311. Minutes of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meeting1


[Page 886]
Secretary of State Kissinger—Chairman
D Mr. Ingersoll
P Mr. Sisco
E Mr. Robinson
T Mr. Maw
M Mr. Eagleburger
AF Mr. Davis
ARA Mr. Rogers
EA Mr. Habib
EUR Mr. Hartman
NEA Mr. Atherton
INR Mr. Hyland
S/P Mr. Lord
EB Mr. Enders
S/PRS Mr. Anderson
PM Mr. Vest
IO Mr. Buffum
L Mr. Leigh
S/S Mr. Springsteen
S Mr. Bremer
S Mr. Barbian
H Mr. Goldberg (Acting)

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

Secretary Kissinger: How is the European Security Conference?

Mr. Hartman: Do you think that’s foreign policy? (Laughter.)

Secretary Kissinger: That’s at least foreign.

Mr. Hartman: Well, the only thing that I think can actually bring a conclusion to that conference is the cooperation that now seems to be under way between the Soviets and the Germans.

Now, it will take the Soviets to hold the Finns. The Finns want to say, “Sorry, you can’t have this conference in July because you didn’t give us the go-ahead at the time.” The Soviets, I’m sure, are going to try to hold the Finns to keep open the possibility of a July conference because I think that there are a number of countries that can have—

Secretary Kissinger: But this isn’t the sort of problem—

Mr.Hartman: The Germans are fine. we’re now at the point where the Romanians are holding up one piece, and that’s the key piece for the Germans. In other words, until the Germans agree on a fundamental language—

Secretary Kissinger: What’s their complaint? Mr. Hartman: Their complaint is it doesn’t talk enough about the sovereignty of states—that, somehow or other, it affects the Romanian claims on its borders.2 And the Soviets have been talking to them, trying to talk them out of their objection. But they are the last ones to—

[Page 887]

Secretary Kissinger: But why? Is it the affirmation of the sovereignty of states that makes it harder to change borders?

Mr. Hartman: That’s right. And you’d think with their Bessarabian and other claims3

Secretary Kissinger: They might be worried about them.

Mr. Hartman: —they may be worried about them. There are a lot of Hungarians leaving Romania now going back to Hungary. That is the fundamental issue for the Germans. Unless that clause is agreed to, they cannot go ahead with what is now the French plan—which would be to agree on the 28th in principle, subject to all the conference documents being finished up by the 14th.

Secretary Kissinger: The point is: Delaying it till August, there’s no substantive position on which the issues will improve.

Mr. Hartman: That’s right.

There’s another issue—that is, to extend all the provisions of the conference, declarations and so forth. Berlin and the Soviets have accepted this.

Secretary Kissinger: But who doesn’t?

Mr. Hartman: Well, the Turks have a difficulty. They want to take an exception on the maneuver provision because they don’t want it to apply to areas out of Cyprus.4 You know, there’s just a whole bunch of very small issues. And no one, other than the Germans, is taking a firm leadership.

Secretary Kissinger: It’s now 250 kilometers.

Mr. Hartman: It’s 250, 25,000 men.

Secretary Kissinger: It’s certainly stupid that the Germans would agree to 275.

Mr. Hartman: Well, they didn’t want to be accused of holding up the conference.

[Page 888]

Secretary Kissinger: I think we could have got 300, but we could certainly have got 275.

It makes no difference. It makes absolutely no difference to it.

Mr. Hartman: I think we ought to have our fellow say a little more clearly today that August is absolutely out.

Secretary Kissinger: That’s right. Just tell them August is out.

Mr. Hartman: That might, in fact, bring some of the others around, because I think many of them are counting on August as a fallback.

Secretary Kissinger: Just tell them August is out for us.5

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

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger’s Staff Meetings, 1973–1977, Entry 5177, Box 7, Secretary’s Staff Meetings. Secret. An attached summary of the meeting’s outcome reads in part: “CSCE developments. Secretary wants it understood that we absolutely could not attend European Security Conference in August.”
  2. Telegram 2622 from Geneva, April 16, reported that the Romanian representative to the CSCE, Lipatti, informed the U.S. delegation that the language on peaceful change of March 17 was “unacceptable to Bucharest.” Lipatti said that “as now drafted it was an invitation to border changes, not an exception to rule of border inviolability.” The Romanian fear, the telegram noted, “was that Soviets would interpret ‘inviolability’ as applying to themselves and ‘change’ as applying to their allies.” The telegram continued that the “primary problem, according to Lipatti, was to reinstate the word ‘only,’ so that text again looked like an exception, not an invitation.” The Romanians suggested “that this could be done in various ways, e.g., inserting it between ‘changed’ and in accordance with’; inserting it between ‘international law’ and ‘by peaceful means’; or by reordering the text to read: can be changed by peaceful means and by agreement, only in accordance with international law.’” (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Telegram 2004 from Bucharest, May 9, reported the reaction of the Romanian Government and Romanian historians to various assertions made by Soviet historians in a publication commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist Republic. Ceausescu, it reported, “was attacking particularly Soviet claims that tsarist empire ‘liberated’ Bessarabia (part of historic Romanian lands since Dark Ages) from Turks in 1812 in ‘progressive’ move and that a separate ‘Moldavian language and people’ had formed within USSR.” The telegram noted that “most ominous to Romanian historians was fact that a few Soviet colleagues seemed to be hinting that Soviet ‘Moldavia’ did not necessarily end at Prut River” and that historical nucleus of this Soviet republic “might be due for more expansion in future if GOR did not come to heel.” (Ibid.) Romania ceded Bessarabia to the Soviet Union at the end of World War II.
  4. Telegram 4318 from Geneva, June 10, reported Turkey’s position on applying CSCE’s proposed confidence-building measures to Cyprus. (Ibid.)
  5. Kissinger and Hartman further discussed the issue in a telephone conversation on July 8. A transcript of their discussion reads in part: “K[issinger]: On the European Security Conference, I don’t see that we can let it slip beyond July 29, or if worse comes to worse, the very end of August. H[artman]: The last few days. K: Yes. H: OK. I got the word around yesterday about all of August. I think the Finns are getting angry with everybody. They say they’re going to slip a day every day they miss getting an agreement in Geneva. I called the Romanian Ambassador and said they could not change the [omission in transcript] in my judgment. They’re still trying to make all kinds of changes in Geneva. K: Yes. H: We’ll be in touch. K: Just make sure it doesn’t slip back to that week. H: How about it on Wednesday or Friday? Is that too late? That would leave practically no time at the other end. K: Yes, it makes it tough. H: The end of August is better. That would allow more time to make sure all documents are in order: K: Let’s say the 28th. H: OK.” (Department of State, Electronic Reading Room, Kissinger Transcripts of Telephone Conversations, http://foia.state.gov/documents/kissinger/0000C093.pdf)