24. Editorial Note

The North Atlantic Council met in Ministerial session from May 26 to 27, 1970, in Rome. On May 28, Secretary of State Rogers reported on the meeting to President Nixon in telegram Secto 28/2149 from Madrid: “At the NATO Ministerial meeting concluded today, I think we achieved a good deal, although there are signs of increasing European desire to move toward a security conference.” Rogers reported: “Everybody went away with a good feeling about the meeting and the results. The UK, Belgium, and the Scandinavians were pleased with the tone of initiative on MBFR and European security. Germany, Italy, the UK, and France, as well as Greece, Turkey, and Portugal, were satisfied (though not necessarily for the same reasons) that in being positive no commitment was made to a European security conference. We were able to avoid any early multilateral meetings that might lead toward a conference.” Rogers then reviewed the sessions: “At the start of the meeting Stewart (UK) pressed hard for immediate ‘multilateral’ contacts with Eastern Europe to explore the prospects for later multilateral ‘negotiations.’ Concerned that early ‘multilateral’ contacts would quickly become converted to a preparatory meeting for a conference, I urged we continue on a bilateral basis. We finally reached a satisfactory consensus on language calling for bilateral contacts until the next NATO meeting in December. We will then examine whether there has been enough progress on Germany and Berlin to proceed to ‘multilateral exploratory’ contacts. Even with modest success in the current talks on Germany and Berlin, or on SALT, however, I see increased pressures at that time. Our European allies were also interested, as we were, in a positive approach to Eastern European mutual and balanced force reductions. I think the declaration we agreed on will demonstrate seriousness both to Eastern Europe and Western Europe while leaving open the specific negotiating positions we might want to take.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 259, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. VIII) The communiqué from the Rome NATO Ministerial meeting, along with a declaration on Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions, are in North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO Final Communiqués, 1949–1974 pages 233–238.