238. Telegram From the Mission in Geneva to the Department of State 1

4724. Subj: CSCE: Consultations on essentials. Refs: State 157032,2 State 157020, State 157018, State 157019,3 State 158622.4

US rep (Sherer) presented US views on further Allied consultations on essentials at NATO delegation heads’ caucus July 23. Drawing fully on reftels, Sherer proposed work program for remainder of this week to come to agreed document prior to CSCE recess.
Immediate unanimous reaction of Allied delegation heads was bitter and resentful. Noting there had been no agreement in NAC on timing or nature of this exercise, delegation heads expressed “surprise” and “shock” that US should make what they considered such an unreasonable and imprudent proposal. As foreshadowed by our earlier cables on this subject, delegation heads questioned utility and wisdom of exercise proposed by US and recalled fact that Basket III texts already exist which were drafted through long consultation process in EC–9 and NATO, based in large part on US inputs. New texts could only be written after these texts had been fully discussed in the CSCE drafting process.
Allied delegation heads further suggested that US presentation indicated “extreme under-estimation of the importance of CSCE,” and recalled that in NAC discussions all delegations except US were unanimous in agreeing that this exercise cannot and should not be done at this time.
In view of informal CSCE meeting to discuss neutral package deal for Basket III preamble (see septel),5 NATO delegation heads’ caucus was [Page 707] cut short, and it was agreed to resume this discussion afternoon of July 24. With delegates due to begin departing from Geneva on July 25, this will leave very little time for drafting of any NATO caucus paper before the recess. Nevertheless, some NATO delegations are looking for a way to make a gesture toward US position this week. In these circumstances our objective at next NATO caucus will be to put together some kind of paper, hopefully including US suggested texts, even if these have to be annexed or bracketed to make the arrangement acceptable.
We are not optimistic that any paper can be agreed before the recess, but whatever can be managed will certainly fall far short of what we have proposed.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 708, Country Files, Europe, Switzerland, Vol. III. Secret; Immediate;Exdis. Repeated to Bonn, Brussels, Copenhagen, The Hague, London, Moscow, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Reykjavik, Rome, and USNATO.
  2. Document 237.
  3. See footnotes 68, Document 236.
  4. Telegram 158622 to Geneva, July 23, reads as follows: “Further to State 157032, it may help you to keep feet of Allied reps to the fire as you press for definition of minimum acceptable CSCE outcomes to indicate that we envisage exchanges at ministerial level as the exercise proceeds. We have recommended, for example, that the Secretary raise it this week with Foreign Minister Genscher during the latter’s visit to the US. You may also state that we are prepared to take the issues to appropriately high political levels in other governments as necessary to resolve them.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  5. Not further identified.