83. Telegram From the Department of State to All North Atlantic Treaty Organization Capitals and to Secretary of State Rogers in New York1

Tosec 66/176990. For the Ambassador. Subject: Allied Participation in MBFR Talks.

1. There follows text of US position paper to be delivered to Governments of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Norway and Denmark, as well as specific guidance for addressees on handling of paper.

Begin text:

This paper conveys US views on the issue of Allied participation in forthcoming talks on mutual and balanced force reductions.

It should be stressed at the outset that the US believes Allied security is indivisible. All Allies have an interest in security issues. The issue raised by the question of participation in MBFR talks, however, is not one of whether our interest in Allied security is shared by all member states, but rather how the Allies can best protect their common security interest.

The US believes there would be risks in expanding participation in MBFR talks beyond those states with forces in the prospective area of reduction (the so-called NATO Guidelines Area plus Hungary). The Allies have emphasized the Central Region of Europe because the greatest concentration of opposing forces is there.

The Soviets have agreed to Central Europe, at least initially, as a focus for MBFR. The inclusion on the Allied side in MBFR talks, however, of states other than those with territories or forces in Central Europe might well encourage the Soviets to try to broaden and complicate the talks in a manner advantageous to them by expanding the geographic area on the Allied side beyond the Central Region. This could lead to the introduction of issues that the Allies would wish to avoid and that might be divisive.

Specifically, the US is seriously concerned that broader Allied participation would give the Soviets a pretext to seek to expand the geo[Page 343]graphic area to include the flanks, thereby increasing the reduction base for stationed as well as indigenous forces on the Allied side. They might also seek to trade Pact reductions of dubious value to the Allies against reductions of certain types of forces on the flanks and seek “compensation” in Central Europe for not pressing demands related to the flanks. The inclusion of the southern flank in the reduction zone also could, in particular, raise serious difficulties at this time with respect to important stationed force deployments in the southern flank, extending to naval forces in the Mediterranean, as well as to NATO indigenous forces in the area. In the US view, opening these sensitive issues to discussion in this way could call into question the general Allied strategic posture throughout NATO Europe, which the US believes the Allies should avoid by limiting discussions and any ensuing obligations and commitments to Central Europe, the area on which NATO studies have concentrated to date. It could also make difficult a cautious and phased approach to MBFR.

At the same time, the US has been keenly aware of the strong interest of all Allies in MBFR. It is for this reason that the US proposed enhanced Allied consultation in the North Atlantic Council on MBFR before and during East-West multilateral discussions on this subject, as well as the establishment of a special group involving all Allies wishing to take part at the site of MBFR talks for regular Allied consultations and coordination on the progress of the talks. In this connection, the US has proposed a procedure by which SHAPE and NATO military authorities would remain closely in touch with the MBFR process, so that their views could be taken into account at all stages.

The US hopes that the foregoing will serve to clarify the basis for its strong preference that the participants in MBFR talks be limited, and that the governments of Allied countries on the flanks will be prepared to reconsider their positions.

Copies of this paper are being provided to other Allied governments. End text.

2. For Athens, Ankara, Rome, Oslo, Copenhagen: You should hand foregoing position paper as soon as possible either (A) to Foreign Minister or (B) in his absence, to most senior available Foreign Ministry official, asking that text be conveyed to Foreign Minister.

3. For all NATO capitals and USUN: The Secretary is being provided with this paper and talking points on this issue for use in his meetings with Foreign Ministers in connection with UNGA.

4. For USNATO: You should convey position paper contained para one, above, to SYG Luns and other delegations, indicating that it is being delivered to Foreign Ministers of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Norway and Denmark.

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5. For all NATO capitals, except Athens, Ankara, Rome, Oslo, Copenhagen: You should furnish text of paper contained para one, above, to appropriate level of FonOffs, indicating that paper is being conveyed to Foreign Ministers of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Norway and Denmark.

6. For Bonn: Since the FRG has considerable influence with the Turks, you should explore whether, despite FRG preference for a compromise which would meet desires of flank countries, the FRG might be willing to indicate to the Turks and possibly to others its belief that the considerations we raise have objective weight and should be seriously considered.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 247, Agency Files, MBFR and CSCE, 1972. Secret. Drafted by Edward Streator, Deputy Director, and Vladimir Lehovich, Office of NATO and Atlantic Political-Military Affairs, Bureau of European Affairs; cleared by McGuire, Springsteen, Stoessel, William Hyland (NSC), Harry Barnes (Executive Secretariat), Raymond Garthoff (Deputy Director, Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs), and Bruce Clarke (CIA), cleared for information by Major General Rexford H. Dettre, Jr. (Deputy Director for Plans and Policy, Joint Chiefs of Staff); and approved by Irwin. Repeated to Moscow. Rogers was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly session.