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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 12, 1975

RECORD OF CONVERSATION WITH US ATTACHé IN THE USSR JACK MATLOCK

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    US Attaché in the Soviet Union Jack Matlock was invited to discuss the Final Act of the European Conference in Helsinki. The Soviet Union publicized the text of the Final Act and faulted the United States for not doing the same. Looking at the principles of the Final Act, which the Soviet Union believes to be the bases for interstate relations in Europe, the government determined that radio stations such as "Liberty," "Free Europe," and "Voice of America" are not compatible with the goals and provisions. The Soviet government would like to improve relations with American journalists by first quickening the visa process and hope that the US would do the same for Soviet journalists.
    "Record of Conversation With US Attaché In the USSR Jack Matlock," November 12, 1975, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation, Fond 733, opis 6, delo 2. Translated by Svetlana Savranskaya for the National Security Archive. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121173
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From the Diary of
Kornienko G. M.

Record of Conversation with U .S. Attaché
In the USSR Jack Matlock

12 November 1975

Invited Matlock and in accordance with instructions made the following oral statement to him in response to the statement of the American side of October 14 regarding the issues of implementation of the postulates of the Final Act of the European Conference:

"We welcome the desire of the American side to approach implementation of the Final Act constructively and their readiness to cooperate with the Soviet Union in this endeavor.  The positive experience of cooperation of our countries, which played a significant role in the development of the Final Act, and in the successful progress of the conference as a whole shows that continuation of such cooperation on the issues of practical implementation of the decisions of the conference would serve the interests of relaxing tensions and peace in Europe as well as Soviet-American relations.

The principal assessment of the results of the conference by the Soviet Union is well known. It has been stated repeatedly in the official documents and statements by Soviet leaders. It has been emphasized that it was essential that the principles and the agreements, as stated in the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, were implemented in full by all the member-states. As far as the Soviet Union is concerned – and this had been stated clearly by L. I. Brezhnev in his speech in Helsinki – it will act precisely in accordance with this.

We began with publicizing widely the text of the Final Act, which was published in the USSR in full and in many millions of copies, which cannot be said about the American side.  Now we have already started practical implementation of the corresponding steps. At the same time, just like the American side, we are continuing to think about concrete ways and forms of further realization of the stipulations of the Final Act.

The Soviet side starts from the assumption that the political substance of the Final Act is defined primarily by the principles of relations between the member-states, which it proclaims.  Without in the least diminishing the importance of other stipulations of this document, one can say with full confidence that it is precisely these principles that provide the necessary basis for interstate relations in Europe in order for this continent to develop on the road of peace, detente, and cooperation among equals.

The Soviet Union has always stood by these principles, and from this point of view there is no need for our side to undertake some kind of special measures for their implementation.  At the same time, in our opinion, the most important task of all the member-states and each one of them is strict adherence and consistent implementation of the jointly developed principles in full.  This is equally relevant for wider, multilateral aspects of relations between states in Europe, as well as for bilateral relations between them, such as the need to solve existing or emerging questions in accordance with the stipulations of the final Act.  Such questions also exist in the sphere of Soviet-American relations.

For instance, one cannot fail to note a question such as the work of the organs of mass media.  It is directly stated in the Final Act that dissemination of radio information should benefit the interests of mutual understanding between peoples and the goals defined by the conference.  However, the character of the activity of radio stations "Liberty" and "Free Europe," which are financed by the United States, is in no way compatible with the goals and provisions of the Final Act.  Broadcasts of the "Voice of America" are not compatible with them either.

The provisions of the Final Act relating to economic and scientific and technological cooperation are to a great extent in tune with the mutual obligations in this sphere stipulated in bilateral Soviet-American documents. These provisions focus attention in particular on the need to get rid of all kinds of obstacles on the road to the development of trade.

However, it is well known that implementation of even those provisions in our bilateral relations, judging by everything, is not anywhere near [at hand].

As far as certain other issues are concerned, related to cooperation in the humanitarian spheres, which were touched upon in the US Ambassador's statement on October 14, as the American side itself has noted we had already undertaken some practical steps, and of course we will take further steps in the future in accordance with the agreements reached at the European conference.

In particular, in terms of improving the working conditions of journalists, we have reached an agreement with the American side that we would grant multiple entry and exit visas for journalists permanently accredited in the USSR and the USA, respectively, and their family members on a reciprocal basis.

A number of cases regarding reunification of families, marriages between citizens of the two countries, and trips with the purpose of visiting relatives have been decided positively.

In deciding all these issues, we do and we will of course act in accordance with the laws and regulations existing in the USSR.  The relevant formulations of the Final Act regarding these issues have been drafted through the active, joint efforts of our two countries, and we expect that the American side would adhere to the same approach to the resolution of such issues.

In the spirit of the provisions of the Final Act aimed at helping to develop contacts and cooperation in various spheres of people's activities, we would like once again to draw the attention of the American side to the still existing obstacles and difficulties that interfere with the development of such contacts in the relations between our two countries.

In particular, we are talking about numerous instances of visa refusals for representatives of Soviet trade unions, scientific, youth and other public organizations, which travel to the United States at the invitation of corresponding American organizations, and about numerous and prolonged delays in visa processing for members of Soviet delegations traveling to the USA within the framework of agreements on scientific-technological and cultural cooperation. The timetable for getting tourist visas established by the US side is too long (21 day), whereas the Soviet side grants those visas in a much shorter period of time. Relevant measures on the part of the American side aimed at normalization of the situation on these issues, would undoubtedly contribute to the further expansion of bilateral contacts and would be appreciated by the Soviet side.

The Soviet side would be prepared, whenever there is such a need, to continue to exchange opinions with the American side concerning concrete issues related to the implementation of the principles and agreements contained in the Final Act.

After having finished listening to the statement, Matlock said that he would pass it on to Washington immediately.

Then, citing the statements of US Ambassador Stoessel made during the conversation of October 14, he once again emphasized the desire of the American side to implement all the provisions of the Final Act and to cooperate on that with the Soviet Union. In this connection, he expressed satisfaction with the fact that the USSR and the United States had now entered the stage of specific discussion of relevant issues, and expressed the readiness of the American side for further discussion of those issues.

The conversation was attended by Head of the US desk cde. O. M. Sokolov and First Secretary of the US Embassy in Moscow J. Joyce.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.

[Signature]

G. Kornienko

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