12. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Leddy) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Warnke)1

Dear Paul:

Your letter of February 24 and the Danish note to the Secretary2 arrived here within a few hours of one another.

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We have now prepared a response that reflects the note itself as well as your suggestions of February 24. I have enclosed a copy of our proposed reply,3 as well as of our negotiating points for the anticipated negotiations.4

Since the Danes did not, in their note, request a USG public statement, but rather, chose to raise that matter orally, we do not plan to address this question in the note itself but as a separate but related issue.

Our first paragraph calls for a joint decision of the two Governments for both storage and overflights, rather than only storage, as you had proposed. The reasons for this change are: (a) The Danes have specifically asked for equal assurance on both points, and (b) we feel that the second paragraph of our reply provides the US with the flexibility necessary in the event of future emergencies.

The first paragraph of our response also takes into account Denmark’s desire to supplement the 1951 Agreement on the Defense of Greenland. We see no objection to doing this in a classified note inasmuch as the practical effect of the assurances we propose will in fact be to modify rights which the Danes agree were accorded us by the 1951 Agreement.

Our statement on crisis consultation in regard to overflights is designed to place on record, as you do, the idea that conditions may make such consultation difficult.

I agree with your method of stating the need to avoid public comment on nuclear weapons deployment. We do, however, feel that we should, in such a statement, cite our mutual responsibilities to all of the Alliance members.

In regard to the public statement to be made by the Danes, we believe that the phrase “On the basis of recent discussions with the United States Government hellip;” is necessary. Since we propose to tell the Danes that we will not publicly confirm their statement, we feel that we cannot expect them to limit a unilateral Danish Government statement in the way that you suggest. Indeed, there is little to prevent the Danes from issuing a much stronger unilateral statement than the one we propose. While it is true that the Danish Government made a statement on January 29 that did not cite discussions with the US Government,5 they were far from satisfied with that arrangement. We believe that if we had not been dealing with a recently defeated, caretaker Government, we would have encountered strong, continuous pressure for US confirmation of the Danish announcement. We consider a statement [Page 21] along the lines of that given in our negotiating points to be the minimum that the new Government could accept, especially in view of its publicly stated intention of seeking US agreement on nuclear matters.

In sum, we hope to work out with the Danes some sort of agreement and accompanying public statement that will remove this question from the public arena and that will insure our continued access to Greenland as a radar site and as an air route and/or deployment site in future emergencies. I believe that our proposed draft will accomplish this. I look forward to receiving your views as a matter of urgency.

Sincerely yours,

John M. Leddy 6
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, DEF 17 US. Secret. Drafted on March 5 by Klebenov and cleared by McKillop, Getz (EUR/RPM), Trippe (G/PM), and Berlack (L/EUR).
  2. Documents 10 and 11.
  3. Not attached, but see the attachment to Document 10.
  4. Not attached.
  5. See footnote 5, Document 5.
  6. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.