246. Telegram From the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the Department of State1

4974. Subj: CSCE: NAC consultations on satisfactory outcome. Dept please pass info Geneva for USDel CSCE. For Sonnenfeldt and Hartman from Sherer.

The NAC agreed that there should be further discussions of CSCE in Brussels, but we got no support in the Council for our suggestion that the Allies, in Geneva, should draft more realistic texts on central Basket III issues. French del (Andreani), in response to my question, said the Nine wanted to tidy up their Basket III texts already tabled in Geneva and make them more compact. However, they do not propose at this stage to modify them substantively. UK (Peck) doubted wisdom of drawing up next [new?] texts which represented minimum Western requirements plus some negotiating fat. British believed, Peck said, it would be better tactics to stick with present Western positions. FRG (Brunner) did not speak to this issue at all. Canadians (Shenstone) endorsed position of Nine and said Allies should be prepared for a long haul in Geneva.
Everybody else who spoke also supported Nine’s position, as it was set out by Andreani, that a first reading of all Basket III texts is essential and that only thereafter, when Allies have had the Soviet reaction to all Western proposals, would it be possible to prepare for final trade-offs. Norwegians and Danes urged that Allies, for internal purposes, should set mid-December as a target date for the completion of Stage II, but nobody supported them.
Andreani said four U.S. Basket III texts provided last July2 were useful and would help the Nine and the Allies as they reflect upon the shape of the likely final compromise. No one else spoke to our papers except the Canadians who said (erroneously) that the U.S. text on reading rooms3 was no different from the Western proposals tabled in Geneva.
Allied statements in the NAC conflicted with indications earlier gleaned by our Geneva delegation that the Nine intend both to streamline their Basket III texts editorially and to make them more realistic substantively. While the NAC session was thus frankly disappointing, I do not believe we should take it as the last word of our Allies on the subject. [Page 719] Most who spoke were still objecting to the idea of preparing agreed fallback positions (their interpretation of “minimum requirements”) which should be conveyed to the Soviets. They and their governments have not yet had time, of course, to digest the suggestion in my statement4 that we attempt agreement on more realistic Basket III texts which—while less ambitious than the “wish lists” now on the table—would still give Western delegations some negotiating room.
In next week’s caucus of NATO delegation heads in Geneva, we will press our position again. I propose to suggest that Allies take the list of essential Basket III elements drawn up by the EC–9 (para 25 of their paper)5 and attempt to draft, in the Basket III caucus, specific language under each of the points listed, working both from new EC texts and from the four papers we put forward in July.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Agency Files, Box 16, NATO, State Department Telegrams, Tosec State, Nodis. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. See Documents 236 and 237.
  3. Telegram 157018 to Geneva, July 19, transmitted the U.S. draft text for access to literary works. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
  4. Telegram 4977 from USNATO, September 14, contains the text of Sherer’s statement before the NAC on September 13. (Ibid.)
  5. Telegram 4443 from Geneva, July 12, contained portions of the EC–9’s approved paper on minimum essential requirements for Basket III. Paragraph 29 listed as major topics “freer movement and contacts” between East and West, “larger and freer distribution” and “improvement of access” to information, “more complete access” to culture and cultural “exchanges and contacts,” and “direct contacts” in education. (Ibid.) See also footnote 2, Document 237.