112. Letter From President Nixon to German Chancellor Brandt 1

Dear Mr. Chancellor:

Knowing that this period has been one of great activity for you, I particularly appreciated your thoughtfulness in providing me the comments expressed in your letters of August 8 and 14.2 It is always valuable for me to have your personal judgment and assessment.

You and your negotiators must be gratified by the results of your labors during these past months to reach understandings with the Soviet Union. I was pleased to have your assessment that the Soviet Government, recognizing the relationship to the ratification of the treaty, will be prepared to take helpful steps toward an acceptable solution to the problems with respect to Berlin. You may be assured that we will be alert to any sign that the Soviet Union is willing to cooperate in ensuring the security and welfare of the Berliners. With respect to Four Power rights and responsibilities for Berlin and Germany as a whole, [Page 317] I know we share the identical view that these rights and responsibilities continue and were not and could not be affected by the treaty you have just signed.

I have noted with interest your impression of Soviet attitudes and your summary appraisal that the Soviet Union desires a genuine relaxation of tensions. If confirmed by actual conduct, this would indeed be a source of satisfaction.

Your suggestion of a meeting of Western Heads of State or Government, or of Foreign Ministers, comes at an appropriate time. Such a meeting would underscore the indispensable unity of the West and at the same time ensure that we have together explored every opportunity for East and West to enjoy a genuine peace at no threat to mutual security. I believe the four governments should continue to consult through diplomatic channels on the most profitable schedule and timing for our discussions.

The special bond between our countries has served well to guide our mutual interests, and I am confident that this close relationship will remain firm and vital in the future.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 753, Presidential Correspondence File, Germany, Chancellor Willy Brandt, May–Dec 1970. Secret. No drafting information appears on the letter. The text is based in part on a draft sent in a memorandum from Eliot to Kissinger on August 18; Lord then forwarded a revised version in a memorandum to Kissinger on August 27. (Both ibid.) In an August 29 covering memorandum to the President, Kissinger explained that the letter to Brandt “welcomes his ideas but noncommittally suggests that the four governments should continue to discuss the best schedule and timing. This leaves open both the level and dates of the talks for now, although clearly we will have to make our views known very soon.” (Ibid.) According to a typewritten note, the letter was “dispatched to Eliot via S/S for dispatch” on September 2. On September 3, the Department forwarded the text of the letter to the Embassy for immediate delivery. (Telegram 144441 to Bonn, September 3; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B) For a German translation of the letter, see Dokumente zur Deutschlandpolitik, 1969–1970, Nr. 194, pp. 767–768.
  2. Documents 104 and 105.