216. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State1
470. Secto 05. NATUS. Secretary received Vice Chancellor Brandt for breakfast June 13, during which one hour conversation took place. Others present were Arnold (Brandt’s Chef de Cabinet), Weber (Brandt’s staff assistant), as well as Bowie and Johnpoll. Major items discussed follow:[Page 543]
- Non-proliferation treaty. Brandt asked whether Secretary to ask for any NATO action during course of current NATO FonMin meeting. Secretary replied he intended discuss status of draft but would not ask for any action. Secretary mentioned the two alternatives on amendment procedures, but Brandt gave no indication of FRG reaction or preference.
Middle East. Secretary told Brandt we had not expected shooting to begin when it did, particularly since Israelis had told us privately they would exercise restraint. We had, however, anticipated that if shooting began the outcome would be what it turned out to be. Secretary told Brandt he intended to discuss Middle East situation at NATO Ministerial Meeting, particularly to illustrate current status of East-West relations. US and Soviet Union had been able to cooperate only to a very limited degree during the crisis, essentially only on the cease-fire. The Soviets had pushed the Arabs up to the closing of the Strait of Tiran; and they will now try to exploit the situation to enhance Soviet influence on the Arabs and to minimize Western influence. Secretary thought that it would be a long time before real peace comes to the area, with one side suffering from humiliation and the other from great pride.
Brandt said that FRG relations with the Near Eastern countries are poor on the whole. However, he thought FRG relations had been affected less severely by the crisis than ours. Secretary said quite a few of the NE countries who had broken with us had done so as a public gesture but privately wished to maintain contact.
Secretary told Brandt there some indications, still inconclusive, that Soviet Union may ask special session UNGA. Secretary and Brandt agreed that there evidence that Israeli Government had been seriously divided between activists and moderates before shooting began last week.
NATO role. Secretary expressed concern over NATO reluctance look after matter vital NATO interest even though out of immediate NATO geographic area. Said he hoped we could stimulate more continuing interest in these vital areas. France opposes common approach in principle, and feels NATO failed to help on Algeria, but NATO should nevertheless be concerned with its vital interests.
Brandt expressed general agreement and said he would have something to say during NATO Ministerial about the need for crisis consultations. He was afraid, however, that there would be little enthusiasm. Even as far as Germany was concerned, NATO involvement might have some politically damaging consequences.
Secretary asked whether European interest might be fostered by Harmel’s idea of trying to develop European caucus. Said that we would have no objection. Brandt thought it might. Both agreed that consultation didn’t mean everyone must agree to act jointly. Of course, the general objective would have to be kept in mind. For example, some could counsel [Page 544]moderation on Israel, others could seek to maintain contact with the Arabs.
Bilateral security consultation. Brandt suggested that Secretary designate someone to maintain contact with one or two FRG people to exchange and develop thoughts on development of Eur security system. On German side Brandt proposed the Chief of FonOff Political Department or Planning Chief Diehl although not certain he would be available since Kiesinger wants him to replace Von Hase as FRG Press Chief. Brandt said that in addition to the talks on Eur security system, he would be prepared to send someone to Washington to exchange views with us on developments in Eastern Europe and GDR if we felt, as relayed to him by Embassy Bonn, that there had not been sufficient discussion of these matters.
Secretary suggested that Bowie hold preliminary discussions with FRG reps concerning Eur security problems, and subsequently talks could move to senior level, possibly during Kiesinger visit to Washington. Secretary asked Brandt whether he intended accompany Kiesinger.
Brandt replied he might not accompany Kiesinger since they have a general agreement not to go abroad together. However, Von Hase in announcing Kiesinger’s acceptance of President’s invitation had mistakenly said Brandt would accompany; it might be internally embarrassing if after this announcement Brandt failed to do so. In any event,FRG would probably decide within next few days.
Secretary indicated to Brandt we would welcome it if FRG decides Brandt to accompany Kiesinger. Said that as a general practice we had found it useful for SecState and FonMin to hold discussions while President and Chancellor were conducting their talks.
East-West relations. Brandt told Secretary that FRG would probably send brief reply to Stoph’s letter today.2 Did not expect it to lead to any immediate results but will be embarrassing to Ulbricht because some of the Communist countries would welcome show of FRG flexibility. Brandt said Soviet Union had not slowed down FRG progress in developing EE contacts as drastically as had been feared two or three months ago. Shortly after the Karlsbad meeting,3 the Czechs had privately indicated to FRG desire for discussions, had not excluded eventual diplomatic relations, and had indicated that some intermediate solutions might be possible in the near future. Brandt thought that establishment of trade missions might be next step with the Czechs. Brandt said [Page 545]that the Poles, potentially most difficult problem, also seem to be somewhat more flexible and undogmatic towards Bonn. Brandt said he had impression Soviets themselves were becoming a little less rigid toward the FRG. For example, Tsarapkin had made some remarks at the Hanover Fair in favor of increased German-Soviet trade, using some of Brandt’s own words on this subject. Brandt said that Soviet Embassy Bonn had sent two officers to the FonOff NATO Section to ask for FRG reaction to NATO redeployment plan at about same time two Soviet EmbOffs had called on US Embassy Bonn. Brandt said these Sov EmbOffs had made a vague statement to FRG FonOff that time might come when Soviet Union might not necessarily have to keep troops in GDR at present level.
Secretary said we had not approached Soviets on question of mutual troop withdrawals because we have nothing to offer Soviets. NATO redeployment is too small to interest Soviets, and we intend to maintain current effectiveness NATO forces. In response to Secretary’s question Brandt said FRG had no information to indicate reduction Soviet troop levels in East Germany.
- Free world exports to China. Secretary told Brandt we hoped to discuss with authoritative Germans—perhaps Brandt and Schroeder—contributions being made by free world to Chinese nuclear program by export metallurgical and other essential items. These items not covered by COCOM but UK and FRG exports involved. Japanese have already been briefed. Secretary said we hoped to send briefing team to Bonn in near future.
Common Market. Brandt said de Gaulle’s objection to British entry is political. Brandt had told de Gaulle in Rome that UK could make important contribution in East-West relations, but de Gaulle had replied that UK would do nothing without US permission. Nevertheless, Brandt said he and Kiesinger believed de Gaulle understands he cannot have his way against the weight of European public opinion. Even in France substantial number of Gaullists disagree with their chief on British entry.
Brandt said that the French had not only gone along with the selection of Rey but that last April Couve de Murville had suggested Rey’s name to Brandt as a compromise candidate. Secretary and Brandt agreed that French behavior during Kennedy Round had been encouraging.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files,POL GER W–US. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Bonn, London, Moscow, Paris, and Rome.↩
- Stoph and Kiesinger exchanged four letters between May 10 and September 28. For texts, see Europe Archiv, 1967, vol. 2, pp. 327–330 and 473–477.↩
- Reference is to the April meeting of Communist Parties on the questions of Germany and European security. For extracts of the meeting’s final statement, see Documents on Germany, 1944–1985, pp. 961–963.↩