Page images

signs that they are determined-or able-to disrupt the negotiations at this point. There was not a single complaint this time about US unilateralism and exclusion of the Soviet Union. He seemed eager to try to find out from me the detailed specifics and he wants to assure the Soviets participate in the ‘finalization' of the disengagement agreement at Geneva. My own assessment is that we will have a murderous time in Syria and that we may well fail.

“On other subjects, we reviewed the status of a number of bilateral US-Soviet agreements for the Summit—including arms control and technical cooperation matters. We agreed they were on course. On SALT, I would talk to Dobrynin once I got back from my trip. I reiterated what our concerns were.

“We sketched out a rough scenario for moving ahead with the European Security Conference. The Soviets are willing to agree to some beefed-up language in the section of the final declaration regarding human contacts; this would go far to satisfying the West Europeans. Gromyko and I agreed that a third country (such as Finland) should be invited to submit some pre-agreed language to the Conference."

180. Letter From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President


Moscow, May 15, 1974.

Dear Mr. President:

As your new visit to the Soviet Union is approaching, we shall have, probably, more often than once, to exchange ideas with you on the most important questions which will be the subject of discussions also at our personal meeting.

In this case I decided to dwell upon one of the issues of that very nature—the Middle East problem.

After the last October events I have already set forth to you in detail

my thoughts regarding the Middle East affairs through our Ambassador in Washington, and also in the talks with Mr. Kissinger during

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 23, May-June 1974. No classification marking. Sent under a covering May 15 memorandum from Dobrynin to Scowcroft. A note at the top of the covering memorandum reads, "Hand delivered by Yuri Babenko, 5/15/74—7:40 p.m."

his visit to Moscow last March.? Our appraisal of the state of affairs with the Middle East settlement was given also in Mr. A.A. Gromyko's talks with you personally and with Mr. Kissinger, including those very recent ones when they met in Geneva and on the Cyprus. We regard positively those meetings in general, considering that they demonstrate the desire of the sides to search for mutually acceptable solutions of the questions under discussion.

Presently, I would like to somehow summarize the exchange of opinion that has taken place up to now on the Middle East problem and to express a couple of thoughts on possible further steps in the interests of speediest achievement of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East.

It seems, that not only you and we, but also the whole world is well aware of the fact that due, first of all, to the agreed actions of our two countries last October it was possible to provide for not simply the cease-fire in the Middle East, but also the convocation of the Geneva peace conference on the Middle East under the auspices of the USSR and the US which are the co-chairmen of that conference.

Unfortunately, after generally not a bad start of the Geneva Conference its further deliberations as well as the cause of a peaceful settlement in the Middle East turned out to be actually paralysed. It was not once said before why it had happened, and there is no need, apparently, to repeat it again.

By now, as a result of latest exchanges of opinion there exists, as we believe, an understanding between the Soviet and American sides on the following important points:

1. The US and the Soviet Union are ready to act on an agreed basis in solving all the questions of the Middle East settlement.

2. As soon as an acceptable to Syria basis for an agreement with Israel on troops disengagement appears, the negotiations aimed at finalizing the agreement on that matter should be transferred to the respective working committee of Geneva Conference with the participation of the representatives of the USSR and the USA in the work of that committee.

3. The full volume of work of the Geneva Conference on considering and resolving the key issues of the Middle East settlement should be resumed in the nearest future.

The existence of such an understanding on the further way of actions by the USSR and the USA in the Middle East naturally causes satisfaction, but with one reservation: if what we have agreed upon is going to be carried out in practice.

2 See Document 167. 3 See Documents 174, 176, 177, and 178.

I paid attention to the fact that it turned out inconvenient for the US side to have even a short meeting of our Foreign Ministers in the capital of an Arab state-Damascus although President Assad of Syria and ourselves were prepared to do that. Frankly, we were somewhat surprised at that. If we are in agreement with you that our joint efforts should be directed at solving the Middle East problems, then it would appear even more useful for the representatives of the two powers to meet for an exchange of views in the very area, which is the subject of our common concern.

In our view, the most important thing now—and may be even more so than ever before—is for our two countries to bring about a real and sufficiently speedy progress in peaceful settlement in the Middle East, consistently adhering to the actually gained understanding, through joint efforts and, naturally, in contact with other appropriate countries.

I shall not, Mr. President, tell you again, how dangerous it would be, from our point of view, to continue the present situation in the area. I shall not do that only because quite enough has already been said about it, and not because our position on that matter has changed.

If I were to speak again about the substance of the Middle East problem, then inevitably the question would be of the heart of this problem, to which we not once returned in our talks and in our correspondence. This is the question of the vacating by Israel of all the Arab lands occupied in 1967 and later.

We are convinced, on our part, that given mutual desire of our two countries, and we have it, it is completely realistic to achieve substantial progress in the elimination of the most dangerous source of tension in the Middle East by the time of your visit to the the Soviet Union.

I would like to hope, Mr. President, that you are of the same opinion and that the US, on its part, will do everything possible so that at the meeting with you we could sum up what has been done on the Middle East settlement, and not speak again about the dangers of the situation in that area.


L. Brezhney+

4 Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

[blocks in formation]

This National Intelligence Analytical Memorandum addresses the Soviet conception of détente, the factors which commend a détente approach to the Soviet leaders, the dangers they see in it for themselves, and its durability as a general framework for Soviet international behavior. It discusses the relationship between détente and the USSR's major foreign policies, but does not attempt a detailed analysis of each of these individual policies. Principal Conclusions?

A. The USSR sees in détente the international atmosphere best suited to maximizing the power and security of the Soviet state and its influence abroad. Soviet leaders neither expect nor intend their "peace program" to end rivalry with the outside world, but rather to set prudent limits on that rivalry in the nuclear age and allow for greater Soviet policy maneuver.

B. For the Soviets, détente is at least as much a need as a choice. The major contributing factors include: the necessity to avoid nuclear war and, by extension, to manage local crises with great care; the problem of coping with Chinese hostility; a need for Western capital and technology; opportunities to have the USSR's superpower status recognized and to consolidate its hegemony in Eastern Europe; and the chance to inhibit Western military programs without accepting corresponding limits on those of the USSR.

C. Pursuit of détente also raises problems for the Soviets at home and abroad: the problem of maintaining internal discipline in a more relaxed international atmosphere; possible erosion of Soviet control in Eastern Europe; and complications in relations with client states and within the international communist movement. These problems do not appear critical at the moment.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, NIC Files, Job 79-R01012A. Secret; Controlled Dissem. A note on the original indicates the paper was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury, and the National Security Agency and was concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board, except as noted in notes in the text.

2 The Director of Naval Intelligence and the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Air Force, believe that this Memorandum, as a whole, does not stress sufficiently Soviet use of détente as a tool of external policy designed to expand Soviet power and influence in the world. [Footnote in the original.]

D. Brezhnev and the détente approach seem well entrenched, but both must sustain a defensible record of accomplishment. Foreign policy setbacks of a magnitude to bring the overall détente approach into question would pose a challenge to Brezhnev's position. He would probably be able to head off such a challenge by initiating some policy shifts. But if these setbacks were to coincide with serious domestic difficulties, he might not be able to carry off such a maneuver.

E. While Soviet leadership changes are likely over the next few years, successors will face much the same set of opportunities and imperatives. After some hiatus for domestic political consolidation, they will probably be predisposed by Soviet national interests to look favorably on a détente approach.

F. The most durable elements of the Soviet détente approach are the drive for expanded economic relations and the avoidance of threat and challenge in relations with the highly developed countries. Barring a radical change in Sino-Soviet relations, which we think unlikely, the rivalry with China will also serve to keep Moscow on this track. But some easing of this conflict, perhaps after Mao's passing, could reduce Soviet incentives to pursue détente.

G. In the Middle East, the USSR is concerned to regain lost ground and hopes to do so at the more difficult later stages of Arab-Israeli negotiations. In any crisis within the next year or so, if Moscow were forced to make a clear choice between détente and its regional interests, the chances are better than even that, within the requirement of avoiding a confrontation with the US, the USSR would be willing to risk a setback to détente.

H. Soviet relations with the US are central to the future of détente, and arms control negotiations are central to those relations. While Soviet policy does not allow for a collapse of MBFR and SALT, Moscow still appears to be searching hard for advantage in these talks, and would like to believe that this behavior does not threaten other Soviet interests bound up in détente.

I. In the meantime, the USSR continues to pursue ambitious military programs. These extend beyond its vigorous ICBM development efforts to embrace many other weapon systems as well.

J. While the Soviet balance sheet on détente is becoming more complicated, the leaders will prefer to deal with various problems in pragmatic fashion, and to keep détente as a whole from coming into question. Even if only partial gains are realized, Moscow will not choose


« PreviousContinue »