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

2909. For Sonnenfeldt and Hartman. Subject: Soviet suggestions for CSCE—Basket III.

Korniyenko asked me to call this morning Feb 28 to continue U.S.-Soviet discussion of language pertaining to Basket III at CSCE. I was alone; Korniyenko accompained by Sokolov.
Korniyenko began by noting his understanding that present discussion was strictly confidential as between U.S. and USSR in respective [Page 551] capitals and that nothing has been said or will be said (pending mutual agreement) about talks to our delegations in Geneva or to representatives of other countries. I confirmed this also our understanding.
Korniyenko then asked clarification of Hartman’s remarks in discussion with Vorontsov February 152 relating to actions Soviets should take re substance of Basket III if two of us could agree on language concerning principle of non-interference. I observed that Soviets at Geneva to date have given primary emphasis to non-interference point and have been extremely vague in regard to what they might be prepared to accept on substance of Basket III. We felt it would be helpful in convincing other delegations at Geneva of desirability accepting strengthened language on non-interference if Soviets could spell out in more detail their views on substance, which we hoped would give indication of flexibility and would be forthcoming. I thought this was one point which Hartman had wished to stress in talk with Vorontsov. Korniyenko said he understood.
Korniyenko noted that language we had proposed was intended to be part of statement of principles at beginning of overall document. Soviet side did not object to addition of phrase “legislative and regulatory” in this paragraph and in fact thought it would be quite useful. However, Soviets would prefer to have language spelling out meaning of non-interference included specifically in preamble to Chapter III rather than have preamble refer back to statement of principles at beginning. With this in mind, Soviets proposed following language (unofficial Soviet translation from Russian) for preamble to Chapter III. Korniyenko noted that phrase “laws and customs” had been dropped and replaced by “legal systems.”

“Co-operation in the fields of culture and education, contacts and exchanges of information will take place with due regard for the differences in the social systems of participating states, with respect for their legal systems and with full observance of the principles governing relations among participating states, as defined in the general declaration, including the principle of non-interference in internal affairs.”

I said I assumed, in event we could accept language along these lines in preamble to Basket III, Soviets would not require strengthened language of type we had suggested be included in paragraph on principles. Korniyenko said Soviets would not insist on such language in principles; as he had commented earlier, he thought our suggested addition was useful, but it would not be necessary from their standpoint to include it if preamble to Basket III could be agreed on basis his proposal. He suggested jocularly that something might be worked out tactically so that at Geneva we could propose new language for principles [Page 552] and they could propose new language for preamble to Chapter III; thereafter, negotiation could develop so that we would concede and final agreement could be reached on Soviet language. However, he seemed realize this could cut both ways and did not press point.
I told Korniyenko I would report his suggestion and would be back in touch after I had received Department’s views.
Comment: Soviet suggestion represents slight modification in revised Bulgarian draft preamble3 and appears to be improvement in that it drops objectionable phrase “laws and customs.” However, given widespread Western objections at Geneva to detailed preamble to Chapter III, it may be harder to sell to allies than our proposal.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 723, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XXX. Secret; Immediate; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. See Document 185.
  3. The Bulgarian preamble was transmitted with comments in telegram 5439 from Geneva, October 13, 1973. According to the telegram, the Bulgarians stressed that the committee should pay “particular attention to principles of sovereignty, non-intervention in internal affairs, and observance of laws and customs of participating states.” Western delegations and neutrals countered “that it is premature to consider draft preamble and related general principles until we have clear picture of specific proposals which will emerge from subcommittees. Soviets stressed need to concentrate on ‘what is possible’ in this delicate area and to proceed with discussion of basic principles and specifics simultaneously.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files.)