292. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission in Geneva1

Tosec 20020/122749. Subject: CSCE: Reply to Soviets on CBM’s. Ref: Geneva 3837.2

You should contact Kovalev and indicate that Secretary has asked you to convey following points growing out of your soundings of allies following conversations with Gromyko in Vienna re CBM’s parameters.

  • —Our discussions with allies in last few days indicate that new Soviet proposal on parameters could be expected to elicit a generally favorable response.
  • —At the same time, however, Soviets should understand that none of the allies is prepared to accept Soviet proposal—18 days, 30,000 troops, 150 km—as a final solution to parameters problem. Soviets have not yet moved far enough in direction of allies.
  • —As to priorities among different parameters, the allies continue to attach particular importance to (a) area of USSR to be covered and (b) threshold for size of exercises of be notified. Therefore we believe Soviets will have to show further flexibility on both of these parameters to make progress. However, the area of the USSR to be covered remains the most basic problem, and the Soviets should focus their major attention on this. 150 km coverage of USSR would not be an acceptable outcome. Deeper zone is required.
  • —In our view next step should be for Soviets to table more ample parameters which will take into account allied views.
  • —We would be prepared to work actively with allies to develop a forthcoming response to a Soviet proposal which in itself gives evidence of flexibility and realism on the important matters we have indicated.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, 1975. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by John S. Davison (EUR/RPM). Cleared by Dobbins (C) and approved by Armitage. Repeated to Moscow and to Kissinger in Paris. Kissinger was in Paris for talks with Giscard d’Estaing.
  2. In telegram 3837 from Geneva, May 24, Sherer informed Hartman that the U.S. delegation at CSCE had “contacted reps of UK, FRG, and France and several smaller [nations?] individually for reactions to parameters set forth by Gromyko. These allies all believe Soviet offer is insufficient, and that more satisfactory results can realistically be obtained with sustained pressure on Soviets. Of the three numerical parameters, these allies also agree that timing is least important, but are evenly split on whether they should exert maximum effort to lower threshold or increase depth of area. On threshold, some now believe that most practical outcome would be a numerical range on the order of 20–25,000 vice a single set figure. On area, allies not only wish Soviets to increase width of band of territory along their land borders, but also to measure band from sea frontiers in Baltic and Black Seas. However, allies have limited leverage to exact these further concessions without using movements issue, and we would appreciate authorization requested in ref b to join allies in developing appropriate tactics.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)