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Secretary Kissinger: Let's separate the number of missiles from the number of MIRVed. You lumped them together.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: All right. Separate them.
Secretary Kissinger: In the agreement, there are 1054 ICBMs and 656 submarine missiles. You have the right to 1409 and 950, which is 2359.
This is incontrovertible. We are entitled to 1710. By our proposal, by 1980 we would have 1000 instead of 1054, and we would have 728 instead of 656. Making a total of 18 missiles gained. In terms of missiles.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Missiles.
Secretary Kissinger: We're not accumulating the 54; we're destroying 54.
Ambassador Dobrynin: The only question he asks is, if it's the agreement as it is now, and a prolongation, you're saying we should just forget the letter. If you just held to 41, you wouldn't have to ask us.
Secretary Kissinger: If we held to 41, we would still keep 54 Titans. We can still get Tridents under the Interim Agreement by giving up Polaris.
Ambassador Dobrynin: Right. But for two Tridents, not three. Then there is the separate case my Minister made about MIRVs.
Secretary Kissinger: That's separate.
Ambassador Dobrynin: But you would have 2500 warheads, as he showed.
Secretary Kissinger: But your warheads are bigger.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Yes, but if you believe the obligation regarding 54 will cease to operate after 1980, that's wrong. Because if we prolong the agreement, we have to prolong it in its entirety. Otherwise, it's like buying a horse and you find yourself holding the bridle and the horseshoes but the horse isn't there.
Let's try to understand each other in matters of substance. I see that here the matter lies not in the distribution of figures or how you read the figures but in the desire on your part to alter the material substance. It is a different approach in principle. We propose that the agreement be prolonged in its entirety, with an additional document.
Secretary Kissinger: We consider this change a very minor modification of the agreement; it does not go to the material substance of the agreement.
Ambassador Dobrynin: How can you treat it as additional correction? You just seem to want another Trident. If you wanted a correction just on MIRVs, that would be easier.
Secretary Kissinger: I understand. If we widen the gap on MIRVS, we could hold to the existing agreement.
I think both our General Staffs won't allow a ban in an agreement on something they don't want to do anyway! All hell breaks loose when this is even suggested.
On MIRVs, we're making a very considerable concession. We could build more Tridents; and we could MIRV 500 more ICBMs. On the other hand, if the gap in MIRVs is larger, then we don't have to play around with the Interim Agreement.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Well, I think we have understood each other very well. There is no misunderstanding here; it's simply that there are different approaches. Joint Statement
[Korniyenko comes in. Secretary Kissinger discusses the draft of the communiqué with Sonnenfeldt. Korniyenko confers with Gromyko. Sonnenfeldt goes over to the piano and rewrites the draft communiqué. In the meantime Dobrynin and Kissinger confer at length on the SALT figures; Korniyenko confers with Gromyko on the communiqué. The Soviet draft is then given to Secretary Kissinger.)
Foreign Minister Gromyko: There is one phrase in this document which we consider invaluable (about joint action in the Middle East). We use this around the table but for some reason you don't want to tell others about it.
Secretary Kissinger: It's because of the great difficulties we'll have this week, quite frankly.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Because we don't see from what quarter difficulties will come. Syria and Egypt are in favor; Israel seems to accept Soviet participation. Who objects? Salvador? Panama?
Secretary Kissinger: No, Israel. What we've agreed to today amounts to this-Bunker and Vinogradov meeting in Geneva, convening the Geneva Conference all this has the same objective consequence.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: That's what we say in the small group, but not to others?
Secretary Kissinger: It would be suicidal.
I in myself.
Secretary Kissinger: No. Let's save it for another meeting. It is not objected to in principle.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Let's say: "Both sides expressed themselves in favor of resuming the work of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East in the shortest possible time." No dates would be
mentioned. We understand it would be actually difficult to resume it before disengagement, but we can say it.
Secretary Kissinger: "Within the shortest appropriate time."?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Our formula is: “Both sides expressed themselves in favor of resuming the work of the Geneva Peace Conference on the Middle East in the shortest possible time."
Secretary Kissinger: Why don't we say: “At an early date."?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: As I see it, we understand each other well enough (on SALT), and there is no misunderstanding here. Nothing changes according to what end you start listing your figures from. You are altering the material content of the agreement, but what we're talking about is prolonging it, and changing it only by an additional protocol or something.
Secretary Kissinger: I understand this. I explained to your Ambassador why for us to accept figures of 1100 or 1200 is a major concession for us. I won't go into it now; he can write it down for the consideration of your colleagues. It is a concession not only regarding MIRVs but also regarding types of missiles. If we do it, it will be less like the ones we have now and more like the ones you've tested so successfully recently.
I understand your concerns on the Interim Agreement. We have to study whether by changing the replacement formulation [i.e., using the time when submarines become operational rather than the beginning of sea trials] we can accomplish the same result as we sought in the formulation we gave you. But we are sincerely attempting to limit the escalation that is sure to take place.
We will be in touch with you shortly after I return. Hal (Sonnenfeldt] and Bill (Hyland), you and Lodal will do the studies. Joint Statement
[Sisco comes in and Kissinger confers with him and Sonnenfeldt on the Joint Statement.)
Secretary Kissinger: We can accept that sentence on the Geneva Conference. When should we release it?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: There is another phrase here, a correction I want to make on the European Conference. Put a full stop after “Europe," and add: “Both sides confirmed their positions in favor of its successful completion as soon as possible."
Secretary Kissinger: All right. On the basis of non-reciprocity!
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Also, somewhere in the beginningwe can polish it—we should say something like: “Both Ministers, on behalf of their countries," or better, "Both sides expressed the determination to act along the course which was taken, especially which found expression in the results of the past meetings on the highest level, to develop their relations, which would be in accordance with the fundamental interests of their peoples as well as in accordance with the interests of world peace.”
Secretary Kissinger: I accept it. Sonnenfeldt can put it into even more elegant English. [Laughter] I said "even." I accept the one on the (European] Conference too. But both need a little polishing. Let Sonnenfeldt do it. Both are accepted in substance.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Let Sonnenfeldt and Korniyenko do it.
[They go off and redraft.] SALT
Foreign Minister Gromyko: I have one final question regarding your last remarks on SALT. What version do you have in mind? Are you referring to 1100–1200, or to what you said to Ambassador Dobrynin on the increase of 84 missiles by 1983? You can get in touch with us.
Secretary Kissinger: In light of your considerations, we had better think in terms of 1980 rather than 1983. I can tell you your proposal of 1100–1000 can't be accepted. It means a reduction of our program; there is no real equivalence.
Let me give you my impression of what you have said. Our impression from what you said is that we have suggested two categories of changes—one in the numbers we presented to the General Secretary and one in the numbers of the Interim Agreement.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: Yes.
Secretary Kissinger: You find it difficult to discuss both changes simultaneously.
Foreign Minister Gromyko: (Laughter] They are difficult to be considered taken separately too!
Secretary Kissinger: I understand your point. Let us see whether we can-in terms of replacement, the categories in the Interim Agreement, and modifications of the MIRV numbers—come up with a scheme that we might be prepared to sign. I'll let the Ambassador know within days of my return. Maybe if we meet again, I'll have a preliminary view.
Now what time should we release this?
Foreign Minister Gromyko: I said "any time" but it would be better if it is in our morning papers tomorrow.
Secretary Kissinger: Then why not on the plane?
[The text of the Joint Statement as agreed upon is at Tab B." It was released on the aircraft enroute to Algiers, and the Secretary briefed the press on its contents on the aircraft.
5 Attached but not printed. For the text of the joint statement issued on April 29, see Department of State Bulletin, June 24, 1974, p. 677.
6 Kissinger sent a report of his meetings to Nixon through Scowcroft. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Country Files-Europe-USSR, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 22, January-April 1974)
179. Memorandum From the President's Deputy Assistant for
National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to President Nixon?
Washington, May 8, 1974.
Following is Secretary Kissinger's report of his meeting with Gromyko.
“I spent three hours with Gromyko today (Tuesday) in Nicosia, almost exclusively dealing with the Middle East.2
"Gromyko reiterated the standard Soviet position that disengagement will leave the area in a state of tension unless it is clearly linked to achievement of a final settlement. He stressed Soviet support for Syria's demands. However, his presentation confirmed our own judgment that the principal issue for the Syrians is Kuneitra and that if they get it, the negotiation with Syria has a chance of succeeding. I made the point firmly to him several times that the US and USSR would inflame the situation if we tried to compete with each other in backing the maximum demands of the two sides. He assured me the Soviet Union did not want the area in a state of tension.
“In short, while I believe we probably cannot expect the Soviets to be particularly helpful on the Syrian negotiations, I do not see serious
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 23, May-June 1974. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information.
2 The May 7 memorandum of conversation is ibid.