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honorable one. In another ten meetings, I will be able to speak diplomatic language even in English. How are your
children? Kissinger: Marvelous. My daughter loved the gift you sent her. Brezhnev: What did they like best?
Kissinger: My daughter liked the Kremlin best; my son liked the Pioneer Club best.
Gromyko: Did they like the tower (the Ostankino Radio Tower]?
Brezhnev: The weather was bad. So we couldn't go to Zavidovo. The fog came in.
Kissinger: I understand. We would have liked to go, but I understand.
Brezhnev: I was hoping we could go by helicopter. It is two to two and a half hours by car.
Kissinger: That would be too much.
Brezhnev: Everything was ready at Zavidovo. But it wouldn't have been pleasant in the forest, with the rain and fog there. The bad weather that was there today came down to Moscow in the evening.
Kissinger: I appreciate the thought.
Brezhnev: I wasn't able in this brief period to get a full report on all you talked about today.? So perhaps in this conversation we could revert to some of the most important questions we have discussed. Not all, but the more important ones.
Kissinger: I agree.
Brezhnev: And Dr. Kissinger and your friends, I do this from President Nixon's message, where he lays particular emphasis on the questions he feels to be the most important.
There are certain other matters like the artificial heart-but those are scientific matters, and the scientists will understand each other better than we can. I did inquire from our people about progress in cancer control, and I was told there is broad cooperation already.
2 Presumably Kissinger's March 27 meeting with Gromyko at the Soviet Foreign Ministry at which they discussed the Federal Environmental Office in Berlin. For the memorandum of conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E-15, Documents on Eastern Europe, 1973–1976, Document 92.
3 Document 163.
Kissinger: Architecturally, I like high ceilings; for MIRVs I like low ceilings.
Brezhnev: My view is exactly the opposite. [Laughter]
The Secretary of the Party Committee in my town, his name was Svirsky. We were doing our best to strengthen the Party organization in the countryside, so we sent urban party men out to the villages. They would think up any excuse not to go. Some said their wife was sick, some said they had piles, etc. Svirsky said: “That is fine. Now we have exchanged views on this subject. You have given me the benefit of yours. So it is all arranged. You go." [Laughter]
That is a good principle.
Now if we turn to what we feel are the most important questions, I think we agree the first is limitation of strategic arms. Then the Middle East. Then economic cooperation. And then the European Conference. So perhaps we should talk about some of those. The President's Visit
One question which we have not discussed, and I leave it to your discretion whether to discuss it, is the question of concrete dates for the President's visit.
On June 16, we have nationwide elections to the Supreme Soviet. All of us, the leaders of this country, will be nominated to the Supreme Soviet. I will be speaking on the eve of the election. My other colleagues are elected from other districts, so we all will be traveling around the country the first half of June. It will be a busy time. It all takes time. Therefore, personally I feel that during that time we could not accord President Nixon all the attention he merits by rights. Also, during our election speeches, we could have something good to say about the development of U.S.-Soviet relations, and that could be a way of preparing public opinion for the visit—and the meetings would go better in that background. That is by no means a precondition; it is just our desire to have the best atmosphere.
You could pass it on to President Nixon.
Brezhnev: It will give us more time, really, to discuss things and reach agreement.
Kissinger: We would prefer the end of June. Or July. Which do you prefer?
Brezhnev: We would be entirely agreeable and we could agree at some later date about when we make a public announcement in the press. That we leave to President Nixon's hands entirely. And the text can be left to the channel.
What we are talking about is the exact dates—because we have already announced June.
Kissinger: [to Stoessel] Do you have a calendar? [Stoessel gives him a pocket calendar. Kissinger studies it.] Then can we say June 24th. Monday.
Gromyko: The date of arrival?
Brezhnev: As the President prefers. Monday would be a good date of arrival.
Kissinger: That is when he came last time. On a Monday.
Brezhnev: Naturally, as we agreed on, it will be an official visit. And we would be happy to meet any wishes he has regarding tra the Soviet Union. It will present no problem whatever. He has a residence in Moscow; he knows it. [Laughter]
Kissinger: It was adequate. Essentially adequate.
Brezhnev: That date seems to be acceptable. As to length, I would like to leave that to the President's hands.
Gromyko: As long as he can stay.
Brezhnev: Three days is too little; four days is still too little. Something like seven or eight days would be more or less adequate. Because maybe he would like to spend two to three days traveling around the country. It is a very nice time of year. I could take him down to the Crimea.
Kissinger: He would appreciate that. If your Ambassador ever comes to Washington, we can discuss it.
Brezhnev: I invite President Nixon now to come there, on my behalf. Sonnenfeldt has been there.
Kissinger: I am sure he will like it very much.
Kissinger: I think it is a very good idea.
Brezhnev: It would be a nice gesture both from the point of view of our hospitality, but also from the political viewpoint. He could visit the Yalta Palace where Roosevelt stayed. It would be next to where he is staying
Dr. Kissinger will no doubt want to inform the President about this and he can tell Ambassador Dobrynin.
Another interesting place—and he spoke about it—is Lake Baikal. It is a very beautiful place.
I for my part suggest the Crimea, and I want the President to feel free to go to any other place he chooses.
Kissinger: I will be in touch with your Ambassador, and anyway we set it for June 24th.
Now for the most complicated question of all—it is time for tea and cookies.
[A waiter comes in. The Soviets ask for a "MIRV'd” plate of snacks.]
There was a time everyone was scared about flying saucers.
Kissinger: One family in the United States thought one landed in their backyard.
Brezhnev: It was probably something the neighbors threw over. I threw a saucer once in the air and tried to get it to fly. It broke and my wife complained. [Laughter]
As I recall, on the subject of MIRVs, yesterday you suggested we should have 1,000 and we 600. I felt that was quite unjust. So I made a counterproposal that you should have 1,000 and we have 1,000 too.
Kissinger: That is characteristic of our negotiations—that we don't accept proposals unfavorable to the other side.
Brezhnev: Of course we only put forward constructive proposals.
We agreed we would think it over overnight. I hope you had pleasant dreams.
On this I rely on the reports in your press, which say our talks have been friendly and in a constructive spirit.
Kissinger: And businesslike.
Brezhnev: Why spoil this very friendly atmosphere? It is not in the interests of either side.
[Tea is brought in. Brezhnev counts the slices of lemon.)
How many warheads here? One-two-three ... six! You tested one like this.
Kissinger: No, it was five yesterday.
Kissinger: Ten. When you come to the U.S. in 1975 we will show you.
Brezhnev: We will show you ours too. The maximum we have is three.
Kissinger: That is on a good day.
Brezhnev: But truly this question is a very serious one and it warrants very serious discussion.
So we agreed by way of general principle that we will endeavor to sign an agreement prolonging the previous agreement limiting strategic arms. And I understand you to be in favor of that.
Kissinger: Only in connection with an agreement on MIRVs.
Brezhnev: Okay. We accept the principle it would be insufficient merely to state that the existing agreement is simply prolonged. So we accept that something should be added to that.
We could have the first paragraph saying the agreement is prolonged. And the second paragraph saying, in rough words, that the President and the Soviet leaders instruct their delegations to continue work to secure the provision (sic) of the Interim Agreement into a permanent one, by 1980 or so. That would be absolutely essential to it. We are both substantially in agreement on that.
Now to that, as I gather from our two days of talks, something else should be added on top of that.
Brezhnev: Something should be added, in the first place, to preserve the balance so neither side acquires any advantage. Now let's think about that. I honestly tell you I don't think your proposal is an appropriate one, for it does not meet that objective. Let me explain my thinking on that score.
Kissinger: Can I bring in my expert? [They nod agreement. Lodal is brought in.)
Brezhnev: [to Lodal] Okay.