284. Memorandum From Arthur Downey of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Berlin Negotiations—the August 10 Session

The first day of the marathon negotiating session produced both a constructive atmosphere and visible improvements. The following is a brief summary (the reporting cables2 run over sixty pages):

The Ambassadors decided on the order of consideration of the various issues, beginning with the focus on Bonn/Berlin relationships, then representation abroad, access, entry into East Berlin, and finally Soviet interests in West Berlin. In this first meeting, the concentration was on Bonn/Berlin relationships and representation abroad.

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Abrasimov offered a fairly tough paper on Bonn/Berlin relations.3 In presenting it, he indicated that even this was on the condition that, outside the framework of the Agreement, but in connection with it, the Four Powers reach an understanding on banning the NPD and on demilitarization. As they hinted at in the last session, the Soviet paper was in the “short form.” As a result, the Three Ambassadors made clear that agreement to this brief format would depend on Soviet agreement to adding a supplementary letter or an agreed minute setting forth clarifications and interpretations of the laconic language.

The critical “constitutional” formulation describing the Bonn/Berlin relationship in the Soviet draft contained the statement that the Western Sectors “are not a part of the FRG, do not belong to it and cannot be governed by it.” In a major breakthrough, Ambassador Rush succeeded in securing Abrasimov’s agreement to drop the “does not belong” language, and altering the last phase to provide that West Berlin “continues not to be governed” by the FRG.

The consideration of Berlin’s representation abroad was also fruitful. Both sides offered texts of an exchange of letters, and the Western side finally agreed to treat this subject separately and not merely as one aspect of the Bonn/Berlin relationship. There are few significant differences in the two texts. Essentially, both provide that the USSR will not object to provision of consular services by the FRG, extension of treaties, representation in international organizations and conferences and inclusion in exchanges and exhibitions. The Soviet text, of course, highlights particularly that these forms of FRG representation are tolerable only to the extent that matters of security and status are not affected (it is not clear, for example, exactly how Berlin’s representation at the Security Council will be handled).

The major difference on this issue remains the question of FRG passports. Ambassador Rush pressed hard for Soviet acceptance, noting that this was a very important aspect for the acceptance of the agreement as a whole. Abrasimov said he did not reject the right of a West Berliner to have an FRG passport in his pocket, but only that he could not use this document while traveling to the USSR.

Abrasimov immediately linked this issue with the question of a Soviet Consulate General. At various stages during the session, Abrasimov said that unless there was agreement on a Consulate General, there would be no section on representation abroad, and even no agreement at all. He finally made clear that he was going to raise the Consulate General in connection with every issue to be discussed. Ambassador [Page 823] Rush pointed out that it would be a serious matter for the Allies to grant the Consulate General and not to be able to obtain the right for West Berliners to use FRG passports.

In a brief cable this morning, Ambassador Rush said that the question of the Consulate General would be up for discussion this afternoon,4 and he requested instructions. The NSDM 5 of this morning has been sent by flash cable.6

With respect to timing of the negotiations, the four Ambassadors agreed that, if necessary, a meeting after the August 12 session would take place on Monday, the 16th. All agreed not to meet on August 13— the tenth anniversary of the Wall. In that context, Rush told Abrasimov that he had gone to great lengths to tone down Western publicity on the 13th. Abrasimov responded that there would be no military parades on the 13th in East Berlin, but “only” a march of workers’ brigades before a reviewing stand.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 692, Country Files, Europe, Germany (Berlin), Vol. IV. Secret. Urgent; Sent for information. Haig and Kissinger both initialed the memorandum, indicating that they had seen it; according to an attached form, the memorandum was “noted by HAK” on August 17.
  2. On August 11 the Mission reported the highlights of the August 10 session in telegram 1580 and the details in telegrams 1586, 1587, 1588, 1589, and 1590. (All ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B)
  3. The text of the Soviet paper was transmitted on August 11 in telegram 1581 from Berlin. (Ibid.)
  4. In telegram 1594 from Berlin, August 11, Rush sent the following personal message for Rogers: “Negotiations are moving at a faster pace than we anticipated. Subject of Soviet interests, and particularly Consulate General up for discussion still this afternoon. I would therefore appreciate earliest possible instruction.” (Ibid., POL 38–6)
  5. Document 285.
  6. Telegram 146328 to Berlin, August 11. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 38–6)