17. Paper Prepared by the Interdepartmental Group for Europe1


I. Alternative Concepts for the Declaration

Based upon Dr. Kissinger’s speech, NSSM–183 and comments by members of the Interdepartmental Group for Europe (IG/EUR), three conceptual approaches to the Declaration are described below. Two focus on trans-Atlantic issues, and Japan could not subscribe to either because of their Atlantic orientation; the first is drafted to skirt contention, and the second, at the opposite extreme, would join an extensive substantive debate. The third approach, an add-on rather than an alternative to the first two, suggests a way to deal with the issue of Japanese involvement.

A. Focusing on US-Western European relations, a generalized and uncontentious text designed for easy agreement. This approach is embodied in the draft at Annex A, which covers the points outlined in Dr. Kissinger’s speech and NSSM–183 in a manner likely to be generally acceptable to the Western Europeans, since the objectives and principles outlined are largely compatible with current national policies.

The principal advantage of this text is that it would not likely require extensive negotiation with the Allies—provided France were favorably disposed to the concept of a Declaration, and yet would provide a basis for multilateral reassertion at high level of common principles and objectives. On the other hand, its bland character and lack of specificity could have the disadvantages of inviting cynical public criticism, and of not bringing to bear the potential psychological leverage the US would enjoy in negotiations on a more demanding Declaration text and in subsequent negotiations on specific economic, political and security issues.

B. Focusing on US-Western European relations, a more extensive text addressing common concerns in detail, and aimed at stimulating substantive debate in depth on key economic, political and security issues. Reflected in [Page 80] the draft text at Annex B, this approach is at the opposite pole from the first. Reaching agreement on such a text would not be easy, but the debate engendered could be either divisive or could significantly enhance future US-Western European relations because of the commitments exchanged. Many Allies would likely object particularly to addressing detailed substantive economic and security issues in a single framework. Moreover, because France does not participate in NATO’s integrated military structure, it could not be expected to be associated with the military aspects of the text, which is anticipated in the formulations covering these issues.

The main advantages of this approach are that it would:

—anticipate and perhaps ease, through discussions of principle at the highest level, later detailed negotiations.

—if the text at Tab B could be agreed, significantly advance US interests.

—provide public affirmation of renewed Allied purpose in terms useful in dealing with economic and security issues in the domestic US context.

The principal disadvantages, in addition to possible Allied antagonisms that could be aroused, are that it would:

—if agreement were not possible on terms favored by the US, be portrayed as a defeat for a major US initiative.

—raise some issues that are being, or will be, addressed in other fora prior to their being ripe for Summit discussion in terms of US and Allied preparations.

—by focusing on specific issues of interest to the US, encourage the Europeans to attempt to add to the declaration specific items of interest to them which could prove difficult for the US.

A procedural issue of considerable importance under this approach would be whether, on one hand, the US should furnish the Allies a complete US draft text, or, on the other, a partial text—say, on political and security aspects—and elicit Western European suggestions on the possible economic and other content of a declaration. Since the US would be making significant commitments in the security sphere, the latter approach would have the advantage of implicitly placing the onus on our Allies to be at least equally forthcoming, not only in the military security area, but also in the economic sphere. Moreover, it is possible that negotiations on political and security aspects could be carried out in NATO, and separately—perhaps with the EC members and Japan—on economic aspects.

C. Japan’s Association. Japan will not likely adhere to a declaration couched in a specifically NATO context and pledging force improvements or the sharing of defense burdens. At the same time, Japan wants to be included, not least as a means of testing where it stands in relation to the US and Europe, and thus doubtless will be prepared to join in a [Page 81] common declaration of mutual political and economic purpose, and perhaps appropriately generalized references to security. The alternatives for associating Japan, accordingly, would entail

(a) seeking Japanese adherence to a declaration embracing all aspects of concern to the Atlantic partners, either through (1) a unilateral Japanese declaration specifying those portions—or protocols—of the declaration to which Japan acceded, or (2) an indication in the text of the declaration itself of the foregoing special Japanese position; or

(b) basing Japanese association on a separate declaration agreed among the Western Europeans, the US, Canada and Japan embodying political, economic and social aspects of common interest.

The first of these alternatives would denigrate Japan, making it appear to be a second-class partner. Moreover, Japanese officials already have indicated that Japan wishes to subscribe fully, and that it is not prepared to adhere to a document essentially negotiated by the US and Western Europeans. Thus, this approach is almost certain to be rejected by Japan.

The second alternative would entail a highly general and limited statement on security aspects, and considerably greater specificity on political, economic and social issues. Such a declaration would

—take account of Japan’s special status with respect to security issues.

—establish the tri-regional character of a new relationship between the power centers of Western Europe, North America and Japan, and remove grounds for charging that we are out to establish a club of developed states.

—provide an acknowledgment by the parties of the character of this tri-regional relationship, as distinct from but related to the trans-Atlantic partnership engaging two of the three regions. Rather than stressing the functioning of the successful Atlantic Alliance, it would focus on the potential benefits flowing from cooperation on a tri-regional basis, and it would enlist Japan as a charter and equal member from the beginning, rather than as an afterthought to an Atlantic declaration.

—provide a rare opportunity to draw Japan away from its insularity and overdependence on the bilateral relationship with the US into a mature partnership and commitments shared with other Western developed nations. Failure to bring Japan in at this time, moreover, would stimulate insular and uncooperative tendencies already prevalent today.

An illustrative draft text of a tri-regional declaration is at Annex C.

With respect to the European signatories of a tri-regional declaration, it would not be necessary for all Western European states to subscribe. It is doubtful, however, because of their economic ties, that the Western European signatories could be fewer than the nine members of the EC.

[Page 82]

A major obstacle to a tri-regional declaration will be objections of the major European powers to association with Japan in undertakings which could open Western European markets to Japanese exports. France, particularly, may object to such a declaration. This suggests the value of closest consultation with the Japanese on the whole problem, as well as probes of France, the UK and the FRG on their attitudes.

Another important issue is the relative priorities to attach to a declaration engaging the US and its NATO Allies, and to a tri-regional declaration. The advantage of negotiating them simultaneously or closely concurrently is that the Japanese would be included from the outset in an undertaking in which they have expressed strong interest. On the other hand, any European opposition to a trans-Atlantic declaration could be reinforced by imposing a second layer of possibly more arduous negotiations on a tri-regional declaration. Under these circumstances, and following appropriate bilateral consultations—including with Japan, it may prove advisable to postpone efforts to develop a tri-regional declaration until a trans-Atlantic declaration has been achieved.

II. Scenarios

With respect to concepts A and B, above, similar scenarios could be followed in dealing with the Western Europeans and Japan, and an illustrative calendar of activity for pursuing these approaches is at Annex D.

A scenario for dealing with a tri-regional declaration, concept C, above, is at Annex E.

  1. Summary: The paper represents the study prepared in response to NSSM 183, Principles for a Declaration on Atlantic Relations.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–67, Meeting Files, SRG/DPRC Meeting—NATO Security Issues 5/25/73. Confidential. Attached but not published are Annexes A through E. Sent to Kissinger under cover of a May 24 briefing memorandum from Sonnenfeldt concerning a May 25 SRG/DPRC meeting on U.S.-West European relations.