236. Action Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Hartman) to the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt)1

CSCE: Allied Study of Minimum Desired Results

We face, as you are aware, an uphill effort in achieving Allied agreement to pursue a study of minimum CSCE results that would justify a summit. The Nine paper presented in NAC2 is hardly more than a checklist of issues before CSCE, and the Nine apparently have no intention now of moving toward (a) narrowing the contentious issues in Basket 3 by excluding some Western desiderata now on the table in Geneva; or (b) defining more precisely their desiderata on various topics. The Nine position doubtless stems from recognition that they would be in domestic trouble, if the press and opposition parties got wind that the Allies were backing-off on Basket 3 issues which have not really been discussed yet with the Soviets. Nor do they feel under any time pressure to define satisfactory results before the autumn after the East-West debate resumes. In fact, the more we emphasize time pressures, the more their suspicions are aroused.

The issue then is how to nudge the Allies along toward a more precise and realistic definition of objectives in Basket 3 and toward an agreed fallback position on CBM’s, without pressing them so hard we would risk a new US-European confrontation, but in a way that this autumn we would be in a position to show the Soviets that we have made a strong effort to bring CSCE to a conclusion.

We need not expend much effort on other CSCE issues, for the outline of satisfactory results on principles is in hand, Basket 2 issues are out of the woods, and conference follow-up will not be ripe for debate until the first three agenda items are largely cleared away.

But on CBM’s, we will need to keep pressing the Allies, and especially the EC members, to come to an explicit understanding on the fall-back [Page 701] positions that the British and Germans have signaled to us bilaterally. We informed the NAC on July 10,3 and instructed Rumsfeld to reiterate on July 17 and July 19,4 what we think the fallback should be:

  • —On maneuvers, thirty days prior notification for reinforced division and above (about 20,000 men) taking place on the land mass of Europe, but in the European USSR, including only a broad band of territory on its Western border.
  • —Drop prior notification of troop movements.

We will also need to press the Allies to have a serious discussion on Basket 3 over the next weeks, and to get the results of the discussion recorded in a document that is more than a checklist of issues.

The Secretary should raise this problem with Genscher, and we will provide a paper and talking points for their forthcoming meeting. We may also want to move bilaterally with the British and French, depending on progress in NAC and at Geneva, where the study will be prepared for NAC review.

Beyond this, we need to give Bud Sherer detailed guidance on the Basket 3 issues for his use in priming the study pump at Geneva.

To refresh your memory, here is a list of the 12 Basket 3 issues which the EC Nine believe should be the subject of CSCE texts:

Human Contacts
Family Visits (Registered Text)
Family Reunification
Right to Travel
Written Information
Working Conditions for Journalists
Access to Literary Works, etc.
Contacts among Artists
Contacts between Educators and Scientists (Registered Text)
Access to Educational and Scientific Institutions (Registered Text)

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Three of these texts (family visits; contacts between educators and scientists; and access to educational and scientific institutions—at Tab E) have already been registered in Geneva and are not likely to be seriously controversial. A fourth document (written information) has been under active discussion in Geneva for some time and may soon be registered; the current version of this paper on access to information, complementing an already registered text on dissemination of information, is at Tab F. As for the sensitive family reunification issue, the NATO caucus at Geneva produced a text on this in June and presented it informally to the Soviets (Tab G). Given the intense FRG interest in it, we believe it is too hot to handle in the NATO caucus and we should not propose tampering with it. Eventually, we might ask the Secretary to discuss the matter bilaterally with Genscher, if the Soviets find the text too much to swallow.

On the marriage issue, the Norwegian draft (Tab H) should not be too hard for the Soviets to digest, except for the passage that would require issuance of exit permits for the children of married couples (the defector problem). We believe we should leave it to the Soviets to eliminate children.

Our delegation in Geneva believes the two remaining topics under the cultural subheading (exchanges and contacts) are not key issues and should not provoke serious controversy.

The EC Nine have not listed two texts tabled by the Vatican, one on religious contacts and the other on access to religious information, although several of their delegations have expressed general support for them. Our judgment is that the Vatican, which has greatly strengthened its relations with Eastern European countries in recent years, is astute enough not to insist on the impossible and that the Soviets will make a few symbolic concessions. In any event, I do not think we should put ourselves in the middle of this issue.

That leaves four texts that we believe the Allies should now discuss in detail with a view toward cutting out some non-negotiable fat. We have developed guidance to Sherer on each in the draft telegram at the tabs shown, and have also included the corresponding Western text(s), as well as spread sheets comparing the specific substantive aspects of the texts in play.

  • —Working Conditions for Journalists (Tab A)5
  • —Right to Travel (Tab B)6
  • —Broadcast and Filmed Information (Tab C)7
  • —Access to Literary Works (Tab D)8

Overall guidance to Sherer on the approach he should take to the review of Basket 3 issues is included in the draft telegram at Tab A. In summary, our proposed revisions would blunt the cutting edge of all four texts, especially those on journalists, radio broadcasts and access to literary works.

The Allies will not be pleased with our suggested changes to texts they have sponsored, and some of their disgruntlement is certain to leak to the media. But if we do not begin to move on these texts now, we will not have put the Allies on early notice that we are serious about searching for middle ground, and we will not be in a position to argue with the Soviets that we tried to meet some of their concerns. We come closest in these telegrams to having it both ways, that is neither antagonizing the Soviets or seeming to sell-out the Allies. If we push any harder, however, we may find ourselves isolated.


That you approve the telegrams at Tabs A–D.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 11, POL 3–1 CSCE General. Secret; Exdis; Sensitive. Drafted by Streator and Floyd with the concurrence of Lowenstein. At the top of the memorandum, Hartman wrote: “Arva [Floyd] has done a 1st class job on this and I recommend we get these messages out fast. I see no issues for the Secretary.” Sonnenfeldt wrote, “I agree!” Tabs E–H are attached but not printed.
  2. On July 15, the French Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, de Rose, presented a paper approved by the EC-Nine on minimum objectives at the CSCE. Telegram 3900 from USNATO, July 15, contains the text of the paper. (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Telegram Secto 229/4339 from Madrid to USNATO, July 9, provided an outline for Rumsfeld’s opening remarks to the North Atlantic Council on July 10. (Ibid.)
  4. Telegrams 153816, July 16, and 156180, July 18, transmitted the instructions to Rumsfeld. (Ibid.)
  5. Tab A is the draft text of Document 237.
  6. Tab B is the draft text of telegram 157019 to Geneva, July 19. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  7. Tab C is the draft text of telegram 157020 to Geneva, July 19. (Ibid.)
  8. Tab D is the draft text of telegram 157018 to Geneva, July 19. (Ibid.)