150. Editorial Note

On May 16, 1973, U.S. Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council Donald Rumsfeld sent a backchannel message to President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger. “The NAC,” Rumsfeld wrote, “is pressing for a briefing on your meeting with Brezhnev. In addition we are now getting press questions as to whether U.S. has briefed NAC on the meeting.” On May 21, Rumsfeld addressed the NAC about Kissinger’s trip on the basis of talking points prepared by Sonnenfeldt. Telegram 2489 from USNATO, May 21, reported that at the NAC session, “some allies expressed concern at report of discussion between Brezhnev and Dr. Kissinger on CSCEMBFR timetable.” The telegram continued: “Spierenburg (Netherlands) asked if US was ready to accept June 30 date for ministerial CSCE without knowing [Page 469] definitely date of MBFR conference. Does US go along with idea that CSCE should be completed before MBFR gets underway, even though no one believes that CSCE will be over by October? He asserted that Allies again coming under severe pressure to make premature concessions to the Soviets. If Allies agree that MBFR beginning depends upon completion of CSCE, then they are in the worst of all possible positions. They should not accept June 30 date without having fixed MBFR date.” Rumsfeld told the NAC (reported in telegram 2491 from USNATO) with regard to Kissinger’s Moscow conversations: “Neither the preparatory talks at Vienna nor any point of substance was discussed. The Soviets did however put forward the proposition that actual negotiations should begin one month after the conclusion of the CSCE. Upon questioning by Dr. Kissinger they indicated that while that might or might not occur before October, he wanted it understood that the MBFR negotiations must in any event begin no later than the end of October. The Soviets indicated that in their view they expected the CSCE to be completed by September. They did not, however, specifically accept Dr. Kissinger’s position and this is therefore a matter that remains open and subject to negotiations and agreement between the Allies and the other side.” (All in National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 263, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. XIII)