204. Telegram From the Department of State to Secretary of State Kissinger in Jerusalem1

Tosec 764/104436. Subject: CSCE: Discussion with Dobrynin on Basket 3. Ref: Jerusalem 897 (Secto 446).2 From Sonnenfeldt and Hartman.

In response to your request, this message gives our reading of an acceptable outcome under Basket 3. It provides suggested talking points for your use with Dobrynin, and inventories for your background Allied and Eastern positions on the most sensitive topics.
With regard to our approach, we think it would be prudent to make clear to Dobrynin that we are not in a position to “deliver” our Allies with respect to the content of Basket 3 texts, but will do our best to facilitate compromise.

Suggested talking points for your use with Dobrynin:

  • —Our “thoughts” on the content of Basket 3 are necessarily colored by what we feel our Allies will find acceptable. In advancing our thoughts, we do so with the caution that they may have to be adjusted to the views of our Allies, although we will seek to be helpful in assisting in the emergence of compromise formulations.
  • —Against that background, we believe the final package under Basket 3 must include liberally worded declaratory texts pledging participants to (a) facilitate family reunification and visits, and (b) improve dissemination of and access to foreign books and publications. These will be indispensable to overall success of CSCE.
  • —Moreover, we believe that agreement on three or four of the following matters should be reflected in Basket 3:
  • —A code of conduct pledging improved working conditions for journalists;
  • —Acceptance in principle of freer contacts for religious purposes;
  • —Some indication of willingness to permit opening of foreign libraries and reading rooms in several cities in all CSCE participant states;
  • —General language on stimulating freer travel, including statements on giving to citizens of all participating states facilities allowing them to travel more freely and on the general principle of freer movement;
  • —Indication of willingness to reduce internal travel controls, along lines of extending the recent relaxation of controls on foreign diplomatic travel in the USSR to journalists, businessmen, and others;
  • —Language on cessation of radio jamming, which could be interpreted as an assurance that jamming of official broadcasts in vernacular languages (VOA, BBC and Deutsche Welle) would not be resumed.
  • —On all of the above issues, we believe the texts should be generally worded, establishing a political and moral obligation on participants, but not entailing binding commitments to specific and detailed courses of action.

End talking points.


Background: An “acceptable” outcome under Basket 3 will depend upon what Western governments believe they can successfully portray to their parliaments and public opinion as constituting, or foreshadowing some tangible improvement over present Eastern practices.

Ajudgment now of how Western European political leaders will gauge the temper of public attitudes on this issue is necessarily tentative. Undoubtedly the Western Europeans will press for language in Basket 3 texts that implies an element of automaticity, while the Warsaw Pact countries will insist on formulas that would leave everything in the hands of national authorities. In the US, Basket 3 issues have so far attracted little attention. However, we can anticipate considerable congressional and public interest in the CSCE text on family reunification.

In addition to the key Basket 3 issues, set out below, we expect voluminous further drafting on less controversial matters, particularly cultural and educational exchanges, which will have little impact on Western public opinion. However, the sheer bulk of the texts on topics of secondary importance will slow drafting work and add to Moscow’s sense of frustration.
Key issues: Allied and Eastern positions. The following are the likely key topics, which are discussed in more detail below:
Human contacts:
  • —family visits;
  • —reunification of families;
  • —relaxation of other travel controls (e.g. lowering of restrictions on exit visas and reduction of closed zones).
Freer flow of information and ideas:
  • —better working conditions for journalists;
  • —freer dissemination of foreign books and publications;
  • —cessation of radio jamming;
  • —contacts for religious purposes (a Vatican proposal on this subject cuts across both areas of human contacts and freer flow of information and ideas).
Family visits—we expect a generally satisfactory outcome here. The Soviets have already acquiesced in provisional registration of a text that would pledge governments to relax restrictions on temporary family visits. Ultimate agreement on the remaining bracketed portions should not prove too difficult.
Family reunification—the FRG and Canada have shown the greatest interest in this issue, which has not yet been squarely joined in the Geneva discussions. The FRG and others will urge agreement on a liberally phrased code of conduct on this issue. This is a major issue for the West, and the Soviets will need to make some concessions.
Relaxation of exit controls—a UK proposal on tourism would have participants undertake to give “their citizens all the necessary facilities to travel freely…,” and the Danes have tabled a paper with introductory language for measures aimed at stimulating freer travel containing a straightforward statement on the general principle of freer movement. This issue has less political appeal in the West than the question of family-related travel, but some Soviet give will be needed, and clearly the current Western positions will need to be watered down.
Relaxation of internal travel controls—a Belgian proposal calls for a reduction of closed zones, without prejudice to the right to forbid access to security areas. However, the Western countries have not yet pressed the point forcefully. The Soviets recently eased restrictions on travel by foreign officials in the USSR and may make a comparable gesture for non-official travelers, but they will resist explicit CSCE undertakings on this.
Dissemination of foreign books and publications—the Italians, Dutch and Swiss have tabled texts calling for relaxation of censorship and controls on books and periodicals. A French proposal would have participants pledge “to encourage the creation of sales outlets for foreign books” in major cities and the opening within their territory of libraries and reading rooms by other participant governments. The Soviets will resist these proposals.
Working conditions for journalists—the FRG and Switzerland have tabled texts in Geneva that would have the participants accept a liberally-phrased code of conduct on this subject. Moscow may eventually agree to mildly positive language and perhaps make small adjustments in actual practices. It will be difficult, however, to get [Page 626] Soviet agreement to anything that the Western press corps would consider very significant. But we should try.
Freedom of assembly for religious purposes—a Vatican proposal cites the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and calls for individual and collective religious contacts within and among participant countries. Vatican representatives are enrolling co-sponsors, and we should seek some Soviet concessions here.
Cessation of radio jamming—the Swiss proposal already cited also calls on participants to “guarantee unhindered reception of radio and television programs originating in other participating states.” It would now apply only to the jamming of RL and RFE since the Soviets, last September, unilaterally stopped the jamming of broadcasts in vernacular languages by VOA, BBC and Deutsche Welle. Further significant progress in this area is unlikely, although several Western countries may press for language like that in the Swiss text as a hedge against a later resumption of Eastern jamming of official broadcasts.
Even though Soviets have indicated they wish to deal with substance of Basket III in Geneva (Tosec 667),3 we assume it would still be useful for you to convey to Dobrynin “our thoughts” after your return.4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 69, Country Files, Soviet Union, Dobrynin/Kissinger, Vol. 21. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Streator, cleared by Hartman and Deputy Executive Secretary William H. Luers, and approved by Sonnenfeldt.
  2. In telegram Secto 446/897 from Jerusalem, May 15, Kissinger wrote to Sonnenfeldt and Hartman: “The understanding Dobrynin has of my talks on Basket III is essentially correct. I did agree that we would try to work out some ‘top of our head’ type ideas on Basket III. You should work up some thoughts along these lines and forward them to me for my consideration. Tell Dobrynin that I will discuss our thoughts with him after my return.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 216, Geopolitical File, Soviet Union, Dobrynin, Anatoliy, Chronological File)
  3. Not found.
  4. No record of Kissinger’s meeting with Dobrynin has been found.