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deliberately to abandon détente unless forced to do so by critical repercussions at home or in Eastern Europe.
[Omitted here is the Discussion section.)
President Richard Nixon
“'The time of your visit is coming closer. We will exchange ideas. As it approaches, time may not permit much unless we begin preparations. Our meetings promise to be impressive. We will be able to reach agreement on ABM, a threshold test ban, long-term economic cooperation, scientific and technical cooperation, energy, construction and artificial heart. We continue to proceed from the possibility of progress on other problems where our discussions have not reached the point of drafting but we expect to reach agreement. In human terms, I want to express some thoughts I have. We attentively follow events in the United States. Much of what is happening is not understandable to us, but it is clear that the forces which are up in arms against the President are not friendly and also these are matters which affect not only internal politics but also foreign policy as well. Foreign policy is the toughest issue for opponents to attack for those who want to undermine the important things in the US-Soviet agreement and the other things you and I have agreed upon."
"The best testimony that our joint course is correct is that détente is close to the hearts of the Soviet and American people. My colleagues and I do not identify the opponents with the majority of the American people. You, even with your domestic problems, are busy with foreign policy, including US-Soviet relations. That is the course for a statesman.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1029, Presidential/HAK Memcons, MemCons-HAK & President, May 8–31, 1974 [1 of 3). Secret. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. Brackets are in the original.
Tenacity and firm spirit are needed, and these the President has. There are those who may think you may give way but we note with satisfaction that you will not give them such a pleasure.”
“We are telling you this personally from the good relations enjoyed between us and believing in the success of our forthcoming meeting. Meanwhile we are looking forward to your visit and the visit of Dr. Kissinger."
President: I don't want you to think that domestic politics will affect my trip or our relations. Mansfield agrees. Jackson is just playing 1976 politics. The important thing is not my problems—they will pass—but the legacy of peace that we will leave. Brezhnev and I came up the hard way. Both of us believe deeply in our own systems, and we bargain hard. But we see overriding our interests in peace. We must overcome our domestic problems. Tell Brezhnev not to worry about me and my health. .
As you know, Kissinger's visit has been delayed. I hope he settles it so we don't have to talk about it-just the general area of the Middle East.
As I told your Parliamentarians, the idea the U.S. is playing a role to force out the Soviet Union is baloney. As you know, right now we are the only ones who can handle the Israelis. As I told a group the other day, only the U.S. and the Soviet Union can resolve the big issues of peace in the world. We won't always agree, but we must have close contact. As for the Kissinger trip, I hope we can meet with you first to iron things out to see if a trip is required.
Dobrynin: Kissinger and I are having lunch on Thursday.3
President: The main problem is MIRV. It's tough for your and for our military.
Dobrynin: When Kissinger was with Brezhnev last time, Brezhnev was very outspoken on the situation.
President: As you know, I may visit the Middle East. It depends on the negotiation. The main point is we must announce the Soviet trip before my Middle East trip. Since I have to be here in July, I probably would have to go in June or postpone it to November. The Soviet trip comes first. A Middle East trip doesn't take preparation.
Dobrynin: It will be good that the Soviet trip will be announced first.
2 Nixon met with a group of Politbure members on May 23. A record of the meeting is ibid.
President: Yes, let's try to do it Thursday or Friday. * I understand Brezhnev will go to the Middle East. That is good. We both must play a role in the Middle East. We don't want to push you out at all. The Middle East requires the participation of us both.
I told Boumediene the Soviet Union has a relationship there and so do we. We may compete at times, but we cannot try to push each other out. There are differences, yes, but in final analysis we must be able to get a common interest which overrides these differences. When you study Potsdam and Yalta,' we made mistakes and you out-negotiated us. We won the war because we kept our eyes on winning the war. Now we must win the peace. We will have tough talks—but we must deal as equals and we don't paint over our problems. That is a good part of the Nixon-Brezhnev relationship.
On the announcement, Friday would be good.
Dobrynin: What city would you like to visit in the Soviet Union? Brezhnev has asked me.
President: He knows the country. You and he figure it out.
4 An announcement was released in Washington and Moscow on May 31 that Nixon and Brezhnev would meet in Moscow for a week beginning June 27. See "Nixon to Go to Moscow June 27," The New York Times, June 1, 1974, p. 1.
5 Boumedienne and Nixon met on April 11.
6 A reference to the Potsdam and Yalta Conferences, July 17 to August 2, 1945, and February 4 to February 11, 1945, respectively.
183. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of
State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger
Washington, May 31, 1974.
The thrust of this memo tallies closely with Embassy Moscow's assessment that the Soviets are making considerable efforts to discourage emigration applications for Israel, including a press campaign highlighting bad living conditions there. As you recall, the Soviets in March gave us an “information sheet" stating that 95 percent of applications
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 23, May-June 1974. Secret; Eyes Only.
for emigration are approved, and explaining that the decline in emigration since the October War is linked to unsettled conditions in the Middle East and to poor living conditions in Israel, and to a consequent decline in applications.
Briefing Memorandum From the Director of the Bureau of
Washington, undated. Decline in Soviet Jewish Emigration Soviet Jewish emigration declined 26 percent in the first four months of this year compared to last year. The table below compares emigration for the first four months of this year and last year:
Percent Month 1973 1974
33 March 2,600 2,000
28 April 2,700 1,700
37 Total 10,400 7,700
26 Annual Total
34,800 25,800 (projection) It appears the Soviets are deliberately cutting back the flow of emigrants by a higher refusal rate and tougher application procedures:
-applicants must now obtain clearance from the local police before approaching the exit visa office.
-required employer's references must date back at least six months, thereby discouraging Jews from quitting before applying to emigrate, since more than four months' unemployment can lead to prosecution for “parasitism."
2 See footnote 7, Document 162.
Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
4 Secret. Drafted by R. Hagen (INR/RES) on May 30. Additional information on Soviet Jewish emigration is in a June 1974 Department of State Briefing Paper; National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, 1955–1977, Lot 81 D 286, Box 9.
The Kremlin claims the decline in emigration is due to a drop in applications resulting from disillusionment with conditions in Israel, and is currently conducting a propaganda campaign highlighting difficulties of life there. But this is probably only a marginal factor at the moment. The Israeli Embassy in Washington says more than 4,500 invitations to emigrate are being mailed to Soviet Jews every month, and Jewish activists in Moscow say the desire to emigrate is as strong as ever.
The current decline may represent an attempt to pressure the US Congress on the Soviet-American trade issue by linking continued opposition to MFN and credits with a reduction in emigration. If so, the message would be that a Congressional compromise on the issue might bring the emigration back up again.
The Soviets have manipulated emigration rates before, boosting them in 1972 during the US elections and again in 1973 during House debate on Soviet-American trade and with the FRG prior to the last election. Moscow Jews are speculating that barriers to emigration may be lowered in connection with the Summit, but there is no hard evidence to this effect.