346. National Security Decision Memorandum 2411


  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Deputy Secretary of State
  • The Chairman, U.S. MBFR Delegation


  • Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions

The President has approved the following instructions for the U.S. Delegation2 in the next phase of MBFR:

The U.S. Delegation, in coordination with the Allies, is authorized to begin discussion of U.S.-Soviet ground force reductions with the Soviet and Warsaw Pact Delegations in accordance with Phase I of the agreed Allied proposal.
In this connection, the Delegation, together with the Allies, may inform the Soviets that:
  • —At a suitable time in negotiating the first phase of our proposal, we would be willing to discuss the specific language of a provision in a first phase agreement which would cover the linkage between the two phases.
  • —We could agree that the second phase negotiations could start within a fixed period of time after conclusion of the Phase I agreement; the precise period would be agreed later in the Phase I negotiations.
As for Soviet desire for assurance that the second phase would include the forces of the Federal Republic of Germany,3 the Delegation [Page 1012] should emphasize that the common ceiling reduction which should result from Phase II would, on the Allied side, focus on the other direct participants in the area of reductions. The Delegation may informally tell the Soviets that it is our assumption that the Bundeswehr would be included under the common ceiling reduction,4 but that any advance commitment to FRG reductions in the second phase would require an equivalent Soviet commitment to the common ceiling as the outcome of Phase II.
The Delegation should, as appropriate, make clear to the Allies and the Soviets that the only sub-ceilings to result from MBFR, in either phase, should solely apply to Soviet and American forces.
As discussed in the Verification Panel Meeting, January 7, 1974,5 the Delegation should continue to oppose the inclusion of air and nuclear forces and make clear to the Soviets that we are not prepared to address them.

Discussion of nuclear issues with UK and FRG should be postponed until February. A paper with recommended guidance for use in response to the UK/FRG questions, together with an analysis of the underlying issues, should be prepared by the Working Group for the consideration of the Verification Panel by January 28, 1974.

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–017, Verification Panel Meeting, 3/14/74, MBFR. Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
  2. Telegram 5679 to Vienna, January 10, communicated the relevant portions of NSDM 241 to the MBFR delegation in Vienna. (Ibid, Box 668, Country Files, Austria, Vol. 1)
  3. A memorandum to Walters on “Warsaw Pact Views of the West German Army in the Context of MBFR,” December 14, 1973, reads in part: “On 8 November the Soviet MBFR delegation at Vienna proposed a draft agreement specifying equal percentage reductions of both stationed and indigenous forces. One of the effects of this agreement would be that the largest NATO reductions, approximately 47 percent of the total, would be taken by West German forces. The Soviet proposal, therefore, runs counter to NATO’s belief that a first phase agreement should be limited to the withdrawal of US and Soviet ground forces from the reduction area. Acceptance of the Pact proposal could result in a reduction for the West German Army of over 50,000 men in addition to other reductions in air force manpower. This could result in a ceiling being placed on the West German Army at approximately 270,000 men.” (Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Deputy Director for Intelligence Files, Job 82–M00587R)
  4. At a December 28 meeting, Lodal explained to Kissinger a disagreement between the U.S. delegation at the MBFR talks and Sonnenfeldt regarding German reductions: “As I understand it, the Delegation proposed promising a second phase which would include German forces in return for a first phase concentration in U.S./Soviet forces. Since the Soviets want very much to have German forces included, this is a significant concession on our part. The common ceiling would be pushed to the background and, therefore, might be lost in the process. The real issue is one of emphasis—the degree to which the common ceiling is emphasized now. There is also the issue of whether the Germans are still interested in being included in a common ceiling.” (Memorandum of conversation; Ford Library, NSC Program Analysis Staff, Jan Lodal Convenience Files, Box 66, Memcons and Summaries of Discussion) Kissinger also discussed the issue with Resor the same day; a memorandum of their conversation is in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1027, MemCons—HAK Presidential.
  5. The minutes of the Verification Panel meeting on MBFR, January 7, included in its “summary of conclusions”: “there will be no sub-ceilings in MBFR except on U.S. and Soviet forces; a decision on adding a ‘nuclear sweetener’ to the MBFR negotiations would be postponed pending further study; the trilateral meeting with the Allies scheduled for January 21 would be postponed until February.” During the meeting, Kissinger sai D: “Personally, I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance in hell of getting an agreement without the nuclear package—no chance whatsoever.” At this point, Ikle pointed out that there was a planned trilateral meeting in Washington on January 21 with German and U.K. representatives to discuss MBFR; he suggested that it be postponed until February so that a U.S. proposal for a nuclear package could be discussed. Kissinger sai D: “I think that once we get our SALT position defined, we ought to talk to them [the Soviets] then about the nuclear package in MBFR. If the Soviets have no interest, well, then, we have at least found out.” (Ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–108, Verification Panel Minutes, Originals, 3/15/72 to 6/4/74)