371. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • West and East Germany in the United States

At our request, State has prepared a good background memorandum (Tab A)2 on the current stage of negotiations between the FRG and the GDR, the question of UN membership for the two, and on the issue of a covering Four Power declaration in connection with that membership. The last may eventually cause us some trouble with the West Germans and possibly the Soviets. You should be aware of the present state of play, which is likely to move ahead rapidly in September and October.

A summary of State’s memorandum follows:

BahrKohl Talks

The two state secretaries have been negotiating since August 16 on a FRGGDR modus vivendi in the form of a “Basic Treaty.” Kohl’s draft treaty is unsatisfactory to Bonn in several respects. The two main problems with it are:

  • —How to include the FRG’s wish for language that indicates there is a “special relationship” between the two Germanies and reunification [Page 1051] is eventually possible. Bahr would like to have the treaty refer to the FRG and GDR constitutions, both of which mention a single German nation.
  • —Whether to include a clause affirming quadripartite rights and responsibilities in some way.

UN Membership and Four Power Rights—The Issues

When the Berlin protocol was signed last June, the Three Western Powers presented Gromyko with the agreed Western position. It is:

The Berlin agreement opens the way to UN membership for the two Germanies.
First, however, there must be an FRGGDR general treaty, then Bundestag approval of it and a written understanding among the Four Powers (USSR, US, France, and UK) that UN membership of the GDR and FRG will not affect Four Power responsibilities for Berlin and Germany as a whole. Then the two Germanies can enter first UN specialized agencies and later the UN itself.3

Gromyko was initially unreceptive to the Four Power statement idea, and the Soviets started sending out negative signals.4 But on August 17, the Soviet Ambassador in East Berlin told Marty Hillenbrand that Moscow’s reply would be positive.5

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Some issues have also cropped up with the West Germans in this connection:

  • —Whether the FRG and the GDR should formally associate themselves with a Four Power Declaration. The FRG thinks this is neither necessary nor desirable.6
  • —Whether there should be formal Four Power “support and sponsorship” of the two Germanies’ entry into the UN. The FRG is against, the Three Powers for, although they believe it not essential.

Additionally, there is some apprehension, particularly in Paris and London, about parallelism between the BahrKohl negotiations and those by the Three Powers with the Soviets. The two Germanies might, if Bahr presses ahead, come to an agreement well before the Three, putting them under undue pressure to settle for less in a quadripartite declaration than they consider necessary. The fear here is that the Western Allies could be put into the position of appearing to block a German-German treaty which Brandt would want, for domestic reasons, to submit to the Bundestag quickly.

If the Bundestag is dissolved in mid-September,7 however, this will probably be no problem. Ahlers did feel it necessary on August 9 to deny, however, that the Three are concerned about Bahr’s negotiating “haste.”

USGDR Relations

Besides this major issue of what our policy should be toward East Germany’s entering the UN, there are two minor policy questions which State has recently addressed. You should be aware of these. Both are referred to in the NSSM–146 response (Policy Toward the GDR),8 which awaits SRG action. These issues are:

  • —Should the State Department now modify its regulations to permit our diplomats to travel more widely in the GDR?NATO rules, hitherto fairly restrictive, are going to be relaxed. State wants to follow suit.
  • —Should we allow high-ranking GDR officials to travel in the US? We have been against this so far, although our NATO Allies have been far more permissive. State now favors visits by such officials for specific purposes, such as trade promotion.

You should be aware of these proposed policy changes. Others may arise soon.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 303, Agency Files, USUN, Vol. X [Part 3]. Confidential. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum; an attached routing slip indicates that it was noted by him on September 7. According to another copy, Livingston drafted the memorandum. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Chronological File, 1969–75, Box CL 26)
  2. Attached but not printed at Tab A is a memorandum from R.T. Curran, Acting Executive Secretary, to Kissinger, August 26.
  3. After signature of the final quadripartite protocol on June 3, Rogers gave Gromyko both an oral presentation and written talking points outlining the Allied position on German membership in the United Nations. (Telegram 7809 from Bonn, June 3; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 6 GER W)
  4. In a June 13 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt reported that, when Bahr outlined the Allied position in a meeting with Gromyko on June 3, the Soviet Foreign Minister replied that “the two Germanies should enter the UN first, then the FRG could more easily and to its better advantage regulate its relations with the GDR. The ‘fetishism’ of Quadripartite rights could hurt GDRFRG relations. Moscow would not go along with any attempt to establish Four Power rights if the sole purpose was to bind the two Germanies together.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 718, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. 20)
  5. The Mission reported on this meeting between Hillenbrand and Yefremov, which was held at the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin, in telegram 1460 from Berlin, August 18. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 17 USSR–GER E)
  6. In a September 7 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt revised this statement: “Initially the West Germans were much opposed to an association, but their position has softened in the past few weeks. After Marty Hillenbrand discussed this problem with the Auswärtiges Amt, State now believes the FRG would go along with formal association.” “We consider a formal East German (and hence an FRG) association important,” Sonnenfeldt further explained, “because in the event that GDR pressure on Berlin one day resumes, we will need the most unambiguous possible political and legal basis to sustain our Four Power position in the city.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 24, HAK Trip Files, Briefing Book, Henry A. Kissinger Germany Trip, Secret)
  7. The Bundestag was dissolved on September 22 when Brandt arranged to lose a vote of confidence; under Article 68 of the Basic Law, Federal elections were then scheduled for November 19.
  8. See Documents 341 and 355.