146. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union 1

84507. For Mr. Kissinger from Ted Eliot. Moscow Code Room—Secretary Rogers requests that this message be delivered directly to Mr. Kissinger.

Subject: Inviolability of borders in connection with CSCE.

The Secretary has asked that I bring to your attention his particular interest in the way the question of the inviolability of borders is dealt with in the CSCE discussions. During the Brandt visit Foreign Minister Scheel strongly emphasized the German view that any provision in a principles declaration reached at a conference on cooperation and security in Europe dealing with this question must be coupled directly with the principle of the non-use of force.2
There had been some indications prior to the visit that the Germans were moving away from insistence on this point. Scheel, strongly supported by Minister Egon Bahr and Ambassador Brunner, the German representative at Helsinki, very forcefully expressed the reasons why they feel the Federal Republic must continue to insist that the two concepts be connected. In the German view, the acceptance of a separate principle of inviolability of frontiers would mean a territorial freeze in Europe which could be changed, if at all, only with the participation and permission of the USSR. Thus, the eventual elimination of frontiers within a united Western Europe would not be possible. Similarly, in the specific case of Germany the eventual goal of the elimination of the division between the GDR and the FRG would be defeated. Bahr pointed out in addition that to accept without qualification the inviolability of frontiers in the case of Germany would be contrary to the principle of the continuing rights and responsibilities of the four powers for Germany as a whole (presumably on the theory that this could be construed as a final settlement of the German question).
Scheel argued that while the communiqué agreed upon by the United States and the Soviet Union in Moscow did not link in sequence the inviolability of frontiers to the non-use of force, the Germans had [Page 452] succeeded in doing this in their Moscow treaty. They wish to avoid losing at CSCE what they were able to maintain in Moscow. They are convinced that if a territorial freeze is established which is subject to change only through the permission of the Soviet Union the Soviets will not only have gained a major objective in Helsinki but also an enhanced potential for influence in Western Europe.
The Secretary considers that these are important points which the US side must bear in mind as the CSCE discussions progress. The Germans have shown some willingness to find compromise language in an effort to bridge drafting problems with the Soviets. It is clear, however, that they are not prepared to drop a linkage between the inviolability of frontiers and the non-use of force. The Secretary considers that this position has intrinsic merit from the US point of view quite apart from the support which we would be well advised in any event to render the Germans on this subject.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 722, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XXIX. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Sutterlin; cleared by Stoessel, McGuire, and Harold Russell (L/EUR); and approved by Robert M. Miller (S/S).
  2. Telegram 85775 to Bonn, May 5, summarized the comments of Scheel and Brunner during Brandt’s visit at a luncheon with Rogers on May 1, particularly their views on the inviolability of frontiers in the context of the CSCE. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)