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I am just being analytical, Mr. General Secretary.
But without an agreement, we could MIRV 500 more Minutemen easily, and after 1977 we could deploy Trident missiles on land. So we would accept a limit on our number of both; by extending the Interim Agreement we would accept a limit on numbers and a disadvantage in numbers which gives you the possibility of more over a period of time.
Brezhnev: That is a logic I don't understand, because it doesn't meet the figures. I would ask you to report back to the President.
Kissinger: I will report this to the President. Maybe we can develop some counterproposal, and then we will see where we are.
Brezhnev: One other matter. You asked about information about our intentions as to how many submarines we intend to fit out with these missiles. I am not denying the validity of that suggestion. Let me think it over. It may turn out to be acceptable.
Kissinger: Let me say Mr. General Secretary, if that is acceptable, then I think we will be approaching an agreement. At least, this thing will look different.
Brezhnev: I can say we would not be concerned about whatever figure you mentioned—whether 2,000, 3,000 missiles—because we proceed from our agreement in good faith not to use nuclear weapons. So I would never have raised it. But then I hear first one speech by an official in the United States that "we must be stronger," then another speech, and then Congress is increasing military appropriations. That I feel is in violation of our understandings.
Kissinger: I understand this, Mr. General Secretary, but we are attempting to prevent a runaway arms race in the United States.
Brezhnev: You say so, but on the other hand your military appropriations are growing, and you are mobilizing public opinion behind the idea the United States must be stronger. Which leads Americans to believe the United States is militarily weak and the United States stands on feet of clay.
Kissinger: [Laughs) There is certainly merit in what the General Secretary is saying. I am not arguing every point the General Secretary makes.
Brezhnev: I recently spoke in Alma-Ata, and I will be making my election speech. What if I get up and make a speech (He gets up and gesticulates): "Comrades, we must make every effort; we must be stronger than America.” Then the military men will say, “Give us the money."
Kissinger: [Laughs) If you said that, Senator Jackson would give you wide publicity in America.
Brezhnev: Senator Jackson again!
Kissinger: Of our military budget, of course, the greater part of the increase is due to inflation and most of it goes to personnel. The President never said more than that we will never be number two, never that we must be stronger than the Soviet Union.
Brezhnev: Perhaps we could end the discussion of that subject on that. We feel that could provide a good basis for our meeting.
Kissinger: If you could think over the submarine issue, and we will think over the numbers issue. (They query.) Assuming we accepted your figure for MIRV, and if you could then consider giving us information of how many will be on submarines, then we could think the matter over very seriously.
Brezhnev: I told you I couldn't rule out the possibility of our informing you whenever we install the first MIRV on submarines. Maybe there is something reasonable in this.
So I take it, if we quite honestly inform you on the subject, this wouldn't mean imposing any limits on us.
Gromyko: Within the limits.
Brezhnev: Let's say, within the 62 submarines allowed, we will tell you whether one or five are being MIRV'd.
Dobrynin: Just inform you. No limits.
Kissinger: No, you will have the right to determine the limits in each category.
Gromyko: You are trying to introduce the notion of a ceiling through the back door.
Kissinger: [Laughs] I have tried to explain to you the problem of a ceiling introduces itself the minute you have started testing a submarine missile.
Let me explain how we view the subject-not to debate it, Mr. General Secretary. Let me explain our reasoning, just so you understand us.
First, we do not believe you can put MIRV'd warheads on any of your existing missiles. We may be wrong, but that is what we believe.
Gromyko: Please repeat.
Kissinger: We do not believe you can put MIRVs on any of your existing missiles.
Therefore we have observed you have conducted your MIRV tests with missiles that we consider new and you consider improved, but are in any case distinguishable.
I just want you to see we are not being capricious and trying to take advantage of you.
Brezhnev: It is the same type of rocket. But fitted with MIRV-type warheads, in the same silo. For a new type missile, you need a new silo, that is natural. And you know that.
Kissinger: You think they go in the same silo?
Kissinger: We thought you would make them deeper, which is not a violation.
Brezhnev: If we had widened the silos, you would have complained.
Kissinger: So, should I continue with our reasoning?
Brezhnev: I think the main thing is, you should inform President Nixon that that is our proposal. That is as far as we can go. And we proceed from the assumption that neither of us will attack each other. If you need them, it is because maybe you think China will attack you. For us, the greatest guarantee is our intention of never attacking you.
In fact, Dr. Kissinger, I can tell you our military men have certain fears about a violation of the agreement, as far as widening of silos is concerned, to house new-type rockets. You know what those fears are based on? The fact that in the United States about 500 land-based launchers have been covered up. And we made two representations about that.
Kissinger: But we have stopped that.
Brezhnev: That introduces certain questions. It is not something I really wanted to mention but it is a fact. Let us act in good faith.
Kissinger: Mr. General Secretary, I have to check this, but we ordered it stopped, and if it is not stopped, it violates orders. But I wasn't accusing you of violating the agreement. That wasn't our point. The only point I was going to make was that for the purposes of the agreement, for the purposes of verification, once you test a missile with MIRV, we have to assume it is MIRV'd because we have no way of verifying whether it is or is not.
Brezhnev: I have replied that it is a matter of military doctrine. We ourselves may decide to MIRV only half of them. We will be proceeding not from anything to do with the United States but from something to do with our other potential opponent. So what we are talking about is what each side is entitled to.
Kissinger: Okay, so how do we know you have deployed only half of your MIRVs?
Brezhnev: Dr. Kissinger, I am not rejecting your proposal about mutual information. It may turn out to be acceptable. I am not rejecting it. Let's think it over.
Kissinger: All right. We will both think it over.
Brezhnev: After all, we have undertaken to inform you we are scrapping a certain number of land-based missiles to build submarines. Maybe we can go on to a broader agreement on exchange of information. But I am not in the position now to give you the exact answer.
Kissinger: No, I understand. Let's leave it at that point.
Brezhnev: Now, Dr. Kissinger could we finish the discussion on the question of the Middle East, by agreeing that we will cooperate with one another completely as was initially agreed upon by our two sides? And I stress the word "cooperate," and by that I mean not simply inform each other. That should characterize our relationship in the Middle East.
Kissinger: I had a brief talk with your Foreign Minister today, and we agreed we would have a full exchange on the occasion of his visit to Washington. On the Middle East. And we are prepared to cooperate, to answer your question, and not to seek to achieve a unilateral advantage.
Brezhnev: We certainly have no aim to achieve any unilateral advantage. Unless you consider the assurance of the security of Israel and all Arab states a unilateral advantage.
Kissinger: I consider our objectives in this area compatible.
Kissinger: I agree we should coordinate our moves.
Brezhnev: Now, on underground testing, it would be desirable if, after your consultations with the military experts about which you spoke, you could give us your proposals about the threshold.
Kissinger: All right.
Kissinger: We will make a proposal on the threshold, and I suggest technical experts on the two sides get together to discuss it concretely.
Gromyko: So the experts can also come up with a concrete text.
Kissinger: That, as the Foreign Minister would say, is not excluded. It can be done.
Brezhnev: I agree.
I would like to touch on the limitation on climatic-modification activity for military purposes detrimental to health.
Kissinger: As I told your Ambassador, this is a matter we should be able to form a conclusion about by the time the Foreign Minister comes to Washington. We quite frankly haven't completed our studies. By the 15th or 16th.
Brezhnev: I agree, the important thing for me is that you should not reject consideration of this thing.
Gromyko: Agreement between us on this would have very great resonance in the world.
Kissinger: We haven't completed our studies but we will press it by the 15th.
Brezhnev: One more question. I don't want to go into details, but I would like officially to tell you that our Vietnamese comrades at all levels, both at the party level and at the state level, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Viet-Nam have made repeated statements to us—the most recent case was when Pham Van Dong was here—to the effect they want to observe most rigorously the Paris Accords. They keep complaining that the Saigon regime is constantly violating those accords. I repeat, I don't want to go into details on this, but proceeding from our understanding with you, let us make every effort—and I am calling on you to make every effort—to prevent Saigon from doing anything to violate the accords. That is my sole request. I have no other demands. Try and analyze the situation. There are observers in Viet-Nam. Our one request is that the Paris Accords be observed. I have no other requests to make.
Kissinger: We will use all our influence to prevent violations by the South Vietnamese.
Brezhnev: I would like nothing better.
Kissinger: But if you can use your influence, Mr. General Secretary, with the North Vietnamese, who are constantly violating the agreement, particularly Article 7,4 which has to do with infiltration, that would also be a great help.
Brezhnev: Well, I can tell you I for my part will use our influence to prevent any violations.
Kissinger: Then this was a very constructive exchange. Economic Relations and Energy
Brezhnev: Good. This has something to do with the range of our relations and the whole spirit of relations between the Soviet Union
4 Article 7 of the Paris Accords reads, in part, "From the enforcement of the cease-fire to the formation of the government provided for in Articles 9(b) and 14 of this Agreement, the two South Vietnamese parties shall not accept the introduction of troops, military advisers, and military personnel including technical military personnel, armaments, munitions, and war material into South Vietnam." For the full text of the agree ment, see The New York Times, January 25, 1973, pp. 15–17.