62. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization1

162669. NATUS. For Ambassador Cleveland from the Under Secretary. Subject: Czechoslovakia.

In context of our overall review of Czech situation, we have been considering how best to handle NATO interest. On the one hand, situation requires great prudence. Developments of past few days obviously reinforce earlier NAC and POLADs discussions pointing to need for extreme caution on the part of Western countries and perforce NATO as an institution. On the other hand, we wish to avail ourselves in all appropriate ways of NATO facilities for information exchange and consultation.
Under these circumstances, you should be guided by following which you may convey to Brosio or others of your colleagues as Washington thinking:
Using its routine NAC and POLADs procedures, NATO should maintain closest possible watch on situation and pool information and views from capitals as much as possible. (We are making every effort to keep you up to date for this purpose, including material for Situation Center.)
We believe anything that has appearance of unusual concern, for example, special NAC session should be avoided due to visibility.
As of now, we think public comments of any kind are risky and almost certainly would do more harm than good. Therefore any response to press queries, even on background basis, should be limited to fact that NATO is naturally following the situation through its normal consultation process.
We assume that under established procedures NATO military authority are also watching things closely from standpoint of their own plans and intelligence analysis.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL CZECH. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Myerson, cleared by EUR/RPM and Stoessel, and approved by Katzenbach.