214. Message From the Ambassador to Germany (Rush) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
Thank you for your message of March 31.2
Without exciting any undue speculation, I can, I am quite sure, have at least a brief talk with Abrasimov on April 16 without my interpreter being present. In that talk I will outline to him our procedure as to how he should conduct himself at future meetings.
A minor item I should have mentioned is that Akalovsky, a political officer in Berlin, is my interpreter during the periods between the Four Power meetings. For the Four Power talks themselves, the State Department sends out from Washington, for this express purpose, an official interpreter named Cyril Muromcew, so that my problem is complicated by having two different individuals as interpreters at different times.
Your suggestion that I talk to Falin in the future has much merit. In this way we could avoid the problem of crossing from East Berlin to West Berlin, which can not be kept secret, and I could see Falin at any time, since after his arrival about April 15 we will both be in Bonn much of the time. I could also see him inconspicuously and without arousing speculation here in Bonn, where I of course have great freedom of movement. During my brief visits to Berlin virtually every movement of mine is known.
Also, I believe Falin speaks English, which would be a major factor in improving communication and avoiding complications.[Page 647]
If you agree, I would suggest that this be thoroughly explored through your channel, in the hope that it will be acceptable. The Falin channel would not, however, necessarily preclude resort to the Abrasimov channel from time to time. I have been having occasional private talks with Abrasimov and this method could be used quite helpfully in the future with my interpreter present if Abrasimov has strict instructions not to mention your channel in any way.
- I hope you are having good weather and some well-deserved rest in San Clemente. I will not be available next week, since we are going to Tunisia for Easter vacation.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Kissinger Office Files, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The message was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt. No time of transmission is on the message; a handwritten note indicates it was received in Washington at 1956Z. According to an attached slip, the message was then forwarded to Haig for Kissinger in San Clemente.↩
- The text of the message, which was forwarded by Kissinger from San Clemente, reads: “Thank you for your message. As you know, I have told Dobrynin that the meeting on April 16 should follow your script, that is Abrasimov will not refer to our channel as long as Akalovsky is with you. However, he also expects you to talk to him afterwards with only the Soviet interpreter present. This was drawn from one of your earlier cables. It will now be difficult to change this since Dobrynin is in Moscow and I do not know who at the Soviet Embassy is familiar with our channel. Could I suggest that you follow the existing arrangements on April 16. When you are alone with Abrasimov, you can then tell him how to conduct himself at future meetings along the lines of your proposal. Another possibility is to have you talk to Falin instead of Abrasimov in the future. Falin seems to have suggested something like this to Bahr. Can you let me have your reactions? Warm regards.” (Ibid.)↩