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


  • European Question on Soviet-American Principles2

Several European diplomats have raised questions about the Soviet-American statement of principles. Their main points have been (1) whether we did not undercut the Allied position in a CSCE by not mentioning freer movement of people, information and ideas; (2) whether we have not undermined Allied bargaining leverage in any CSCE on principles on non-use of force, etc., and (3) whether acceptance of “peaceful coexistence” was a wise idea, especially without some effort to refute the Brezhnev doctrine.3

Several of these inquiries have been reported: from Brussels, from The Hague,4 and from London.5 After some probable soul-searching, [Page 311] State has replied on each of the points without clearing with the White House. On balance, it is probably just as well that State has accepted some responsibility for the summit agreements, rather than trying to pass them off as White House matters, and distancing the Department from the documents.

Attached (Tab A)6 is State’s outgoing: it makes several good points, though it is rather defensive in implying that “peaceful coexistence” was accepted only because other points tend to give it a favorable interpretation.

In general State argues that point 3, “non-interference,” and point 11, renunciation of “special rights” limits the Brezhnev doctrine, and would also be a basis for a CSCE statement of principles. As far as freer movement is concerned, State argues that point 4, the commitment to widening the juridical basis of US-Soviet relations, embraces freer movement of peoples.

You may wish to read State’s interpretation at Tab A.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 262, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. 12. Secret. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum.
  2. See Document 98.
  3. Kissinger recalled this issue in his memoirs: “For over three years, at every meeting with every European leader, they had pressed us toward negotiation with the Soviets. They had been lukewarm about linkage, far ahead of us in East-West trade, eager for the European Security Conference, increasingly impatient to start negotiations with respect to mutual and balanced force reductions…. Suddenly, now that we had followed their advice, the Europeans revealed their schizophrenia. We heard that some Europeans complained about the ‘Basic Principles of US-Soviet Relations’ because of the use of the phrase ‘peaceful coexistence’—an astonishing criticism considering that the similar declaration signed by France and in the German treaties went far beyond our formulations. There was disquiet that some of our principles of restraint preempted the European Security Conference—that is, that we had agreed to what our allies wanted to give away in their own name.” (White House Years, p. 1273)
  4. In telegram 2517 from USNATO, June 9, the Mission reported a statement by Ambassador de Staercke of Belgium on June 6 complaining that the Statement on Basic Principles prejudged the Allied position in a CSCE declaration of principles. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 262, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. 12)
  5. Telegram 6104 from London, June 30, reported: “Tickell of FCO’s NATO Dept has told us that there was adverse comment about the declaration among the 10 during recent political consultations and concern that Soviets would try to apply these principles to a CSCE declaration. In fact, Tickell told us that British Embassy in Moscow reported that the Russians had suggested that the US-Soviet declaration would be useful model for CSCE declaration. Tickell singled out in particular the phrase in the first principle, ‘peaceful coexistence,’ as being particularly worrisome to the British. He went on to say that the British would not consider themselves bound by the US-Soviet declaration when the time came to draft a declaration of the principles governing relations between states at a CSCE.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL USUSSR)
  6. Telegram 118634 to USNATO, June 30, is attached but not printed.