167. Message From the German State Secretary for Foreign, Defense, and German Policy (Bahr) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Dear Henry,

Tsarapkin is conducting his farewell rounds in such a way that I expect Falin to arrive in the first ten days of February.2
The Bonn Group is preparing to submit a proposal of formulations on the entire Berlin complex to the Soviets.3 I would appreciate support when this is submitted to capitals for approval (see point 3 of my message of 31.12.70).4
We should generally hold to the positions arrived at in the middle of November5 even if the State Department considers them maximalist. In so far as the substantive review in Washington does not [Page 497] lead to new results (that must first be coordinated again by the four Western governments), I would prefer to postpone our discussion until we know the reaction of the Soviets; unless you would like for other reasons to do it sooner.
The GDR appears now to accept negotiations without conditions, so we can proceed in the sense of points 3, 4 and 5 of my message of 3 November 70.6 Accordingly, tomorrow I will propose negotiations in East Berlin on a general traffic treaty with the exception of Berlin traffic.7 The visit of Winzer and Kohl in Moscow has evidently made the GDR more cooperative.8 They have also promised to activate telephone lines between East and West Berlin, a longstanding demand, by the end of this week.
Schroeder gave the Chancellor a very positive report of his trip to Moscow.9

Best Wishes

Egon Bahr
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Office Files, Box 60, Country Files, Europe, Egon Bahr, Berlin File [3 of 3]. Top Secret. The message, translated here from the signed German original by the editor, was forwarded to Kissinger in a January 25 memorandum; see footnote 2 below. In an attached handwritten note to Haig on January 29, Sonnenfeldt remarked: “I assume that no written response to Bahr is needed since the two will blast off together during the weekend anyway.” For the meeting between Kissinger and Bahr that weekend, see Document 172.
  2. When he dropped off the message for delivery, Bahr, referring specifically to this paragraph, “praised Falin as ‘a real expert’ concerning German problems in contrast to Tsarapkin, whom Bahr characterized as being more of a diplomatic ‘nutcracker’ and not especially well-informed concerning German matters. In response to a question, Bahr said that he believed the presence of Falin in Bonn as the Soviet Ambassador would contribute substantially to progress concerning FRG-Soviet relations and the Berlin problem. Bahr added he continues to believe that the Soviets desire to achieve a solution re Berlin.” (Memorandum to Kissinger, January 25; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Kissinger Office Files, Box 60, Country Files, Europe, Egon Bahr, Berlin File [3 of 3]) In spite of expectations, Falin did not present his credentials in Bonn until May 12.
  3. Reference is to the comprehensive draft agreement which the Western Allies tabled on February 5. See Document 173.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 157.
  5. See Document 137.
  6. See Document 135.
  7. For the meeting between Bahr and Kohl the next day, see Document 170.
  8. Winzer and Kohl were in Moscow on January 11 and 12 for consultations with Gromyko and other Soviet officials.
  9. Schroeder led a CDU/CSU parliamentary group on a visit to the Soviet Union from January 12 to 20. See Document 170.