87. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon, Washington, June 26, 1973.1 2

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June 26, 1973

Copies to:







  • Initiation of Negotiations with the GDR on Establishment of Diplomatic Relations

The West German Parliament has completed ratification of the Basic Treaty regulating relations between the FRG and the GDR and the Treaty has come into effect. The only remaining question concerning the Treaty results from an action by the state of Bavaria challenging its constitutionality before the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court has committed itself to render a decision by the end of July. It is anticipated that the Court will find the Treaty constitutional.

Given these developments, I believe that we can now establish a general time frame for negotiations with the GDR on the establishment of diplomatic relations. We propose to take no action until after the decision of the Constitutional Court has been rendered. Assuming that the decision is not of a nature to interfere with the implementation of the Basic Treaty, we plan to get in touch with the GDR Observer at the UN in early August and inform him that we wish to work out a schedule for bilateral talks. We intend to propose that a small group from the Department go to East Berlin sometime in August to look into the facilities which can be made available for the establishment of an American Embassy. This would be followed in September by bilateral negotiations in Washington in which the East Germans would be represented by a delegation from East Berlin. We consider it advantageous to send the US [Page 2] delegation to East Berlin first since an important aspect of the substantive bilateral negotiations will be the premises and operating conditions which the East Germans are prepared to guarantee for our Mission.

When the negotiations take place we will follow the positions described in my memorandum of February 15, 1973 which you reviewed earlier. Assuming the negotiations are successful we foresee the opening of an American Embassy in East Berlin before the end of the year.

I find that the seating arrangement at the CSCE in Helsinki will place me next to the East German Foreign Minister. If, during the five or six days that we will be sitting together, he alludes to the possibility of bilateral relations I intend to say that we plan to be in touch with the East German Ambassador in New York on the subject later in the year.


William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL GER E-US. Confidential. Rogers’s February 15 memorandum to Nixon is Document 87. Sonnenfeldt forwarded Rogers’s memorandum to Kissinger under a cover memorandum, July 19, with the following recommendation: “Frankly, there is no longer any specific reason for us to delay the moves outlined by the Secretary, however repulsive the whole project may be.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 687, Country Files-Europe-Germany (BONN), Vol. XIII, Jan.-Sept. 1973) An undated handwritten memo from Scowcroft to Kissinger was attached to Sonnenfeldt’s memorandum. It reads: “Henry-I recommend that you do go to the President on this. You will recall he has an intense interest in this issue-mostly in slowing it down.” (Ibid.)
  2. Following the West German Parliament’s ratification of the Basic Treaty regulating its relations with the German Democratic Republic, Rogers suggested that the United States invite representatives of the GDR to Washington for the purposes of establishing diplomatic relations.