344. Letter From the Political Counselor at the Embassy in Germany (Dean) to the Director of the Office of German Affairs (Sutterlin)1

Dear Jim:

Washington has taken the position that we should not intervene in the inner-German conflict over ratification of the Eastern Treaties.2 This position is certainly correct and we here have been abiding by it. I should tell you, however, that in his discussions of the ratification situation with me on March 3 and March 20,3 State Secretary Bahr requested a personal intervention with Barzel by either Mr. Rush or Dr. Kissinger acting in the name of the White House.

On the first occasion, I referred to our established policy of nonintervention but, on the second one, Bahr made it clear that he expects at least that his message be sent through to Mr. Rush with whom, as you know, he had a very close working relationship. Bahr pointed out that he expected that the Administration would have a direct interest in preventing a situation where treaty ratification might fail and the Berlin Agreement went into limbo just before the President’s trip to Moscow. He is hoping that Barzel can be persuaded to urge Kohl and Stoltenberg not to vote against the treaties in the Bundesrat4 if the CDU majority there is confirmed by the Baden-Wuerttemberg elections and that a direct expression of concern by the Administration might be a factor in Barzel’s decision.

My own worry is that if the tight situation here continues, and the Brandt Government nevertheless survives, it may for some time to come resent the inactivity of our government at the time of its own greatest need. On the other hand, the risks of intervention with Barzel are considerable even on a private basis and the effects on him uncertain, also with some chance of resentment if it becomes public and even [Page 978] if it does not. In any event, I believe that the state of our relations with the FRG requires that Bahr should be told that his message has reached Ambassador Rush.

With best regards,

  1. Source: Department of State, EUR/CE Files: Lot 85 D 330, JD—Correspondence 1972. Secret; Official–Informal. A copy was sent to Cash.
  2. See Document 342.
  3. The Embassy forwarded accounts of these discussions in telegrams 3029 and 3902 from Bonn, March 3 and March 21. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 GER W and POL GER W–USSR)
  4. As Minister Presidents of the Rheinland-Pfalz and Schleswig-Holstein, Kohl and Stoltenberg each controlled four votes of the CDU/CSU majority (21 to 20) in the Bundesrat.