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K: That was the President's view to make it look as if it came out of your meeting with Gromyko.

R: Gromyko knows about it, does he?

K: Yes. But I didn't tell him [Dobrynin] the details.

R: Why not tell him we think it is tentative at present but I will have final announcement Monday.

K: I think he may think it goes this week, but you may tell him the details on Monday. And we will announce it Monday. The meeting will be Thursday at 11, the President and you on our side and Gromyko and Dobrynin on theirs.

R: Why not play it that way because I think it much better to do it on Monday.

13. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the
President's Assistant for National Security Affairs
(Kissinger) and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near
Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco)1

October 16, 1970, late p.m.

S: Sorry to call so late, but we just finished up.2

K: That's okay; I appreciate your calling.

S: Not at all. First, Henry, what was discussed was topics that are familiar-the Middle East, Indo-China, SALT, Berlin and the Seabeds was just touched upon very, very briefly.

K: Right.

S: On the Middle East, Gromyko dwelled primarily on the nonresponsibility theme-that they weren't responsible; they didn't agree to any of all this.

K: That is, they never agreed to the ceasefire, so it isn't their fault. S: So none of it is their fault. I think you can summarize... All we got into... It got into the question of we made clear the notion of going into the General Assembly is no damn good. The Secretary said

1Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry Kissinger Teleprone Conversation Transcripts, Box 7, Chronological File. No classification marking. All brackets are in the original. Kissinger was in Washington; Sisco was in New York. Reference is to the meeting between Rogers and Gromyko in New York. See also Document 16.

that rectification was required, and each stuck to his own line, in other words. Nobody changed anybody's mind at this point, although we agreed that in the next meeting on Monday, we would pursue the discussion further.

On Berlin, the Secretary made clear that this last proposal of theirs at this last meeting we didn't like the position they took, and again the talk was quite inconclusive, largely the Secretary reiterating the position in terms of how we see it. They, in turn, did the same. But nothing very concrete—no movement one way or the other.

On SALT, just a very, very minimal reference-merely looking towards the beginning of the renewal of the talks and a mutual expression that they would make progress.

On Vietnam, the Secretary started out by saying we had had good worldwide reaction to our proposals; very good unity at home; and took note of the rejection thus far.3 He didn't ask the Russians to do anything specific, but the conversation turned-Gromyko turned the conversation into pressing the Secretary on whether we agreed to a coalition government or not. That if we agreed to a coalition government, why maybe the Russians would be willing to be helpful, in effect. The Secretary handled that, I thought, very well. He said, "Who knows what is meant by a coalition government? What do you mean by a coalition government? The other side, in effect, defines a coalition government to mean 'kick out the present crowd in South Vietnam'," and he concluded by saying that the President had made it clear that whatever propositions that the two parties really agreed to—you know, if they get together, why we could accept whatever they got together on.

So the whole summary of the evening is that there were no changes on either side.

K: What was the general mood?

S: The mood, I would say, not unfriendly; businesslike; frank, straightforward. Every now and then, Gromyko showed some sensitivity over the fact that we had accused them of cheating; said it had caused difficulties in their government. The Secretary responded that this had caused difficulties in our government-their cheating. We don't understand it. On Vietnam, he pressed the Secretary, I thought, very hard on the usual Communist strategy. He said, "Do you include a coalition government?" The Secretary said, "We have said we don't like the word coalition government; we don't know what it means; the other side's defined it in this way; but what we have said is we will go along with any proposal the two really can get along with." "Then

3 See footnote 10, Document 2. North Vietnam formally rejected Nixon's peace proposal on October 14.

you do bar a coalition government”—you know that kind of Communist strategy of boring in. [End of tape]

[Beginning of new tape]

S:... after the meeting.

K: Did you discuss that with them?

S: You mean on the announcement?

K: Yeah.

S: Not in my presence that I recall but, in any event, what... K: Were they alone part of the time?

S: They got off to a corner part of the time, but, Henry, the President's plans are precisely what-I mean the Secretary's plans are precisely those that were indicated by you and the President; namely, that the Secretary would announce that after Monday night's meeting* and not before.

K: Right, as long as the other...

S: There's no misunderstanding on this.

K: No, no; I know you understand it. But do you think the Russians understand it?

S: I'm sure that if they don't understand it at the moment, they will because the Secretary's very clear about it.

K: Well, they wouldn't announce it anyway.

S: No, they wouldn't. That'll work out all right.

K: Okay. Now, how about your doing a little personal memo for me after the second meeting, laying out what you think the President should say, at least in your area.

S: Well, I think we ought to do, if it's agreeable, I think... and also I'll get together with Martin.5 Frankly, we need to give you ... What I'll do... I will cough up and see that the Department as such sends forward a series of talking points on all the key subjects: Vietnam, the Middle East, and on Berlin, and on SALT-just those four.

K: And as much of a summary of what actually was said...

S: Although we'll send you a cable on this and we'll send you a cable on the Monday night meeting. That'll be plenty of time to digest the two cables before Friday night's meeting."

K: Terrific.

S: All right, Henry.

K: Good, many thanks, Joe. You've been a good friend.

* October 19.


October 23.

14. Memorandum of Conversation1

Washington, October 17, 1970, 5 p.m.


Henry A. Kissinger

Ambassador Dobrynin

The meeting came about because Dobrynin called me from New York to say that Gromyko wanted to discuss with me the arrangements for the meeting between the President and Gromyko.2 This had been based on a suggestion by me that, when the President met the most senior Soviet leader he had up to now encountered, there should be no surprises and both sides should know what to expect.

After Dobrynin made some jokes about my attendance at a football game in the afternoon, I asked him how the meeting between Secretary Rogers and Gromyko had gone the day before. Dobrynin told me the main topics of conversation which paralleled what Sisco had already told me.*


He said on the Middle East there wasn't much new. Both sides restated their familiar positions and it was at a deadlock.

1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 490, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1970, Vol. 2. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting was held in the Map Room at the White House. According to Kissinger's Record of Schedule, the meeting lasted until 7:15 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1969–76) Kissinger recalled in his memoirs that this meeting with Dobrynin "turned somewhat acrimonious." "In addition to his customary litany of American errors," he wrote, "[Dobrynin] said that Gromyko had come to find out whether we had made a decision to adopt a hard line. I told him that he would find the President prepared to explore the prospects of a happier future.” (Kissinger, White House Years, p. 793)

2 Dobrynin, who was with Gromyko in New York for the session of the United Nations General Assembly, called Kissinger at 12:17 p.m. on October 14. "On the big question," Dobrynin reported, "he [Gromyko] is prepared to discuss the question we discussed together-summit." During a subsequent telephone conversation at 1:40 p.m., the two men who had in the meantime consulted their superiors-agreed to schedule the meeting between Nixon and Gromyko for 11 am on October 22. Kissinger also reminded Dobrynin: "The other thing is on the big subject you said he would raise, we would prefer your not discussing it prior to meetings you will have." (Memorandum from Haig to Sonnenfeldt, October 14; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 71, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Gromyko, 1970) The "other thing" was presumably a summit announcement. As Haldeman recorded in his diary: "Plan is for P[resident] to meet Gromyko [on] the 22nd, then announce Summit for next year on the 29th. Another good maneuver before elections." (Diary entry, October 14; Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition)

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On Berlin, he had the impression that the Secretary didn't really understand the subject very well. Gromyko had stated the Soviet position which was that they did not object to economic ties but did object to political ties to West Germany. He said Rogers had let the matter simply pass and there had then been a desultory exchange between Rush and Abrasimov.

There had been very little on the European Security Conference.

On Vietnam, Gromyko had probed to find out whether we had any interest in a coalition but he had found out from the Secretary that there was no real progress to be made in that direction. Dobrynin said the reason for this probe was not because the Soviet Union wanted to interject itself into the negotiations but because they would undoubtedly be asked by the North Vietnamese what our position was and they wanted to make absolutely sure. They had been told by the North Vietnamese that the only thing that they were interested in was a coalition government.

I said we shouldn't play games with each other. They weren't asking for a coalition government; they were asking for a thinly-veiled takeover. They wanted to determine the membership of the PRG contingent in a coalition government and have a veto over the two components-from the Saigon administration and from the other element. They would accomplish this by saying that they had to stand for freedom, peace, independence, and neutrality. But only they knew what peace, independence, and neutrality meant. They also gave themselves another out by saying "genuinely" standing for peace, independence and neutrality. Dobrynin said I might not believe this but the Soviet Union genuinely had no interest in exacerbating the relationship but they also knew that they had no real influence with the North Vietnamese. Therefore, they were functioning primarily as a communication contact. I said I felt they had some influence but I wasn't going to press the subject.

We then turned to the meeting between the President and the Foreign Minister. I asked Dobrynin with what mood Gromyko was going to come to the meeting. Was it going to be a list of recriminations or were we going to be in a constructive mood? Dobrynin said that Gromyko's basic thrust was going to be to try to find out where we might go from here rather than looking into the past. I said this was our attitude, too, and I wanted them to know that our speech at the United Nations would be very conciliatory. Dobrynin said theirs probably would not be since the decisions had been made three weeks ago and since the Soviet Union felt it had to reply to the charges that had been made against it. I said they were the best judges of their own speeches but it would not create the best possible framework. Dobrynin said he would transmit this to Gromyko.

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