188. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

47937. Subject: CSCE: Soviet suggestions for Basket III. Ref: Moscow 2909.2

We have considered Korniyenko’s suggestions for language to be inserted in the preamble to Basket III agreements and believe it would be helpful if you could follow up soon with him on this matter, making the points indicated below.
You could say we have given careful thought to Korniyenko’s suggestions. In all candor, however, we do not believe it would be in the Soviets’ own interest to table in Geneva the preambular language which Korniyenko showed you. We base this judgment upon the lengthy discussion of this issue during the Helsinki MPT and believe that the reaction of many Western participants at Geneva would conform closely to approach they followed at Helsinki. Thus they would certainly attempt: (a) to balance the reference to the non-intervention principle with a reference to the principle of respect for human rights, etc., and (b) very likely to balance “with due regard for the differences in social systems of participating states” with language conveying the opposite thought, to the effect that differences in social systems should not be an obstacle to freer exchanges.
This in effect would reopen the long argument that was finally settled, toward the end of the Helsinki talks—as Korniyenko will doubtless recall—by agreement on a general reference, in the Basket III preamble, to the list of principles of interstate relations agreed to in Basket I. The likely effect of tabling the language Korniyenko proposed would thus be to open an extended ideological debate in Geneva which thus far has been avoided.
We continue to believe our approach presented to Vorontsov3 would meet substantive Soviet objectives and avoid a long wrangle over the Basket III preamble that would slow CSCE progress. Moreover, if the Soviets proceed as Korniyenko suggests, the tabling by the East of such language would confirm fears on the part of Western governments that the Soviets intend to vitiate contents of Basket III provisions on enhanced contacts. This doubtless would leak to the [Page 556] Western press, and public pressures would mount on Western governments, allied and neutral, to resist such restrictive formulations.
Thus, we hope the Soviets will give careful further attention to our earlier proposed reformulation of the sovereignty paragraph in the principles declaration, given the consequences we expect at CSCE if the Soviets follow the tack proposed by Korniyenko.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 723, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XXX. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Streator, cleared by Sonnenfeldt, Miller, and Hartman, and approved by Kissinger.
  2. Document 186.
  3. See Document 185.