5. Memorandum From Helmut
Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the
President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
Washington, October 2, 1969.
- European Security and Forthcoming NATO Meetings—The Bureaucratic Steamroller Pushes
The Brussels machinery with heavy US
prodding has been grinding out huge quantities of paper on European
Security issues. Based on Ministerial decisions at Reykjavik the year
before,2 a vastly elaborate study of mutual force cuts in
Europe has also been proceeding.
With the Deputy Foreign Ministers’ meeting scheduled for November
(Elliot Richardson is going
from here) and the full Ministerial the month after, State is now moving
to take the lead in pushing into the next phase of crystallizing issues
and a public Western position favoring an eventual conference.
For some reason, the view at State seems to be that we must either take
the lead (as we also did on the Berlin “probe”)3 or end
up being isolated. I find it hard to believe that our diplomacy cannot
be skillful enough to operate in the middle ground between these
I have tried at various times to urge a little less activism and to
impress on State the Presidential interest in this whole range of
effort. But the flood-tide continues to roll.
In the attached Tabs, I have tried to give you a feel for what has been
happening and for what State is planning to do next. I urge you to plow
through these materials, at your earliest convenience.
Then I would strongly urge that we get together with Richardson and Hillenbrand to go over this entire
subject matter so that we can decide on a US posture consistent with other things in play. Certainly,
you and Elliot should have a meeting of minds4 before he goes off to [Page 9] the NATO Deputy
Foreign Ministers and the immediately following European Chiefs of
Mission meeting early in November.
- That you promptly look over the attached materials.
- That your office set up an early meeting including Richardson, Hillenbrand, plus one other State
officer of their choosing, you and me.
LCDR Howe set up meeting
EUROPEAN SECURITY ISSUES
State has initiated an exchange with Bob
Ellsworth outlining a position it proposes to take in
the forthcoming NATO meetings.
(Summary and cables attached).6
The essence of the proposed position is that the Deputy Foreign
Ministers would recommend a large step forward on European Security:
we would endorse the idea of a Conference, and single out two issues
for further study and eventually for a formal proposal to the USSR. The two issues are:
- Balanced force reductions in Central Europe, and
- a declaration of principles underlying European
By June 1970 the Ministers would approve a negotiating position.
Balanced force reduction is an old, old issue, which has been
reworked by a study group. The result is a guidelines paper
establishing the basis for further study of negotiating positions
(outline at Tab B).
There are several other items on the extensive list of European
Security issues (Tab C). Though they are not very inspiring, they
should be given further consideration, especially if there is a
disposition among the Europeans to put them forward for possible
It is worth recalling that the basic position stated in the April
communiqué was that a list should be compiled of issues that “lend
themselves to fruitful and early resolution.”7 It is difficult to see how balanced force
reductions would qualify as an issue for “early” resolution.
The declaration of principles also raises some problems. On the one
hand, it is relatively harmless and might serve to test the Soviet
interest in negotiating. On the other hand, it is not very
meaningful, even if the Soviets signed immediately. They would
interpret it as a ratification of their actions in Czechoslovakia.
Or, they would attach their own “principles”—recognition of existing
boundaries, the two Germanys etc.
The European Security issues are complicated by efforts currently
launched: the three-power approach to the Soviets on Berlin, and the
Soviet-FRG bilateral on
renunciation of force. Apparently both initiatives would proceed.
Since they were regarded as somewhat of a test of Soviet attitudes,
the results some months hence might not justify forward movement on
either balanced force reductions or a general declaration.
Finally, we will have to face possible French resistance to a
bloc-to-bloc approach on European Security, which our proposed
position implies if adopted by the Ministers.
- —Most Ministers will want the Alliance to stake out a
forthcoming approach on European Security;
- —if we are the only hold-out, we could be isolated;
- —we prefer to proceed with multilateral and bilateral
discussion with Eastern states to test the negotiating climate,
to offer prospects of reduced tensions, and to improve the
atmosphere for a European Security Conference;
- —we could: participate in negotiations on individual items
drawn from the agreed list; continue Berlin contacts; and
examine economic, scientific and technological cooperation in
bilateral East-West contacts;
- —encouraging this general approach should avoid intra-alliance
strains and maintain cohesion during an active period of
- —West European opinion will welcome a more forthcoming
attitude, we will have solid tactical position, and if the
Soviets refuse to bargain they will bear the onus for failure to
December Ministerial Communiqué
The Ministers would:
- Publicly endorse the principle of a well-prepared security
conference with US and
- Indicate belief that progress in negotiations on some
concrete issues can move East and West closer to an eventual
- Publicly indicate those specific areas which are being
developed for initial exploration with the East:
- —Balanced force reductions; and
- —joint declaration of principles underlying
Balanced Force Reductions
Presented as opening step toward future negotiation on fundamental
questions, such as issues related to Germany/Berlin:
- —Would have domestic political advantages;
- —studies are sufficiently advanced for formulating one or
two illustrative proposals;
- —Deputy Foreign Ministers in November would recommend
studies of, say, 10, 20, and 30 percent staged
Joint Declaration of Principles
- —For exploratory purposes, a declaration might contain the
- non-intervention in internal affairs;
- abstention from the use of threat of force;
- respect for independence and territorial
- agreement to settle differences through peaceful
- —The declaration would:
- test willingness of the Soviets to improve the
- help increase flexibility of East European states in
their dealings with West;
- put Soviets on defensive;
- appeal to Eastern and Western public opinion.
- —Depending on the state of the tripartite soundings
already launched, Ministers express continued support
for improved intra-German relations;
- —should leave it to Germans to determine the rate of
progress on Germany and Berlin issues.
- —Not sufficiently important or tactically advantageous
to warrant inclusion in basic Western position.
Economic, Technological and Cultural
- —Best left to bilateral effort or other multilateral
approaches and not included as specific elements of
- —September/October Political Advisors and disarmament experts
in NATO will shape East-West issue study to
spotlight the proposals outlined above;
- —October 15 Permament Representatives receive final report and
begin to prepare package for Ministers;
- —November 5–6 Foreign Ministers consider report and prepare
recommendations to take action on balanced force reductions and
joint declaration of principles;
- —December Ministerial Meeting, adopt communiqué to
- “prepare a possible negotiating position on balanced
force reductions which the Ministers could consider at
their next meeting in June 1970 and might thereafter
serve as a realistic basis for active exploration of
means of achieving mutual and balanced force
- “in their contacts with the Soviet Union and other
countries of Eastern Europe to examine the possibility
of a joint declaration of those principles which should
form the foundation of a meaningful and lasting security
in Europe” (followed by list of principles,
GUIDELINES FOR BALANCED FORCE REDUCTION
(Draft Council Report Accepted ad referendum, September
The main points in the guidelines are:
- —to apply to indigenous and stationed forces in Central
Europe, Germany, Benelux, E. Germany, Poland and
- —to exclude study of buffer or demilitarized zones;
- —to include all conventional, nuclear and dual capable
forces but not naval forces;
- —ground forces to be considered primary element;
- —to measure reductions primarily in terms of
- —to vary timing of reduction in relation to size of cut;
e.g. a ten percent reduction in one period, a 30 percent
over several defined periods;
- —personnel to be demobilized or placed in reserves,
equipment could be reused to bring units up to
- —minimum extent of reduction about 10 percent, maximum 30
- —as a matter for negotiation there could be asymmetrical
reductions i.e., trading nuclear forces for conventional,
balancing different types of conventional, etc.;
- —need to be adequate verification, (further study
LIST OF EUROPEAN SECURITY ISSUES
Without trying to duplicate the entire list, the following gives the
flavor of the exercise.
There are three different categories of
- Issues which warrant consideration for early
- Issues which appear to require further examination prior
to consideration for further negotiation.
- Issues already under negotiation.
Early in the proceedings, the Berlin-Germany issue was referred to
the Bonn group.
Some, but not all, of the items hashed over (some
for the Nth time in recent years) include:
- Renunciation of the use of force
- A code of good conduct (sic)
- Military observation at maneuvers
- Observation posts
- Elimination of restrictions on Allied Military
- East-West study on techniques and methods of disarmament
- Study of measures to prevent outbreak of a nuclear attack
through surprise or error
- Mutual freeze of nuclear weapons
- Nuclear-free zones
- Cut-off of production of fissionable materials
- Ban on biological and chemical warfare
- Strengthening East-West cooperation (technological,
- Expansion of tourism