45. Editorial Note

Following negotiation of the 2-year offset agreement with Germany on July 9, 1969 (see Document 24), U.S. and German officials began to explore the prospect of German willingness to consider budgetary support to help defray foreign exchange costs of U.S. troops in Germany for the next offset beginning in July 1971. Deputy Under Secretary Samuels and Ambassador Pauls, for instance, discussed this possibility on January 29, 1970. (Evening Report from Secretary Rogers to the President, January 30; National Archives, RG 59, S/S Files: Lot 74 D 164) Moreover, the Under Secretaries’ Committee recommended that during Chancellor Willi Brandt’s visit to Washington in early April 1970, the President should discuss with him in general terms “the question of seeking new methods, including budget support, to reduce the financial burden resulting from the stationing of U.S. forces abroad.” The Committee recognized that the issue was not an easy one for Brandt who might find it difficult to sell budgetary support for U.S. troops to the German people, particularly when the United States might not be prepared to offer the Germans the kind of troop support they would undoubtedly want in return The Under Secretaries’ Committee attached to its recommendations its five-part study (with 11 appendices), “Foreign Exchange Offset and Budget Support for U.S. Forces in Germany and Other NATO Countries,” which presented various options for the Nixon administration on these matters. (Memorandum from Richardson to Nixon, March 25; ibid., S/S Files: Lot 73 D 288, NSC-U/DM 30)

President Nixon decided, however, “to defer a judgment at this time on whether the U.S. should seek budget support from Germany in the next offset arrangement, beginning in July 1971.” Although he wanted U.S. officials during the Brandt visit to indicate to their German counterparts in a general way “the desirability of improving the methods of easing the financial burden to the U.S. of maintaining our troops in Germany,” he did not want them to raise the specific issue of budget support. If the Germans raised it, the U.S. officials could respond that they would certainly “consider it as one possible means of achieving improved methods for easing the U.S. financial problem.” (Memorandum from Kissinger to the Secretaries of State, Defense, and the Treasury, April 8; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Agency Files, Box 289, Treasury Volume I)

In June 1970 German Defense Minister Helmut Schmidt told Ambassador Kenneth Rush that the current offset agreement could not be continued in its present form after its expiration, and instead he had proposed to the NATO Defense Ministers a new type of multilateral [Page 113]contribution to help the United States meet its European defense burdens. (Telegram 6764 from Bonn, June 12; ibid., Country Files—Europe, Box 683, Germany, Volume V 4/10/70-7/31/70) Later in the year he told Rush that any future financial burden-sharing contribution would have to come out of the German defense budget, which could not be increased, so he hoped any U.S. request for financial burden-sharing would be small. He stressed that any German contribution would have to be in a multilateral framework. (Telegram 11830 from Bonn, October 13; ibid., Box 684, Germany, Volume III 8/1/70-11/70)