Richard Nixon photo

Joint Communique‚ Following Discussions With Soviet Leaders.

May 29, 1972

BY MUTUAL agreement between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the President of the United States and Mrs. Richard Nixon paid an official visit to the Soviet Union from May 22 to May 30, 1972. The President was accompanied by Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Assistant to the President Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, and other American officials. During his stay in the USSR President Nixon visited, in addition to Moscow, the cities of Leningrad and Kiev.

President Nixon and L. I. Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, N. V. Podgorny, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, and A. N. Kosygin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR conducted talks on fundamental problems of American-Soviet relations and the current international situation.

Also taking part in the conversations were:

On the American side: William P. Rogers, Secretary of State; Jacob D. Beam, American Ambassador to the USSR; Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; Peter M. Flanigan, Assistant to the President; and Martin J. Hillenbrand, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

On the Soviet side: A. A. Gromyko, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR; N. S. Patolichev, Minister of Foreign Trade; V. V. Kuznetsov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR; A. F. Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador to the USA; A.M. Aleksandrov, Assistant to the General Secretary of the Central Committee, CPSU; G. M. Korniyenko, Member of the Collegium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.

The discussions covered a wide range of questions of mutual interest and were frank and thorough. They defined more precisely those areas where there are prospects for developing greater cooperation between the two countries, as well as those areas where the positions of the two Sides are different.


Guided by the desire to place US-Soviet relations on a more stable and constructive foundation, and mindful of their responsibilities for maintaining world peace and for facilitating the relaxation of international tension, the two Sides adopted a document entitled: "Basic Principles of Mutual Relations between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics," signed on behalf of the US by President Nixon and on behalf of the USSR by General Secretary Brezhnev.

Both Sides are convinced that the provisions of that document open new possibilities for the development of peaceful relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the USA and the USSR.

Having considered various areas of bilateral US-Soviet relations, the two Sides agreed that an improvement of relations is possible and desirable. They expressed their firm intention to act in accordance with the provisions set forth in the above-mentioned document.

As a result of progress made in negotiations which preceded the summit meeting, and in the course of the meeting itself, a number of significant agreements were reached. This will intensify bilateral cooperation in areas of common concern as ;veil as in areas relevant to the cause of peace and international cooperation.


The two Sides gave primary attention to the problem of reducing the danger of nuclear war. They believe that curbing the competition in strategic arms will make a significant and tangible contribution to this cause.

The two Sides attach great importance to the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and the Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms concluded between them.1

1 The texts of the treaty and the interim agreement and protocol are printed in United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (23 UST 3435 and 3462). On May 26, 1972, the White House also released a fact sheet, a statement by Press Secretary Ziegler, and the transcripts of two news briefings on the treaty and the interim agreement. One of the news briefings was held by Dr. Kissinger and Ambassador Gerard C. Smith, Director, United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; and the other by Press Secretary Ziegler and Leonid M. Zamyatin, Director General, TASS. Mr. Ziegler's statement and Dr. Kissinger's news briefing are printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 929). On May 27, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing 'by Dr. Kissinger on the same subjects. It is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 932).

These agreements, which were concluded as a result of the negotiations in Moscow, constitute a major step towards curbing and ultimately ending the arms race.

They are a concrete expression of the intention of the two Sides to contribute to the relaxation of international tension and the strengthening of confidence between states, as well as to carry out the obligations assumed by them in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Article VI). Both Sides are convinced that the achievement of the above agreements is a practical step towards saving mankind from the threat of the outbreak of nuclear war. Accordingly, it corresponds to the vital interests of the American and Soviet peoples as well as to the vital interests of all other peoples.

The two Sides intend to continue active negotiations for the limitation of strategic offensive arms and to conduct them in a spirit of goodwill, respect for each other's legitimate interests and observance of the principle of equal security.

Both Sides are also convinced that the agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of Outbreak of Nuclear War Between the USA and the USSR, signed in Washington on September 30, 1971, serves the interests not only of the Soviet and American peoples, but of all mankind.


Both Sides agreed on measures designed to establish more favorable conditions for developing commercial and other economic ties between the USA and the USSR. The two Sides agree that realistic conditions exist for increasing economic ties. These ties should develop on the basis of mutual benefit and in accordance with generally accepted international practice.

Believing that these aims would be served by conclusion of a trade agreement between the USA and the USSR, the two Sides decided to complete in the near future the work necessary to conclude such an agreement. They agreed on the desirability of credit arrangements to develop mutual trade and of early efforts to resolve other financial and economic issues. It was agreed that a lend-lease settlement will be negotiated concurrently with a trade agreement.

In the interests of broadening and facilitating commercial ties between the two countries, and to work out specific arrangements, the two Sides decided to create a US-Soviet Joint Commercial Commission. Its first meeting will be held in Moscow in the summer of 1972.

Each Side will help promote the establishment of effective working arrangements between organizations and firms of both countries and encouraging the conclusion of long-term contracts.


The two Sides agreed to continue the negotiations aimed at reaching an agreement on maritime and related matters. They, believe that such an agreement would mark a positive step in facilitating the expansion of commerce between the United States and the Soviet Union.

An Agreement was concluded between the two Sides on measures to prevent incidents at sea and in air space over it between vessels and aircraft of the US and Soviet Navies.2 By providing agreed procedures for ships and aircraft of the two navies operating in close proximity, this agreement will diminish the chances of dangerous accidents.

2 The text of the agreement is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 922). On May 25, 1972, the White House also released a fact sheet and the transcript of a news briefing on the agreement. Participants in the news briefing were John W. Warner, Secretary of the Navy, and Herbert S. Okun, Deputy Country Director (USSR), Department of State.



It was recognized that the cooperation now underway in areas such as atomic energy research, space research, health and other fields benefits both nations and has contributed positively to their over-all relations. It was agreed that increased scientific and technical cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and shared effort for common goals is in the interest of both nations and would contribute to a further improvement in their bilateral relations. For these purposes the two Sides signed an agreement for cooperation in the fields of science and technology.3 A US-Soviet Joint Commission on Scientific and Technical Cooperation will be created for identifying and establishing cooperative programs.

3 The text of the agreement on science and technology Ks printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 921 ). On May 24, the White House released fact sheets and the transcript of a news briefing on the science and technology agreement, as well as the agreement on cooperation in space. Participants in the news briefing were Vladimir Kirillin, Soviet Chairman, Committee for Science and Technology, and Soviet Academician Boris Petroy.


Having in mind the role played by the US and the USSR in the peaceful exploration of outer space, both Sides emphasized the importance of further bilateral cooperation in this sphere. In order to increase the safety of man's flights in outer space and the future prospects of joint scientific experiments, the two Sides agreed to make suitable arrangements to permit the docking of American and Soviet spacecraft and stations.4 The first joint docking experiment of the two countries' piloted spacecraft, with visits by astronauts and cosmonauts to each other's spacecraft, is contemplated for 1975. The planning and implementation of this flight will be carried out by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the USSR Academy of Sciences, according to principles and procedures developed through mutual consultations.

4 The text of the agreement on cooperation in space is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 920).


The two Sides concluded an agreement on health cooperation which marks a fruitful beginning of sharing knowledge about, and collaborative attacks on, the common enemies, disease and disability.5 The initial research efforts of the program will concentrate on health problems important to the whole world--cancer, heart diseases, and the environmental health sciences. This cooperation subsequently will be broadened to include other health problems of mutual interest. The two Sides pledged their full support for the health cooperation program and agreed to continue the active participation of the two governments in the work of international organizations in the health field.

5 The text of the agreement is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 919). On May 23, the White House released a fact sheet and the transcripts of two news briefings on the agreement. Participants in the first news briefing were Elliot L. Richardson, Secretary, Dr. Merlin K. DuVal, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and Dr. Roger O. Egeberg, Special Consultant to the President; and, in the second, were Boris V. Petrovsky, Soviet Minister of Health, and Dgermen Gvishiany, Soviet Deputy Chief, Committee for Science and Technology.


The two Sides agreed to initiate a program of cooperation in the protection and enhancement of man's environment.6 Through joint research and joint measures, the United States and the USSR hope to contribute to the preservation of a healthful environment in their countries and throughout the world. Under the new agreement on environmental cooperation there will be consultations in the near future in Moscow on specific cooperative projects.

6 The text of the agreement is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 917). On May 23, the White House released a fact sheet and the transcripts of two news briefings on the agreement. Participants in the first news briefing were Russell E. Train, Chairman, and Gordon J. F. MacDonald, member, Council on Environmental Quality; and, in the second, were Mr. Petrovsky and Mr. Gvishiany. On September 11, the White House released a fact sheet on the agreement and the transcript of a news briefing on a meeting with the President to discuss upcoming meetings in Moscow of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. joint committee on implementation of the agreement. The news briefing was held by Chairman Train, head of the United States delegation to the U.S.--U.S.S.R. joint committee.



Both Sides note the importance of the Agreement on Exchanges and Cooperation in Scientific, Technical, Educational, Cultural, and Other Fields in 1972-1973, signed in Moscow on April 11, 1972. Continuation and expansion of bilateral exchanges in these fields will lead to better understanding and help improve the general state of relations between the two countries. Within the broad framework provided by this Agreement the two Sides have agreed to expand the areas of cooperation, as reflected in new agreements concerning space, health, the environment and science and technology.

The US side, noting the existence of an extensive program of English language instruction in the Soviet Union, indicated its intention to encourage Russian language programs in the United States.



In the course of the discussions on the international situation, both Sides took note of favorable developments in the relaxation of tensions in Europe.

Recognizing the importance to world peace of developments in Europe, where both World Wars originated, and mindful of the responsibilities and commitments which they share with other powers under appropriate agreements, the USA and the USSR intend to make further efforts to ensure a peaceful future for Europe, free of tensions, crises and conflicts.

They agree that the territorial integrity of all states in Europe should be respected.

Both Sides view the September 3, 1971 Quadripartite Agreement relating to the Western Sectors of Berlin as a good example of fruitful cooperation between the states concerned, including the USA and the USSR. The two Sides believe that the implementation of that agreement in the near future, along with other steps, will further improve the European situation and contribute to the necessary trust among states.

Both Sides welcomed the treaty between the USSR and the Federal Republic of Germany signed on August 12, 1970. They noted the significance of the provisions of this treaty as well as of other recent agreements in contributing to confidence and cooperation among the European states.

The USA and the USSR are prepared to make appropriate contributions to the positive trends on the European continent toward a genuine detente and the development of relations of peaceful cooperation among states in Europe on the basis of the principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers, non-interference in internal affairs, sovereign equality, independence and renunciation of the use or threat of force.

The US and the USSR are in accord that multilateral consultations looking toward a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe could begin after the signature of the Final Quadripartite Protocol of the Agreement of September 3, 1971. The two governments agree that the conference should be carefully prepared in order that it may concretely consider specific problems of security and cooperation and thus contribute to the progressive reduction of the underlying causes of tension in Europe. This conference should be convened at a time to be agreed by the countries concerned, but without undue delay.

Both Sides believe that the goal of ensuring stability and security in Europe would be served by a reciprocal reduction of armed forces and armaments, first of all in Central Europe. Any agreement on this question should not diminish the security of any of the Sides. Appropriate agreement should be reached as soon as practicable between the states concerned on the procedures for negotiations on this subject in a special forum.


The two Sides set out their positions on this question. They reaffirm their support for a peaceful settlement in the Middle East in accordance with Security Council Resolution 24.2.

Noting the significance of constructive cooperation of the parties concerned with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Ambassador Jarring, the US and the USSR confirm their desire to contribute to his mission's success and also declare their readiness to play their part in bringing about a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. In the view of the US and the USSR, the achievement of such a settlement would open prospects for the normalization of the Middle East situation and would permit, in particular, consideration of further steps to bring about a military relaxation in that area.


Each side set forth its respective standpoint with regard to the continuing war in Vietnam and the situation in the area of Indochina as a whole.

The US side emphasized the need to bring an end to the military conflict as soon as possible and reaffirmed its commitment to the principle that the political future of South Vietnam should be left for the South Vietnamese people to decide for themselves, free from outside interference.

The US side explained its view that the quickest and most effective way to attain the above-mentioned objectives is through negotiations leading to the return of all Americans held captive in the region, the implementation of an internationally supervised Indochina-wide cease-fire and the subsequent withdrawal of all American forces stationed in South Vietnam within four months, leaving the political questions to be resolved by the Indo-Chinese peoples themselves.

The United States reiterated its willingness to enter into serious negotiations with the North Vietnamese Side to settle the war in Indochina on a basis just to all.

The Soviet Side stressed its solidarity with the just struggle of the peoples of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for their freedom, independence and social progress. Firmly supporting the proposals of the DRV and the Republic of South Vietnam, which provide a realistic and constructive basis for settling the Vietnam problem, the Soviet Union stands for a cessation of bombings of the DRV, for a complete and unequivocal withdrawal of the troops of the USA and its allies from South Vietnam, so that the peoples of Indochina would have the possibility to determine for themselves their fate without any outside interference.


The two Sides expressed their positions on arms limitation and disarmament issues.

The two Sides note that in recent years their joint and parallel actions have facilitated the working out and conclusion of treaties which curb the arms race or ban some of the most dangerous types of weapons. They note further that these treaties were welcomed by a large majority of the states in the world, which became parties to them.

Both Sides regard the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxic Weapons and on their Destruction, as an essential disarmament measure. Along with Great Britain, they are the depositories for the Convention which was recently opened for signature by all states. The USA and the USSR will continue their efforts to reach an international agreement regarding chemical weapons.

The USA and the USSR, proceeding from the need to take into account the security interests of both countries on the basis of the principle of equality, and without prejudice to the security interests of third countries, will actively participate in negotiations aimed at working out new measures designed to curb and end the arms race. The ultimate purpose is general and complete disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, under strict international control. A world disarmament conference could play a role in this process at an appropriate time.


Both Sides will strive to strengthen the effectiveness of the United Nations on the basis of strict observance of the UN Charter. They regard the United Nations as an instrument for maintaining world peace and security, discouraging conflicts, and developing international cooperation. Accordingly, they will do their best to support United Nations efforts in the interests of international peace.

Both Sides emphasized that agreements and understandings reached in the negotiations in Moscow, as well as the contents and nature of these negotiations, are not in any way directed against any other country. Both Sides proceed from the recognition of the role, the responsibility and the prerogatives of other interested states, existing international obligations and agreements, and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.

Both Sides believe that positive results were accomplished in the course of the talks at the highest level. These results indicate that despite the differences between the USA and the USSR in social systems, ideologies, and policy principles, it is possible to develop mutually advantageous cooperation between the peoples of both countries, in the interests of strengthening peace and international security.

Both Sides expressed the desire to continue close contact on a number of issues that were under discussion. They agreed that regular consultations on questions of mutual interest, including meetings at the highest level, would be useful.

In expressing his appreciation for the hospitality accorded him in the Soviet Union, President Nixon invited General Secretary L. I. Brezhnev, Chairman N. V. Podgorny, and Chairman A. N. Kosygin to visit the United States at a mutually convenient time. This invitation was accepted.

Note: On the same day, the White House released the transcripts of two news briefings on the joint communiqué and the statement of basic principles (Item 177): the first, by Dr. Kissinger; the second, by Press Secretary Ziegler and Leonid M. Zamyatin, Director General, TASS. Dr. Kissinger's news briefing is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 951).

During the President's visit to Moscow Press Secretary Ziegler and Director General Zamyatin held daily news briefings on discussions between United States and Soviet officials. Transcripts of the news briefings were released as follows: one on May 22, two on May 23, and two on May 24.

On May 29, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by Dr. Kissinger on discussions held during the visit. The transcript is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 8, p. 956).

On May 30, the White House released the transcript of a news briefing by John D. Ehrlichman, Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, and Peter G. Peterson, Secretary of Commerce, on the domestic impact of the agreements reached with the Soviet Union.

Richard Nixon, Joint Communique‚ Following Discussions With Soviet Leaders. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under



Simple Search of Our Archives