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

Thanks very much for your interesting message of March 29,2 which is very helpful. It doubtless crossed mine to you of the same date.3

Klein and the interpreter, Akalovsky, who in fact is one of our Berlin political advisers, know nothing of your channel to Dobrynin. However, as mentioned in my message to you of March 24, much curiosity was aroused in Berlin, Bonn and Washington by the Exdis cable from Berlin (reftel secret Berlin 545) which I quoted to you in my message of March 24.4 You will recall that this recounted Abrasimov’s urgent request, through his representative, for a very private meeting with me on March 25 (subsequently cancelled by Abrasimov’s representative) (a) alluded to some recent contact between the Soviet and U.S. Governments, (b) assumed that as a result I would receive appropriate instructions from Washington, (c) stated that as a result of this development the two Ambassadors might have to stay in almost constant touch, and (d) requested that this be kept strictly confidential, including from British and French.

As I mentioned in my message to you of March 28, I think that the subsequent telephonic message I received from Secretary Rogers (confirmed by cable State 051636)5 about his talk with Dobrynin has at least momentarily quieted the speculation and that it is now tentatively assumed that the negotiations referred to by Abrasimov meant this contact between the Secretary and Dobrynin. However, speculation could be easily revived.


A satisfactory procedure for me to talk secretly with Abrasimov is very difficult to arrange. I cannot go to East Berlin or Abrasimov to [Page 637] West Berlin without several people, including almost invariably the press, knowing about it. Also, in my private meetings with Abrasimov I have always had my interpreter, usually Akalovsky, with me, and this is also the invarible custom followed by the British and French Ambassadors and others in our Embassies. For me to do otherwise would arouse strong suspicion in my Embassy and the State Department as well as with the British, French, and FRG.

I should like to suggest two ways by which this delicate problem might be handled. (A) One would be to take Akalovsky at least in part into our confidence on a strict commitment to maintain secrecy. This presents the obvious problem as to whether he would be totally reliable in this regard. I think so, but one never knows. (B) The other method would be for me to have Akalovsky with me as interpreter but to have Abrasimov instructed by Moscow never to refer to your channel with Dobrynin and always to present his views to me as though they came from Moscow. This, I think, would be the better alternative. It would mean that the results of the talk with Abrasimov would have to go into the regular, or at least highly limited, communication channels of the State Department and in part at least would have to be disclosed to the French, the British, and the FRG. This, however, is in time necessary in any event because of the difficulty of reaching agreement with the British, French and FRG on every move and the serious problem of maintaining coordination and cohesion with them, particularly with the FRG, which is having serious problems in keeping the CDU from turning the entire issue into a highly partisan one. I feel that under this method, however, the usefulness of your channel with Dobrynin could be kept intact.

It may well be that you will have some better method of handling the problems, and I would appreciate receiving your views with regard to this.

The one person here who knows of your channel is my private secretary, who of course does all the typing and keeps the file. She has been my secretary for almost twenty years and is completely trustworthy.

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. The message was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt; a handwritten note indicates that it was received in Washington at 2158Z. According to an attached slip, the message was then forwarded to Haig for Kissinger in San Clemente.
  2. Document 211.
  3. Reference is presumably to the March 28 message from Rush to Kissinger (Document 210).
  4. Document 207.
  5. See footnote 3, Document 210.