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Berlin, and, not without your support, we have important agreements in Europe between the USSR and FRG, and Poland, and between the two Germanys. Both are members of the UN. And there is agreement with Czechoslovakia-all of very great significance.

A considerable amount of work has been done in the economic field. We have several agreements, and contracts have been negotiated and signed, both short-term and very long. These cement the positive elements written into various documents that we signed.

In short, we positively evaluate the work done between the Soviet Union and the United States in the past years. We do not say this simply today in this meeting, but in several public statements. Regardless of extraneous or momentary conditions, even during the recent Soviet elections campaign all of my comrades here gave a high assessment of what we had achieved jointly. I would not like to omit the fact of more frequent group visits to the Soviet Union-various representatives of business and social organizations. We express our gratitude for hosting the Supreme Soviet visit recently. Of course there are quite a few other important events, some of which we will be mentioning later on.

Nonetheless, without belittling what has been achieved, we believe it is too early to put a full stop to this process. We have jointly begun the process of détente and improving relations in all spheres, but we have traversed only the initial stage, and we have to consolidate it. Ahead of us lies a great volume of work, issues that require intensive efforts and goodwill on both sides.

There are other reasons for not weakening our attention and concentration for progressive advance in Soviet-American relations. You and we would not be realists if we closed our eyes to certain circles who want to put a brake on our progressive advance in relations, and arrest the process of improvement.

In saying this I emphasize that the process of improvement of relations not be allowed to run its course, but requires an effort to overcome obstacles and negative accretions of the past. As our two states, we have occasion to confirm that we are building relations in terms of the perspective of peace, good neighborliness and friendship, and, as before, we are firmly in favor of joint efforts to make the process a continuous and stable one and irreversible. And this is a line of ours that we seek to extend to all spheres—political, economic, scientific and cultural, technical.

In short, that is what we are trying to do today with the third meeting. I would like to express the hope that as in the two previous meetings this one will end with very impressive results. Mr. President, we will discuss many issues, some more or less agreed before, and requiring less effort, but there are quite a few that will require a

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strenuous exchange of views. The main purport and direction of the meeting, we see in showing to the world the clear, unflagging determination of the US and Soviet Union to go on following the line defined in the document and to take further steps to give practical effect to that line. I am sure that you know yourself, but I want to say, that we are fulfilling honestly in good faith all the agreements signed in the past two years. I believe that the main meaning of our meeting, not only in the documents signed but also in the communiqués that continue this line, is to show the world that there is a relaxation of tensions, a slow down in the arms race, including strategic arms, and the chance for general and complete disarmament. Also we believe it is only too natural for communiqués to include a provision that we are determined to remove and to prevent outbreaks of new hotbeds of tension and to consolidate and extend the process of the relaxation of tensions to new regions of the world. Also there is the question of principle in trade and commerce. The net result is that life itself is making the way-the business communities are interested in more contracts and we should register this important fact in the communiqué as well. I should like to comment on the important aspect of the machinery of Soviet-American meetings at the highest level. It is proven in practice that regular summits are a positively important sign to ensure the favorable development of relations. Indeed, precisely, the holding of meetings as nothing else creates the possibility for open discussion and solution of more complicated questions of principle, and as I feel—and I said this to my comrades after our brief meeting yesterday—the President is of a like mind, and has invited me to pay a new visit to the US. That is something we welcome, but we also feel that we could build on the existing practice and have additional, briefer meetings, to take up not the full range of relations but one or two issues.

In concluding this opening statement, we all value very highly your personal contribution to the process of improvement of relations between our two countries and we want to express in confidence our hope and belief that the present visit will serve the broadest interest of our two peoples and the interests of universal peace. At this opening stage, we have expressed our views on general problems, so that after we can turn to a specific review in whatever order the President prefers.

President Nixon: In response to the General Secretary's statement, we all share the spirit of his remarks and also the goals he sets out for eventual achievement. We feel, as does the General Secretary, that these highest level meetings serve useful purposes. When you have the two strongest nations, there is inevitably a positive impact, when we work together, and many bilateral matters can only be settled at the highest level. The value of summit meetings is that there is an incentive

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to make progress on substantive issues. We cannot have a meeting and labor at the summit to produce a mouse. I think that we have found that the preparations for each meeting have laid the groundwork for agreement and negotiations and for signing documents at the summit. The work of our associates—Dr. Kissinger, Minister Gromyko, Ambassador Dobrynin and all our colleagues—are extremely constructive, making possible real results, rather than atmospherics at the highest level. For example, after this meeting, we have to think to next year, to think of projects we might have underway that we can negotiate. I agree with the General Secretary that where there is something specific to negotiate, which cannot be delayed to the annual meeting, that on our side there will be every support for a meeting whenever necessary to serve a useful purpose. We live in a fast moving world, and some events will not wait for a year.

I will address some of the subjects which the General Secretary raised.

First, we have significant progress already made, and a recognition of some disappointments that in other areas we have not made progress as fast as we would like.

We begin by recognizing that as the two strongest nuclear powers there will be inevitable areas of competitiveness and our interests will not be identical. We would add the fact that for many years we did not have the frank avenue of consultations that has now been established by the summit meetings. This does not mean that simply by meeting and knowing each other that this settles very complicated problems. But it is also true that differences cannot be settled at all if there is no direct consultation between the two parties concerned. So by establishing at various levels—at the highest and other levels, and in other sectors—these contacts set up the process for settling differences where we can and of avoiding disputes that might occur if there were no communication.

That brings us to those areas of agreement that are relatively easy, and from this we can move to the ones that are more difficult because of the mature relationship we have.

Bilaterally, the negotiation of an agreement on energy, for example, or medical exchange, the artificial heart—these are mutually beneficial, and they do not place us in opposition in any way. And though there is a tendency on the part of many foreign policy experts to downgrade the importance of these, the more we find areas to work together the more we make the relationship binding, and thereby irreversible. In other words, it takes small as well as large threads to make a fabric that binds.

Now we come to those areas, because of differences in substance, we have more difficulty in reaching agreement.

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We are pleased that we are going to negotiate a long-term economic relationship at this meeting. We are not pleased that due to the policy of the Congress we have not gone forward on the MFN, on which I made a commitment in these meetings. But considering the fact that trade between the private and socialist economies is difficult-like oil and water-we have made significant progress, and I believe that we can safely say that we can make far more progress in the future.

Every private businessman that has visited the Soviet Union returns very excited about the prospects of more trade with the Soviet Union.

Another question is how to work out the problem of credits—a problem that the experts are quite familiar with. We shall continue to push forward and to work politically with the Congress on MEN and the credit side of this issue. Here we believe as more understanding deelops between our two governments at the highest level we can make progress that influences prospects at the Congressional level on this issue.

In a third area, the two strongest nations can and must work to find ways to work together in what might be called crisis areas, in other parts of the world. Here we have the European Security Conference. We can discuss where problems are arising, which we are all familiar with. Related to this is the reduction of forces in Europe. On our part we desire to have very frank discussions because Europe is a critical area of the world, and our two great nations should reduce to a very minimum conflicts between themselves in this area.

We have a problem here which the General Secretary and his colleagues are very familiar with. It is more difficult for us to speak for our allies than for the General Secretary to speak for his. For example, I made a commitment to conclude the CSCE by the end of 1973. We have done as well as we can and we are continuing to try, and perhaps with the Finnish compromise, which the General Secretary is familiar with, and other working level compromises, we can break the logjam at the Conference. I emphasize here that just as with MFN, where we made a commitment, we will not drag our feet, but will show goodwill and make progress; though there are problems—(1) political problems in the US, with which the General Secretary is familiar, and (2) problems of political influence in the Atlantic Community.

2 The Senate version of the Trade Bill was still in markup as of June 1974. The President met with Senators Long and Bennett on May 23 to discuss, among other things, progress on the bill. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, Document 208.

3 On June 5 in Geneva, the Finns proposed two amendments to language in Basket III.

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The Middle East is the other area where our interests are not identical. This does not mean that we both are not for peace, but because of our long association that each of us has in that area, we have had some differences. The point I particularly want to emphasize is that the US

I will play whatever role it is useful to play to bring about a more peaceful atmosphere in the Middle East. But there has not been, and will not be any effort to push the Soviet Union out of its traditional role, which it has because of historical tradition and geographical location.

There, as in Europe, there are times when each of us can best accomplish the objectives of a peaceful settlement which both of us have, by working bilaterally, and other times (working) collectively. But the rule is that at all times we consult and closely, so that we are never in a position of acting at the expense of the other party. What counts in the end is the result: if it is best achieved in a larger forum at one time, then it should be used; but, at other times, discussions in a smaller forum are more useful. I use the analogy of the UN. The UN generally is not suitable for settling differences on many important problems.

The most difficult, and it has always been the most difficult because it involves vital questions, but one in which we have made considerable progress and can take satisfaction to date, is strategic arms control. We have the ABM agreement in 1972 and the Interim Agreement on offensive weapons and the agreement on preventing nuclear war. There are others, but these are the most important. We have made a good beginning for this summit, but we must admit that we have only begun; I refer to the limitation of ABMs to one site. Our experts will have to work out the language satisfactorily. We have the threshold test ban. Here we have considerable differences between us. This is an area we believe can be explored to find an agreement in principle to lay foundation for final agreement later.

On SALT, this is the most difficult of all. I well recall our first meeting, when the General Secretary explained by drawing the changes in silos, that he was more expert than I. We have to have very frank discussion of whether we can reach agreement in particular, as far as MIRVs are concerned. We do not discount the importance of ABMs, of non-proliferation, or even the test ban. They are all important. But in terms of an overriding runaway nuclear arms race, agreement on offensive arms is crucial.

The problem that I present to the General Secretary and his colleagues is this: if we are unable to reach agreement or to make progress in reaching agreement in the future, inevitably the reaction will be, on our side, to go forward with our offensive nuclear weapons program; and, of course, the Soviet Union will do likewise; it is inevitable. So the question we have is whether to control the nuclear arms race before it controls us.

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