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brynin suggested that, since Gromyko had met me at the airport in Moscow several times, it would be a nice gesture if I reciprocated this. I said American protocol does not call for the Secretary of State to go to the airport. Dobrynin pointed out that this was not the issue, but that in the present state of U.S.-Soviet relations some solidarity was useful.
We then discussed the order of the meetings and the participants. We agreed that I would have lunch at the Soviet Embassy and would give a dinner at Blair House Monday evening.
We then turned to the Middle East.
Dobrynin said that a bitter debate had been taking place within the Soviet Union. Many had argued that the Soviet Union had suffered a setback without any commensurate benefit. To be sure, in the long term nobody was going to gain anything by solo performance in the Middle East, but the long term was not all that mattered. When I pointed out that gratitude was not the outstanding attribute of the Mid-East nations, Dobrynin agreed, but he said that nevertheless an interval of bad feelings could do serious harm to our relationship. I agreed, and told him we would be very circumspect.
Dobrynin added that a policy decision had been made in the Soviet Union to move very constructively and cooperatively with the United States in the Middle East. The explicit decision was that the Soviet Union had nothing to gain from a continuation of conflict and that it would use its influence to help end the rivalry and move towards peace. I told him that in that case the Soviet Union would have to change some of its tactics. The tendency to come up with global solutions was simply not possible. Each issue had to be dealt with individually and one at a time. Dobrynin said that this was true, but that there was a good chance that Sadat would get himself completely isolated and into more difficulty than he ever bargained for. I said this is why it was important to make some progress on Syria.
I asked Dobrynin how we could give effect to this determination and move constructively. He said, one, Gromyko was planning a trip to the Middle East in March and we should do nothing to interfere with that. I assured him he could count on it. Secondly, he said that if we had periodic meetings of the Co-Chairmen,4 it would symbolize our common commitment. I agreed to that as well. Nuclear Test Limitation; MBER
We then turned to other matters. Dobrynin asked about the forthcoming summit visit to the Soviet Union. Would it be possible to agree,
The United States and the Soviet Union were Co-Chairmen of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East.
if not to an end of underground testing, to a limit on the number of tests? I told him I would look into it.
Dobrynin then asked whether it might be possible at the summit to agree to a percentage cut of Soviet and U.S. forces in MBFR. I said that I remembered that Brezhnev in June 1973 had recommended only five percent; we thought ten percent would be the minimum. Dobrynin said, "Well, maybe we'll compromise on eight percent." I told him it seemed to us that ten percent was the genuine minimum, but in any event the problem was how to relate it to the position of our Allies. Dobrynin said we should both think further about that. I said it would help to do this if we could get a basic plan accepted in the MBFR negotiations as a goal, within which this first stage could be negotiated.
We then turned to SALT.
Dobrynin said that the equal throw-weight proposal was creating major problems in Moscow. The Soviet military were pointing out that this would mean, first, that they would have much fewer MIRVed missiles, and second, that their large missiles could have no MIRVs at all. I said no, their large missiles could have MIRVs. He said yes, but in that case they could only have 50 to 60 MIRVed missiles.
I told him one way of handling this problem would be to reduce some of the non-MIRVed missiles. Dobrynin seemed surprised and asked whether we would really be prepared to dismantle some of our missiles. I said in principle, yes. Dobrynin asked whether we would be willing to dismantle some submarines too. I said in principle it was more difficult for us, but we would be prepared to discuss reductions in all categories, including airplanes.
Dobrynin said in his judgment this was not a matter in which we could make any progress with Gromyko. It had to be settled with Brezhnev when I got there in March. Summit
Dobrynin asked whether we were still thinking of June for the President's summit visit. I said yes. Economic Relations
Dobrynin raised questions about the economic relationship and said that MFN had now become a highly symbolic issue which could profoundly affect our relationship, but that credits were absolutely imperative. Were we prepared still to go ahead on the long-term economic agreement? I told him we were, but urged that it be deferred until after the Trade Bill's fate had been decided.
The meeting then ended.
158. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, February 4, 1974.
(There was an exchange of greetings, a discussion of art in the Secretary's office and an exchange on how the Secretary was feeling.)
The Secretary: We are very pleased to have you here and to have a general discussion of some of the issues we face. After our general discussion, I would like to meet with you alone.
I Mr. Gromyko: I wish to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for your kind invitation. You must have noticed that I replied at once.
The Secretary: Yes and I thank you for that. This is a good time for us to meet.
Mr. Gromyko: What sort of matters do you want to discuss?
The Secretary: I think we should touch on our general bilateral relations, SALT, force reductions in Europe, and European security. We can cover the rest in private.
Mr. Gromyko: Do you want to begin or should I?
The Secretary: You're more disciplined than I am. Why don't you start?
Mr. Gromyko: I am not sure what that means in this case but since you have mentioned European security, I would like to make some observations. First, let me emphasize our appreciation of the extensive work that was done in the first phase and at Helsinki.? There was in fact
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 71, Country Files-Europe—USSR, Gromyko 1974. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Hartman.
2 For Rogers' summary of phase I of the CSCE held in Helsinki July 3–7, 1973, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 169. The second stage of negotiations was held in Geneva September 18, 1974-July 21, 1975.
no small amount of work undertaken in the second stage, but I must say that we are not pleased by the current state of the conference.
The Secretary: I agree with you.
Mr. Gromyko: I would like to discuss several specific issues but also I would like to talk about the broader question which has an impact on our relations in the future.
The Secretary (As cookies were passed): I had always been told that there were cookie-pushers in the Department but I never saw the cookies before today that they are supposed to push.
Mr. Gromyko: The reason that we are not pleased by the progress in the All European Conference—and I will not express myself in diplomatic terms—is that I feel that all these representatives are beating the air without achieving any concrete advancement toward the aim of resolving the real issues. They are going around in circles. This could go on endlessly. It seems to me that issues are being invented out of virtually nothing. This is the impression I have. It seems to me that there are a series of artificial measures which are being put forward with the intent of preventing a solution.
The Secretary: Not by us.
Mr. Gromyko: I would not like to try to gauge how to share the blame among each of the Western Powers but the raising of these artificial issues is enough indication of the fact that some are misbehaving. It is a fact that these actions contradict the often-stated solemn, high-level declarations that we have agreed with most of these States on the necessity of achieving détente and peace. I question whether some of the political forces have forgotten or want to ignore what happened in World War II.
I ask myself is this a negligent attitude? All of us agreed after the conclusion of World War II that we must avoid the possibility of war. We had fought together as allies against a common enemy and we agreed that we must weed out the possibility of war. Can it have been forgotten?
I don't want to specifically accuse the US of taking this position. As we see and assess the situation, however, we note that the US Representative displays a knowledge of our position and an understanding of our general agreements. Our representatives have numerous contacts and, I must say, that these are highly appreciated. What also strikes the eye, however, is the passivity with which you approach this conference. We appreciate the words but where is the US voice for all to hear? This is not being done. Perhaps this is strategy or tactics. What we can do is voice our own desires and to recall that our common agreements were made at the highest level during the visit of Mr. Brezhnev last year and the visit of the President to the Soviet Union. We hope that
the US will accord greater weight and interest in more firmly setting out the position which has the aim of carrying out our agreements. It should not be beyond the means of the US to express its strong views. When the US wants to act it does so and in a loud voice. We hope that your view will come out in the open in the most appropriate way.
The Secretary: Mr. Foreign Minister, first of all, let me make a general remark and then address the details. We attach enormous importance to maintaining the peace of the world. We do this because it is in the interest of the well-being of all peoples. Since it makes sense for us to do that, it underlies all of our actions.
In Europe, there seems to be a desire to treat most issues in a totally frivolous fashion. People who have maintained their power in a country such as the Soviet Union for fifty years are not going to be unseated by a declaration. Therefore, I want you to know that I don't attach much importance to the question of declarations as a solution to these problems. Leave aside any ulterior motives. There is just no way that one can proceed to undermine what exists in the Soviet Union.
On the question of the inviolability of frontiers, that is a question of German domestic politics. On human contacts—and I refer specifically to the letter to the President—we favor a maximum increase in these contacts consistent with the domestic laws of the parties. The Allies go farther. They don't like the reference, not only to "domestic laws,” but also to "customs." This is a question of domestic politics among our Allies. I don't want to say whether it is right or wrong. What we have to decide now is what price to pay to get the Allies to change their minds. I think that you overestimate our influence with the Allies. In our negotiations of the bilateral declarations we are faced with a series of idiotic, juridical positions. In other words, they don't reserve their tactics for you. For one year, we have been engaged in trying to find a formula to describe our relations. It is not easy for us to get them to agree.
We would like to conclude the Conference. We recognize it will not have a world-shaking result. We will not support measures which
a go beyond our common understandings (at this point the Secretary said he wished to be sure that he sees Ambassador Sherer before he departs). What do you think Art? Is it possible to make some progress? ?
Mr. Hartman: We have already tried out several formulae for dealing with the question of encouraging human contact and yet making reference to the non-intervention in the domestic affairs of States party to the Agreement. We have not yet had success in convincing the Allies that there is a means to handle this point.
3 See ibid., Document 182.
Albert W. Sherer, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, was the Chief of the U.S. Delegation to the CSCE from February 1974.