375. Editorial Note

On October 6, 1972, Assistant to the President Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin discussed revisions to the quadripartite declaration on German membership in the United Nations. In a telephone conversation on October 4, the two men had considered the operative phrase: “that such membership shall in no way affect the question of the four power rights and responsibilities and the appropriate agreements, decisions, and practices which relate to them.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 395, Telephone [Page 1069] Conversations, Dobrynin, Anatoliy Fedorovich)

On October 6 Kissinger called Assistant Secretary of State Stoessel at 10:10 a.m. to review this formulation:

K[issinger]: On that Four-Power declaration, the major thing that the Russians claim that they are worried about when they say, ‘which relate to them,’ is to make clear that we are talking about the Four-Power thing and not unilateral Three-Power things.

“S[toessel]: Well, then we can come up with something—

“K: Now my experience with the Russians has been, you know, once Gromyko digs himself in like this, it’s better if we can offer him something else which meets our point and so he can say he got something.

“S: Sure.

“K: Would you give it a try?

“S: We’ll try some language.

“K: And I told him I would let him know before the end of the day.

“S: What about that, ‘appropriate.’

“K: Well, they insist on that too but if we give him something to meet the other point, I’ll just insist that that go out.” (Ibid., Box 374, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

When he called back that afternoon, Stoessel suggested that Kissinger drop the word “appropriate” and revise the phrase to read “and the agreements, decisions and practices involving the four powers which relate to them.” Although Stoessel thought this would satisfy the Soviets, Kissinger replied: “nothing will satisfy these bastards.” (Ibid.)

Before he could ask Dobrynin about this proposal, Kissinger responded to questions on the declaration from the British Government and the German opposition. Kissinger first met British Ambassador Cromer in the White House at 12:10 p.m.

“Amb. Cromer: I came here for just one thing, to clear up what happened with Gromyko on the matter of quadripartite rights.

“Dr. Kissinger: Yes, I should have informed you. They have agreed to a four-power declaration.

“Amb. Cromer: One which is more or less similar …

“Dr. Kissinger: Very similar to an admission that the entry into the UN of the Germanies—which will be more or less simultaneous with finalization of the German Treaty—will not affect the rights and responsibilities. Their draft is close enough to the four-power draft to be negotiated.

“Amb. Cromer: That’s fine.

“Dr. Kissinger: It is close enough so that the Ambassadors in Bonn can do it. They would prefer Bonn because Falin knows the issue better than their man in Berlin.

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“Amb. Cromer: We prefer Berlin but don’t feel very strongly about it.

“Dr. Kissinger: I told him I had spoken with Sir Alec [Douglas-Home] about it. I told him regretfully that we couldn’t support UN admission without it.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 62, Country Files, Europe, UK Memcons 1972 (Originals))

Soon after Cromer left, Kissinger received a telephone call from Kurt Birrenbach, a foreign policy expert in the Christian Democratic Union. When he learned that Kissinger was considering “a four power declaration or something like that,” Birrenbach argued that “this would appear like a blessing” for the proposed treaty on basic relations between East and West Germany. “[B]ut the Four Power Declaration,” Kissinger explained, “would only say it doesn’t affect our rights and responsibilities.” Although he appreciated the explanation, Birrenbach urged Kissinger to be sure that “this declaration will not be misused” in the upcoming election in Germany. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 374, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

At 5:50 p.m. Kissinger called Dobrynin to discuss the language Stoessel had proposed earlier that afternoon:

“K: I have a text for you now on Berlin which I think meets all your points.

“D: Yes, what is the text, or you could send me.

“K: Let me send it to you.

“D: How [does] it sound …

“K: Let me read it—’shall [in] no way affect the question of the four-power rights and responsibilities [a]nd the agreements, decisions and practices involving the four-powers which relate to them.’

“D: ‘Involving four powers’?

“K: ‘Which relate to them.’

“D: Why do we need ‘which relate to them’? ‘Involving four powers’ … I think it is better. You are going to introduce this “relate,” and here we are going around and around.

“K: But ‘relate’ is the same as ‘appropriate’—which relate to the four-power responsibilities.

“D: Practices of the four powers. What do you say, ‘Agreed among them’?

“K: No, ‘involving the four powers.’ That’s as far as we can go.

“D: Four powers—again you leave room for a possibility of three together but—separately from the fourth.

“K: No, I mean—give us an alternative to that—I mean you can’t agree to practices as such, that’s our concern.

[Page 1071]

“D: Yeah, but I mean ‘involving the four powers’ is still—If you say ‘agreed among them,’ it is clear that they are agreed among them. But if you just say ‘involving’ you couldn’t prevent that there is a situation where not only four powers but maybe three or two powers. You would still count their involvement.

“K: Anatol …

“D: Yeah.

“K: If you had the right religion you would be a great Talmudic scholar.

“D: [Laughter] Well maybe I will after having experience with you, I’m gaining some points in my own domestic…

“K: Oh, come on, you’ve got to give ground once just to prove that I have some persuasive powers left.

“D: You already have some—you have taken off ‘appropriate’ al ready. Now we come to ‘which relate to them’—involving four powers.

“K: Yes.

“D: And then relating…

“K: Let me send it over to you and then you can yell about a piece of paper you actually have.

“D: Yes, I could, then you will disappear today.

“K: No, no, I will be here at night. It is coming now by messenger.

“D: I understand. Okay, I will look at this. But this is my personal reaction because I am afraid it will be the same two powers business.

“K: I take it back. I used to say I could settle with you faster than I could with Le Duc Tho. I take it back.

“D: Oh, you are going to stay with him for a few days and you give me only a few minutes. It is a rather nice ratio, I should say. I will look at it and then I will call you back.” (Ibid., Box 395, Telephone Conversations, Dobrynin, Anatoliy Fedorovich)

Kissinger called Stoessel at 6 p.m. to explain that Dobrynin was concerned that the phrase “involving the four powers” might imply that “two or three powers can act,” i.e. that the Allies could take action in Germany without Soviet approval:

“K: I told him he should change his religion and become a Talmudic student.

“S: My God, yeah, I think that is too much.

“K: But another possibility, he said, was just to drop the phrase ‘which relate to them.’

“S: So you have ‘[the] question of four power [rights] and responsibilities and the agreements, decisions and practices involving the four powers.’

“K: Yeah. But I don’t know what [that] adds to it.

[Page 1072]

“S: Well, that might be a possibility. Do you think he would accept that?

“K: Probably.

“S: Yeah.

“K: But he [will] probably accept the next round if I kick him in the teeth.

“S: Yeah. Yeah. We could probably drop ‘agreements,’ too. I don’t know if that would help.

“K: That won’t help. Don’t drop anything he hasn’t asked for.

“S: That’s what we thought—maybe we would do that later. It’s decisions and practices that I am concerned about on the Autobahn, the air corridor, you know things that have been sort of understood and accepted but not really written down in any precise way. That is what we want to preserve.

“K: Yeah.

“S: Well, shall I check on this?

“K: Yeah, would you?

“S: ‘Agreements, decisions [and] practices involving the four powers.’ Okay. I’ll get back to you tonight.

“K: That would be helpful.” (Ibid., Box 374, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

Stoessel soon called Kissinger back to report his approval of the following formulation: “relevant agreements, decisions and practices involving the four powers.” “I’ll tell him that’s our final position,” Kissinger replied, “and one more word and I’ll kill him.” (Ibid.) Kissinger gave Dobrynin the revised text over the telephone that evening. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 495, President’s Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1972, Vol. 13)