359. Memorandum From the Counselor of the Department of State (Sonnenfeldt) to Secretary of State Kissinger 1


  • Introduction of MBFR Option III in NATO

In your talk with Resor in Vienna2 you agreed in principle to introducing Option III into NATO for consultations. You also discussed this with Schmidt and Genscher in Bonn3 and they said the Germans, in NATO, would not make an issue of Option III as long as the FRG was not singled out for special treatment. I have since confirmed this with Genscher in Brussels4 who promised to keep a personal eye on the NATO consultations to prevent his technicians from staging a divisive debate. You also indicated to Schmidt that in all probability we would not table Option III in Vienna until after CSCE is finished—the NATO consultations will take at least two months anyway. (There may, in fact, be pressure for us to raise the option bilaterally with the Soviets, possibly at the Brezhnev Summit.)

The question now is, therefore, whether to proceed this week in NATO. It was previously felt that the presence of Portugal might be a problem, but at one point you indicated that you felt the Soviets know the Option pretty well in any event. (It is not substantially changed from two years ago.) There is no other NATO forum that can be utilized; any forum excluding Portugal would have to be ad hoc, probably be opposed by several allies and, in any case, become known to the Portuguese. Consequently, in present circumstances, I see no alternative but to proceed in the NAC (with Portugal present) with the Option III consultations.

[Page 1059]


That you approve proceeding with Option III consultations in the NAC this week (of June 2).5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Entry 5339, Box 3, HS Official, Chronological. Secret. Sent for “Prompt Attention.”
  2. Kissinger met with Resor at the latter’s request in Vienna on May 20; handwritten notes of their conversation are in the Ford Library, NSC Program Analysis Staff, Jan Lodal Convenience Files, Box 6, Memcons and Summaries of Discussion, May 1975, 1. Kissinger was in Vienna from May 18 to 20 to discuss the Middle East and CSCE with Gromyko; see Documents 284287.
  3. See Document 289.
  4. No record of this conversation has been found.
  5. Kissinger initialed his approval. Telegram 132089 to USNATO, June 6, contained the final draft of the paper, “US Views on Next Steps in MBFR,” for distribution to the NAC “in connection with introduction of US proposal on Option III.” Telegram 3230 from USNATO, June 11, reported that in the course of the day, Ambassador Bruce introduced the U.S. propsal on Option III to a session of the North Atlantic Council. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)