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Nixon: It might be helpful if we hit briefly on where we stand in terms of the test ban. Then go to Europe.
Brezhnev: I would do that.
Kissinger: Mr. President, the Foreign Minister and I and some associates met this morning to review where we stand on the threshold test ban. We pointed out it was probably impossible to complete an agreement while we are here, but it would be possible to sign a protocol which in a rather precise way could settle certain details.
With respect to the threshold, the United States side proposed 150 kilotons and only a single threshold.
With respect to exchange of geological information, the Soviet side pointed out to us that some of our proposals were perhaps excessive in detail, so we accepted the substance of draft paragraphs two and three of the Soviet draft—we would discuss the exact wording, but essentially those paragraphs.
With respect to peaceful nuclear explosions, we propose to keep peaceful nuclear explosions outside this threshold agreement, but we agreed there would be no peaceful nuclear explosions until there is a separate protocol on that subject.
With respect to the impact of events elsewhere on the agreement, we propose a five-year review clause. The Foreign Minister said this was a matter he has to discuss with his colleagues.
And if we reach an agreement on these issues, these could be a basis of a protocol. This is where the discussion was left.
Brezhnev: You see how easy their work has been, Mr. President. It is obvious that the United States does not accept the proposal for a complete ban on underground nuclear testing. Politically speaking, from the standpoint of public opinion, this means we are continuing the arms race. Again, politically speaking, this means we will be contradicting the statements we are making. But ways do have to be found to seek out mutually acceptable solutions. Of course the question does arise as to why we cannot reach an understanding on this issue. I fully agree with what the President said yesterday: Neither of us needs an agreement in which one side can be put in the drawer and eaten up by moths. We need documents that will be really effective and that people feel are really effective. So neither of us can ever be accused of saying one thing and acting in another way.
The very fact that Dr. Kissinger says it is not possible to reach an agreement does arouse certain doubts. Are we cutting ourselves off
2 See Document 188. 3 See Document 187.
from a solution of these questions forever? We could, of course, discuss the questions of quotas or ceilings, but to be told there is no possibility whatsoever of an agreement does cause certain doubts. Because the two days of talks we had with the President instilled confidence in my mind that we should work to an agreement.
Just before this meeting we had a brief exchange of views on the substance of the exchanges between Dr. Kissinger and Comrade Gromyko. What we feel can be done in the interests of the present, and future as well, is to conclude an agreement.
We are fully aware of the tasks you want to solve. In the interests of preserving friendly relations and in the interest of further advances toward limitation of strategic arms, we would be prepared to accept a ceiling of 150...
Brezhnev: ... kilotons, which does represent a big concession on our part. And it means we are in fact meeting the U.S. proposal. The lower threshold is immaterial. Do you agree with that?
Kissinger: I agree.
Brezhnev: Which, as I say, means we are fully meeting the U.S. proposal. But what we must give thought to, Mr. President, Dr. Kissinger, is how we present this agreement. And we should also be clear in our minds how we want to continue to act to halt the arms race.
I would suggest we go about it this way: we cast aside all second-rate matters, details about water and sand, but include a clause in the agreement roughly that the two sides have undertaken to continue within a certain time limit to find a solution to the question of a complete ban on nuclear tests. If we do that, everyone will understand this interim agreement will continue for some time while we continue efforts to find a comprehensive ban. Then people will understand. They will understand it is not possible yet to achieve a comprehensive ban but both will continue active efforts and this will continue in effect until that.
Then I would suggest we do not include any specific quotas in the agreement but inscribe a clause that within an agreed period of time the two sides will conduct a minimum of tests. You will be free to conduct 150-kiloton testing but with a clause indicating a minimal number of tests. We will be indicating the trend of the agreement. And a clause on continuing efforts.
That will be the kind of agreement we need. It will show the public we are continuing détente. I think an agreement of that kind can be worked out quickly.
I have another question, Dr. Kissinger: Why should we not be permitted to conduct peaceful nuclear tests? We agree they should be left
outside this agreement. What we are suggesting is, in the event of any peaceful explosions, we will agree to notify the American side and invite observers.
Gromyko: And vice-versa.
Brezhnev: So in the event, therefore, of any peaceful explosions, we would invite your observers to attend there.
Kissinger: I have a few candidates whom I would like to send to the test site. (Laughter]
Brezhnev: We wouldn't place them right on top of the explosion! But if we do any such explosions, it would be to unite two rivers or shift water somewhere, something like that. We have areas, for example, where we have very substantial deposits of copper, and it could become profitable to do that with a nuclear explosion, and we would invite your observers.
Nixon: First, let me put the matter in context, the reason we proceeded to spend so much time to work out a test ban of this nature. When Dr. Kissinger returned from Moscow in March, he indicated that our friends on the other side had proposed this as an approach to a complete test ban. As far as the details are concerned, I see that the general principles the General Secretary has outlined are ones that we agree upon. The reservation I have here is with respect to the time limit. So we seem to have a meeting of the minds. I would like to have Dr. Kissinger indicate the points he sees we agree on and the points we would like to have the experts work on.
Kissinger: Mr. President, I think the General Secretary made a very constructive proposal. We agree on the threshold.
Nixon: Of 150.
Kissinger: Of 150 kilotons, and we can agree to this formulation, I believe, that both sides will conduct the minimum necessary.
Nixon: "each side agrees ..."
Kissinger: We would have to formulate it but the principle is acceptable. I think also, Mr. President, that the approach of the General Secretary to peaceful nuclear explosions offers an approach to a solution, and is acceptable in principle, but we would have to be more precise in how it works out. We don't have to do it in this room. I believe the principle of the General Secretary's proposal is consistent with your instructions.
We can also accept stating the objective of working toward a comprehensive test ban.
4 See Document 168.
Brezhnev: Something to the effect that the sides agreed to continue talks with a view to achieving a complete test ban.
Kissinger: That we can accept. What we cannot accept is saying that a comprehensive test ban must be accomplished in a certain time period.
Brezhnev: Let us at least say something about the time period for doing it: "To seek to achieve within four years, five years." Let me suggest we write some words like: “The sides agreed to continue a discussion aimed at finding a solution."
Kosygin: Without a time limit.
Nixon: That would be better than putting an unrealistic clause saying we will do it by a certain date. That means that between the two sides it has been discussed—which is true directly—and we will continue our best efforts to reach a comprehensive test ban. If you say, for example, a time of five years from now, it may indicate you may reach a test ban in that time but also means we would delay it until then. So saying we will make our best efforts is a better principle.
Brezhnev: So you see we can reach such an agreement, and that is the substance of an agreement.
Kissinger: And on exchange of information, we will use your two paragraphs.
Brezhnev: Are you prepared to reach such an agreement? Not a protocol, but an agreement?
Kosygin: If we have reached an agreement, we should decide it by an agreement.
Brezhnev: And we will be indicating the exact test sites. These will be in specified areas.
Kissinger: These will certainly be the substance of an agreement. The question is whether we can finish all the protocols in time for signature on Tuesday.
Brezhnev: What details do
Podgorny: Your experts who have been working on it are still here; ours are here. The main thing is to agree on the principles.
Kosygin: Mr. President, we would think it would be in your best interest and ours to have an agreement at this time. It would give you a very strong position in public opinion. So we should do it in two days.
5 July 2.
Nixon: We shouldn't put an unrealistic deadline on drafting. But we could put diplomatic experts on doing the principles now.
Kissinger: What we could do, Mr. President, is: Ambassador Stoessel, who headed our delegation, could work with the Soviet experts this afternoon. If they can agree on all the protocols, we could sign the principles.
Kosygin: That could be worse, just signing principles. Because your experts have been working about a month together. If we hand these principles down to them, I feel sure they could work out the details very quickly. Then we could have a well-balanced document.
Kissinger: Mr. President, I think, if you agree, you could instruct your experts to meet with theirs. We don't have to discuss it abstractly. They have two drafts; we could see how far they can get.
Kosygin: They should.
Kissinger: Then if there is a deadlock, it can be brought to you and the General Secretary. So we will keep the Ambassador here (instead of going to Oreanda), if you agree, Mr. President, and they can report to us tomorrow. And you can make a decision together with the General Secretary whether it is ready for the whole thing or just a general statement.
Brezhnev: Documents of this kind are always elaborated on the basis of decisions at the highest level, but experts always think up 200 problems. So they have to be instructed to stick strictly to the principles we agreed.
Nixon: I agree.
Podgorny: Let the experts draw up the agreement based on these principles.
Nixon: It is important that there be no misunderstanding.
Brezhnev: Agreed. Mediterranean Nuclear Ban
Brezhnev: Now another subject, Mr. President. In March when we met with Dr. Kissinger, I mentioned the possibility of both our nations' agreeing to remove from the Mediterranean submarines and other naval ships carrying atomic weapons. Dr. Kissinger told us he would think it over and give us a reaction later. But so far we have heard nothing from him. We believe an agreement on that subject would offer a good example to the people of other nations and show we are fully resolved to pursue détente. I mention this because we did have a talk.
Kissinger: I remember it.
6 See Document 168.