219. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State1

3988. Eyes only for Sonnenfeldt and Hartman from Sherer. Department pass to Moscow eyes only for Ambassador Stoessel. Subj: CSCE: Basket III preamble. Ref: Geneva 3986.2

Subsequent to transmission of reftel, we have been informed that acting head of FRG delegation (Von Groll) briefed EC-Nine caucus June 21 on the Secretary’s discussion with Genscher3 about Finnish proposals for Basket III preamble and related language for insertion in principles. Von Groll’s briefing may well have fueled suspicions of a US-Soviet deal on this subject. Since EC-Nine caucus included experts from Baskets I and III, we assume this information will be known throughout the conference within a few days.
We have taken position thus far that there is no US-Soviet understanding, and that Bad Reichenhall meeting took place several days after we had reported the Finnish proposals to Washington. We have also pointed out that our opposition to Finnish-proposed language on “foundations” shows that we are not a party to any “deal,” but of course our support for the general concept of the Finnish solution is well known, and Von Groll’s briefing has contributed to the rumors which are circulating here on this subject. In these circumstances, we are reviewing the actions we had planned in support of the Finnish solution, and will certainly be forced to take a less active role, at least for [Page 660] the time being. It must also be recognized that resentment toward possible US-Soviet collusion may strengthen resistance to the Finnish solution, and render full achievement more difficult. The Soviets, who are pressing hard for immediate adoption of the Finnish solution, will undoubtedly be unhappy with any obvious reluctance on our part to move quickly.
Additionally, we believe that growing press interest in CSCE, coupled with West European apprehension about leakage of this story to the press a reasonable possibility. The Department should be prepared to deal with this situation, should it arise.
We believe West European suspicions of a US-Soviet understanding on this issue make it all the more important that the Moscow summit meeting be used to press the Soviets for reasonable concessions on Basket III and military issues. Such concessions will be essential if we are to be able to justify to our European Allies our support for a compromise on the Basket III preamble issue at this time.
In these somewhat altered circumstances, we would appreciate any further guidance the Department may wish to provide, especially as to how we should respond to Soviet pressures for quick action. We would also be grateful for the Department’s guidance on how we should react to queries from our Allies, and possibly also from the press, on this matter.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 708, Country Files, Europe, Switzerland, Vol. III. Secret; Immediate;Nodis.
  2. Document 218.
  3. See Document 212.