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

The Chancellor has offered to collaborate [with the opposition] on ratification of the treaties. We are working on a joint resolution of the Bundestag, which will state the principles of foreign policy that will remain unaffected by the Eastern treaties. If we reach an agreement with the opposition by the middle of next week, we are prepared to postpone for several days the decision in the Bundestag, which had been scheduled for May 4th. Otherwise we will force a decision so the President can go to Moscow with the situation here resolved. (The second reading in the Bundesrat could happen as scheduled on May 19th, if the Bundestag votes on May 4th. Agreement with the opposition would also mean that the Bundesrat reading is unnecessary.)

Barzel’s position within his party is becoming more difficult due to growing public pressure on the opposition to abandon its untenable stance and refrain from blocking ratification. In this situation, he is trying to achieve a kind of government participation [eine Art Regiervngsbeteiligvng zu erreichen], which we refuse to do. Any identical recommendation of the President to both the Chancellor and him would strengthen [Barzel] and would not be acceptable for the Chancellor.

A state [from the President] to him on international developments, including connections to Berlin and the treaties, could be useful for Barzel and us. It should say that the President is interested in having the situation resolved before he goes to Moscow.

We would be informed about such a statement to Barzel.

It would be good to know tomorrow confidentially what the President decides to do.2

Warm regards.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser Files, Kissinger and Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 35, West Germany–Egon Bahr Communications. Top Secret. The message translated here from the original German by the editor, is in response to one from Kissinger, undated but probably sent on April 28; see footnote 5, Document 359.
  2. Kissinger replied by special channel on April 30: “Thank you for your prompt reply. Under the current circumstances it is best that we not intervene with the message at this time. However, Press Secretary Ziegler may say something in support of the Berlin Treaty at a future press briefing.” (Ibid.)