362. Information Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

SUBJECT

  • Conversation with French Charge—Transistor Deal with Poland; Schumann visit; Pompidou visit

The Minister came in under instructions to follow up on Foreign Minister Schumann’s conversation with you in Paris on the proposed French transistor deal with Poland.2 He said the French had no intention to bypass COCOM. In their view the equipment was not so sophisticated that the Soviets or East Europeans, not to mention some West Europeans, could not furnish it to the Poles. Siemens, for example, was sending a team to Poland in mid-September. (I interjected that the Germans were also subject to COCOM but Leprette said they might be “more clever” in getting around it.) In the French view, if the West loses the contract the Poles would be dependent on the Soviets when it was in our interest to divert such Polish dependence. (These are all old points.)

Leprette then read from his instructions to provide certain technical data and to suggest that French technicians should come here to discuss the matter with us. (Text attached.)3 He said the matter was urgent because the French wanted to settle the matter before the formal COCOM meeting in September.

I noted that as a result of your conversation with Schumann, Ambassador Shriver had been instructed to suggest technical exchanges before the COCOM meeting;4 Leprette said he heard nothing of any such demarche. (We have seen nothing either and Fred Bergsten is checking.) Leprette asked what our substantive position was and I said I did not have any information; our first order of business had been to clear up the matter of getting the technical information.

Leprette said Schumann planned to be in Washington on September 25, following his UN speech and he asked about the possibilities of an appointment with the President. I said I would check and [Page 912]recalled that you had also expressed an interest in seeing the Foreign Minister.

Comment: Perhaps you would like to set up an appointment on your calendar for September 25 and then take Schumann up the back steps to see the President.5 If we make a public, formal appointment it will of course be much harder to turn down requests from other Foreign Ministers. (We already have one from the Belgian, and there is talk that Gromyko wants to come down. Manescu also has expectations; and Stewart will be hard to ward off.)

On the Pompidou visit, I said we still had no firm date but were working on it.6

Comment: We ought to get off the dime.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Country Files-Europe, Box 675, France, Volume III Jan 69-10/31/69. Secret; Limdis.
  2. See Document 360 and footnote 2 thereto.
  3. Not printed. The one-page text, in French, indicated that Thomson-CSF was prepared to send representatives to Washington.
  4. See footnote 5, Document 360.
  5. On August 27 Kissinger initialed his approval for an appointment in the margin next to this sentence. There is no indication in the Daily Diary that Schumann met with the President on September 25. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Central Files)
  6. President Pompidou visited the United States in February 1970.