40. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Secretary Rogers’ Plans for the NATO Meeting

Just prior to his departure for the Rome meeting of NATO Ministers,2 the Secretary sent you a memorandum outlining the problems to be dealt with at the meeting and our objectives (Tab A).3

East-West Relations

Several of the Allies, led by the British, want to come out of the meeting with a very forward looking approach to the Soviets on a European Conference and on balanced force reduction proposals. We have tried to combat this drift and we now have support from a majority including the Germans, French and Italians. The Secretary will plan to move cautiously on these questions, giving some ground on the question of proposals for Mutual Balanced Force Reductions, in order to hold the line against a strong move toward the Soviet idea of a European Conference.

Allied Defense in the 1970s

In response to your foreign policy report, the Allies with our participation have drawn up a timetable and terms of reference for reviewing the Alliance Defense posture. This will be formally approved in Rome and the review will begin in late June. We are aiming for a report by December.

Committee on Challenges of a Modern Society

The Rome meeting will take note of the remarkable progress of this committee since it was established last year at your suggestion.

The Greek Issue

The Scandinavians may criticize the Greek government at the Rome meeting, which would probably cause the Greek Minister to [Page 157] walk out. We are still trying to divert this into bilateral channels, or have it ruled out of order. But it could turn into a nasty scene.

Madrid Visit

Following the meeting the Secretary will see General Franco. He had hoped to be able to initial an executive agreement on the Spanish base issue, but negotiations are still underway, and the Secretary feels that we may have to submit any agreement to the Senate in light of Congressional problems and reactions to Southeast Asia.

Lisbon Visit

The Secretary also stops in Lisbon where he will indicate our understanding of the situation in Portugal’s African territories, and will smooth the way for eventual negotiations on US bases in the Azores.

The Secretary’s memorandum does not call for any action, and is for your information. He may be in for a difficult passage in light of the dispute over the “signal” to the Soviets, and the Greek issue. I will keep you informed as these issues develop in the meeting beginning Tuesday.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 259, Agency Files, NATO, Vol. VIII. Secret. Sent for information. At the top of the first page is the stamped notation: “The President has seen.”
  2. The final communiqué of the May 26–27 meeting is printed in NATO Final Communiqués, 1949–1974, pp. 233–238.
  3. Tab A, May 21, is attached but not printed.