7. Editorial Note

In the wake of the National Security Council staff’s intervention (see Document 6), the Department of State revised its draft instructions to Ambassador Robert Ellsworth regarding a European security conference. The Department cabled the revised instructions, cleared by President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, in telegram 181393 to USNATO on October 25, 1969. It contained instructions that were “supplementary” to telegram 165553, September 30 (for a summary of the telegram, see Tab A, Document 5). With regard [Page 17] to “US views of eventual ESC and how to get there,” the revised instructions read:

  • “A) We assume majority of Allies will wish to adopt in December a more forthcoming attitude toward an eventual ESC than in April communiqué. In that likely event, we would wish to avoid a negative posture, and thus would be willing to go along with a consensus favoring mention in the communiqué of willingness to look toward an eventual ESC. We would of course insist that any ESC be properly prepared, and include US and Canadian participation from the outset.
  • “B) To further clarify our views, you also should indicate that we share the concern expressed by some Allies at October 1 NAC meeting that current NATO activity on East-West list may be creating public impression that East-West issues exercise, based on para 5 of April Ministerial communiqué, represents preparation for a European Security conference. You should make clear that we do not see the current issues exercise as directly related to preparations for an eventual ESC—that ‘vision of the future’ so aptly phrased by UK PermRep Burrows—or to write an agenda for such a conference. Rather, pending the time when such a conference promises concrete results, we prefer that Allies proceed with multilateral and bilateral discussions with the Eastern states on specific issues that might (a) test the negotiating climate; (b) offer the prospect of reducing tensions; and (c) contribute toward improving the atmosphere for eventual ESC.”

With regard to the communiqué for the December NATO Ministerial meeting, the instructions read: “You might wish to state that we are, of course, most interested in the views of our European Allies on the question of referring to an ESC in the December Ministerial communiqué. We also believe that communiqué should contain firm statement about maintenance of Allied defense capability and cohesion.”

On the subject of balanced force reductions (BFR), the cable noted that recent messages from the Mission to NATO suggested “that we face problem of how best to moderate a possible rush towards BFR by our Allies which would carry us farther than we want to go, without at same time appearing obstructive and foot-dragging on steps to reduce East-West tension. We believe following position on BFR most appropriate for these circumstances: (a) support moderate signal in December communiqué […]; (b) support preparations, with participation of NMAS, of illustrative negotiating proposals to be considered at June Ministerial; (c) indicate that we will be better prepared to assess desirability and timeliness of more active gesture toward the Pact at June Ministerial when we will have had the opportunity to consider illustrative negotiating proposals.”

With regard to the preparation of a Joint Declaration of Principles on European Security, the cable reads: “After giving further thought to [Page 18] Joint Declaration, we have concluded that scenario for preparation, consideration and public presentation of Joint Declaration would entail: (a) development by PermReps following December Ministerial meeting of draft of Joint Declaration of Principles on European Security […]; (b) adoption and publication thereafter by NAC of Joint Declaration of Principles guiding Allies in the conduct of their international relations; and (c)NAC consideration of invitation to USSR and its allies to publicly adhere to these principles.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 683, Country Files, Europe, Germany, Vol. IV)