77. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers1


  • The Eastern Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany

In his talks with Chancellor Brandt, the President plans to take the following general line on the subject of “Ostpolitik” which should also [Page 208] serve as guidance for U.S. officials who talk with the Germans on this subject.

As stated in the President’s Report to the Congress of February 18, 1970, the U.S. endorses the objective of a normalization of the FRG’s relations with the East.
We appreciate the extent to which the Germans have kept us and the other Allies informed to date, and we expect them to consult with us fully and in advance on a continuing basis as their policy reaches critical stages. This naturally applies with special force to those aspects of the Eastern policy that relate to U.S. rights and responsibilities for Berlin and Germany as a whole.
Since it is not in our interests to be drawn into German domestic disputes on Eastern policy, the President does not intend either to endorse or to oppose those aspects of this policy which do not relate directly to our rights and responsibilities.
Similarly, he plans not to reach a decision on whether to endorse or oppose any particular strategy or specific timing and tactic which affects directly our rights and responsibilities until it has been the subject of explicit consultation.
Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL GER E–GER W. Secret. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. Sonnenfeldt forwarded a draft to Kissinger on April 7 and Kissinger made several minor revisions before signing it. (Memorandum from Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger, April 7; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 683, Country Files, Europe, Germany, Vol. IV) In an April 3 memorandum to Kissinger, Sonnenfeldt explained the need for guidance on handling of Ostpolitik during the Brandt visit: “I want to be sure that you focus on the problem I have alluded to several times in my memoranda on Germany: the difference between the White House and the State Department on how to talk about Ostpolitik. There can be little doubt that State prefers (indeed has several times given) strong endorsement of the whole German approach, with only the caveat that no Allied interests be compromised and there be timely consultation. To avoid the Germans getting an impression of differences, and perhaps manipulating them, I believe it is essential that a general line be laid down before the Brandt visit.” (Ibid., Box 917, VIP Visits, Chancellor Brandt Visit, April 10–11, 1970 [1 of 3]) According to Sutterlin, the memorandum from Kissinger to Rogers “reflected White House thinking that the United States should not become too associated with the SPD.” (Sutterlin and Klein, Berlin, p. 101)