153. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Rush to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Soviet Draft of a CSCE Final Declaration

In response to your request to Assistant Secretary Stoessel, he called in separately FRG Ambassador von Staden and the UK and French Ministers (Sykes and de La Gorce) on May 21, to invite the views of their Governments on both the substance of the January Soviet draft of a final CSCE declaration and the tactics for dealing with it. All three undertook to be back in touch with us soon.

This was the first occasion on which the Department has mentioned the Soviet draft to other Governments. In passing on to the three [Page 475] Embassies copies of the attached annotated text containing the Department’s comments on various passages, Mr. Stoessel:

  • —underlined the confidentiality of this consultation;
  • —referred to the circumstances under which the draft was received by all four of the Allies, noting that, for our part, we had taken no other action than an internal study of the draft;2
  • —reported that the Soviets had asked you, during your recent visit to the USSR, for reactions, and had expressed understanding for your response that you wished first to consult with our Allies;
  • —noted that the draft, while clearly contrary in various respects to Allied positions, seemed to have been somewhat overtaken by events at the preparatory talks in Helsinki; nevertheless, we would wish to be prepared to deal with the possibility that the Soviets may table this draft or something like it as early as the initial CSCE meeting of foreign ministers anticipated in late June; and
  • —invited their views on the substance of the draft, the advisability and method of proceeding with possible broader Alliance consultations, what response might be given the Soviets should they again raise this matter during Brezhnev’s visit to Washington in June, and how the Allies should treat this or other similar documents placed on the table at the initial CSCE ministerial.

Von Staden was quite familiar with the Soviet draft, which he confirmed was received from the Soviets in Bonn. The Germans had not consulted with other Allied Governments, and had replied simply that many points in the draft were unacceptable. To his knowledge, the matter was left at that.

Von Staden expressed concern at this evidence of a Soviet effort to bypass the essentially inductive approach to CSCE discussions devised with some effort at MPT and, speaking personally, cautioned that a quadripartite response to the Soviets would be adversely received not only by our other Allies but also by the wider circle of Western and non-aligned CSCE states.

British Minister Sykes noted that preliminary British comments on the draft had been given earlier to Mr. Sonnenfeldt,3 but undertook to bring these up to date. Speaking personally, he saw no objection to an initial discussion of the Soviet draft in the NATO Council, which he thought should probably be followed rather quickly by broader Western consultations in Helsinki.

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French Minister de La Gorce was apparently not familiar with the Soviet draft, nor any French-Soviet consultations concerning it, but undertook to obtain reactions from Paris.

The attached copy of the Soviet draft containing Departmental annotations4 has been updated to take into account recent developments in the Helsinki talks. Also attached is the latest version of the Allied draft of a CSCE declaration of principles of inter-state relations,5 which is still rather heavily bracketted. Without a significantly greater effort of will in Allied capitals, this draft is not likely to be in shape for presentation to the Soviets by the time of the Brezhnev visit to Washington.

Further, we would also anticipate objections from at least some Allies to our providing this Allied text to the Soviets prior to the conference. Most of the Allies appear to favor a minimum of substantive discussions at the initial meeting of foreign ministers and the employment in the second phase of the conference of the “bottom up” or inductive approach employed successfully at MPT. Thus, we believe most would prefer not to table Allied texts at the outset, particularly if the Soviets could be persuaded to exercise similar restraint.

Kenneth Rush
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 248, Agency Files, CSCE and MBFR. Secret; Limdis.
  2. An undated, annotated version of the Soviet draft with comments by the NSC staff is ibid., Kissinger Office Files, Box 77, Europe, USSR, Moscow Trip, CSCE.
  3. Not found.
  4. Attached but not printed.
  5. Attached but not printed.