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General Secretary Brezhnev: I spoke about the basis for agreement; the question now is to find a concrete formula. And I certainly don't want Holland to dictate its terms to the Soviet Union. I will never accept that. Holland should be grateful for our attitude toward it.
Secretary Kissinger: I was not familiar with this particular action of Holland. I think a solution is possible.
If I may make a concrete suggestion, Mr. General Secretary ...
General Secretary Brezhnev: I think my meeting with President Pompidou at Pitsunda showed that Pompidou himself recognizes the absurdity of some of these ideas. And President Pompidou himself said: “Of course I realize the proposal now is that information be given about all of the European part of the Soviet Union, but I realize the territory of the USSR is not limited to Europe but extends to Vladivostok.”
Secretary Kissinger: That is an ambiguous statement.
Secretary Kissinger: May I suggest if Ambassador Stoessel and Korniyenko can work out concrete formulas on these questions and agree on the tactics. Otherwise all Europe will act as Holland did. But if we can agree, we can manage it like the Berlin negotiations.
General Secretary Brezhnev: I agree completely.
Secretary Kissinger: We may need a little time to convince our allies, but if Stoessel and Korniyenko agree, we have a very good chance. In fact, if Korniyenko agrees to anything, it will be a historic event.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Korniyenko always agrees with correct positions.
Secretary Kissinger: He is a very good man. We admire his work
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Stoessel too.
Secretary Kissinger: It is not your fault that Korniyenko always gets the better of Sonnenfeldt.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: I've never seen an instance of that.
Secretary Kissinger: We think we can meet that Dutch problem in the framework we described.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: You hope.
General Secretary Brezhnev: What kind of proposal is it if they want to arrogate to themselves the right to open theaters in the Soviet Union without any control by the Soviet administration? It is not a matter of our being budged from our positions; there is no danger of that. It's just wrong to have ideas like that.
Secretary Kissinger: As we discussed, it can be solved with a reference to national laws in the basic principles and then refer back to it in Basket III.
General Secretary Brezhnev: Good. I certainly agree. Let Stoessel and Korniyenko talk about it.
Secretary Kissinger: I think we can find a solution.
Secretary Kissinger: Then the problem of the level will also be satisfactorily solved.
General Secretary Brezhnev: The question of the level is, to a certain extent, also an important problem. If the document is signed by the Foreign Ministers, that is one thing. On no account do I want to belittle the importance of our Foreign Ministers; they are empowered to sign anything. But for the nations of Europe, Canada, United States, I believe signatures of the leaders will be of more significance.
Secretary Kissinger: We have understood your view, and if the document is finished as we discussed, it can be solved in that spirit and at that level.
General Secretary Brezhnev: We certainly wouldn't empower Gromyko to sign a bad document.
Secretary Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, we all know what the document looks like.
General Secretary Brezhnev: We can't have two policies in this country, one that is the Foreign Minister's policy and the other that is official policy.
Secretary Kissinger: We have had that on occasion. We have recently united them!
We will consider it a satisfactory document.
Secretary Kissinger: I don't think you and President Nixon will disagree.
General Secretary Brezhnev: I don't think so.
I think we have had a useful exchange of views today. It has been useful because what Dr. Kissinger has been doing is to advance proposals that are to the advantage of the United States and to the disadvantage of the Soviet Union. But it is not difficult because we now know you better. It is now our sixth meeting.
Secretary Kissinger: I didn't have the impression that the proposals of the General Secretary threatened the security of the Soviet Union.
General Secretary Brezhnev: Whatever I put forward, I had one underlying motive, that is, strengthening peace.
Secretary Kissinger: That is in both of our interests. We will think over our discussions in that spirit.
General Secretary Brezhnev: So tomorrow morning, perhaps we might discuss on the Middle East. And any of our associates who have work to do can get on with it.
At 10:30 tomorrow.
Secretary Kissinger: Yes, exactly 12 hours from now. And thank you for your now-traditional hospitality.
General Secretary Brezhnev: That is the way it has always been. I trust it will stay that way.
At times our conversations have been acute but we have done quite good business together.
Secretary Kissinger: If we do as we both wish, that is the best seryice we can do for my children—and for your grandchildren.
Kissinger's report to Nixon on the meeting with Brezhnev, March 25, is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 76, Country Files—Europe—USSR, Secretary Kissinger's Pre-Summit Trip to Moscow, Memcons & Reports, March 24-28, 1974.
167. Memorandum of Conversation?
Moscow, March 26, 1974, 10:35 a.m.-1:53 p.m.
Leonid I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee, CPSU
and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
CSCE; Middle East
Conference on Security & Cooperation in Europe
Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, I got home late last night. I certainly can't say I was satisfied in the way things went (on SALT). We spent all day
I talking yesterday but we decided on nothing.?
Dr. Kissinger: I don't think that is correct. I think we decided on the European Security Conference very successfully.
Brezhnev: That may be true, but nonetheless I still have many reservations on that, and I like precision. When I say I was displeased, that's of course a unilateral statement. There are two sides.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Files, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 76, Country Files-Europe_USSR, Secretary Kissinger's Pre-Summit Trip to Moscow, Memcons & Reports, March 24-28, 1974. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in Brezhnev's office in the Council of Ministers Building at the Kremlin. Brackets are in the original.
2 See Document 165 and 166.
Dr. Kissinger: My assessment is, on the European Security Conference, we'll be able to bring it to an early conclusion along the lines and at the level we discussed yesterday.
Brezhnev: If we really wanted to bring the Conference to a successful conclusion, we could have done it long ago. As it is, we've had communiqué after communiqué. It was always said, “There is a possibility of doing it in 1972, and in 1973." Now it's 1974 and we're saying, “There is a possibility." What kind of a way is this to do business? Holland and Belgium are playing around. But who are we? (angrily:] We are nations too and we have our views on this. Also there is the GDR, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria—they're playing in the Conference and not being capricious—but others are saying they want to establish theaters in the USSR and another wants to know everything that's going on in the USSR as far as the Urals. If they don't want any positive results to come out of the European Conference, why don't they say so? Then there will be, instead of security, insecurity.
Here we are, the second year passing, and no results. The United States in this time managed to fit out all its missiles with MIRV's and we still haven't managed to sign even a piece of paper. We've offered a straightforward proposal, and someone asks for a kind of freedom in someone else's country! What kind of freedom is this? We're not interested in other people's affairs, in Belgium and Holland.
That is just in addition, Dr. Kissinger, to what we agreed upon yesterday. We and you can sign it.
Dr. Kissinger: As you know, we haven't had success in achieving unanimity from our allies. And Senator Jackson yesterday made a speech accusing me of treating the Soviet Union better than our European allies. I know how pleased the General Secretary is to receive reports from Senator Jackson.
Brezhnev: Very happy indeed.
Dr. Kissinger: So as a practical matter, Mr. General Secretary, we are faced with the reality of a Conference of 35 nations. You yourself said we've put no obstacles to progress.
Brezhnev: That's true.
Dr. Kissinger: I think what we agreed on yesterday will bring results in the next few months.
Brezhnev: I didn't mean you to take my irritability to mean that all I said applied to the United States. I was simply saying I don't understand why they're taking all that time. They gathered in Helsinki, and
3 On March 26, the Los Angeles Times ran a story that stated that Jackson accused Nixon and Kissinger of "treating Western European allies as adversaries while pursuing the Soviet Union as a friend." See “Jackson Hits Nixon Stance on Alliances," p. 14.