172. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1
- Meeting with Egon Bahr, January 31, 1971
As a result of my discussions on Berlin with Dobrynin on January 28, I arranged a meeting with Egon Bahr on Sunday, January 31. The following are the highlights of the meeting which lasted for an hour and a half.
Bahr explained that the major issues from the Federal Republic’s point of view were:
- the legal access procedure,
- the problem of guarantees, and
- the legal status of federal organs in West Berlin.
On the third point the FRG was prepared to agree that:
- —no constitutional organ (the President or Parliament) could meet in Berlin,
- —the German Ministries would be made subdepartments of the Representative of the FRG in Berlin, and
- —the Three Powers could notify Bonn that Berlin was not considered part of the FRG.2
I told him about my conversations with Dobrynin and showed him the Soviet note on guarantees (covered in the separate memorandum to you on my January 28 meeting with Dobrynin).3 He said that the Chancellor had authorized him to say that the FRG would welcome with enthusiasm any bilateral Soviet-American conversations and he felt the note was quite far-reaching. It was then decided that Bahr would let me know the German position on each of the three issues—access, guarantees and status, and that I would discuss them with Dobrynin. As we made progress on these points I would give [Page 512] them either to Ambassador Rush to introduce into the Four-Power discussions or, alternatively, to Bahr to raise as German ideas. I explained that we would not make any move that had not been approved by the FRG.
I concluded the conversation by emphasizing that it was essential to avoid the slightest leak and that the only persons aware on our side would be you, Ambassador Rush and myself. Bahr replied that he would tell only the Chancellor. We then agreed upon a procedure for establishing a secure communication link and reviewed the steps to be taken.
A full record of the conversation is attached at Tab A.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 60, Country Files, Europe, Egon Bahr, Berlin File [3 of 3]. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information. According to another copy, Kissinger and David Young drafted the memorandum on February 2. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box TS 37, Geopolitical File, Soviet Union, Dobrynin, Chronological File (“D” File), Feb. 1971–Jan. 1977) Butterfield stamped the memorandum indicating that the President had seen it. For their memoir accounts of the meeting, see Kissinger, White House Years, pp. 805–810; and Bahr, Zu meiner Zeit, pp. 354–356.↩
- Nixon marked this point and wrote in the margin: “Doesn’t this go too far?”↩
- See Document 169.↩
- Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Sent for information.↩
- In a February 4 special channel message to Kissinger, Bahr forwarded a list of Federal institutions with offices in West Berlin and a proposed set of principles for a Berlin agreement, including formulations and clarifications on access, Federal presence, and foreign representation. Bahr also reported that he had his first substantive talk with Kohl on principles for an agreement between West and East Germany. On the basis of a “somewhat heated and polemical discussion,” Bahr concluded, however, that East Germany would still “use every further pretext for new obstructions” on traffic to Berlin. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Country Files, Europe, Box 60, Country Files, Europe, Egon Bahr, Berlin File [3 of 3])↩