292. Telegram 37255 From the Department of State to the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization1 2


  • Enhanced East-West Cooperation on Environmental Problems


  • USNATO 794

For Ambassador Ellsworth from Under Secretary

I am grateful for your constructive comments. We of course agree that continued success of CCMS is a matter of prime concern to the President, and nothing we do to stimulate other international environmental efforts should detract from it. Indeed, the intimacy of our relationships with the NATO Allies, their weight in world affairs, the gravity of environmental problems that we and most of them face, and the extent of the material and human resources that we and they can bring to bear jointly on these problems combine, I believe, to assure the rising success of CCMS.
Our proposed ECE initiative—and consultation and coordination on the Western side in support of that initiative—remain, however, matters of considerable assumption moment to us. Our assumption (State 27061) about the OECD follow-up role in coordinating Western efforts in this endeavor was based on three calculations: First, that the Soviets and Eastern Europeans would find it easier, politically, to go along with a proposal of this kind if it seemed to have its principal Western consultative focus in OECD rather than in NATO; second, that the OECD is already involved in some of the environmental subjects proposed for the ECE Conference and the SYG of the OECD and the Exec Sec of the ECE have already been in touch with each other to work out cooperative Secretariat arrangements; and third, that the Western European neutrals will wish to become involved and for this purpose the OECD provides best organizational framework at hand. Whether, [Page 3] as Ambassador Toon has suggested (Prague 232), the appearance of a NATO hand will hinder rather than help attract a forthcoming Eastern response to an ECE initiative remains to be seen. For Geneva: For the record, we would be interested in knowing whether Stanovnik actually referred to CCMS or NATO by name (Geneva 698).
CCMS Terms of, Reference (AC/274-D/1) specify that CCMS shall “make recommendations to the Council…on cooperation between member states and non-member states.” Legislative history shows this formulation to be based in large measure upon the premise widely discussed among the Allies and articulated in the December 1969 Declaration that “the benefits of the Alliance’s work in the field of the environment would be enhanced if it were to become the basis of broader cooperation.” Accordingly, as we suggested in para 5 of State 27061, CCMS would discuss in April specific subjects suitable for East-West cooperation, and its recommendations presumably would be approved by the [Page 4] Council, While, of course, the results of all CCMS activity will eventually be available to the public, we can envisage serious problems in opening to non-Allied eyes and ears discussion of procedural details related to this East-West initiative by NAC/CCMS. Basically, we had envisaged NAC/CCMS as the loci for private exchanges designed to assure a solid combined Allied send-off for the ECE initiative.
In the light of reftel, however, we are prepared to forego a major OECD role in launching ECE initiative. Nonetheless, we believe we should also be prepared to participate in discussions at OECD if, as is likely, some Allies wish to involve OECD members not in NATO (like the European and neutrals and Japan) in the effort. We do not plan to ask US OECD itself to raise ECE conference in OECD.
USNATO should initiate discussions with Brosio and PermRepS on using NATO as the forum for Allied [Page 5] consultation to seek fullest support for moving ahead on raising level of attendance and attention, given to ECE conference. While we agree that you should not rpt not seek to shift locus of Western consultation to OECD, we believe you may be confronted with suggestions that may be advanced by others for concurrent consultations on ECE substantive program within OECD and NATO. Since, as time for ECE conference nears, we can expect subject to be raised in OECD in any case, you should not oppose such suggestions but continue to stress advisability of continued use of NATO forum.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SCI 41-3 NATO. Confidential. Repeated to all NATO capitals, OECD Paris, the U.S. Mission to Geneva, and USUN. Drafted by Floyd and Streator; cleared in EUR, SCI, IO, and the White House; and approved by Richardson. In telegram 794 from NATO, March 4, Ellsworth agreed that the concept of more vigorous U.S. leadership in environmental matters through the ECE was sound, but disagreed that the main focus should shift to the OECD. (Ibid.)
  2. Under Secretary of State Richardson reassured NATO Ambassador Ellsworth that the Department of State was not detracting from environmental efforts launched through CCMS.