296. Briefing Memorandum Prepared in Bureau of European Affairs for Secretary of State Kissinger 1

CSCE: Soviets Moving to Wrap Up the Conference

The Soviets have clearly been moving vigorously to wrap-up remaining CSCE issues so that they can have a summit at the end of July. Tentative [Page 861] agreement was reached June 4 on the text dealing with working conditions for journalists, a significant breakthrough which leaves radio broadcasting in basket 3 and CBMs as the only major substantive items to be completed and which could give impetus to a completion of stage II in late June or early July.

The journalists text which the Soviets have accepted parallels very closely the West’s proposals in the “global approach” (see Tab 1).2 The one remaining obstacle to full agreement on the journalists text is the Romanians, who have indicated that they will have difficulty accepting the language on expulsion.

The Soviets have also recently accepted the text on travel as proposed in the Western global approach, and are now negotiating earnestly on the broadcasting text. Here the Soviets have agreed to accept a formulation expressing hope that the “broadening of dissemination of broadcast information will continue” (a euphemism for cessation of jamming), but they wish to see accompanying language implying responsibility for broadcast content, a point about which the FRG is acutely sensitive.

Assuming that the Soviets will soon start pursuing CBMs with equal intensity, there is a good chance that both basket 3 and the military aspects could be wrapped up within the next few weeks. Accordingly, even with many of the secondary issues like follow-up, translation problems, and the scenario for stage III unsettled, we can expect a strong upsurge of interest from the Soviets and others in setting a precise date for stage III. Ambassador Sherer believes that the Soviets will attempt before June 20 to get a firm Allied commitment to a summit meeting opening July 21 (see Tab 2).3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 7, Soviet Union. Confidential. Sonnenfeldt sent this memorandum to Kissinger under cover of a June 5 memorandum.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Tab 2, telegram 4167 from Geneva, June 4, reads in part: “Western delegations continue to believe strongly that no firm commitment on level or timing of Stage III should be given until key substantive issues (e.g., CBM’s, human contacts and information) of interest to the West are resolved. However, current Soviet attitude toward the negotiations, and their evident haste to complete Stage II, poses the possibility that they may make enough concessions during this week and next week to substantially fulfill this condition and make it necessary for Western dels to take decision on timing and level during week of June 16–20.”