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

Yesterday’s meeting went off well, Falin being in his usual relaxed friendly un-Russian mood. The principal developments were as follows:


We completed the section and accompanying annex on visits by West Berliners to East Berlin and the GDR. The big issue is how to describe the area so as to bypass the question as to whether East Berlin is or is not a part of the GDR. Until our meeting yesterday the Russians had insisted on wording such as “Berlin (East) and other areas of the GDR.” However, after long discussion he yesterday accepted, subject to Moscow approval, the wording, “communications with areas contiguous to the Western sectors of Berlin as well as with areas not contiguous to those sectors.”

Another issue has been our attempt to have the western end of the Teltow Canal opened to navigation. The canal is largely in East Berlin and the acrimonious post war history of the canal has caused a hardening of attitudes and given the issue an undue symbolic importance. The [Page 769] Russians have adamantly refused to open the western end of the canal, but yesterday Falin finally agreed that it “can be opened to navigation.”

The text of the tentatively agreed upon provisions is attached.2

We were also to discuss yesterday the final protocol, to which the French give such importance. In order to help meet your timetable however, I postponed that discussion on the basis that we had to do much more work with the French first.
Particularly in view of the Kvitsinskiy–Dean episode, I think that in order to allay suspicion and prevent disruption, we should continue the normal pattern of advisors meetings and thus deviate somewhat from the plan you and I outlined to Dobrynin. We can give the advisors plenty to do usefully, and, by careful coordination through Bahr, Falin and me, prevent these talks from adversely affecting our plans for getting the agreement as secretly finalized through the Four Power Ambassadorial talks. Bahr and Falin agreed with this reasoning, and Falin is taking the word back to Moscow.
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 6 July following Falin’s return from Moscow. I think it will take some time for him to work out an acceptable posture on Federal presence, but if instead he returns with one, we may have a small problem of avoiding embarrasment with the Germans as we carry out your time schedule. However I think it can be done by delaying consideration and final agreement on the issues of representation abroad and Soviet interests in West Berlin and by other means.3
  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. A copy was sent to Haig. 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 July 1 at 0110Z.
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Kissinger replied by special channel on July 2: “Thanks for your messages. They were greatly appreciated. Could you not use my Asia trip to bring about a delay by claiming difficulty in getting instructions? At any rate, keep things fluid until I am back from my trip and various things have fallen into place.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Country Files, Europe, Box 59, Ambassador Rush, Berlin, Vol. 1) Kissinger had already left Washington on July 1 for a 2-week tour of Asia, including stops in Saigon, Bangkok, New Delhi, and Islamabad; on July 9, he secretly arrived in Beijing, the “real destination” of his trip. (Kissinger, White House Years, pp. 736–741) In Kissinger’s absence, Haig sent the following message to Rush on July 6: “Due to circumstances which will be explained subsequently, Dr. Kissinger has asked me to flash to you the essentiality of going as slowly as possible during any meetings which may be already arranged. He also asks that you avoid, on some pretext, any new meetings to which you are not already committed until he returns from his trip on or about July 12. Best regards.” (Department of State, Bonn Post Files: Lot 72 F 81, Berlin Files—Amb. Kenneth Rush) In a conversation that morning, Nixon told Haig to “tighten up on Berlin” to counter a “crude and obvious attempt” by the Soviets to delay a decision on the summit. Haig: “Well, I just sent a message to Rush and told him to delay everything, not to accept any new meetings on the subject and just to hold up. That’s why I’m a little—That’s what they really want. They’re pressing to get that thing locked into shape.” Nixon: “Hmhmm. Can we still stop them?” Haig: “It’s still manageable, sir. It’s going to take a little gasping because of the German side, they’re Goddamn panting on this thing.” Nixon: “Sure.” Haig: “But we can make it very difficult.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation Between Nixon and Haig, July 6, 1971, 9:10–9:25 a.m., Oval Office, Conversation 538–4) The editor transcribed the portion of the conversation printed here specifically for this volume.