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

Thanks for your message of May 12.2 I am pleased that you have been able to overcome the difficulties standing in the way of a continuation of my talks with Bahr and Falin. As I have mentioned in previous messages, these talks show such promise that I feel we might miss some real opportunities if they should be discontinued at this point.
Earlier today, in a talk with Bahr,3 he accepted postponement of our meeting with Falin to May 27 or 28. This afternoon Falin made his official call on me4 and told me he was returning to Moscow on the 21st and would not return until the 26th and would let us know which date would be acceptable to him.
My talk with Falin today was very satisfactory. We reviewed the discussion that he, Bahr and I had had the evening of May 11,5 and he reiterated his acceptance of the basic issues we had agreed upon then. To test his flexibility of approach, I again brought up the question of the use of the term “Western sectors of Berlin” instead of “Berlin (West)” pointing out that while my own feeling was that this issue was not so vital, there were many among the other three allies who considered it to be important. He tentatively agreed that “Western sectors of Berlin” would be satisfactory, assuming other obstacles were overcome. [Page 707] He expressed his satisfaction over the results of our discussion of May 11 and said that on the basis of the progress we had made then he could foresee the possibility of rapid advances in the talks and their successful conclusion within a few weeks. The real test, of course, is still to come, but his overall attitude is encouraging.

Best wishes.

  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; Exclusively Eyes Only. The message was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt; no time of transmission or receipt appears on the message.
  2. See footnote 3, Document 237.
  3. In telegram 5813 from Bonn, May 14, the Embassy forwarded a brief account of the Ambassador’s meeting with Bahr. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B)
  4. In telegram 5917 from Bonn, May 17, the Embassy summarized the discussion on Berlin as follows: “Falin said the USSR was sincerely interested in reaching an agreement in Berlin. The Soviets believed an arrangement was necessary in itself to help ease tensions and did not tie it to progress in any other area. He thought the Four Power talks had been useful in helping each side to understand the other’s views and that now the discussions had entered a final phase and an agreement was in sight. Amb Rush said he too thought progress was possible. If an agreement were to be reached, both sides would have to understand that they could not impose their legal concepts on each other and the Four Powers would have to assume responsibility for all parts of the package. The agreement must contain unambiguous language in the operative sections if tensions were really to be diffused.” (Ibid., POL 17 USSR–GER W)
  5. See Document 235.