22. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Guidance for the May NATO Ministerial Meeting

In order to meet the needs of Ambassador Ellsworth in his consultation with the Allies as we prepare for the NATO meeting in May, State and Defense have agreed on some tentative guidance. It deals with tactical and procedural handling of European security questions.

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The main points are:

  • —to hold to the present position that any European Security Conference must be carefully prepared and deal with concrete issues, based on prior progress on such issues;
  • —on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions we would propose to establish a NATO Commission to coordinate further explorations with the Soviets;
  • —on non-security issues, such as trade, and cultural and technical exchanges, we would propose the establishment of a special Committee to study the issues and possibly hold some ad hoc conferences.

We discussed this approach in the Review Group meeting on April 16,2 and there was no opposition. We also agreed it would be worthwhile to hold an NSC meeting before the NATO session, to discuss some of the more basic long-term issues relating to European security questions.

If you approve I will ask that such a study be completed for early NSC consideration.


That you authorize me to concur in the instruction to Brussels as outlined above, with the proviso that substantive positions on the question of balanced force reductions will be derived from the internal study authorized in NSSM 92.
That we prepare a more basic study of European security issues for an early NSC meeting.3
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–043, SRG Meetings, Issues of European Security, 4/16/70. Secret. Sent for action. Sonnenfeldt forwarded a draft of the memorandum to Kissinger on April 16. (Ibid.)
  2. The minutes of the SRG meeting, April 16, listed the following “summary of decisions”: “1. To drop the discussion of mutual balanced force reductions from the IG paper, without prejudice, pending completion of the study requested in NSSM 92; 2. To keep the IG paper as a basic Review Group paper for the NATO Ministerial meeting and to clear with the President the guidance telegram to Ambassador Ellsworth; 3. To prepare a new paper for an NSC meeting in May, discussing the broader question of European security over a three-to-five year period, including Germany and Berlin, with a view to: (a) getting Presidential guidance on a US program for the Ministerial Meeting; and (b) getting a Presidential decision on our objectives over the long term.” (Ibid., Box H–111, SRG Minutes, Originals) The paper by the Interagency Working Group for Europe, “NSSM 83: Current Issues of European Security,” February 24, is ibid., Box H–166, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 83, 1 of 4. An analytical summary of the paper is Tab A, Document 20.
  3. Nixon initialed his approval of both recommendations on April 21. The cable, telegram 58023 to USNATO, April 18, is ibid., NSC Files, Box 259, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. VIII.