310. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns
  • NATO Deputy Secretary General Pansa Cedronio
  • Assistant Secretary General for Defense Planning and Policy Colin Humphreys
  • Ambassador Andre de Staercke, Belgium
  • Ambassador Arthur Menzies, Canada
  • Ambassador Ankar Svart, Denmark
  • Ambassador Francois de Rose, France
  • Ambassador Franz Krapf, Germany
  • Ambassador Byron Theodoropoulos, Greece
  • Ambassador Tomas Tomasson, Iceland
  • Ambassador Felice Catalano, Italy
  • Ambassador Marcel Fischback, Luxembourg
  • Ambassador A. K. F. (Karel) Hartogh, Netherlands
  • Ambassador Rolf Busch, Norway
  • Ambassador Joao de Freitas Cruz, Portugal
  • Ambassador Orhan Eralp, Turkey
  • Ambassador Sir Edward Peck, United Kingdom
  • Ambassador David K. E. Bruce, United States
  • The President
  • Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • James R. Schlesinger, Secretary of Defense
  • Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant to the President
  • Brent Scowcroft, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
  • Robert Goldwin, Special Consultant to the President
  • H. Allan Holmes, Director, Office of NATO and Atlantic Political-Military Affairs, Department of State
  • A. Denis Clift, Senior Staff Member, National Security Council

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

President: [Omitted here is an unrelated comment.] I also think that we, that the United States, should continue détente with the Soviet Union. This can be helpful in areas of importance to the Alliance. We are extending our negotiations in SALT II; there is no resolution as yet but we are building on the Vladivostok meeting of last December. The MBFR negotiations, the negotiations in Geneva—without consideration of Phase III—have shown progress in Phase I. What are the numbers, Henry?

[Page 884]

Secretary Kissinger: In MBFR or CSCE—in MBFR there are some 28 to 32 thousand on our side to 68 thousand on their side, together with equipment.2

President: The point I am making is that in Phase I we are on dead center. I know that consultations have gone forward on the nuclear element and that we are now looking at the question of including Pershings and some of our aircraft.3 Is it the F–104s?

Secretary Schlesinger: F–4s, sir.

President: We are also interested in the European security negotiations. I understand that there is now some movement, and if there is an acceptable compromise I would assume there will be something in Helsinki in the latter part of July. These are among the principal issues that we see of interest to the Alliance, together with standardization, rationalization, and other matters of present concern.

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

Secretary General Luns: On one other matter, Mr. President, until the day before yesterday my impression was that the Helsinki meeting would not be held in the near future because of the lack of progress in the Conference and because the Finns need a month to prepare for the meeting. This morning I heard that the Soviet Union had been in touch with several governments—I don’t know if the United States was one—concerning a July 22 starting date for the meeting. I was surprised since it was my impression that the feeling is in Geneva that it wouldn’t be held earlier than the end of September. How do you view this?

President: We haven’t been pushing this. We have continued to feel that our Western Alliance partners should be the main parties involved in directing the pace of the negotiations. I must admit that I have been concentrating so heavily on other matters—the Greek-Turkish question with the Congress, for example—that I haven’t taken a fresh look at this with Henry. Henry?

Secretary Kissinger: The Soviets have proposed a July 22 date. Our position continues to be that we are prepared to meet whenever the second stage is completed satisfactorily. We haven’t accepted or rejected the Soviet proposal, and we won’t agree to a date before the second stage of the Conference is finished. You should all know this so that we won’t be whipsawed by the Soviet Government contacting each of our governments and saying that one or the other of us has agreed to [Page 885] this or that. Our instructions, to be completely frank to you, to our Ambassador in Geneva are to stay a half a step behind the Europeans—and to let you drag us into the Conference. We aren’t pressing, and we aren’t holding back.4 Until the Soviet Union makes a concession on the question of three hundred kilometers, Basket I will not be completed.

[Omitted here is discussion of matters other than the European security conference or MBFR.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 3, HS Official, Chron. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Clift. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room at the White House. Luns and the NATO Permanent Representatives visited the United States June 18–20 to meet the President and to participate in a symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 345.
  3. See Document 357.
  4. On June 28, Hartman updated Kissinger on progress toward setting a date for the final conference in Helsinki. A transcript of their telephone conversation reads in part: “K[issinger]: When is it most likely to be—the 28th or the 22nd [of July]? Bud’s guess is that people are moving toward the 28th. The Soviets have insisted on the 22nd. K: they’ll yield on that. H: I think they will. K: Well, let us stay out of it.” Kissingercontinued, “just let the Russians fight it out with the Europeans. It’s a matter of total indifference to me.” “Bud” was Sherer’s nickname. (Department of State, Electronic Reading Room, Kissinger Transcripts of Telephone Conversations, http://foia.state.gov/documents/kissinger/0000C07D.pdf)