246. Editorial Note

On June 3 and 4, 1971, Secretary of State Rogers attended the semiannual session of the North Atlantic Council in Lisbon, including the traditional quadripartite dinner held the evening of June 2 on matters relating to Germany and Berlin. During the dinner, French Foreign Minister Schumann declared that “the Soviets, who wished to support the Brandt government as a force for peace, are determined to reach an agreement [on Berlin] acceptable to the Western side.” He, therefore, urged endorsement of a positive statement in the NATO communiqué, dropping the condition that a Berlin settlement must precede talks on security and cooperation in Europe. Joined by the British and West German Foreign Ministers, Rogers refused to sever this linkage, arguing that “it would be overly optimistic to assume this agreement can be reached in a short time.” (Telegram 1827 from Lisbon, June 3; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, NATO 3) For text of the communiqué, see Department of State Bulletin, June 28, 1971, pages 819–821.

Rogers was in the minority, however, when his colleagues advocated addressing the issue of Soviet presence in West Berlin. As he reported to President Nixon afterwards:

“On Berlin I found the UK, France and Germany all more optimistic than we have been on the progress recently made in the talks. Soviet willingness to state its own responsibility for maintaining civilian access to Berlin has particularly impressed them. I stressed that many of the most difficult issues lie ahead and that progress really would not be assured until we have an agreement, but agreed in the communiqué to wording expressing ‘satisfaction’ the negotiations had ‘enabled progress to be registered in recent weeks.’ All three also are prepared to concede Soviet consular representation as well as other increases in Soviet presence in West Berlin as part of the next phase of negotiations. I told them I understood their views but was not now in a position to express a view. We will have to reexamine this matter upon my return.” (Telegram Secto 26 from Lisbon, June 4; National Archives, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 73 D 323, CF 519)