304. Telegram 4070 From the Mission to the Economic Commission for Europe to the Department of State1 2


  • ECE: Eastern Europeans’ Positions at the Senior Environmental Advisers Meeting


  • (A) Geneva 4044
  • (B) State 195406
  • (C) Bonn 13582
Soviets attempt to play down importance of international action in field of environment in numerous interventions. Soviets tried to limit environmental problem to pollution control and conservation of nature. They excluded any social, urban, or related topics. Emphasized need for national rather than international action in appropriate areas and stressed sectoral rather than overall approach in formulation of guidelines [Page 2] for ECE work program as well as for international actions in general. Soviets also tried very hard to delay any substantive decisions on shape of work program, selection of priorities and on institutional arrangements. Czechs, Soviets isolated even among EE’s and without support from WE’s. In fact, other EE’s, notably Poland stressed importance of increased ECE activity in this field.
East German participation in Prague Conference first advanced by Czech Vice-Chairman of seniors who will be Chairman of Prague Conference. He proposed meeting request Executive Secretary to issue formal invitation to GDR to attend Prague Conference. This rejected by majority including Swedes on grounds that Prague Conference being organized as UN/ECE conference and that UN/ECE procedural rules and regulations to be strictly observed, also that political issue outside competence of experts’ meeting. Czech representative then announced his government would invite GDR representatives on its own as guests of host government, a procedure frequently applied at ECE meetings taking place in Eastern Europe and accepted by Secretariat and all Western dels. Status of guests of host governments differs from observer status by fact that presence of guests entirely on responsibility of host, not involving ECE or UN in any way whatever, particularly not involving any kind of official accreditation. Rules stated ref b will then apply.
Both Exec Sec and Soviets, in private talks, linked ECE action environment and CES. Stanovnik fears that attempt to delay decisions on action-program in ECE motivated by their wish to promote ces program on environment. Local Soviet Rep explicitly confirmed this to MissOff.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SCI 41 ECE. Confidential. Repeated to OECD, USUN, USNATO, Bonn, London, Moscow, Paris, Prague, and Stockholm.
  2. The Mission reported that at the meeting of the ECE senior environmental advisers, Soviet senior advisers tried to play down the importance of international environmental action.