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

Thank you for your cable.2 I have talked to Dobrynin in a very low-key way and he promised me to guarantee discipline.3 I am a little bit disturbed by the pace of your negotiations. It is imperative that you do not come to a final agreement until after July 15 for reasons that will become apparent to you. The ideal from our point of view is to make some progress but prevent a final conclusion until the second half of the month sometime between the 20th of July and the end of the month. I know this puts you in a tough spot with Falin and Bahr but it is essential for our game plan. Please try to tread the fine line [Page 765] between progress and ultimate success. Above all, please keep me fully and immediately informed.4 No one will believe what we did here.5

  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, which Haig initialed for Kissinger, was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt. No time of transmission appears on the message.
  2. Document 261.
  3. Kissinger met Dobrynin on June 28 from 2:34 to 3:29 p.m. (Record of Schedule; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–76) According to a memorandum of conversation: “The conversation concerned the fact that a subordinate Soviet official—Krevinsky [Kvitsinsky]—had approached Jonathan Dean from our Embassy in Bonn and mentioned to him a special channel. I pointed out that this was an impossible situation and had to be rectified. Dobrynin said he could assure me it was a mistake—that in Moscow now, there was a feeling that definite progress was being made, and he was certain that it was not a deliberate action. He would take measures in a gentle way because he thought Krevinsky was a very valuable person and he didn’t want him to be punished. He said I had to understand that our system of government was hard for the Soviet leaders to understand.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Country Files, Europe, Box 57, Berlin and European Security, Vol. II [1 of 2])
  4. Rush replied by special channel on June 29: “Your message of June 28 was delivered by Commander Reed when he arrived to pick up my enclosed message to you [Document 263]. I shall follow instructions and keep the negotiations going until the time you mention, namely between July 20th and the end of the month. If unusual difficulties arise, I’ll let you know.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 59, Country Files, Europe, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1)
  5. In his memoirs, Kissinger later explained: “Once it became clear that there would be no summit in September, I sought to delay the conclusion of the Berlin agreement until after the announcement [on July 15] of my Peking visit. This would ease Soviet temptations to use our China opening as a pretext to launch a new round of crises. I succeeded, but only with some difficulty. Even Rush, like all negotiators, was getting carried away by the prospect of an agreement and procrastinated only with great reluctance (not knowing, of course, the reasons involved).” (White House Years, p. 829)