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85. Telegram From the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the Department of State and the Department of Defense1

5114. Sub: NATO’s December Ministerial: some Mission views. From Ambassador Kennedy for Secretary Rogers.

1. Summary: A separate message will cover some of the key issues which you will be called upon to address jointly with your NATO colleagues.2 In my view, it will be equally important for you to address broader questions of US policy towards Europe, and NATO as an institution for Alliance (viz transatlantic) consultations. Luns plans to raise the latter question at a private meeting with Foreign Ministers. End summary.

2. For a variety of reasons, our Allies are deeply concerned and confused about the continuing US commitment to NATO and to European security. A number of factors are involved, several of which are not directly related to us actions.

—The coincidental onset of MBFR and CSCE talks with the further and still uncertain evolution of the FRG’s Ostpolitik, suggest significant changes in the shape of Europe the outlines of which are but dimly perceivable as of this date. The Europeans lack experience, policy and leadership with respect to events which they view as transcendental.

—Many Europeans see the US as increasingly interested in developing its bilateral relations with the USSR, even at the expense of its Allies on such matters as troop levels.

—In the Common Market eight of the Allies have been trying to coordinate elements of their policy, such as towards a CSCE. In some respects this development, the first try at developing a European political consensus, has been detrimental to effective political consultations in NATO.

—There is an undefined need for means better to conduct transatlantic business on a variety of matters. In some respects this seems to diminish NATO’s role. Those NATO Allies not members of the EC view new and still unstated transatlantic consultative arrangements be[Page 347]tween the EC and the US as risking Allied unity on important political and even security matters.

—Most important, and in large measure overriding everything else, there is concern regarding new directions US policy will take toward Europe.

3. In my view, you should deal with these issues in your statements to the Council and in private conversations with your colleagues. Luns can be expected, in the private meeting he has arranged with Foreign Ministers, to be quite direct in posing the question of NATO’s future as an institution for political consultation and coordination. US intentions will be considered the key factor, and indication by US leaders of general thrust of future policy is what Europeans crave. Consequently I believe that you should be prepared to state the basic assumptions on which the administration will base its European policy. In addition, I recommend that you:

—Reiterate President Nixon’s promise to maintain troop levels, given a similar effort by our Allies, and not to reduce US forces except through reciprocal negotiated reductions.

—Reaffirm that the US will not conclude an agreement with the USSR, on political or military matters, at the expense of our Allies and their needs.

—Reiterate importance US attaches to NATO transatlantic nexus as the focal point of consultations among the Allies, and particularly on CSCE and MBFR. In this connection, remark that the President’s plans to visit the North Atlantic Council, should he come to Europe next year, is dramatic and visible evidence of US intention to maintain and strengthen the consultative process.

—Affirm that the European Allies must do their share to strengthen political consultations in NATO. Given proper will by the EC allies and their due regard for the interests of their NATO allies, there is sound reason to believe that EC and NATO consultations can develop in harmony and be mutually reinforcing.

Kennedy
  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 29, Chronological File. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to all NATO capitals, Helsinki, the Mission to the EC, and SHAPE.
  2. The message was not identified. Nixon approved the text of the statement to the NAC that Rogers delivered on December 7 to the NAC Ministerial meeting, held in Brussels December 7–8. (Memorandum from Haig to Eliot; ibid.) The final communiqué of the meeting is printed in NATO Final Communiqués, 1949–1974, pp. 282–287.