172. Editorial Note

Throughout the month of September 1973, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger followed the pace of the second phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which began in Geneva on September 18. Atranscript of a telephone conversation between Kissinger and Deputy Secretary of State Rush on September 12 reads in part: “K[issinger]: Now, one other matter. I keep reading in the newspapers that the Europeans complain that we are forcing the pace on the European Security Conference. That can’t be right. R[ush]: That cannot be right, and we are not doing it. I will see that that is squared in this department. K: And I think we ought to let the Europeans know that they should stop—you know, not make a démarche, but, as they come in—that we really take these constant stories rather ill. R: OK. we’re in complete accord. I think that’s right. K: Good.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Transcripts (Telcons), Box, 22, Chronological File)

Kissinger had a similar conversation the same day with George Vest, the Representative to the CSCE. Also present for the conversation was Lawrence Eagleburger of the NSC staff. A memorandum of their conversation reads in part: “Dr. Kissinger: Let’s see, You’re in charge of the CSCE operation, aren’t you? Where did the idea of our pushing for a hasty conclusion come from? Mr. Vest: I have no idea. Probably it came from the Eastern Europeans to the Western Europeans. So far, however, the Western Europeans have viewed the whole thing in proportion. I’ve talked with the press and with the Western Europeans and nobody yet has the thing out of proportion. There are some danger when we were in Helsinki with the Foreign Ministers that too much would be made of the conference. But even there the Europeans took the lead and punctured that danger. Dr. Kissinger: There are two points. First, our friends have to learn that kicking us is no longer free. we’re not going to protest forever our love for them. I see that the Luxembourg Foreign Minister has been going around Europe accusing us of duplicity. After all, it was they that got us into that conference in the first place. Second, we want a business-like conclusion. Of course we want it to end reasonably rapidly, but we want to do that without blackjacking the Europeans. Mr. Vest: This is understood in the delegations. The problem is the foreign ministers. Dr. Kissinger: How has the UK behaved? Mr. Vest: Excellently.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 335; Eagleburger, Lawrence S., Memcons, Books, Vol. I)

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On September 19, Kissinger received Dutch Foreign Minister Max Van der Stoel in his capacity as Secretary of State-designate. Telegram 187324 to all NATO capitals, September 20, reported on the meeting. It reads in part: “In brief discussion of CSCE, Dr. Kissinger stated that we have no fixed date in mind for termination of CSCE, nor do we have any understanding with Soviets about summit meeting. We doubt that great deal of significance will come out of CSCE and therefore would like to see its work proceed as quickly as possible, avoiding impression that major issues are likely to be resolved by CSCE. Dr. Kissinger said that in our view a CSCE third phase at the summit is unlikely to be justified, but we have not noted that any Western European countries have flatly rejected idea of summit, and we do not wish to be isolated on this issue. If others oppose summit, we would have no difficulty in joining them.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 264, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. XV, Part 1)