98. Editorial Note

At the conclusion of the summit meeting in Moscow on May 29, 1972, the United States and the Soviet Union released a final joint communiqué. The section of the communiqué devoted to Europe discussed both European security and MBFR. It reads in part: “Recognizing the importance to world peace of developments in Europe, where both World Wars originated, and mindful of the responsibilities and commitments which they share with other powers under appropriate agreements, the USA and the USSR intend to make further efforts to ensure a peaceful future for Europe, free of tensions, crises and conflicts. They agree that the territorial integrity of all states in Europe should be respected.”

The communiqué continues: “The USA and the USSR are prepared to make appropriate contributions to the positive trends on the European continent toward a genuine détente and the development of relations of peaceful cooperation among states in Europe on the basis of the principles of territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers, non-interference [Page 303] in internal affairs, sovereign equality, independence and renunciation of the use or threat of force. The US and the USSR are in accord that multilateral consultations looking toward a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe could begin after the signature of the Final Quadripartite Protocol of the Agreement of September 3, 1971. The two governments agree that the conference should be carefully prepared in order that it may concretely consider specific problems of security and cooperation and thus contribute to the progressive reduction of the underlying causes of tension in Europe. This conference should be convened at a time to be agreed by the countries concerned, but without undue delay. Both sides believe that the goal of ensuring stability and security in Europe would be served by a reciprocal reduction of armed forces and armaments, first of all in Central Europe. Any agreement on this question should not diminish the security of any of the Sides. Appropriate agreement should be reached as soon as practicable between the states concerned on the procedures for negotiations on this subject in a special forum.” (Department of State Bulletin, June 26, 1972, pages 901–902)

President Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev also signed a joint statement entitled “Basic Principles of Relations Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” The statement as it relates to Europe reads that the United States and Soviet Union agreed as follows:

  • First. They will proceed from the common determination that in the nuclear age there is no alternative to conducting their mutual relations on the basis of peaceful coexistence. Differences in ideology and in the social systems of the USA and the USSR are not obstacles to the bilateral development of normal relations based on the principles of sovereignty, equality, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual advantage.
  • “[Omitted here is the second point.]
  • Third. The USA and the USSR have a special responsibility, as do other countries which are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to do everything in their power so that conflicts or situations will not arise which would serve to increase international tensions. Accordingly, they will seek to promote conditions in which all countries will live in peace and security and will not be subject to outside interference in their internal affairs.
  • Fourth. The USA and the USSR intend to widen the juridical basis of their mutual relations and to exert the necessary efforts so that bilateral agreements which they have concluded and multilateral treaties and agreements to which they are jointly parties are faithfully implemented.
  • “[Omitted here are the fifth through tenth points.]
  • Eleventh. The USA and the USSR make no claim for themselves and would not recognize the claims of anyone else to any special rights or advantages in world affairs. They recognize the sovereign equality of all states. The development of US-Soviet relations is not directed against third countries and their interests.
  • Twelfth. The basic principles set forth in this document do not affect any obligations with respect to other countries earlier assumed by the USA and the USSR.” (Ibid., pages 898–899)