364. Backchannel Message From President Nixon to Secretary of State Rogers in London1

WH 21242. Deliver at Opening of Business.

We have noted reports2 of an informal understanding between you and Scheel to the effect that the treaties should be settled by the time of the summit so that I can participate in the completion of the Berlin Four-Power protocol.

As you know, under no circumstances do I wish to sign or participate in the completion of the Berlin Four-Power protocol at or in conjunction with the Moscow summit.
Under no circumstances do I want to intervene in any way directly or indirectly in the issue of the treaties.

I know I can count on you to deflect any efforts to engage us in the treaties issue and to avoid situations which might contribute to erroneous rumors on the subject.3

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 73 D 443, WPR—President Nixon. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The message was sent at 0403Z on May 4 (11:03 p.m., EST, May 3). Rogers was in London May 3 and 4 for consultations with British leaders on the President’s trip to Moscow at the end of the month.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. Rogers replied by backchannel on May 4: “I have received your telegram about reported informal understanding between Scheel and me about completion of the Berlin Four-Power Protocol. There has never been any such agreement and I have not seen or been in touch with Scheel since December 1971. I have scrupulously avoided any suggestion of any intervention by you or anyone in the U.S. Government directly or indirectly on the issue of the treaties. In fact it is not even possible to have the treaties ratified until at the earliest June 4, and it has been understood by everyone that the Protocol could not be signed until the treaties were ratified so whoever gave you that information did not even understand the parliamentary situation. I would be interested in knowing from whom you received such information to the contrary.” (Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 73 D 443, WPR—President Nixon)