92. Editorial Note

Secretary of State Rogers visited Europe from May 2 to 10, 1972, for consultations with the NATO allies about the Moscow summit. He visited Iceland (May 2–3), the United Kingdom (May 3–4), Belgium (May 4–5), Luxembourg (May 5–6), and the Federal Republic of Germany (May 6–7). On May 17, Rogers reported in a memorandum to President Nixon: “Although European interest in the Moscow discussions is very great, we did not detect any serious concern that you would be arriving at agreements with the Soviets behind the backs of our Allies—a fear which, as you know, has periodically arisen during the post-World War II period. Government leaders and the public media appear to have taken you at your word that you will not be negotiating bilaterally on matters of broad European interest, such as the Conference on European Security and Cooperation and Mutual and Balanced Force Reductions.” Rogers continued: “It is only fair to note that there are still a number of differences in the West between various approaches to certain aspects of the Conference on Security and Cooperation, but none of these seem to be of such a fundamental nature as to make ultimate agreement unlikely. Further work will have to be done in NATO on this, and the Europeans are hoping that your bilateral exchanges with the Soviets will draw from them a clearer description of their own thinking than has yet been obtained. This should then prove valuable as we move towards an alliance consensus in the next phase of NATO discussion.” (National Archives, RG 59, Conference Files, 1966–1972, Entry 5415, Box 524, S’s 5/72 Pre-Summit Consultation Follow-Up)

In the wake of Rogers’s trip, Ralph J. McGuire, Director of the Office of NATO and Atlantic Political-Military Affairs, wrote a memorandum to Assistant Secretary of State Hillenbrand on May 19 about the “relationship of the Moscow Communiqué and US positions on CSCE and MBFR.” McGuire wrote: “Recalling our discussion with the Secretary in Luxembourg on CSCE issues, and his desire to press the Soviets hard on the Brezhnev Doctrine and to take a strong stand on freer movement, it occurs to me that both of these positions could be undermined by formulations that might be agreed in the Moscow communiqué.” McGuire noted: “The passage on principles, in the draft communiqué which the Secretary sent the President before his European trip, probably should be strengthened somewhat in the light of the Luxembourg conversation.” McGuire attached a memorandum “enumerating the possible interrelationships between the Moscow Communiqué and CSCE.” (Ibid., Bureau of European Affairs, Office of NATO and Atlantic Political-Military Affairs, Records Relating to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Lot 80 D 188, NN3–059–00–017, Box 1, European Security, May 1972)

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On May 19, Rogers forwarded to Nixon suggested language for the final communiqué for the Moscow summit. An attachment to Rogers’s memorandum, “Sensitive Areas,” reads in part as follows: “In the specific areas listed below, we should avoid the following:

  • CSCE . 1. Any general statement of principles that omits reference to freer movement or refers to it only obliquely; 2. Recognition or respect for existing frontiers or their inviolability; 3. Emphasis on respect for treaty obligations (because of the Soviet-Czech treaty and the Brezhnev Doctrine); 4. Any reference to ‘peaceful coexistence.’
  • MBFR . 1. Listing or defining states that should participate in MBFR explorations or negotiations, or the specific countries involved in the area of possible reductions; 2. The mention of specific dates for explorations or talks; 3. The term ‘equal security’ (which the Soviets related to FBS; the NATO formula is ‘undiminished security’).” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 475, President’s Trip Files, President’s Moscow Trip, May 1972, Pt. 3)

On the same day, May 19, Rogers sent the President the Second Interim Report of the Interagency Task Force on the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The report, he told Nixon in a covering memorandum, “summarizes the current status of issues related to CSCE and recommends positions we should take during future NATO consultations.” The task force report, along with Rogers’s memorandum, is ibid., Box 286, Agency Files, State, Vol. 16. A revised version of the report, Tab L of the White House’s MBFRCSCE Backup Book used at the Moscow summit, is ibid., Box 482, President’s Trip Files, MBFRCSCE Backup Book, Part 2.