120. Editorial Note

On December 2, 1972, Secretary of State Rogers sent a memorandum to President Nixon regarding the Secretary’s objectives at the upcoming NATO Ministerial meeting, December 7–8, in Brussels. With regard to mutual and balanced force reductions (MBFR) and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) he wrote:

“On MBFR I will urge our Allies to support us in confining January’s preparatory meeting to agreements on a firm date early next fall for convening the conference, on the agenda, and on procedures, avoiding discussion of the substantive issues which some of our Allies have wanted to open up. On CSCE, finally, I hope to generate a positive attitude about what the conference may be able to accomplish in opening up relations with eastern Europe. To that end I will stress the importance of maintaining a separate agenda item covering freedom of movement of people and ideas. I will also support the objective, already generally agreed among our Allies, of ensuring that any conference statement of principles will include a specific provision making it applicable to states within the same social system as well as among states in different systems. As you have probably noted, the Romanians have themselves already raised this issue in Helsinki. The nature of the opening and closing sessions of the conference—in particular whether it should open with a Ministerial session and close with a Ministerial or other high level session—will probably also be a matter of discussion; my objective will be to defer any decisions until we can make a better judgment as to how well our objectives are likely to progress in the conference.” On December 5, President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Haig communicated the President’s approval of Rogers’s proposed objectives in a memorandum to Eliot. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 262, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. XII)

In the final communiqué of the NAC Ministerial meeting, December 8, the NATO Ministers stated with regard to CSCE “that their Governments would work constructively to establish necessary agreements in the multilateral preparatory talks” and “confirmed that it is the goal of their Governments to increase the security of all Europe through negotiations concerning such questions as principles guiding relations between the participants and through appropriate measures, including military ones, aimed at strengthening confidence and increasing stability so as to contribute to the process of reducing the dangers of military confrontation; to improve cooperation in all fields; to [Page 369] bring about closer, more open and freer relationships between all people in Europe; and to stimulate a wider flow of information and ideas.”

With regard to MBFR, the final communiqué reads: “The Ministers representing countries which participate in NATO’s integrated defense program noted with approval that the Governments of Belgium, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Norway and Turkey have proposed that the Governments of Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the Soviet Union join them in exploratory talks on 31st January, 1973, on the question of Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions in Europe …. Ministers hoped that these talks would make it possible to commence negotiations on this subject in the autumn of 1973…. Recalling the Declaration of the Council in Rome in May 1970, these Ministers confirmed their position that Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions in Europe should not operate to the military disadvantage of any side and should enhance stability and security in Europe as a whole. Their position is based on the conviction that the security of the Alliance is indivisible and that reductions in Central Europe should not diminish security in other areas.” With regard to the relationship between CSCE and MBFR, the communiqué reads: “While considering it inappropriate to establish formal and specific links, these Ministers reaffirmed their view that progress in each set of the different negotiations would have a favorable effect on the others.” The full text of the communiqué is in North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO: Final Communiqués, 1949–1974, pages 282–287.