23. Telegram From the Under Secretary of State (Richardson) to the Department of State1

Unsec 17/9129. Subject: Appraisal of November 5–6 high-level NAC meeting on European security issues and CCMS.

1. First high-level Council meeting2 held in response to the President’s proposal last April was highly successful from standpoint of (a) tone; (b) policy content; and (c) timing. It attracted Ministerial or senior official participation from all Allied countries except Iceland and gave the new German Government its first chance to present its E–W policy to its Allies. (See septel)3

2. On the European Security Conference issue, meeting emphasized necessity for North American participation and careful preparation. It revealed the range of Allied differences on timing and tactics—differences that are reflected in individual delegation statements (septels)4 and that will need to be reconciled over the next month to assure a united Alliance position in December. Attitudes on reference to ESC in December communiqué ranged from great reluctance (France) to those who want to depict it as near-term possibility (Norway).

3. All agreed on the importance of the Allies holding steady on the course set last April in emphasizing substantive content of East-West issues, and avoiding defensive or piecemeal reactions to Warsaw Pact. [Page 72] It became clear that Allied examination of procedural aspects of European security questions must be undertaken to complement the substantive studies done thus far.

4. Timing of meeting coming on heels of Prague Declaration (septel)5 permitted the Alliance to get its side of the story out in a way which provides guidance for governments between now and December.

5. The meeting particularly highlighted balanced force reductions (BFR) as one of the major issues NATO can stress constructively in December. Much work remains however, before we can reach agreement on the content of the “signal” to be given the Soviets in December. While France and Turkey are still reluctant, it clear that if majority wish signal in communiqué (and they appear to do so) all will go along on principle of a signal.

6. The meeting points to need for early and careful work in Bonn Group on Berlin-Germany section of the December communiqué. It also pointed up the importance FRG attaches to Allied backing for its bilateral efforts on renunciation of force.

7. CCMS: Second day of session devoted to discussion of CCMS, with reinforced Council putting final stamp of approval on committee’s establishment. Two major points emerged from discussion:

—There has been a striking change in attitude of our Allies. In early stages of CCMS consideration, following on the heels of President’s April proposal, some were dubious about wisdom of engaging NATO in environmental activities. But November 6 session demonstrated how far Alliance has moved in intervening months. All welcomed creation of committee and stressed their intention fully to participate in its work.

—A number of delegations reported on actions under way within their governments to create structure for coordinating internal work on environmental problems. Thus, necessity for Allies to think about how they can make a contribution to the work of CCMS has stimulated a reexamination of their internal government structure which can only have a beneficial effect on their domestic approaches to environmental problems.

NATO agreed to press statement on establishing CCMS (repeated septel).6

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8. The Under Secretary’s full statements on East-West issues (and CCMS)7 were well-received as were significant statements by UK, France, FRG and a number of the smaller countries. We can justifiably maintain the US posture in the meeting reflected the US commitment to full and effective consultation with Allies, and we should be pleased that others made the consultation a genuine two-way street. It also clear that President’s April initiative on high level meetings of Council addressing significant issues has now been realized and basis provided for future meetings this type.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, NATO 3 BEL (BR). Secret; Priority. Repeated to USNATO, Moscow, Ankara, Athens, Bonn, Brussels, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Oslo, Ottawa, Rome, The Hague, and Reykjavik.
  2. A report of the meeting is in telegram 5084 from USNATO, November 6. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 5075 from USNATO, November 5. (Ibid.)
  4. Not found.
  5. Not found. The Foreign Ministers of the Warsaw Pact met in Prague October 30–31, and adopted a declaration calling for a pan-European conference in Helsinki during the first half of 1970, which would build on the Budapest appeal of the previous March.
  6. Not found. The CCMS announcement is described in “NATO Joins the Fight to Save Environment,” New York Times, November 7, 1969, p. 3.
  7. The text of Richardson’s remarks is in telegram 5070 from USNATO, November 5. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, NATO 3 BEL (BR))