343. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Germany1

180588. Subject: Discussion of Berlin Agreement between the Secretary and Gromyko.

Foreign Minister Gromyko confirmed to the Secretary at a private discussion after lunch at the Soviet Embassy September 302 that the Soviets will insist on a “reverse linkage” between the Berlin agreement and ratification of the Moscow Treaty.3 He based this on the ground that, in view of the political opposition to the Moscow Treaty within Germany, the Soviets could not be sure that if they went ahead and concluded the Berlin Agreement the Brandt government would then be able to deliver on ratification of the Moscow Treaty.
The Secretary made clear that any movement towards multilateral preparations for a CES was contingent upon completion of the Berlin Agreement and that the new Soviet position on timing might create difficulties for Brandt in obtaining ratification of the Moscow Treaty. We obviously wish to move ahead as rapidly as possible towards conclusion of the Berlin Agreement.
During the discussion which followed, it emerged that the Soviets would apparently find acceptable as an alternative deferring the coming into effect of the Berlin Agreement until the Moscow Treaty was ratified.4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to London, Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and USNATO. Drafted and approved by Hillenbrand on September 30.
  2. According to his Appointment Book, Rogers attended the luncheon at 1:30 p.m. (Personal Papers of William P. Rogers)
  3. In a September 29 memorandum to Kissinger, Eliot reported that Gromyko had introduced “reverse linkage” during a meeting with Scheel in New York on September 27 and commented that the consequences of such tactics could be “extremely serious.” Eliot added that Rogers planned to raise the issue during his luncheon with Gromyko on September 30. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 692, Country Files, Europe, Germany (Berlin), Vol. V)
  4. In an October 5 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt reported that Gromyko had already reaffirmed “reverse linkage” several times, thereby undercutting Nixon’s “intimate personal association” with the quadripartite agreement on Berlin. “I should think that the Russians should be told in no uncertain terms, and soon,” Sonnenfeldt concluded, “that as far as we are concerned there can be no extraneous conditions to the completion of the Berlin agreement, which the Soviets negotiated with us not the Germans; and that therefore their commitment is to us not the Germans.” (Ibid.)