Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at the Conclusion of Discussions With General Secretary Brezhnev

June 24, 1973

Mr. General Secretary, all of our distinguished guests from the Soviet Union, and ladies and gentlemen:

Just last Monday, when you, Mr. General Secretary, arrived in Washington, I made the remark that in addition to the millions of people in the Soviet Union and in the United States who were seeing us on television, that millions more throughout the world were watching what we might do this week.

As we have just completed our visit by signing this joint communiqué, I think we can say with great satisfaction that in our actions this week, we have not disappointed the hopes of the people of the world.

First, we have built on the strong foundation that we laid a year ago in the relations between our two countries in adopting a number of significant agreements for cooperation. We have also built on the beginning that we made a year ago with regard to the limitation of nuclear arms. But the most significant agreement was the one we signed Friday, which was truly a landmark agreement, not only between the relations of our countries but also a landmark agreement for the whole world.

When the two strongest nations of the world agree not to use force or threats of force in their relations with each other, and also not to use force or threats of force in their relations with other nations, this action indeed gives profound hope to those throughout the world who want peace. Because there can only be true peace in the world in which the weak are as safe as the strong, and by our agreements, we have dedicated ourselves to building that kind of world.

In speaking of this, I think, too, that the agreement that we have signed, all of the agreements, take on added meaning because of the personal relationship that we developed a year ago and that we have built on this year.

All who have studied history know that an agreement means nothing unless there is the will of the parties to keep it. And, Mr. General Secretary, as you know from our long talks at Camp David, in Washington, and here at San Clemente, we have the will to keep all the agreements we have made, and particularly the one that we signed Friday.

And having that will, it means that we are dedicating ourselves to build a new era not only of peace between our two great countries but of building an era in which there can be peace for all the people of the world.

When you return to the Soviet Union, I would appreciate it very much if you would extend to the millions of people in your country the good wishes, the friendship of the millions of people in the United States, because I am sure that there are many Americans who would like personally to give that message to your people. And you can tell them that the American people--not just the American leaders but the American people--welcome the opportunity to work with the people of the Soviet Union to build peace between each other and peace for the world.

Note: The President spoke at 9:37 a.m. on the grounds of his residence in San Clemente, Calif.

General Secretary Brezhnev spoke in Russian. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen:

Today, when our visit draws to an end and the day of our departure grows closer, I am very happy, indeed, to have this opportunity once again to express my gratitude to the President of the United States for the hospitality that was accorded to me and all my colleagues present here in California. It has been very pleasant, indeed, for me to be able to visit this wonderful part of the United States, and I want also to express my gratitude to all Californians and to all the people of the United States.

I had an opportunity to do so in the television address which, however, you will only be seeing tonight, so I do want to do that again, to express my gratitude again on this wonderful morning.

As we said at the start of our meeting, we must work hard in the interests of our peoples, in the interests of the great and noble aims of defending peace and developing friendly relations between our peoples, and we can now say quite safely that we certainly did that.

We have done some very serious work together, and we have achieved complete agreement on several important issues which are of prime concern to our peoples. And I can certainly say that all the people in the Soviet Union will welcome what has been achieved.

All of the agreements that we and our colleagues signed in the course of this week are important, but those that you and I signed, Mr. President, last Friday were particularly important. And they were indeed happy events not only for the peoples of the Soviet Union and the United States. I am certain that all the people of the world will salute and welcome the agreements we signed.

In these very pleasant days spent in the United States, I had a very good opportunity to meet with some of your Senators, with representatives of the business community, and yesterday, I had the very great pleasure of meeting quite a few Californians belonging to various walks of life and various professions.

But apart from all the talks we had and all the formal meetings, I was very happy to note-and I was also told this by my colleagues who, too, have been meeting with many Americans during this visit--and I am particularly happy that I was able a couple of days ago to chat briefly with a group of American correspondents--and everyone I talked to has said that they are happy over the results achieved during this visit.

And so, that is a source of very special joy. I am therefore leaving the United States with very good feelings and with the conviction that the agreements and documents we signed will be unanimously approved in the United States as they undoubtedly will in the Soviet Union, and that, moreover, they will be approved and welcomed by the nations of the entire world. And that is something that gives us added strength and new vigor and a desire to go on working hard, so that maybe in 6 or 8 months' time, as the President wishes, we will be able to meet again when the President comes to Moscow. And when we do that, we will move still further ahead the very important achievements started last year in May. And he will come to the Soviet Union confident that we will prepare and sign new and more important agreements which will develop all that was started so well last year in Moscow.

In conclusion, permit me once again to express my very sincere gratitude to you, Mr. President, to Mrs. Nixon, to all your colleagues, and to all those who have come here to be with us this morning. For that, I am indeed grateful, and so, as I leave you, I wish to say not farewell, but goodby until we meet again.

Mr. President, you will agree with me if I say that in all of our work during this visit, you and your colleagues, American statesmen, just as I and all of my colleagues here did not strictly observe the rules of protocol, and we devoted the greater part of our time to hard work. In fact, suffice it to say that last night, we went on working until the early hours of this morning, and we did some very good work together.

But perhaps for that reason, I simply omitted to say one thing in my remarks and that is the following: The United States is a very great, a very big country, a country with a population of over 220 million people, and I and all my colleagues in Moscow, and those who are with me on this visit, would like to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to all Americans who support what we have done and are doing and who take a correct view and correctly appreciate our policies and our line of conduct and who, in thus doing so, are helping us in our work. And I, therefore, trust that the peaceful policies pursued by the President and by the United States Government under him will be supported by the people.

It is a policy aimed at ensuring and strengthening peace, cooperation, and security in the interests of our two countries, but also, in the interests of all other nations, big and small, throughout the world, and for this, I wish to express my appreciation also.

I ask all of your colleagues, Mr. President, and mine, to draw up closer to us so that we could all be in this historic picture together.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Conclusion of Discussions With General Secretary Brezhnev Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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