180. Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Germany (Rush)1

Had long and extremely cordial talk with Dobrynin.2 With respect to Berlin, Dobrynin said that our draft agreement was unacceptable as it stood. We then talked about access and Federal Presence.3 About access Dobrynin said that the Soviet Union wanted its obligations stated in a manner analogous to the Western statement regarding Federal Presence as defined in Annex III. In other words Soviets wanted to state the principles on access after prefatory sentence along lines: “The USSR has been informed that the following principles will guide access.” They would then include these in the guarantee of the last part. Do [Page 547] you believe the approach of a unilateral Soviet guarantee is acceptable if the principles are? If so, it would be best for many reasons if word came in this channel for Presidential reasons.4

About Federal Presence Dobrynin said draft would have to say something about committees and meetings of Fraktionen, though he indicated that he might settle for limitation rather than prohibition.5 If we agreed, you and Abrasinov could work out the details. What do you think?

I made your points about the guarantee section to him. He indicated this would cause no problems after all other sections are agreed.

Can you answer fairly urgently—especially on access question. President for other reasons seeks to be forthcoming but sensible.6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1 [2 of 2]. Top Secret; Eyes Only. The message was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt. An attached note indicates that “Ambassador Rush will be at his home at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 13, German time, to receive message or telephone call from Captain Holschuh.” Kissinger sent a nearly identical message to Bahr on February 14; the differences in the text are noted in footnotes below. (Ibid., Box 60, Egon Bahr, Berlin File [3 of 3]) For an explanation of how the special channel to Rush and Bahr operated, see Document 171. Copies of the messages between Kissinger and Rush are also in Department of State, Bonn Post Files: Lot 72 F 81, Berlin Negotiations—Amb. Kenneth Rush.
  2. See Document 178.
  3. Up to this point, the message to Bahr begins: “Had informal meeting with Dobrynin. He stated our draft agreement was unacceptable as it stood.”
  4. The message to Bahr does not include this sentence.
  5. After this point, the message to Bahr concludes: “What would you be prepared to recommend provided access agreement were acceptable? Will await your answers before undertaking further contact. Am I correct in assuming that your communications reflect Chancellor’s views?” For Bahr’s reply, see Document 182.
  6. Rush replied by special channel on February 14: “Very pleased to hear of your cordial talk with Dobrynin. Yesterday’s counselors’ talk was unproductive with Russian counselor indicating he lacked instructions. With regard to access, I believe the approach of a unilateral Soviet guarantee would be acceptable, provided the principles were adequately covered. The question of limitations on meetings of Bundestag and Bundesrat committees and of Fraktionen is very sensitive. Barzel, speaking for the CDU, says there can be no limitations. We had earlier tentative acceptance by FRG Foreign Office that the draft of agreement submitted to the Soviets would include clause that only such meetings having to do with matters applicable to West Berlin would be held in West Berlin, but Brandt, under pressure, had to insist that this be deleted. The pressure came not only from the CDU, but also Genscher, Schiller, Schmidt and even Scheel. If we take a strong position, however, I believe some limitations could be worked out.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1 [2 of 2])