292. Message From the German State Secretary for Foreign, Defense, and German Policy (Bahr) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

The discussions with Falin on the 13th and 14th [of August] have created a serious situation. Falin responded to the unattainable demands of the Englishman [Jackling] for access without controls, which Rush and I supported, as follows: he would be prepared to collaborate on changes in form, but if our request involved changing the substance of the agreement, which the highest levels of the three participants approved in the existing form, it would raise very serious, fundamental questions.

We face here a question of confidence, that is to say, the suspicion of a double game.

The situation has been further aggravated by a detailed instruction of the State Department,2 which was also communicated to Paris [Page 838] and London, and which in part raised new demands. This will awaken the Russian suspicion that—as a result of their concessions in recent weeks in the areas of foreign representation, inner-city traffic, and the relationship to the federation[FRG]—the more we get, the more we want.

I am in constant contact with Rush in order to keep things under control.

It might be good if you told Dobrynin that we stand in principle by previous arrangements and will try to overcome the current difficult situation in the course of this week. I say this week because the English Ambassador last night reserved the option of repeating his proposal to suspend the negotiations without setting a new date in case the meeting on Monday, the 23rd, does not achieve a breakthrough.

I consider it a minor miracle that we have done so well to this point, which would have been impossible without our method of negotiation [with Rush and Falin]. I hope that this will now work for us again.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 60, Country Files, Europe, Egon Bahr, Berlin File [1 of 3]. Top Secret. The message, translated here from the original German by the editor, 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 at 1955Z. For the German text, see also Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1971, Vol. 2, pp. 1245–46.
  2. Reference is evidently to telegram 149394 to Berlin, August 14, in which the Department provided supplementary guidance on access, addressing, in particular, the “possibility of GDR spot checks of contents of sealed conveyances and search and arrest of travelers.” “While aware that a satisfactory resolution of the access problem will not be easy and may require additional negotiating sessions,” the Department argued, “we note that the offer of a consulate general has not yet been made to Soviets. As Ambassador Rush pointed out in requesting authorization to make this offer, our potential willingness to do so should be a source of leverage in the negotiations and have ramifications for entire agreement including matters of primary interest to us, like access. Hence, we hope that once consulate general has been brought into play as bargaining chip for Western side, Soviet agreement on spot checks and other access questions covered in this message will be among the counter-concessions which we may obtain.” The Department reported that it would inform the British and French Embassies on this matter and instructed the Embassies in London and Paris likewise to notify the respective Foreign Offices. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B)