111. Editorial Note

On September 9, 1972, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger left the United States for four days of talks in the Soviet Union from September 10 to 14. En route, he stopped in Munich for consultations with West German Chancellor Brandt and Foreign Minister Walter Scheel on September 10. Among the topics they discussed were a European Security Conference and mutual balanced force reductions. A record of Kissinger’s conversation with Brandt reads in part: “In response to the Chancellor’s question about US views on the relationship between CSCE and MBFR, Dr. Kissinger said he would discuss this subject in Moscow but that the American attitude would remain unchanged. The language on parallelism in the Moscow communiqué expressed our policies. MBFR is the main concrete subject pertaining to security still to be discussed, and we wanted to hold to the parallelism approach. In his Moscow talks he would not go beyond NATO-agreed positions. We were not negotiating bilaterally on this subject with the Soviets. As a matter of fact, we had not yet arrived at a final US position and our own internal planning continued. We hoped to present a paper to NATO within four to six weeks containing a preferred proposal to be made to the Soviets. Brandt said he supported the principle of parallelism but not, in the final analysis, to the point of making MBFR talks an absolute prerequisite for the opening of multilateral preparations in Helsinki. Parallelism to him meant beginning at approximately the same time, not necessarily the same date.” (Telegram 1583 from Berlin, September 12; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 24, HAK European Trip, September 1972, FRG Memcons, Brandt, Strauss)

In a separate conversation, “Scheel likewise queried Dr. Kissinger about the American understanding of parallelism in connection with CSCE and MBFR, adding that while the Germans could support the concept of a link (Verbindung), they did not think of it as constituting an absolute prerequisite (Junktim). Dr. Kissinger responded that he would discuss this question with Chairman Brezhnev during his forthcoming talks in Moscow. To us, parallelism means an agreement in advance to have MBFR preparatory talks begin at about the same time as the CSCE preparatory talks. We would appreciate continuing German support for this concept of parallelism. State Secretary Frank observed that, if the inner-German talks proceeded to an agreement this fall, the FRG would be under heavy pressure to move rapidly to the multilateral preparatory talks for CSCE in Helsinki. Alluding to the difficulties being experienced in NATO in formulating the freedom of movement item for a CSCE agenda, Frank expressed the hope these [Page 340] could be resolved expeditiously since the problem appeared to be essentially one of presentation. The German objective was not to lose the substance but to avoid formulation of the agenda item in such a way as to make it ipso facto unacceptable to the Eastern side.” (Telegram 1584 from Berlin, September 12; ibid.)