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our proposals. Although it's a difficult problem in our minds, forward-based systems. You treat that as incidental. But our military people and I have to take that seriously. Don't think that's something out of a pack of cards—it's nuclear weapons.
Secretary Kissinger: No, it is essentially correct.
General Secretary Brezhnev: I am not saying this to pick a quarrel. It has to be taken into account. In the military field alone I have listed so many proposals; what kind of opposition could there be?
Secretary Kissinger: Take chemical weapons, to be specific. Our problem is we have no way to know whether you're producing them or not. If that could be solved, we would have no problem with banning production.
We have no intention of using them.
Secretary Kissinger: I can tell you now: If that can be solved, we will agree to stop production. That is the only obstacle.
General Secretary Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, when we were signing the agreement on limitation of strategic arms, I honestly didn't know you would have 12 warheads on your missiles.
Secretary Kissinger: Ten.
General Secretary Brezhnev: All right, ten. I knew we didn't. Doesn't that affect the factor of confidence? Because I knew the President Nixon I was facing was not the Nixon of the Kitchen Debate. 10 Because I saw this was a President Nixon who had come to recognize the realities of life, to establish peace or else to go back to the worst periods of the Cold War. I saw he was guided by a noble intention and I valued that highly
Secretary Kissinger: This reality has not changed.
General Secretary Brezhnev: And all these attacks on him really have no bearing on the major issues we face. They are just trying to get him down.
Secretary Kissinger: You should not think the position we have advanced here is the result of domestic difficulties. In foreign policy we do not have these difficulties. Our problem with your proposal is this: You say 1,000 missiles can be MIRVed. This is the maximum you can MIRV in this period, so we don't see what restriction you are accepting. Secondly, as we have always told you, if there is no restriction on land-based forces, it produces an inherent inequality. I put aside now the numbers; I'm talking about theory. This is not compensated for by the inequality in sea-based forces, because, first of all, sea-based forces do not threaten each other. We can't destroy your submarine missiles with our submarine missiles. But you can destroy our land-based missiles with yours if you have a sufficient number of MIRVs. So in order to prevent that danger, we want to bring about an approximately equal number of MIRVs. This has nothing to do with our domestic situation.
10 The “Kitchen Debate” between Nixon, then Vice President, and Soviet Secretary General Khrushchev, took place at the American National Exhibition in Moscow on July 24, 1959. Sitting in a reconstructed American kitchen, which U.S. exhibitors claimed the average American could afford, Nixon and Khrushchev debated the merits of capitalism and Communism.
So this is the theory under which we are operating. And I can assure you we will be attacked for that. I can assure you my present position with Congress is sufficient. So we can carry any reasonable agreement that we can defend. But there has to be some limitation on land-based missiles. With a complete freedom to mix, we don't have an adequate basis for what you call equal security.
On some of your other proposals: I told you our difficulties. That was the case before our domestic difficulties, and is the case afterwards. That has always been our position.
On the ABM site, we have agreed.
On the test ban, quite frankly, it looks to us in one of its aspects as directed at third countries, and we have always been reluctant to make such agreements.
On the other hand, we are determined to do our utmost to make major progress this year and we won't be deterred by political difficulties. I think your Ambassador can confirm that the President and I can get sufficient Congressional support for any reasonable agreement. And it's terribly important, because if we can defeat now the opponents of relations between the Soviet Union and the USA, then we have achieved an almost permanent victory. The reason they are so determined is they know soon it can't be reversed.
So frankly, our difficulty with your proposal on SALT is its intrinsic nature, not our domestic difficulties.
General Secretary Brezhnev: I'm not linking it with the domestic situation, but let us recall in 1972 the U.S. and USSR signed a convention on banning the production of biological weapons." The question of control didn't arise.
Secretary Kissinger: You know why? Because we said (to our military:) "If they used biological weapons, we could use chemical weapons."
Ambassador Dobrynin: But you could use atomics.
11 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, signed April 10, 1972. (26 UST 583; TIAS 8062)
Secretary Kissinger: That we could use atomic-it's a particular threshold.
General Secretary Brezhnev: In the field of underground nuclear testing, we are proposing that our two nations declare we won't, but if other nations don't, we'll feel free ... How is that directed against third countries?
Secretary Kissinger: Because since we both know that allies of the two sides won't stop, we are not reaching an agreement.
[To Dobrynin:) I see Vinogradovl2 is back. You are not taking the Geneva Conference seriously.
Ambassador Dobrynin: Bunker will be back?
[Maw and Atherton were invited in and introduced. Sytenko joins the Soviet side.)
Secretary Kissinger (referring to Dobrynin): I caught him in Las Vegas once.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: And he didn't report to the Ministry! He told me about it later, much later.
General Secretary Brezhnev: How much time do we have? Can we have a serious discussion on the Mideast?
Secretary Kissinger: My impression was that you preferred not to discuss the Mideast, perhaps because there is not enough time.
General Secretary Brezhnev: It is indeed a serious question. If we went into it, it would take at least two hours.
Secretary Kissinger: Should we leave it until tomorrow morning?
General Secretary Brezhnev: I agree, first thing in the morning10:00, 10:30.
Secretary Kissinger: Whichever you wish. .
In early 1974, Vinogradov was appointed a special envoy to deal with Middle East issues, including the Middle East Peace Conference in Geneva.
Secretary Kissinger: Good.
here? Secretary Kissinger: Yes, except for the cakes, which are too fattening
General Secretary Brezhnev: We are having more sent in—a special kind, nonfattening.
Secretary Kissinger: Not entirely!
Secretary Kissinger: There was a time when your Foreign Minister never spoke on military matters.
General Secretary Brezhnev: Perhaps we could have a brief survey of the European Conference.
Secretary Kissinger: Good idea.
General Secretary Brezhnev: If we delve a little into the past, we both recall in our meetings we agreed to consult with each other and coordinate actions regarding the basic objective of both of us, that is, to assure the success of the All-European Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This was the policy principle we agreed upon and set in communiqués in Washington and Moscow. It would be correct if in this present meeting we carried out a brief survey, with a view to bringing the Conference to a successful conclusion in the nearest future. I would go even further and say that if we can bring about the completion of the European Conference before President Nixon's visit to the Soviet Union, this fact would give still greater significance and weight to the President's visit, and would be a greater political asset. It would lessen tensions and be in the interests of the United States and its allies and ourselves and our friends in the socialist countries. It would resound very well around the world. We have had occasion to speak of the significance of Europe and the importance of cooperation and peace in Europe.
Secretary Kissinger: We have spoken a lot of Europe unilaterally lately.
General Secretary Brezhnev: But, you will also recall, there was a time when we did our best to secure a successful end to the Conference by 1972. Then we decided to end it by 1973. Now we're in 1974 and the Conference has not yet ended. And a situation has developed where some people have tried to inject into the Conference elements which are alien to the principles the Conference is trying to establish-principles of cooperation and good-neighbor relations. I won't recall who they are; they are either opponents of the Conference, or people who want it
to drag its heels, or who don't want anything to result. Surely that was counter to what our two countries have agreed upon.
Lately there are rumors that the United States and the Soviet Union lost interest in the Conference. I can't speak for the United States, but it's not the case for the Soviet Union. We are making every effort to conclude the Conference successfully and making preparations for its conclusion at the highest level.
Several days ago I met President Pompidou of France, and I criticized those who are submitting proposals at the Conference that can only impede the work of the Conference. As a matter of fact, I read to him a proposal submitted by his own delegation—it suggested the right to open a company or a theatre in the Soviet Union, not subject to control of the Soviet Union. Surely that was counter to the first principle, that is, noninterference in the affairs of other countries. He was surprised at this and didn't know it had been submitted.
If it is allowed to drag on for years and years, people will lose interest, and people will speak of it like the old League of Nations, where so many words were spoken. President Pompidou listened to my words; he agreed on the need to sweep aside all obstacles to its rapid success. In my earlier meetings with Pompidou, he was reluctant to agree to a meeting of heads of state. This time he agreed that the leaders could sign the document provided the document was good enough. To this I replied, if the document were not good, I wouldn't allow the Foreign Minister to sign it either. (Laughter]
Regarding the United States delegation, it's not impeding the work of the Conference, but neither is it showing any great activity in the work of the Conference. That is something we could perhaps talk about.
Another thing I talked about with Pompidou: In the past, in increasing confidence in Europe, I suggested the possibility of foreign delegations being invited to observe various maneuvers of troops. But no sooner did we come out with that than we were presented with demands to give out information about all, even insignificant, troop movements, even in the Soviet Union, down to the regimental level. But that would require a Pentagon-like apparatus to observe.
Another matter: What if the states in Europe wish to bring about a change in frontiers? How do we reconcile this with the principle of inviolability of frontiers? Surely France has no intention to give up territory, or Belgium. We've heard rumors the United States is eager to give up Florida or California.
13 Pompidou was in the Soviet Union March 11–13. He met with Brezhnev at Pitsunda.