244. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • US-Romanian Relations; CSCE; Cyprus; Middle East


  • Romania
    • Vasile Pungan, Counselor to President Ceausescu
    • Corneliu Bogdan, Romanian Ambassador
  • United States
    • The Secretary
    • Helmut Sonnenfeldt, Counselor
    • Nicholas G. Andrews, Director, EUR/EE

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

Secretary: [Omitted here are unrelated comments.] On the specific issues which you discussed—first, the European Security Conference, as I remember. As you know, the European Security Conference was not our invention. We do not feel overwhelmed with responsibility as a result of our attendance. We are not an obstacle to the resolution of [Page 715] Basket 3 issues which reflect the views of the Western Europeans. Communist countries specialize in the holding of power; they will not allow themselves to be outmaneuvered and lose power. An international transaction to undermine that power is an absurdity. When their power is threatened, they will take means to protect themselves.

I do not attach as much importance to these matters. Bucharest will survive. The major impetus does not come from us. We are not against it. We are willing to settle issues if others are willing. We are for confidence-building measures and other standards of international relations. I have a political science department in this building which follows these things. We will cooperate in bringing it to a conclusion. We are working toward common agreement with the Western Europeans. We are not willing to spend capital on these matters. We do not want a Dutch cabaret in Moscow. We will not fall on our swords. We will be restrained. We want to finish it but we won’t weaken our relations with our Allies on these issues. If you have any influence on the Western Europeans, exercise it. It is getting late to finish it this year. When do they meet?

Sonnenfeldt: The first week in September.

Pungan: It is not a problem how many remain to be solved. But some are difficult.

Secretary: Have you read all the papers involved in Basket 3?

Pungan: No.

Secretary: I have not met any Foreign Minister who has read them all. Our positions are similar. We urged the Western Europeans to adopt a position. But they argued: if we have a position, it will become known to the Soviets. That is the point of the entire Conference—to let the Soviets know our position.

Sonnenfeldt: We do have a difference with Romania on follow-on machinery.

Pungan: Some countries like Romania need follow-on machinery more, they need security machinery. Really you can help us here.

Bogdan: Especially on follow-on machinery.

Secretary: We are not so eager. For exactly the same reason that you want it. In your case you want it so that powerful neighboring powers will exercise restraint. In ours, we don’t want those powers becoming involved in Western European affairs who are not there already.

Pungan: You would have power in an area where you did not have it before. Except in frontier areas where it would not be very good.

Secretary: Follow-on machinery will not help us in Belgrade.

Pungan: Perhaps …

Secretary: Follow-on machinery will not do anything for us in Eastern European countries—in non-market economies, as Senator Jackson [Page 716] puts it. We are willing to say something but not as elaborate as you would like.

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

Bogdan: If you would agree to follow-on machinery …

Secretary: You seize Bessarabia and then ask for mediation. I’ve heard folk songs performed by Russian singers and I must say the Moldavian ones sound more Central European. I think we saw a group perform in Moscow.

Sonnenfeldt: There was a Moldavian folk dance group.

Bogdan: The group toured Canada a few years ago.

Secretary: In general, when you look at your list, on the European Security Conference, we don’t differ very much. We will use our influence to bring about a more rapid conclusion to the Conference short of undermining our relations with our Western European Allies who, as you know, are subject to a slight personality complex.2

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P820097–1296. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Andrews.
  2. A memorandum of Pungan’s conversation with President Ford on August 27, which covered the same points as his meeting with Kissinger, is in the Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 5.