132. Memorandum From William Hyland of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • US-Soviet Conversations on CSCE

As the cable at Tab A2 indicates, members of the Soviet delegation in Helsinki at the CSCE have told our people that the United States has the Soviet draft of the final conference document. They have asked what the US delegation in Helsinki thinks of it and our delegation of [Page 409] course replied they had not seen it. In addition, our delegation reports that the Romanians in Helsinki also have asked what the US delegation thought of the Soviet draft and expressed disbelief when told that the US delegation had not seen it.

This reporting cable of course is now circulating all over the State Department and I was called by the NATO desk. They asked of course if the White House knew anything about this document. You will recall that Dobrynin gave you this draft of the final Soviet document (Tab B) in mid-January and he said they had also given it to Pompidou and Brandt.3 My recollection is that Bahr asked what we intended to do about it and was told by you we would take no action for the present.

The problem of course is how we explain to the Department of State the Soviet inquiry in Helsinki. I suggest that you should send to Rush the Soviet draft with a note that it was given to the President on the understanding that it would be closely held because it had been given to the French and German governments. In other words, we might claim that we had left it to Paris and Bonn to determine whether they wanted to make the existence of this known in the alliance, which they have not done. You might want to fuzz the date of actual receipt in order to obscure the question of how long we have held this.

Alternatively, we could claim that the Russians are talking about their mandates which were given to you at the same time they were published in Helsinki.

It is difficult to believe that the Soviet diplomats are so undisciplined or sloppy as to break the confidential channel. On the other hand, there is no adequate explanation of why they should embarrass you and the President by these revelations. One is led to believe that this is deliberate unless you accept the theory that after a month or two the Soviets do inform their own working level of the existence of confidential communications.

Please advise if you wish us to do anything about this.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 248, Agency Files, CSCE and MBFR. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Outside System. Sent for action. Scowcroft wrote at the top of the page: “Action taken. BS.”
  2. Telegram 649 from Helsinki, March 13, is attached but not printed.
  3. Tab B is not printed. See footnote 8, Document 124.