30. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon1


  • Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers’ Reply to NATO Ministerial Communiqué

The Hungarian Foreign Ministry handed to Embassy Budapest June 26 four documents2 that constitute an official response prepared by Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers to the Communiqué of the May 26–27 NATO Ministerial Meeting.3

In summary, the Pact documents reinforce 1969 appeals for a Conference on European Security (CES) and reiterate proposals for a CES agenda covering (a) renunciation of the use of force, and (b) expansion of East-West commercial, economic, scientific and technical relations. Additionally, however, the response includes new aspects deriving in part from the NATO Communiqué:

  • —an additional proposed agenda item would cover establishment by CES of “an organ” to deal with questions of security and cooperation in Europe;
  • —“reduction of foreign armed forces on the territories of European states” is indicated as an issue that “might” be taken up by “an organ” to be established by CES, or “in any other form acceptable to interested states.”
  • —cultural relations and environmental issues are indicated to be appropriate for East-West discussion;
  • —the US and Canada are formally acknowledged, with the GDR, as appropriate CES participants;
  • —Helsinki is said to have been agreed as the CES site.

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Initial Appraisal

While attempting to appear forthcoming and devoid of polemics, the Pact response reflects little real advance toward Allied positions:

  • —the Pact rejects the NATO-agreed position that there must be recorded progress on security issues before multilateral explorations for a conference can be considered;
  • —Allied willingness to consider under certain conditions establishing a permanent East-West body as a means of embarking upon multilateral negotiations is warped into a proposal for a permanent body or bodies to be set up at CES;
  • NATO proposals for Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions (MBFR) are echoed for the first time on the Pact record, but there is no assurance that the Pact would seriously pursue such discussions at or after a CES on terms acceptable to the Allies;
  • —The Allied call for the free movement of people and ideas is ignored;
  • —Pact proposals for economic and scientific-technical exchanges are designed to commit NATO to steps now to free-up restraints on exchanges.

Next Steps

We propose to consult in NATO with our Allies before responding to the Warsaw Pact proposals. In Allied consultations many may prefer to defer further steps until NATO’s December Ministerial Meeting. However, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and probably to a lesser extent the UK and the Netherlands, will likely favor an early and positive NATO reaction, particularly in the light of the indications the Pact is prepared to broach at least the issues related to MBFR. Thus, we likely will face increasing pressures for further movement toward a preparatory conference for a CES earlier rather than later, regardless of progress in other East-West discussions.

William P. Rogers 4
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 4 Warsaw Pact. Secret. Drafted by Streator. A notation at the top of the first page reads: “Signed by the Secy on the plane travelling to San Francisco.”
  2. The four documents have not been found. The Foreign Ministers of the Warsaw Pact states met in Budapest June 21–22, and approved a memorandum regarding a European security conference. For a summary of the relevant excerpts of the memorandum, see Keesing’s Contemporary Archives, 1969–1970, p. 24075.
  3. See Document 24.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.