Section 2. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union


The enhanced international position of the People's Republic of China, as reflected in its participation in the United Nations and President Nixon's visit to China, is exerting a great influence on the mutual relations among the three great powers of the United States, China and the Soviet Union. Among them, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union seem relatively stable. What is noteworthy in their relations in the past year was the progress made in their bilateral relations, as evidenced by President Nixon's announcement (on October 12, 1971) of his scheduled visit to the Soviet Union in the latter half of May 1972, the visit to the Soviet Union of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Maurice H. Stans (in November 1971), and developments in the field of disarmament such as the SALT talks, and their cooperative attitude as seen in such instances as the settlement of the Berlin problem and moves for peace in the Middle East. Although an American citizen of Jewish origin shot at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations, there was no incident that adversely affected American-Soviet relations. Of the aspects of confrontation and limited cooperation that constitute the keynote of American-Soviet relations, the aspect of cooperation became stronger in the past year, and it can be said that the aspect of confrontation did not appear on the surface.

Events in American-Soviet relations in the past year that deserve special mention are as follows:



1. Announcement of President Nixon's visit to the Soviet Union (October 12, 1971)


What is noteworthy in this announcement is that President Nixon's visit was to take place after his visit to Peking and that the announcement was made eight months ahead of his visit and also immediately before the second visit to China of Henry Kissinger, Assistant to President Nixon for National Security Affairs (October 20-26). It can be assumed that, in determining the timing of the announcement, both the United States and the Soviet Union had in mind new developments in Sino-American relations which lay behind President Nixon's decision to visit China.

In making its decision on the American-Soviet summit talks, the U.S. side seemed to reconfirm the importance of American-Soviet relations in international politics, which President Nixon had continued to emphasize ever since his inauguration, and also to effect a shift in its diplomatic policy from the age of confrontation to an age of dialogue. It can be said that the decision was made against the background of American recognition that there had been developments in American-Soviet relations which showed prospects of a solution being achieved on pending issues through cool and business-like talks.

It seemed that the Soviet Union, on its part, intended to apply psychological pressure on the People's Republic of China and, at the same time, to downgrade the effect of developments in Sino-American relations on international politics by showing anew that, in international politics, it is American-Soviet relations that are of basic importance. The decision to hold the summit talks was evaluated as a phenomenon to show that the progress in Sino-American relations had made more pronounced the mutual checking and balancing character of the three-way relations among the United States, China and the Soviet Union.

In connection with President Nixon's visit to China in February this year and the consequent Sino-American Joint Communique, the tone of Soviet criticism against the United States and China showed that it was aimed mainly at China, apparently because the Soviet Union had in mind President Nixon's visit to the Soviet Union in May. Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Leonid I. Brezhnev's address to the All-Union Congress (March 20) also attracted attention as the first enunciation of the Soviet Union's diplomatic policy after President Nixon's visit to China. He reconfirmed the Soviet Union's consistent position on American-Soviet relations, stating that its approach toward the forthcoming American-Soviet talks would be business-like and realistic.



2. American-Soviet relations in the field of disarmament


The SALT talks, which indicate the tone underlying American-Soviet relations with respect to the nuclear balance between the United States and the Soviet Union, were continued into the fourth round (March 16 to May 20), the fifth round (July 8 to September 24), the sixth round (November 15 to February 4, 1972) and the seventh round (from March 28), held alternately in Vienna and Helsinki. It is noteworthy that, as a result of the talks, the United States and the Soviet Union, in a joint communique issued at the end of the fourth round, clarified their agreement to endeavor to reach agreement within this year on the conclusion of an agreement to limit ABMs and also on some measures to limit strategic offensive weapons. After this announcement, the two countries continued serious talks in line with this agreement. On September 30, U.S. Secretary of State Williams P. Rogers and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko signed in Washington an Agreement on Measures to Reduce the Risk of the Outbreak of Nuclear War and also an Agreement on Measures to Improve the USA-USSR Direct Communications Link. The agreement on nuclear war prevention provides for (1)necessary measures to be taken by both sides to prevent accidental use, or use without permission, of nuclear weapons, (2) arrangements to promptly communicate with each other when there is danger of nuclear war because of an accident involving a nuclear weapon or an unidentified object and (3) advance notices on plans to launch certain types of missiles. It can be said that this bas important significance not only as an expansion of the areas of cooperation between the two nuclear superpowers for the prevention of nuclear war, but also in relation to the People's Republic of China and other nuclear powers.

The two countries also opened the first round of talks, in Moscow on October 12, on the problem of preventing collisions on the sea and in the air in view of a series of accidents including collisions of naval vessels of the two countries. Navy officers of the two countries led their respective delegations.



3. American-Soviet relations in the field of science and technology


The recent trend in American-Soviet relations has been toward an expansion of the fields of bilateral cooperation, such as greater interchange in the economic, scientific and technological fields.

In the economic field, Premier Kosygin expressed the Soviet Union's positive attitude, in his address to the Supreme Soviet (November 24), by stating that there now existed the conditions necessary for moving toward a broad economic interchange between the Soviet Union and the United States. As if in response, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Stans visited the Soviet Union (November 20 to December 1), and agreement was reached between the two countries that they would continue consultations for the promotion of their economic relations. On the basis of this agreement, a Soviet delegation led by A. N. Manzhulo, Deputy Minister for Trade, visited the United States (January 6 to 17, 1972) and it seems that the Soviet delegation proposed a resumption of American-Soviet negotiations on the problem of the Soviet Union repaying its wartime debts to the United States. These negotiations had been suspended since 1960. This attracts attention because this problem has been standing in the way of expanding American-Soviet trade.

In the field of science and technology, a group of members of the Soviet Academy of Sciences visited the United States (toward the end of June) for consultations with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Council, and agreement was reached between the two countries on methods of approaching and docking manned spaceships and space stations. American-Soviet consultations are being continued in this field. A group of Americans, including the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of the United States, visited the Soviet Union (in August) and inspected atomic energy research institutes in various parts of the Soviet Union.



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