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Kissinger Ford, Memorandum of Conversation, 1974

DATE & TIME: Sunday - November 24, 1974 1:40 - 2:05 p. m.
PLACE: Okeanskaya Sanatorium Near Vladivostok
SUBJECT: Nuclear War


Secretary Brezhnev: Under the treaty we would each agree not to use nuclear weapons against anyone.

President Ford: They would be defensive only?

Brezhnev: Yes. I agree to Dr. Kissinger continuing with subsequent discussions. My concept is related to any use of nuclear weapons. What is the difference whether they are tactical or strategic? Because in either case there would be a nuclear war, and we want to prevent that.

Ford: I asked because I wanted to know if it were a tactical nuclear attack whether it would be an "all-force reaction”, and I wondered whether the response to different kinds of attack should be different. That is of some importance.

Brezhnev: The important thing is not to have a nuclear attack on us or our allies. If we entered this kind of an arrangement, nuclear war would be impossible for decades to come. The basic thing is to talk the general concept. We can then work on the details and go into it deeper...

Ford: We do want to prevent nuclear war, and your country and mine have a great responsibility. We should talk further. Meanwhile, I think we should make a major effort to get the laggards to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. There are some laggards.

Brezhnev: I fully agree.

Ford: Let’s have it between Dr. Kissinger and your Ambassador to work on that.

Brezhnev: We are putting the Non-Proliferation Treaty into the communique. Let's think about it little by little. It should be discussed energetically.

[The private conversation ended and the principals rejoined the larger meeting. ]

"Ford, Kissinger, USSR Leader Leonid Brezhnev - November 24, 1974." Memorandum of Conversation-November 24, 1974. Gerald Ford Library, n.d. Web.

The interactions detailed in the memorandum above are BEST understood in the context of which of the following?


A mutual reluctance to agree upon nuclear arms reductions amid heightened United States/Soviet tensions.


A continuation of détente and a spirit of concern for eliminating any possibility of nuclear war.


An impassioned rejection of alliance-building so that both the Warsaw Pact and NATO might be abolished.


A Soviet push to see the stipulations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altered so as to allow defensive weapons systems.

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