119. Editorial Note

On November 8, 1972, the North Atlantic Council approved a common text for invitations to the Warsaw Pact states to exploratory talks on mutual and balanced force reductions, including a note of invitation from the Government of the United States to the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The approved U.S. note to the Soviet Government reads in part: “Recognizing the importance of the question of mutual and balanced force reductions in Central Europe, the Government of the United States proposes that exploratory talks on this subject begin on 31st January, 1973, in a place to be agreed through diplomatic channels. Based on the fact that Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States maintain forces in Central Europe, the Government of the United States proposes that representatives of these countries participate in the exploratory talks with a view to discussing matters of procedure and organization, as well as matters of substance relevant [Page 367] to setting an agenda for negotiations. The participation of these countries in talks on MBFR is without prejudice to future agreements that may be reached. Further, it is the view of the Government of the United States that representatives of Denmark, Italy, Norway, and Turkey should be present at these talks, on a rotating basis, at any given time. As distinct from representatives from states with forces or territories in Central Europe, the representatives of these states would not participate directly in formal decisions reached in the talks, but would have the right to speak on issues of direct concern to them upon the invitation of one or more participants in the talks, and would also have the right to circulate papers.” (Telegram 4701 from USNATO, November 10; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 6 EUR)

On November 15, Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jacob Beam delivered the note of invitation to Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Firyubin in Moscow. Telegram 11650 from Moscow, November 15, reported Firyubin’s reaction: “Firyubin commented that date had already been agreed, but as regards participation he and his colleagues would study our note and be back in touch with us. He added that ‘it is clear to us from understanding with Kissinger that these talks should be conducted on a non-bloc basis,’ and that ‘any attempt to discriminate against any of participants should be avoided.’” (Ibid.)