The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. These regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series should include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purposes of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded. The editors are convinced that this volume meets all regulatory, statutory, and scholarly standards of selection and editing.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that presents in multiple volumes a comprehensive documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the administrations of Presidents Nixon and Ford. This specific volume documents U.S. efforts to negotiate multilateral agreements with its Western European allies and the Soviet Bloc that would allow for [Page IV] greater European security, 1969–1976. While this volume, aided by extracts from other volumes, footnotes, and editorial notes, can be read on its own, Foreign Relations is an integrated series. Other volumes from the subseries that can be consulted on this topic are Volumes XIIXVI, all on the Soviet Union; Volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969–1972; Volume XLI, Western Europe and European Region, 1969–1972; and, to a lesser extent, Volume E–15, Western and Eastern Europe.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXXIX

This volume focuses on the topic of European Security, a key foreign policy concern for both the Nixon and Ford administrations. It is centered around the basic questions the U.S. Government faced: how best to achieve security and cooperation in Europe, and how to reduce both NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in Europe. This volume has a broader scope than most, and covers the entire span of both the Nixon and Ford administrations, 1969–1976. While the general focus is European security, the specific focus is on two overriding issues that faced the Nixon and Ford administrations: 1) whether to hold a conference on European security attended by the United States and its NATO allies, and the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies; and 2) whether the United States and its European allies would negotiate an agreement with the Soviet Union and its East European allies on mutual and balanced force reductions (MBFR) in Europe. Both President Richard M. Nixon and Henry A. Kissinger (Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and after September 1973, Secretary of State) were skeptical that a conference on European security would achieve very much—they believed that the Europeans were overestimating its potential impact. There were also related issues, such as whether to combine the security conference with negotiations on force reductions. In addition, the question of negotiations with the NATO allies looms large in the volume, which includes many memoranda of conversation between U.S. officials and their NATO counterparts. Kissinger carried on parallel negotiations with Soviet officials on both a European Security conference and MBFR. After the Moscow Summit in May 1972, at which President Nixon and General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev discussed mutual and balance force reductions and a conference on security in Europe (CES), the two leaders agreed to conferences on both security and cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and MBFR.

The Soviet Union and the United States agreed to open the formal CSCE talks on June 30, 1973, and to begin the MBFR talks one month after the conclusion of the CSCE conference, which was expected to end in September 1973. As the volume makes clear, this timetable was impossible to follow.

The volume then focuses on the slow march to a formal CSCE conference in Helsinki in July and August 1975, and the problems attendant [Page V] with this process. The last chapter on MBFR picks up that issue from July 1973, and carries the negotiations forward to the end of the Ford administration, which left office without achieving success on mutual and balanced force reduction in Europe.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically—with the exception of the final tenth chapter—according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the date and time of the conversation, rather than the date a memorandum was drafted. Documents chosen for printing are authoritative or signed copies, unless otherwise noted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words or phrases underlined in the source text are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). All ellipses are in the original documents unless otherwise noted. The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. With the exception of Presidential recordings transcribed in the Office of the Historian by the editor(s) of the volume, all ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the document’s source, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

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Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA formally to notify the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Project are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

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Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, conducted the declassification review for the Department of State of the documents published in this volume. The review was conducted in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and other applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security, as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments regarding specific documents of those governments. The declassification review of this volume, which began in 2005 and was completed in 2007, resulted in the decision to withhold no documents in full, excise a paragraph or more in 1 document, and make minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 12 documents.

The Office of the Historian is confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that notwithstanding the number of denied and excised documents, the record presented in this volume presented here provides an accurate and comprehensive account of U.S. foreign policy towards European security.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editors wish to express gratitude to the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access.

Douglas E. Selvage collected the documentation, made the selections, and annotated the documents under the supervision of the General Editor, Edward C. Keefer. Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan C. Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Carl E. Ashley and Aaron W. Marrs performed the copy and technical editing. Breffni Whelan prepared the index.

Bureau of Public Affairs

January 2008

Marc J. Susser
The Historian