72. Letter From Acting Secretary of State Irwin to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1
Following the Verification Panel discussion of MBFR September 21,2 I have been working with my staff on a short paper covering the is[Page 309]sues for the Deputy Foreign Ministers meeting on which I believe Panel discussion and decision will be necessary so that I am in a position to participate most effectively in the October 5–6 meeting.3 This paper covers the essential issues requiring US decision prior to the meeting of Deputies both with respect to launching the explorer and to establishing an MBFR work program in NATO leading to the Ministerial meeting in December.4 I am sending copies of the paper, which is enclosed, to members of the Verification Panel.
This Department of State paper is intended to provide a useful basis for our discussion at the September 30 Verification Panel meeting.5
I understand that the Verification Panel Working Group is further refining our thinking on the issues involved in MBFR Elements and reviewing a Preliminary Report on MBFR Options and Analysis.6 Although it will not be essential for the Working Group to have completed this work prior to the Deputies meeting, I will want to indicate in my remarks that our Mission will be providing further US input of this sort shortly. Such input will be necessary if we are to achieve our objective of having the allies begin to move towards possible negotiating approaches prior to December.
In my remarks at the Deputies meeting, as well as during my brief European trip following it, I will take the opportunity to stress the importance the US attaches to allied force improvements. NSDM 133,7 and some points I have received from Dave Packard on specific allied force improvements, will be most helpful in that regard.
With warm regards,
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 6 NATO. Secret. A handwritten note indicates the letter was signed by the Under Secretary and that the drafting office was omitted.↩
- At the
meeting, the Verification Panel agreed that:
“—A preferred U.S. position cannot be ready in time for the NATO Deputy Foreign Ministers Meeting in early October, but we must present something at that meeting. We require a clear elaboration of the options open to us and a specific statement of the mandate the Explorer is to be given. The Working Group will prepare a paper along these lines.
“—The U.S. proposal must be reasonable, realistic, attainable and must represent a serious effort.
“—The Allies cannot be permitted to use MBFR reductions as a rationale for further cuts of their national forces or defense budgets.
“—The Rapacki Plan Area is our first choice of area, but we could accept either the NATO Guidelines Area plus Hungary or the NATO Guidelines area alone as fallback choices.
“—The Explorer should not present alternatives to the Russians. His visit is intended merely to feel them out and ascertain their thinking on MBFR.
“—The Explorer should visit Moscow first, report back to the NATO Foreign Ministers and then go to Eastern Europe only if his Moscow visit showed signs of promise. There appears to be no compelling reason for the Explorer to visit neutral nations and this should not be encouraged.
“—Another meeting of the Verification Panel will be held on September 30 to discuss the options to be presented to the Explorer.” The full text of the minutes is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 70.↩
- The meeting took place in Brussels.↩
- The meeting was held December 9–10 in Brussels.↩
- Draft minutes of the September 30 Verification Panel meeting are printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXXIX, European Security, Document 72.↩
- Apparent reference to an NSC Staff Draft Paper on MBFR Issues prepared on September 29 for the meeting. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 6 NATO)↩
- Document 71.↩
- Brosio accepted an official invitation to assume the position at the Deputy Foreign Ministers meeting.↩
- Not printed. (National Archives, RG 59, Executive Secretariat, Files on Select National Security Study Memorandums, 1969–70, Lot 80D212, NSSM 92)↩