American Diplomacy
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December 2006

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Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971-May 1972

Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
United States Department of State

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971-May 1972. This volume is the third of five Nixon-Ford volumes to be published on the Soviet Union. Such extended coverage of Washington's relations with its super-power rival during the Cold War is a departure for the Foreign Relations series. This volume and the four other volumes on the Soviet Union for the sub-series 1969 to 1976 document a key transitional period of the Cold War, as seen through the prism of U.S.-Soviet relations. The volume begins with the announcement in October 1971 of President Nixon's visit to the Soviet Union and ends with the Moscow summit in May 1972. It presents the record of U.S.-Soviet cooperation and confrontation in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It documents U.S.-Soviet interaction in the crisis over South Asia; the beginning of secret White House-Kremlin negotiations for a Middle East settlement; the U.S. expectations of the Soviet role in a settlement of the Vietnam war, the consequences of the emergence of West Germany and China as factors in U.S.-Soviet relations, as well as the impact of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) on those relations; and the most important U.S.-Soviet bilateral issues. It highlights the crucial effect on U.S.-Soviet relations of the North Vietnamese spring offensive and the U.S. bombing of Hanoi and mining of Haiphong, and the threat that the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam posed to the Moscow summit. The volume presents the complete U.S. record of the private channel between Assistant to the President Henry Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, a full account of Kissinger's secret trip to Moscow in April 1972, and a complete record of Nixon's visit to the Soviet Union in May 1972. The volume relies heavily on the Nixon tapes and prints many transcripts of them.

The last chapter of the volume presents an hour-by-hour account of the immediate preparations for, and the course of, the Moscow summit, through extensive and virtually verbatim American documentation. Included are the formal briefing papers, informal strategy discussions among the President's inner circle, last minute discussions between Dobrynin and Kissinger, and multiple memoranda of conversation between the President and Brezhnev, as well as between other U.S. and Soviet officials in Moscow. The result is a complete U.S. record of the Moscow summit. While the talks covered the full range of U.S.-Soviet issues, the summit's most important result was the signature of a SALT agreement. Also signed were less significant bilateral agreements between Moscow and Washington. Although it often seemed as if the summit would collapse, this first visit of a U.S. President to the Soviet Union was a success, and played a key role in furthering détente with the Soviet Union.

The volume and this press release are available at the Office of the Historian website at http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/xx. Copies of this volume can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at http://bookstore.gpo.gov (GPO stock number 044-000-02582-5; ISBN 0-16-076696-6). For further information, contact Edward Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663-1131 or by email to history@state.gov.

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