28. Editorial Note

In telegram 92834 to USNATO, June 13, 1970, the Department summarized conversations with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin on European security and balanced force reductions in the wake of the NATO Ministerial meeting in Rome. On June 5, Dobrynin discussed the communiqué from the meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Martin Hillenbrand. Citing the communiqué, Dobrynin inquired about the Allies’ stated readiness to enter into multilateral contacts. He asked “what the definition of ‘progress’ would be. Hillenbrand responded that this would obviously be a matter for NATO FonMins to determine. They will meet again in Brussels in December, by which time it might be possible to determine prospects for success in the various ‘on-going talks.’

“3. On the MBFR declaration, Dobrynin asked whether we saw this as the subject of a separate conference or as CES agenda item. Hillenbrand said that thrust of declaration was to treat MBFR as separate subject procedurally since it was regarded as riper for progress at this point. However, forward movement on MBFR might be one of the criteria which could influence NATO Ministers to decide time had come for the multilateral exploratory talks mentioned in the communiqué itself.”

The telegram then summarized Dobrynin’s conversation with Under Secretary of State Elliot Richardson on June 9; see Document 26. The cable included the text of the U.S. guidelines or “illustrative points” regarding MBFR that Richardson had handed to Dobrynin:

  • “A. The objective of mutual and balanced force reductions would be to reduce the level of military confrontation in Central Europe while maintaining the security interest of both sides.
  • “B. There should be no political preconditions to a mutual and balanced force reductions discussion or agreement.
  • “C. Reductions would be reciprocal and in agreed quantities over agreed periods of time with the fulfillment of one step as a precondition for the next.
  • “D. Reductions should include stationed and indigenous forces and their weapons systems in the area concerned.
  • “E. Withdrawals on both sides would be a matter for negotiation on the basis of specific proposals.
  • “F. Adequate and mutually acceptable verification of mutual and balanced force reductions corresponding to the nature and extent of reductions would be essential.
  • “Negotiation would take place in a forum and with participants to be mutually agreed.” (Ford Library, Laird Papers, Box 2, NATO, Vol. IV, June–August 1970, June)