144. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Stoessel)1

WS: Henry, on this question of movement, I checked with our fellows here and I gather the problem is primarily an ally one—some of the allies have been pressing for mention of movement, in additional to maneuvers.

HK: Yeah, but can we stick on maneuvers?

WS: Well, I think we can, what we are in the process of doing now is—

HK: Because I have now told Dobrynin after our talk.2

WS: Uh huh. Uh huh.

HK: I tell you our allies are getting totally obnoxious.

WS: Oh I know, they are very difficult. They are concerned that there may be major deployment—

HK: Yeah, but major deployments we have every capability of catching.

WS: Yeah. The idea is to suggest language which wouldn’t mention movement, but which would describe what we are concerned about.

HK: Well, the problem is that they do have a point that last January we did tell them maneuvers.

WS: Yes. Right. Well this has come up since, now George Bastin (sp?)3 the last phase there had a talk with Mendelevich and described our concern—ally concern.4

HK: Yeah, but the trouble with Gromyko is raising and now we are going to try to fix some of this with your talks with Vorontsov is—we make an understanding with him and then our guys in Helsinki act as though there is no relationship at all. And they did come to its opposition when they accepted it.

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WS: Yeah. George could be in touch there and would be in touch, anyway bilaterally to explain the problem.

HK: Well, we understand the problem.

WS: It would certainly help with the allies if we could have another go at it. Maybe not mentioning movement and then if the Soviets simply can’t buy it, then we just fall off.

HK: Okay, let me try that.

WS: All right. For us to go now and then try to drop it would cause great problems, I’m afraid.

HK: Right. Okay. Good.

WS: Bye.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Transcripts (Telcons), Box 20, Chronological. No classification marking.
  2. No record of this conversation has been found.
  3. Apparently George Vest.
  4. Telegram 861 from Helsinki, April 2, reported on a meeting between Vest and Mendelevich on March 31. It reads in part: “Confidence building measures. Vest explained again our general view that ‘major military movements’ will be large, not concealable, and thus prior notification will have political significance for smaller powers. Mendelevich expressed interest in explanation. He noted Yugoslavs had used word ‘restraint’ on military movements and maneuvers in their proposal on CBM’s (Helsinki 487) and said his initial reaction was positive if this word was taken as implying selfrestraint.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  5. Telegram 83486 to Helsinki, May 3, instructed Vest to meet “as soon as possible” with Mendelevich “to discuss inclusion of term ‘major military movements’ in CBM’s.” The telegram continued: “Begin FYI: Based on indications we have received, Soviets will not accept ‘movements.’ However, we believe it is essential that you make a strong case to Mendelevich on this issue in order to provide a basis for proposing to Allies that they put forward a compromise formulation designed to work toward agreement.” Telegram 1157 from Helsinki, May 3, replied that Vest had met with Mendelevich that day to “present case for ‘major military movements.’” Mendelevich, it reported, “as anticipated, was resolutely negative and had no alternative formula.” The telegram continued: “Recommend that Vest be authorized to inform Allied dels here as soon as possible of Soviet attitude.” (Both ibid.)