298. Editorial Note

On June 9, 1975, Secretary of State Kissinger discussed the Soviet letter of June 6 (Document 297) with President Ford. A memorandum of their conversation reads in part: “President: I see the Soviets have made concessions in CSCE. Kissinger: They did on Basket I and earlier they gave us 250 kilometers, up from 180 kilometers. I have let Genscher and Callaghan know this. If it works, we could have a summit conference about the 23rd. I have said 2-1/2 days of formal meetings; to have it longer than that without any accomplishments would be bad. We will get a press beating here anyway. You should see Brezhnev—maybe you can wrap up SALT.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 12)

On June 7, Kissinger sent letters appraising the Soviet offer to Foreign Ministers Callaghan, Sauvagnargues, and Genscher. The letters read in part: “At our quadripartite meeting in Paris we reviewed the negotiating status of the confidence-building measure on advance notification of military maneuvers. In addressing which aspect of the measure [Page 863] is most important to Western interests, we reached a general consensus that it would be most important to have depth of territory increased and that the number of troops involved and the number of days’ notice would be by comparison of secondary importance. Since returning to Washington, I have learned from the Soviets that they are now prepared to consider a zone of 250 kilometers in depth providing that the other parameters remain at 18 days and 30,000 men. It is my impression that this represents an important concession and adequately meets Allied requirements. I would appreciate your reaction to the Soviet proposal, and if you agree with me that it provides a basis for satisfactory compromise on this issue that you will so notify your representative in Geneva.” The letters to Callaghan, Sauvagnargues, and Genscher were sent on June 7 in telegrams 133604 to London, 133605 to Paris, and 133606 to Bonn, respectively. Kissinger also informed Ambassador Sherer at CSCE about the Soviet proposal in telegram 133597 to Geneva, June 7. The telegram reads in part: “I told Dobrynin that you will get together with Kovalev to work out the tactics and manner of presentation of this proposal, and that we will support it with the Allies as meeting essential Western requirements.” (All in National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)

On June 11, Counselor Sonnenfeldt wrote to Kissinger as part of his daily activities report: “Hartman and I were in touch throughout the day in regard to CSCE. All the Allies, except France, consider most recent Soviet moves on CBM’s inadequate and we need to convey this fact to the Soviets promptly.” (Ibid., Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 12, Daily Activities Reports, 1975)