312. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Hartman) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


Your meeting with Gromyko takes place during what may be the last full week of negotiations at Geneva. There are no significant differences between US and Soviet positions on remaining CSCE issues which involve [Page 889] mainly EC-Soviet disputes over details or last minute haggling by the smaller powers, especially the Dutch and Romanians.

If Gromyko attacks us for not effectively lining up Allied support for compromised texts, you might point to Romanian obstructionism on the Warsaw Pact side.

This paper briefly outlines issues and offers suggested talking points.

Timing of Stage III

The CSCE Coordinating Committee is holding intensive discussions aimed at setting a date for commencement of stage III, and it is not possible to predict where this issue will stand on July 11, when you meet Gromyko. The French formally proposed on July 72 that the Helsinki finale take place before the end of July, provided all remaining texts are registered by mid-month, and over half of the CSCE delegations reportedly now favor a July summit. But the Finns adamantly insist they must have three weeks advance notification from Geneva in order to make arrangements.

Your Talking Points

  • —We are impressed with the substantial progress achieved in Geneva in recent weeks and, for our part, would consider a late July stage III meeting both desirable and feasible.
  • —However, there are those among our allies, your allies and the neutrals who insist that key unresolved issues be settled before a flat commitment is made to any specific date.

Basket 1—Principles

The Allies are supporting Genscher’s efforts to register final texts on quadripartite rights, peaceful change, and a “Europe clause” extending CSCE benefits to all of Europe (including Berlin), before declaring their willingness to attend the Helsinki finale on a precise date. Virtually all other questions related to the declaration of principles are now settled.

QRR . On July 5, the following revised text was agreed, ad referendum to governments:

“The participating states, paying due regard to the principles above and, in particular, to the first sentence of (the tenth principle), note that the present (title of document) does not affect their rights and obligations, nor the corresponding treaties and other agreements and arrangements.”3

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We support this text and continue to follow the lead of France on QRR matters.

Your Talking Points

  • —We support the recently revised text on quadripartite rights and responsibilities and hope that it will provide the basis for a final compromise.
  • —We have supported the French initiatives and appreciate Soviet flexibility on QRR matters.

Peaceful Change. The Four Powers plus both Germanies are ready to register the peaceful change formulation, which we negotiated with the Soviets. However, the Romanians have asked that the text be revised, mainly by linking it specifically to sovereign equality language in the first principle.4 We have emphasized to the Romanians our strong hope that they drop efforts to change this hard-won compromise formulation.

Your Talking Point

—We believe it would be in everyone’s interest to persuade Romania to drop its request that the peaceful change text be modified; Soviet help in this regard would be welcome.

Europe Clause.” On July 5, the Soviets and FRG worked out a compromise text extending CSCE benefits to all of Europe, implicitly including Berlin.5 Subsequently, the FRG has sought to steer this text toward rapid provisional registration.

Your Talking Point

—We welcome the Soviet and FRG success in developing a “Europe clause” and believe it only proper that results of this Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe should be extended to all Europeans.

Basket 1—CBMs

Since your last meeting with Gromyko, the Soviets have come around to acceptance of realistic parameters for the maneuvers CBM—250 kilometers, 25,000 troops, and 21 days—and are ready to accept compromise texts on maneuvers as well as movements, provided Ankara drops its demands for notification within only a limited zone of 100 kilometers inland from the Turkish sea coast.6 The Turks, however, are stubbornly [Page 891] pressing their insistence on exceptions and show little predilection as yet to give way to a compromise acceptable to all parties. At last report, Turkey indicated it would take its case to the NATO Council on July 9. The Soviets recently accepted a CBM on movements based on “voluntary” notification, and Gromyko may emphasize the need for unequivocal NATO acceptance of the “voluntary basis” concept. In NATO, the Dutch continue to balk at voluntary notification, and in the Warsaw Pact, the Romanians also object to this concept.

Your Talking Points

  • —We welcome Moscow’s acceptance of realistic parameters for the CBM on notification of maneuvers.
  • —It is now necessary for both of us to press our Allies to accept final compromises that will permit swift registration of voluntary CBMs on maneuvers and movements.

Basket 2

The last remaining substantive hurdle to concluding Basket 2 negotiations is development of a text ensuring reciprocity in reduction of trade barriers. We are following the lead of the Nine in their attempt to work out with the Soviets a balanced formulation taking account of MFN, EC quantitative restrictions, and COMECON trading practices.

Your Talking Point

—We hope all parties will display realism in the search for a final compromise on the question of reciprocity in the reduction of trade barriers.

Basket 3

—Since their positive reaction, on the eve of the NATO summit, to the Western “global initiative” on basket 3 texts concerning human contacts and information, the Soviets have shown great flexibility on all basket 3 questions, and all texts in this area are now provisionally registered.7

Your Talking Points

  • —We warmly welcome Moscow’s flexibility in recent weeks in permitting a satisfactory conclusion to the negotiations in basket 3.
  • —We had long argued for realism on basket 3 issues with our Allies, and we are pleased that the Soviet Union ultimately reciprocated with realistic positions of its own.
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Basket 4—Follow-up

With the Swedes chairing a Special Working Group on follow-up, negotiations are nearly complete on a satisfactory compromise text which will probably provide for: a preparatory meeting 18 months after completion of stage III; a meeting of senior officials about 24 months after stage III; decisions in follow-up to be taken by consensus; future meetings to be rotated among CSCE capitals; and acceptance, in principle, of a new Conference at some time in the future. The Soviets have displayed flexibility in the Working Group, while trying to enhance the political content of follow-up arrangements.

Your Talking Point

—We are following with interest the negotiations on a final compromise on post-CSCE follow-up arrangements, and are prepared to join a consensus on this issue.

Final Document

The Soviets have accepted inclusion of a disclaimer in the CSCE final document making clear its politically, but not legally, binding character and the submission of a letter to the UN Secretary General, the effect of which is to draw a distinction between international treaties and/or legally binding agreements, on one side, and the CSCE declarations of intent, on the other.

Your Talking Point

—We appreciate Soviet flexibility in negotiations on CSCE final document, which appears to be taking shape in a manner acceptable to all sides.

Helsinki Summit and Public Opinion

We suggest that you consider discussing with Gromyko the US and Soviet approaches to characterization of CSCE results. You could get across that if Brezhnev takes an extreme position in propagandizing CSCE as, for example, a quasi World War II peace conference, the Allies will inevitably have to react sharply.

Your Talking Point

—We believe it is in the interest of all sides to display moderation in characterizing the results of CSCE as a useful, if limited, step forward in the continuing process of East-West détente.8

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, Entry 5403, Box 14, Briefing Memos 1975, Folder 4. Secret. Drafted by Frowick. Sent through Sonnenfeldt. Lodal initialed for Hartman.
  2. Telegram 5256 from Geneva, July 7, reported on the French proposal. (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files)
  3. Telegram 5243 from Geneva, July 7, reported on the registration of the text. (Ibid.)
  4. Telegram 5273 from Geneva, July 8, reported on Romania’s position. (Ibid.)
  5. Telegram 5257 from Geneva, July 7, reported on the Soviet-West German compromise. (Ibid.)
  6. Telegram 5186 from Geneva, July 3, reported on the Soviet position. (Ibid.)
  7. Telegram 5205 from Geneva, July 6, reported that all the texts for Basket III had been provisionally registered. (Ibid.)
  8. Kissinger subsequently discussed the status of CSCE in a meeting with President Ford on July 9. A memorandum of their conversation reads in part: “President: What about CSCE? Kissinger: It is hung up on things that are out of our hands. The Finns are getting mad. It may have to be postponed until the end of August.” (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Memoranda of Conversation, Box 13)