317. Editorial Note
Secretary of State Kissinger visited Bonn, July 11–12, 1975, for talks with Foreign Minister Genscher and Chancellor Schmidt. On the night of July 11, Counselor Sonnenfeldt informed Ambassador Sherer and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Hartman about Kissinger’s discussion of the Maltese issue with Genscher in telegram Secto 6042: “The Secretary and Genscher discussed Maltese problem. Germans are supporting what they say is firm French opposition to Maltese amendment. They also report that British are with the French. Germans indicated to the Secretary that on the basis of their conversations with Mintoff during latter’s recent visit to Bonn, they believe they can influence him to withdraw amendment. Germans will accordingly make direct approach to Mintoff, probably via Brandt. They will inform Secretary of result and in the meantime, you should do nothing further.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files) A memorandum of conversation of the meeting is ibid., P820123–1675.
Sonnenfeldt followed up the following afternoon in telegram Secto 6061 for Sherer and Hartman: “As indicated in telecon earlier today, Germans informed us today that French were softening in their opposition to Maltese amendment because of fear they might damage their relations with the Arabs, who are praising Mintoff. As a result, Germans decided they would not use their own capital with Mintoff and would not make previously-arranged phone call to him. Germans also indicated that NATO caucus in Geneva was working on softer version of Maltese formula, and that French had indicated they would take the lead in this effort. Germans also indicated that as soon as a softer version has been agreed upon in NATO caucus, Romanian Foreign Minister would then contact Mintoff directly to urge his support for it. Germans have also indicated that they would thereupon make their own phone call to Mintoff. Secretary agreed with Genscher that above procedure should be followed. You may join efforts to find compromise formula, but should not lead. You may join consensus. Please stay in [Page 917] close touch with your German colleague and keep us promptly informed.” (Ibid.)
On July 12, Kissinger discussed the Maltese amendment during his stop in London at Heathrow Airport, where he met with British Foreign Secretary Callaghan. Amemorandum of their conversation reads in part: “Callaghan: Will the CSCE meet? Kissinger: I don’t understand the phrase that the Maltese want. All it does is commit us to continue contacts on a range of questions in multilateral forums, that doesn’t mean anything. My view is it’s ridiculous to hold up the Conference on that paragraph. Callaghan: That’s my view. [He reads the text of the Maltese amendment to the Mediterranean Declaration.] When you look at that paragraph, Mintoff will make something of it, but it means nothing. Kissinger: If Macovescu can produce a compromise, we’ll go along. I don’t know what a compromise to ‘reduce armed forces’ is. Killick: The Finns are more relaxed now, but we have something to work with. The Turks have to be brought along on the Confidence Building Measures. They have to put it to the Cabinet. Kissinger: They also have problems with the Maltese. Callaghan: Let me tell you a story about the Commonwealth Conference. When Mintoff made a long speech and went all around the world, Seretse Khama—of Botswana—said to me, ‘You know what Dom means in Afrikaans? Stupid!’ [Laughter]” (Ibid., Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 4, Britain)
Later the same day, telegram 5479 from Geneva, passed to the Secretary’s party, reported that the NATO caucus had “agreed to accept Maltese amendment as it stands.” The telegram continued: “NATO delegations all regretted circumstances of the situation, and several will probably express their views on Maltese negotiating techniques at first appropriate occasion. US del took low profile and sought views of NATO dels as element in reaching final USG decision. Neutrals and Warsaw Pact countries are expected to accept Maltese amendment as soon as NATO acceptance is made known.” Telegram 5501 from Geneva, July 14, summarized the results of the NATO caucus’ efforts: “Hectic negotiations on July 10 and 11 resulted in two not entirely innocuous new paragraphs for the Mediterranean Declaration announcing the intention of CSCE participants to continue the contacts on Mediterranean security begun in CSCE and specifying the purposes which such contacts should serve. These paragraphs were included in a package deal leading to acceptance of the Canadian proposal on stage III date. After considerable delay, Mintoff’s special envoy, Ambassador Kingswell, said the package deal would be accepted if participants agreed to an additional phrase making ‘reduction of armed forces in the region’ one of the purposes of continued contacts on the Mediterranean. Expected acceptance of the Maltese phrase on July 14 will mark completion of work on the Mediterranean Declaration.” (Both ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files)