189. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State 1

1722. Department for Hartman and Sonnenfeldt from Sherer. Subj: CSCE: Basket III preambular language. Ref: Geneva 1705.2

I invite your attention to reftel report of my conversation with Soviet CSCE delegation March 13 that suggests Soviets may be prepared to resolve problem of preambular language of CSCE Basket III on basis of Helsinki formula. This, as you recall, entailed a cross reference in Basket III preamble to principles in Basket I. I would underline, however, that my Soviet respondent said that they could not now accept such a formula, though he thought they eventually could.
I believe this is a significant development, reflecting an evolution in Soviet thinking along lines we have long favored.
You should also be aware that at March 15 meeting of committee on Basket III, Finns advanced portions of a text, provided to us on a confidential basis, that would explicitly propose Helsinki formula as a compromise. Finns have told us that they checked with Soviet delegation and others in course of developing this approach, and we doubt they would be prepared to advance it without assurance of eventual Soviet acceptance.
All of this appears to augur possible progress on the Basket III preambular issue in the period immediately ahead.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 708, Country Files, Europe, Switzerland, Vol. III. Confidential; Exdis. Repeated to Moscow for Stoessel.
  2. Telegram 1705 from Geneva, March 15, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files.