20. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- NSSM–83,2 European Security—May NATO Ministerial Meeting
Though the Review Group on this study is, unfortunately, several weeks away, I thought you might want to familiarize yourself with this [Page 49] study. The attached package includes an analytical summary (Tab A), the study and its summary (Tab B), a box score done by State of the various Western ideas that have been floating around (Tab C), plus a copy of an earlier memo on German views which are becoming of special importance (Tab D).3
As a basic examination of policy options, the paper itself suffers from several defects. It does not present an in-depth discussion of the broad concepts of European Security and how they might be achieved. Nor does it take up the German and Berlin issues. It also does not go into the problems of conducting a strategy review, on the one hand, and conducting an active (or passive) European Security policy, on the other.
Thus, the study is largely a tactical-procedural paper. Nevertheless, the tactical issues have become quite important. This study is probably the only way to get an NSC framework for and some Presidential control over the decisions that will be made in NATO in May on a European conference and a proposal on balanced force reductions. You will recall that Brosio mentioned to you how important it was for the other Allies to know the US position well before May.4
As it now stands, the schedule does not permit an NSC before early May. Thus, some policy will again be made by cables. Since Secretary Rogers will be personally involved in the Rome meeting, an NSC meeting would be the proper vehicle to involve the President. If it slips beyond the first week in May, I see no way to intervene in the dialogue between Brussels and the Department, which by then will be fairly frantic in any case.
One alternative might be to squeeze in a Review Group meeting and send an agreed memo to the President concentrating on the question of a conference and balanced force reductions, with some expanded argumentation and background.[Page 50]
Whatever you decide, it seems to me that these will be the issues to lift out of the paper and present to the NSC or the President:
Do we still want to try to impose certain preconditions to any multilateral conference:
- —if so, on what issues should we insist on progress: Berlin, Bonn’s negotiations?
- —is there any action on our part called for?
- Is it in our interest to allow balanced force reductions to
become the central negotiating issue, assuming the Soviets can
be brought around?
- —if not, how do we defuse it without causing a great conflict with the Allies?
- —if we do want to move forward, is it for psychological reasons (i.e., to provide excuses not to make unilateral cuts) or for serious purposes; the difference would matter in developing a negotiating stance.
We will be in a somewhat better position after the military analysis of balanced force reduction models by the Military Committee is finished on April 20. But it seems likely that we will face a State-Defense split with State wanting to move ahead for political reasons and Defense rejecting any BFR proposals that might be negotiable. This is another, and perhaps the most important reason for putting the issues under Presidential aegis.
- That you consider speeding up RG consideration of this paper.
- That you consider requesting State to forward promptly a supplementary paper on the issues to be resolved before the May NATO Ministerial meeting.6
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–166, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 83, 1 of 4. Secret. Sent for action.↩
- Document 12.↩
- Tabs B–D are attached but not printed. Tab B is the draft response to NSSM 83, prepared by the Interagency Working Group on Europe, on February 24; it apparently updated the January 26 response (see footnote 2, Document 12).↩
- Amemorandum of a conversation between Kissinger and Brosio, March 20, reads in part: “On East-West relations, Brosio noted the growing sentiment in favor of a conference. He pointed out that the German position was crucial. Brandt seemed to feel that he could facilitate his Eastern negotiations by supporting a conference, specifically one that would take up force reductions.” According to the memorandum: “Brosio urged that the US make known its position on an East-West conference well before the May Ministerial meeting, rather than at the last minute. The other Allies would be influenced by the position we took. Brosio noted the Belgian idea for exploratory East-West talks and felt that this might be an acceptable fallback. He did not think that the British idea of a commission was a good one.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 259, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. VIII)↩
- Kissinger initialed his approval of both recommendations.↩
- Jeanne Davis wrote in the margin next to Recommendation 2: “State Jim Carson, EUR/IG uniformed, 3/31—JWD.”↩
- Drafted by the NSC staff.↩
- In February 1970, the FRG entered into negotiations with Poland on renunciation of force with regard to the Oder-Neisse line.↩
- Reference is to a draft version of the response to NSSMs 60, 65, 79, 83, and 84, which originally included a section on Bonn’s Ostpolitik. At a meeting of the NSC Review Group on January 23, Hillenbrand criticized the draft, prepared by the NSC staff, for being “loaded with anti-German assumptions.” At the end of the meeting, Kissinger decided to drop Germany from the subjects to be discussed by the NSC on January 28. For information on the paper and the Review Group meeting, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969–1972, Document 49.↩
- In the Treaty of Locarno of October 16, 1925, Germany, France, and Belgium recognized their mutual borders resulting from the Treaty of Versailles (1919), which had ended World War I. Great Britain and Italy offered a security guarantee to the three main signatories. Presumably, Sonnenfeldt is referring to this arrangement, rather than the fact that the treaty left open the issue of Germany’s eastern borders with Poland and Czechoslovakia.↩
- Popular name for the Western Peace Plan submitted to the Geneva Foreign Ministers Meeting on May 14, 1959. The plan, named after Secretary of State Christian Herter, provided for the unification of Germany by stages, parallel to disarmament measures in Central Europe. The Soviet Union rejected the proposal. For the text of the proposal, see Documents on Germany, 1944–1985, pp. 624–629.↩
- See footnote 8, Document 19.↩
- See Document 16. Secretary Rogers also spoke briefly with Dobrynin about an ESC during a conversation on January 30. Telegram 16128 to Moscow, February 3, contains a record of the conversation. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL US–USSR)↩