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Release of Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Vol. XII, Soviet Union, Announced

Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
United States Department of State
December 15, 2006

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XII, Soviet Union, January 1969-October 1970, the first of five volumes in the Nixon-Ford subseries, 1969-1976, which document U.S.-Soviet relations worldwide and reflect the global nature of the Cold War. The volumes on the Soviet Union serve as a guidepost to fuller coverage of topics in other Foreign Relations volumes where U.S.-Soviet interests intersected. Extensive use of extracts and editorial notes highlighting and summarizing related material in other volumes in the subseries that impact on U.S.-Soviet relations, provides a core history of the Cold War for this period, as seen through the prism of U.S.-Soviet global relations. The volume released today begins with the initial contacts between Nixon administration appointees and Soviet officials in January 1969, and ends with the resolution of a dispute over a Soviet attempt to establish a submarine base in Cienfuegos Bay, Cuba, in early October 1970, in contravention of Washington’s view of the U.S.-USSR understanding that ended the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

The core of the volume is the full U.S. record from January 1969 to October 1970 of the secret, private channel of dialogue and negotiation between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry A. Kissinger, and the Soviet Ambassador in Washington, Anatoly F. Dobrynin. The documents presented in the volume highlight U.S.-Soviet confrontation and collaboration in global conflicts, including U.S.-Soviet interaction in the negotiations for a Middle East peace settlement, the role that the United States expected the Soviet Union to play in ending the Vietnam war, the U.S. response to the Sino-Soviet border dispute, and the concern over the effect Soviet nuclear strategic developments, such as the SS-9 intercontinental ballistic missile, would have on the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.

The volume illustrates the possibilities and limitations of President Nixon’s policy of linking the resolution of certain issues with improvements in U.S.-Soviet relations. The volume covers the Nixon administration’s search for a formula for peace in the Middle East, which linked Soviet cooperation in the region with broader U.S.-USSR relations. The Nixon administration’s campaign to engage the Soviet Union, in order to moderate North Vietnamese behavior, was also tied to improvements in U.S.-USSR relations. U.S. willingness to participate in talks on limiting strategic nuclear forces was also part of this linkage policy. In the Kissinger-Dobrynin private exchanges, the Nixon-Kissinger policy of linkage is most evident. The preponderance of documents in the volume generated by Henry Kissinger and his National Security Council staff also reflects the increasingly central role that Kissinger played in the formulation of policy toward the Soviet Union. Although this volume does not contain any Nixon presidential tape recordings (the tapes did not begin until February 1971), it relies heavily on transcripts of Kissinger’s telephone conversations, as well as a broad range of documents from the Nixon Presidential Materials, the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Haldeman Diaries, and the Kissinger papers.

The volume and this press release are available at the Office of the Historian website at Copies of this volume can be purchased from the U.S. Government Printing Office at (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

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