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

I wanted you to have the latest update on my conversations with Dobrynin.2 On March 23 [22] I handed him an oral note, that is to say an unsigned paper containing the essence of your cable to me. The text of it is attached (Tab A)3 simply so that you know what is before the Soviets. On March 25 I handed him the verbatim text that you had been good enough to send me, containing your formulations on Federal Presence, access, and inner-city arrangements, also on an unsigned piece of paper. The essence of our March 25 conversation was contained in the cable I sent you.4 Following are additional details.

Dobrynin pressed me very hard at the meeting on these points:

Did we accept everything that was not covered by the objections raised in your paper? Specifically, were we prepared to have trade missions and give them equal treatment in West Berlin? My answer, after consultation with you, was that we would agree to an increase in commercial offices and that we would give them equal treatment.
He then raised the point about Soviet commitments with respect [Page 635] to access which I have already mentioned to you. He said that the introductory paragraph of the Soviet draft was precisely drawn from our document and he therefore did not understand why we were asking now for an additional commitment. After checking with you, I gave him the answer which you dictated from Berlin, namely that we would compare the drafts.

I will send you in a couple of days the extracts from the memorandum of conversation on the subject.5

The only unsettled issue is the procedure I have worked out with Dobrynin about your conversations with Abrasimov. I suggested that at the next meeting of the four ambassadors, which I understand is slated for April 16, Abrasimov would ask for a private meeting with you in the normal course of events. At that meeting the subject would be the Soviet draft proposal of March 26. You would raise the issues contained in the oral note that I had handed to him and Abrasimov would of course reply in whatever way he thought appropriate. At the end of that meeting you would ask to be alone with Abrasimov for a few minutes, in the presence of only the Soviet interpreter. You would make whatever other arrangements should be made for additional meetings, to cover any subjects growing out of the DobryninKissinger channel that had not come up at the meeting.

If this procedure is in any way difficult for you I must know it soonest so that I can notify the Russians. Also it is important that I know whether there are any members of your staff who know about my channel to Dobrynin. Dobrynin claims that at the last meeting Klein, and especially the interpreter, were taunting Abrasimov’s counselor when the private meeting slated for March 25 was set up and constantly referred to a Dobrynin channel in Washington. Could you let me know about this so that I am protected in case anything happens?

Many thanks and warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. An attached handwritten note indicates that the message was delivered to the “ONI courier at “0020–3/30.” The message was then sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt.
  2. Kissinger also sent a special channel message to Bahr on his recent meetings with Dobrynin. See footnote 4, Document 215.
  3. See Document 204.
  4. See Document 208.
  5. No evidence has been found that Kissinger sent extracts of the memorandum of his conversation with Dobrynin.