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


Many thanks for our discussion2 to which I would like to add the following: I am working under the assumption that the Soviet Union sees the USA as a guarantor for the situation in Europe. In any case, Soviet approval of the permanent presence of the USA in the middle of Europe through the Berlin Agreement is an indication of this. In my view, it is absurd to speak of the Soviet wish for the withdrawal of Americans from Europe, since Moscow, in so far as it still has such a wish, must consider it unrealistic and unrealizable.

Such a wish would also contradict the Soviet interest in a stabilization of the status quo in Europe, which is only possible with the USA.

It corresponds to well-known realities, and the Russian understanding of them, that the USA should participate in a conference on security and cooperation in Europe.

In the interest of détente and security, it would be important to include language to this effect in the communiqué,3 in so far as there is agreement on the matter.


We are hoping to be able to regulate by treaty the Fundamental relationship between the two states no later than November 1. This treaty will be handled at the same time in the Bundestag as the legislation we need to apply for membership in the UN.

To encourage this possibility, we will adopt a hard line against the East German efforts for membership in the ECE in April and the WHO in May.4 We may reconsider the question of the environmental [Page 990] conference5 if [the treaties] are ratified in the first week of May without the requirement for referral again to the Bundesrat.

At the Prague Conference, [the Warsaw Pact] agreed to prepare an expert’s paper on the relationship between COMECON and the EEC.6 The substantive statement by Brezhnev on the EEC7 was the most possible at this point without submitting a formal report on the matter for political decision.
The Soviet side has transmitted a kind of memorandum to the Chancellor regarding its attitude on ratification, that he then used privately in the Bundestag foreign affairs committee. Something similar from the American side would be used only in the talks between the Chancellor, Scheel, Barzel, and Schroeder. In this regard, I am assuming that the President’s trip to Moscow will take place in any event and be seen in a positive light if the treaties have been ratified and we are able to agree on a date for signature of the final protocol. An explanation of the American position and interests is as important and necessary as ever for a free decision of responsible men in the opposition.

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. A copy was sent to Sonnenfeldt. The message, translated here from the original German by the editor, was sent through the special Navy channel in Frankfurt. For the German text, see also Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 1972, Vol. 1 pp. 351–353.
  2. See Document 348.
  3. Reference is apparently to the communiqué issued by the North Atlantic Council at its ministerial session in Bonn on May 31. For the text, see Documents on Disarmament, 1972, pp. 247–250.
  4. East Germany became a member of the Economic Commission for Europe in December 1972; its membership in the World Health Organization was deferred in May 1972 and approved in May 1973.
  5. Reference is to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which was held in Stockholm June 5–16, 1972; the Soviet Union and other East European countries refused to attend when East Germany was invited to observe but not vote during the proceedings.
  6. The members of the Warsaw Pact met in Prague on January 25 and 26, 1972. For the text of the declaration issued at the conclusion of the meeting, see Documents on Disarmament, 1972, pp. 1–8.
  7. See Document 345.