198. Editorial Note

On April 4, 1974, President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs Scowcroft forwarded to Secretary of State Kissinger a memorandum prepared by Jan Lodal of the National Security Council staff and Counselor Sonnenfeldt on “preparation for the summit.” The memorandum reads in part: “CSCE. With Art Hartman we are drafting instructions to our delegation and to Stoessel on CSCE aimed at keeping it ticking along slowly, so it can provide us some leverage at the summit. MBFR. We propose to let the MBFR bureaucracy and delegation proceed with the negotiations with no view toward an MBFR ‘deal’ at the summit.” (Telegram Tohak 36, April 4; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 49, Trip Files, HAK Trip, Mar. 24–28, Bonn, Moscow, London, Memos, Misc. & State Cables)

[Page 605]

On April 9, Sonnenfeldt sent a memorandum to Kissinger further updating him on developments since the visit to Moscow. With regard to the European security conference, the memorandum reads:

“Frontiers. Since your Moscow trip, a breakthrough in Geneva on the principle of inviolability of frontiers and progress in Moscow on Basket III make it increasingly difficult to control the pace of work on other Conference issues. We may soon be faced with a choice of being less forthcoming with the Russians or accepting the end of Phase II before the President’s trip to Moscow. On the principle of inviolability of frontiers, the FRG and USSR have agreed to a text which says that participating States will ‘regard as inviolable’ each other’s frontiers and refrain ‘from assaulting these frontiers.’ The ‘assault’ language in effect renounced use of force in the English text, although the Russian equivalent of ‘assault’ does not have this connotation. A related principle on peaceful change will be dealt with elsewhere in the text.

“Basket III. Following your visit, Korniyenko proposed to Stoessel that the wording of the principle on sovereign equality should mention the right of each State to determine its ‘legislative and regulatory system’ (we had earlier agreed with the Soviets on this wording) and that this be linked with Basket III by a preambular phrase indicating that cooperation in the fields of culture, information, etc., should take place with full respect for principles ‘as defined in the general declaration.’ This preambular phrase would serve to make the principles in Basket I a separate and more important document than the other Baskets, which our Allies would not accept. The Soviets also suggested that we jointly instruct our Delegations to work in concert to gain acceptance of this proposal in Geneva. In your absence, we instructed Stoessel to go back to Korniyenko and propose Basket III preambular language drawing upon the Helsinki final document (‘full respect for the principles defined in the declaration on the principles guiding relations among participating States’). Stoessel also countered the Soviet proposal on tactics by suggesting that the Soviet Delegation or one of its Warsaw Pact Allies table the revised principles paragraph and the preambular language to Basket III, while we would make a ‘major effort’ to persuade our Allies to accept a compromise along these lines.” (Ibid., RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 8, Soviet Union)

On April 10, Hartman sent Kissinger a memorandum in preparation for the Secretary’s upcoming meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko on April 12. The memorandum reads in part:

“Your discussion of CSCE with Gromyko will continue the dialogue in Moscow of last month. While our tactical objective will be to assure that Stage II talks in Geneva do not end before the President’s visit to Moscow in late June, we assume you do not wish to signal to Gromyko any shifts in our current approaches to the issues.”

[Page 606]

Hartman then discussed timing:

“With regard to the timing for the conclusion of Stage II, Gromyko’s pitch will likely be that the agreement reached with the FRG last week at Geneva on inviolability of frontiers—which gives the Soviets a ‘crystal clear’ statement on frontier inviolability in return for their agreement to the inclusion of a reference to peaceful change of frontiers in connection with one of the other principles, such as sovereignty—opens the way for Soviet proposals in connection with Basket III on human contacts when the talks resume April 23. He will likely point to these developments as opening, in turn, the way to the conclusion of Stage II by mid-June.

Gromyko may fear, however, that a target of late June for completion of Stage II could slip a week or so, given the unwieldy CSCE process, thereby carrying Stage II into early July. The Finns have announced that they need four weeks of advance notice to prepare for Stage III. Delegations interpret this generally to mean that Stage II must be completed at least four weeks prior to Stage III, which all anticipate will last at least three days. An August date for Stage III is out of the question because of Western European vacation habits, and Gromyko will thus react adversely to any indication that the Stage II could not be concluded in late June, or that Stage III might take place in the autumn.

“For our purposes, we will wish to underline to Gromyko that we do not believe it realistic to assume that Stage II could end before the last week in June or, at the latest, the first week in July. At the same time, you could meet Gromyko’s concerns on this score to some extent by suggesting that all agree to a target date for beginning the Stage III meeting—say July 15—subject only to prior satisfactory conclusion of Stage II. This would give the Finns a date for planning purposes, and thus permit Stage III to begin a week or two after the conclusion of the Geneva talks. However, we could not assure Gromyko that all of the Western European participants would agree to such a target date. Many of them might feel that this would weaken their bargaining leverage on substantive issues by virtually guaranteeing that Stage III would take place.

“Substantive Issues

“At this point, it is difficult to judge the adjustments in Allied positions which would be required to assure that Stage II talks were spun out until late June. Much bargaining and drafting remains. Current expectations, however, that the talks must end by mid-June will put the delegations under pressure to work for compromise and ways of speeding the drafting process when talks resume. Based on our Helsinki experience, time pressures could create a bandwagon effect beginning about mid-May.

“Initially we could encourage those Allies that have taken the stiffest line toward the Soviets to pursue their approach on issues like [Page 607] human contacts, freer flow of information and confidence-building measures (CBM’s), though the Allies would expect us to be as tough in plenary as in private. Otherwise, it will be difficult to disguise our hand for long. Moreover, we can encourage reticence on postconference permanent machinery, though we might find ourselves the only maverick in the herd. Given our position to date on the level of Stage III, we probably should not use this issue as a bargaining chip unless essential.

“We will thus have to reassess periodically the approach to each of the issues that we will need to take with the Allies and others to insure that the talks extend into late June.

Gromyko will likely solicit further US cooperation in speeding compromises on Basket III and CBM’s. In this connection, he may wish to draw you into detailed discussion of various aspects of these and other issues. To serve our timing objective, we recommend that, while indicating our readiness to continue efforts to stimulate compromises between Eastern and Western positions, you underscore that the many issues remaining to be debated do not lend themselves to swift resolution, on the basis of positions advanced to date. Moreover, in order to further brake momentum on substantive issues, we recommend, if feasible, that you respond to proposals for detailed discussions of these issues by indicating that these could best be addressed later at staff and official level, once the Geneva talks resume and positions are clearer.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 404, Subject Files, USSR (Briefing Book), Foreign Minister Gromyko Visit)