307. Telegram From the Embassy in Germany to the Department of State1

10262. For Secretary From Ambassador. Ref: State 152955.2 Subj: Berlin Talks: Draft Agreement.

I have received your message and have immediately arranged to fly to Washington Tuesday for consultations Wednesday. I will plan to return to Bonn Wednesday evening unless you indicate otherwise.
I look forward to discussing the draft with you personally because I believe that you and I together can quiet many of the apprehensions expressed in the reftel.
As I said in my preliminary evaluation (Bonn’s 10252)3 recommending acceptance, in my opinion this text—with its admitted imperfections—is the best available. It has obtained far more than anyone thought possible.
As stated in para 5E of State’s 136539,4 it was clearly understood that any agreement reached in our “marathon session” would be ad referendum to governments and could be neither initialed nor signed without governmental approval, and I was proceeding on that basis. I was, therefore, very surprised to receive State’s 1513685 which arrived late in the evening of August 18 as our negotiations were virtually complete and we were adjourning for dinner. At that juncture it would have been extremely disruptive and no one here would have understood had I suddenly refused to give my own agreement ad referendum to a text I had taken such an active part in negotiating and formulating. The credibility of the US Government would have been opened to question had I done so. Further, I could not understand why signals were changed at the eleventh hour, especially as no basis was given and I was not consulted.
It has been made abundantly clear over and over that the four Ambassadors were negotiating texts for recommendation to governments, which, in turn, would have to examine our results and agree to them before they could in any sense be considered final. In my view, [Page 866] it is too late to change this now, and there must have been some misunderstanding if any impression was received that I would not give my own agreement ad referendum.
I feel very strongly that it would be most unwise to inform the British, French, Germans, and Soviets that this text cannot be regarded as having been agreed at the Ambassadorial level and submitted to governments ad referendum, and I recommend most urgently that this not be done. In my opinion, such action would be extremely disruptive of the next logical step, the orderly examination by the respective governments of the results of our work. It would introduce extremely harmful complications. It would unnecessarily antagonize the Germans (including Brandt, Bahr and Scheel) who are very pleased. It would arouse acute distrust on the part of the Soviets and cause them to question our motives profoundly. And finally—of importance not only to me but the USG as well—such action would seriously undermine my credibility and damage my usefulness.
In sum, I see absolutely nothing to be gained by such action and very serious disadvantages, expecially as I am convinced that when you and I discuss this matter on Wednesday6 I can satisfactorily answer the question raised, and that you and I together can calm concerns which have understandably been aroused.
We will certainly take all appropriate steps to dispel any press or public speculation that an agreement has been reached ad referendum. As a matter of fact, our Monday meeting in Berlin is largely intended to cover up the fact that the Ambassadors’ recommendations have been submitted to our governments.
I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. A copy was sent to the White House for Kissinger in San Clemente.
  2. Document 306.
  3. Document 303.
  4. Dated July 28. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 28 GER B) See footnote 5, Document 271 and Document 316.
  5. Document 297.
  6. August 25.