5. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
- European Security and Forthcoming NATO Meetings—The Bureaucratic Steamroller Pushes Irresistibly Forward
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 extremes.
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
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 257, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. VI. Secret. Sent for action.↩
- The text of the communiqué of the June 25, 1968, North Atlantic Council Ministerial meeting in Reykjavik, along with a Declaration on Mutual Force Reductions adopted by the countries participating in the NATO Defense Program, are in the Department of State Bulletin, July 15, 1968, pp. 75–78.↩
- Regarding the tripartite “sounding” on Berlin, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969–1972, Document 21.↩
- In an October 10 memorandum, Sonnenfeldt recommended that Kissinger raise with Richardson “your interest in the preparations for the NATO deputy foreign ministers and foreign ministers meetings. You are particularly interested in the preparations dealing with East-West issues and a European Security Conference. Suggest an early briefing and discussion session with Richardson and Hillenbrand.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 337, Subject Files, HAK/Richardson Meetings, May–December 1969)↩
- Kissinger initialed his approval on October 6. No record of Kissinger’s meeting with Richardson has been found.↩
- For the summary, see Tab B below. The cables are not attached.↩
- The final NAC communiqué also stated “that any negotiations must be well prepared in advance, and that all Governments whose participation would be necessary to achieve a political settlement in Europe should take part,” and that “the Allies will also pursue their efforts and studies in the field of disarmament and practical arms control, including balanced force reductions and the initiatives already undertaken for the renunciation of the use of force.” (Department of State Bulletin, April 28, 1969, pp. 354–356)↩