consumed in USSR.


As you know, I will see Pompidou. My main objective is to have a conversation with him. I see three main areas for my views. He will ask me what we discussed. I will touch on MBFR. I want to ask

your advice on the extent on which to inform him of our discussions. He will ask about SALT and other matters. Then I will do my consultations.

4 Not found.

133. Letter From President Nixon to Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev1

Washington, undated.

Dear Mr. General Secretary,

I have the honor to confirm that as a result of the talks held in the USA from 18 to 24 June 1973, the following understanding has been reached between the American and Soviet sides.

1. Soviet foreign trade organizations will purchase in the United States of America in 1973-1980 approximately 5 million tons annually of grain (wheat, corn, barley, soy beans and other grain products).

2. Commercial deals between appropriate Soviet foreign trade organizations on one side and American physical or juridical persons on the other will be implemented in accordance with each country's existing legislation.

Simultaneously both sides will facilitate in every way the conclusion of such commercial deals.

3. Both sides proceed from the assumption that contracts for the purchase of the said goods may be concluded subject to reaching agreement on grain quality, prices, delivery dates, conditions and forms of payment, conditions of transportation and other conditions.

4. Both sides will favorably consider questions involving the possibility of concluding commercial deals beyond the quantities specified. Notification will be given as early as practicable of intention to purchase beyond the quantity specified.

5. Goods that may be purchased in accordance with this letter will be utilized mostly in the USSR. However, Soviet foreign trade organizations will have the right to channel a certain part of those goods to the countries-members of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance.

6. All payments involved in such commercial deals will be made in US dollars or any other freely convertible currency by mutual arrangement between the participants in such deals.


1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 68, Country Files-Europe USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 18 [June 8, 1973-July 10, 1973]. No classification marking. A handwritten note at the top of the page reads, "2 cys [copies] delivered to the Soviet Embassy 5:00 pm, 6/25/73.′′

2 Printed from an unsigned copy.

The October Arab-Israeli War and Kissinger's
Trip to Moscow, July 1973-January 1974

134. Memorandum of Conversation1

Washington, July 10, 1973.


Anatoli F. Dobrynin, USSR Ambassador

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

The mood of the meeting was slightly different from the pre-Summit atmosphere. There was some slightly less respect, slightly less deference. It was personally extremely cordial but there was a barely perceptible note of superciliousness.

Brezhnev Visit

I began the meeting by asking Dobrynin what his reaction was to the Brezhnev visit. He said all the Soviets had been extremely pleased by the Brezhnev visit. Everything had gone as exactly as planned. The only disappointment was the aftermath. Where in the Soviet Union all organs of public opinion hailed the new departure in Soviet-American relations, in the United States the Summit had disappeared without a trace. Indeed the leading papers were now making snide comments about the visit, and even about the person of Brezhnev.2 From that point of view, the Soviet leaders were disappointed with the result of the visit. As for the meetings with the President, they had been very satisfactory, but he was afraid that Soviet-American relations had not received the impetus that they would otherwise have had.

I told Dobrynin that this was due to a complex domestic situation but the long-term effect would still be essentially what had been expected. He glumly agreed that this might be so. Turning to Watergate, he then said that he had never seen such a mess. There was no other country which would permit itself this luxury of tearing itself to pieces

1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Material, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 68, Country Files-Europe-USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 18, June 8-July 10, 1973. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The meeting was held at the Soviet Embassy over lunch. All brackets except those that indicate a correction are in the original. A note on the memorandum reads: "The President has seen." Sent under a covering memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon on July 16. (Ibid.)

2 Joseph Kraft, for example, wrote an article entitled "Watergate and the Summit" characterizing Brezhnev as being “hungry for agreement" during his visit. (The Washington Post, Times Herald, June 24, 1973, p. C7)

so publicly. For a long time he had thought that it would not do any lasting damage, but he had now revised his opinion. He thought the Democrats were certain to win in 1976, and this was bound to affect Soviet calculations. I said it did not seem such a fore-ordained conclusion to me. But Dobrynin said he saw now no possibility that this could be avoided. He also said that among the Republicans it seemed to him at this moment to be a race between Rockefeller, Agnew, and Reagan, with Connally's chances dependent entirely on a deadlock between the other three. I said that I did not know of a single case of a deadlocked convention since World War II. Dobrynin agreed but said that this was a very unusual year.


We then went in to lunch. I showed him the document on the nuclear treaty that the Chinese had sent us [Tab A].3 Dobrynin asked whether this wasn't unusually primitive for the Chinese. Did Chou En-lai really believe that the United States and the Soviet Union were aiming for hegemony? I said I didn't know what Chou En-lai believed but I did think they were genuinely worried about Soviet intentions. He asked what my impression was of Chinese leaders. I said that they struck me as very subtle. He said he too saw Chou En-lai as a clever fellow but paranoid about the Soviet Union.

Dobrynin then asked about my forthcoming trip to China. Did I plan to make a major agreement? I said no such plan was now envisaged. He asked, were we going to sign the same agreement with the Chinese that we had signed with the Soviet Union? If so, it would be taken as an unnecessary affront. I told him there was no such intention. He asked whether the Chinese had made any specific proposal for an agreement. I said the Chinese procedure was usually to wait for us to make a proposal, but I did not exclude that they might make one, in which case we would have to consider. But we would certainly keep in mind Soviet sensibilities. Dobrynin said that of course we were playing off the Chinese against the Soviet Union and doing it very skillfully, but he had always admired my abilities to keep it within limits. I said that he knew that in Moscow I had always been very circumspect about the Chinese, and he could be sure that in Peking I would be equally circumspect about the Soviet Union. We were trying to develop our relations with both countries without playing them off against each other.


Attached but not printed at Tab A is the Chinese understanding of the U.S.-Soviet Agreement on the Prevention of Nuclear War.


* Kissinger's sixth trip to China took place November 10-14.

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