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

Abrasimov did not get in touch with me before our Four Power meeting on April 162 and, at the lunch and private Ambassadorial discussion following the formal meeting, gave no indication of a desire for a private talk with me. We, of course, can only conjecture as to the reasons for this failure on his part to follow the procedure you and Dobrynin had established.
It may be that the lines of communication between Dobrynin and Abrasimov are not good.
Possibly there is less than complete harmony between the two or between their respective sources of power and direction.
As I earlier suggested in a message to you3 when Abrasimov made his reference to our Berlin staff about negotiations concerning Berlin being conducted in Washington, he may be trying to sabotage the channel you have with Dobrynin.
As a matter of substance, the Russian draft agreement is so negative that it may be the Russians have decided the private talks are useless until the Western reaction to their draft agreement has been received. As you know, the Russian draft violates completely the understanding that, in the Four Power talks, we are seeking only practical improvements, not a redefinition of the legal and political status of Berlin and not an effort by either side to compel an acceptance of its concepts as to such status by the other side.
Changing to another subject, yesterday (Sunday) I had a long talk with Barzel 4 and found that the President’s recent talk with him has been extraordinarily helpful. Barzel, as a result of the talk, thinks he can now persuade the other CDU leaders (1) not to take a position against the ratification of the Moscow pact or the Ost Politik in general during the continuance of the Berlin Four Power talks, and (2) to maintain a nonpartisan position with regard to the Berlin talks. Before this, both Barzel’s position and his ability to carry other CDU leaders with him on these issues were in serious doubt.
Please keep me informed as to any suggestions you may wish to make.5

Very best wishes.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Kissinger Office Files, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively 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 that it was received in Washington on April 19 at 1620Z.
  2. See Document 222.
  3. Document 207.
  4. See Document 220.
  5. Kissinger replied by special channel on April 21: “Thank you for your cable of April 19. In the continuing absence of Dobrynin, I have no explanation for Abrasimov’s behavior. It may be that Dobrynin is returning with some new proposals. You should also know that I had passed on to Vorontsov, Dobrynin’s Minister, your suggestion that you would find it easier to meet privately with Falin than with Abrasimov. As soon as I have talked to Dobrynin I shall be in touch.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Kissinger Office Files, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1)