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Kissinger: My judgment is it is impossible to get a two-thirds vote in the Senate. Impossible. I do not see how. And I do not think he may be impeached in the House.
Gromyko: The press tries to create that impression.
Kissinger: My estimate is 52 to 48 against impeachment. But it could happen.
Dobrynin: But it is close.
Kissinger: You can use it to prove anything. Before the President campaigned, he was ten percent behind; he ended up three percent behind.
If he is not impeached by the House, he can turn opinion around fairly easily. If he is impeached, it will be more difficult, but he will still do it.
Gromyko: On the next meeting.
Kissinger: There is no question on our side. You can count on its not being cancelled. And I suggest, when I come back we can announce the dates. Around the 13th, we can do it. The plan is to arrive on the 24th, and stay until the 20th or 1st. Six or seven days.
Gromyko: Can we issue a statement now?
Kissinger: If you want, or brief the press. We can say it was friendly and constructive and we made progress on a number of issues.
Gromyko: I told Korniyenko to do something. Maybe you could do something
[At 1:35 p.m., they get up to go to lunch. They pause in the doorway.]
Gromyko: This word “impeachment," it was never known to us before.
Kissinger: I think it is like on Vietnam—the public does not really like it but they do not know what the truth is. I think it may turn. There was an article in The New York Times Magazine yesterday on Rodino, saying that when he goes around his district, people say he will be in trouble for what he is doing. If you read our press on Vietnam, you would think we did not have ten percent of the vote.
Dobrynin: We think, on détente, you are really not aggressive enough in promoting it.
14 See James M. Naughton, “The First Judgment," The New York Times, April 28, 1974, p. 289. Peter Rodino, Democratic Representative from New Jersey, was Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Kissinger: But now we will start.
178. Memorandum of Conversation?
Geneva, April 29, 1974, 3–4:45 p.m.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR
National Security Affairs
SALT; Joint Statement
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Could I say a few words, first?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: All of the discussions that have gone on until now on this subject (SALT) were certainly necessary and useful since, of course, it is necessary to clarify the positions of each side. Without that, no agreement is possible. But I must say, frankly, that so
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Files, NSC Files, Box 1028, Presidential/HAK Memcons, Memcons-HAK & Presidential, 1 March 1974–2 May 1974 (1 of 4). Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in the Secretary's suite in the Intercontinental Hotel. Brackets are in the original.
far we do not see an agreement materializing. The latest considerations you gave to us (U.S. Note of April 23, Tab A), frankly, are not the basis for an agreement, because, frankly, they are one-sided. Secretary Kissinger (laughs): May I say that the Joint Chiefs are
I completely in agreement with the Politburo on that.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: I understand what you mean. I would like to make several observations to show why we think as we do.
Secretary Kissinger (interrupts the translation): You know how many submarine missiles the Joint Chiefs would like? 856.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: There are almost no figures, within the limits of what is realistic, that could compensate us for the one very big advantage which you have, which is forward-based weapons. And if you really want to know, within our own circle, a lot has been said that the agreement that has been achieved does not fully coincide with the interests of both sides. In your country many voices can be heard, but we have a different view on that score. Nonetheless, we deemed it possible, on the basis of the proposal which was made by General Secretary Brezhnev to you in Moscow, to reach agreement by the time of the forthcoming Summit on the continuation of the Interim Agreement with the addition of certain figures. These figures are known, so I needn't go into detail. .
Secretary Kissinger: The figures General Secretary Brezhnev gave me on MIRV?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Yes. 1000, 1100. Apart from that, there is the second factor, which we have mentioned on several occasionsthough we could have mentioned it but once, we did so several times, that there are certain third countries, and we cannot but take that into account. You know their names and we needn't go into detail.
Secretary Kissinger: France.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: And you know about the so-called “eastern factor.” If we didn't take account of this, we would be acting contrary to our own security interests, and that we cannot do.
And therefore we should certainly like to believe that you still have the possibility to give some additional thought on this matter and will find it in you to take a more realistic position. As for the possibility of an agreement, we both know its importance and needn't say more. We, for our part, want an agreement by the time of the forthcoming Soviet-American summit, which would serve the cause of peace.
Secretary Kissinger: What aspects of it did you see as one-sided? So we can understand.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: In your latest proposals you seek to revise the Interim Agreement and you alter the figures in such a way as to considerably improve your own situation and considerably worsen our
Secretary Kissinger: I can't believe that 26 weapons considerably worsen the security of the Soviet Union.
We are now entitled to 710 missiles; we now propose 736. So in effect the total number permitted under the Interim Agreement is increased by 26. We don't mind your increasing yours by 26.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: The Interim Agreement is the Interim Agreement. As I said, you have voices in the United States saying it's slanted in favor of the Soviet Union. We don't accept that. In fact, we maintain the opposite view, that you are in a better position. But the Agreement is there. Now you want to slant it in favor of the United States.
You will have 26 more plus an additional 250 MIRVs and then another 54 missiles in the letter+—which I want to go into.
Secretary Kissinger: In the overall forces of the two sides we'll get only 26. We can't use the whole 30; only 26. To get those 26, we have to destroy 54 land-based. So the Foreign Minister is not correct that we get 26 plus 54. We get a net of 26. We are shifting the 54 from land to submarines.
Ambassador Dobrynin: What about the 44 submarines?
Secretary Kissinger: The agreement allows 44; there is a side agreement that we'll stay with 41, or 756. We propose that the side agreement just lapses in 1977.
Ambassador Dobrynin: So this is the second change in your proposal.
Secretary Kissinger: We don't get 54 extra; we get 26 extra. Concretely we want three submarines with 72 missiles. 72 minus 54 is 18. By 1980 we can do it with 728. By 1982 we can do it by 736. But at any rate we're talking about either 18 or 26 net gain in missiles, not 54.
Ambassador Dobrynin: But there was the assumption that there were three out (on the basis of the letter).
Secretary Kissinger: If the agreement lapses, we'll build many
Foreign Minister Gromyko: We are probably talking in different languages. What we're talking about is the letter—which I assume all the gentlemen here are familiar with ...
Secretary Kissinger: Yes.
4 A reference to the note at Tab A.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: So you have the right to 54 missiles but the letter says you won't make use of that right. Then there is the Trident; now you say you want to go full steam ahead on implementing that program. We will draw the necessary conclusions. That means both sides will go ahead. What you say in effect is that you want unilaterally—or rather, in the interests of one side—to change in your favor the material content of the agreement. Of course we realize perhaps it may be good for you. But what we're talking about is a mutuallyacceptable agreement and it certainly couldn't be acceptable to us.
(Secretary Kissinger goes out to take a phone call. In the meantime Mr. Hyland explains the numbers to Ambassador Dobrynin. Secretary Kissinger then returns.]
Foreign Minister Gromyko: The Pentagon was calling?
Secretary Kissinger: (laughs): Yes. If they only knew! We have a se rious problem, Mr. Foreign Minister. Simply on numbers. The total number of missiles by which our forces would increase by 1980 is 18. These Tridents wouldn't be in the force; they'd be only on sea trials.
The only reason we mentioned it is that under the definition of the agreement the old ones have to be destroyed once the new ones go on sea trials. On the assumption of three Trident submarines.
[Sonnenfeldt comes in]
The total force increases by 18, land and sea-based. The sea-based increase by 72; the land-based decrease by 54. Even those figures are not correct: The land-based would be destroyed before the others become operational. So the strategic effect is zero.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: I can't quite understand your line of reasoning. According to your latest proposal—1100 for you, 850 for us-what's in it for us?
Secretary Kissinger: MIRVed?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Yes. So then, according to the corrections you now want to introduce to the agreement itself, your combination with sea-based missiles, you want 30 more than us plus 54 according to the letter, whereby you turn the right into an actuality. Which means 250 plus 30 plus 54. All told, it means 334 more than us.
In reality, take the 250 (advantage) related to the MIRVs—and you do have the right to install them all on submarines—that means each would have 10. This means 250 times 10, which is 2500. Again, plus 30, plus 54 which are not MIRVed. This means 2800 more than us.
That is the arithmetic we reach from your figures. Tell us where we're wrong
Secretary Kissinger (laughs): A masterful dialectic!