53. Telegram 51975 From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany1

Subject: Atlantic Relations. Please deliver soonest following message to Chancellor Brandt from the President:

Dear Mr. Chancellor:

Thank you for your letter of March 8. I note that the Nine recognized at their March 4 meeting in Brussels the need for timely and full exchange of information between us concerning the dialogue which the [Page 226] Nine have decided they should undertake with the Arab States. As I indicated to you in my letter of March 6, we are concerned that the proposal to develop a long-term relationship between the Nine and the Arab world not result in a competitive situation between us. The possibilities for a peaceful settlement, and thus for a more stable Middle East, are greater today than in the past 25 years. I am sure that you and your colleagues of the Nine will agree that it is in the interest of all of us in the West that no action be taken which might jeopardize this process.

There has obviously been confusion in the consultative process preceding the Nine’s decision. I accept the assurances in your letter concerning consultation, but want to frankly tell you my belief that the consultative process should not be made dependent on the individual occupying the EC Presidency at a given moment, but should stem from a more organic relationship between the Nine and the US.

We have given most careful thought to the situation in which we find ourselves as a result of the inadequate consultations between the United States and the Nine prior to the decision which was reached by the Nine at the Brussels meeting on March 4. We have also reviewed other political actions of the Nine over the past several months, as well as the course of the deliberations between us on a declaration.

In our view, a true consultative relationship would be the most natural and normal manifestation of the partnership which has existed so long between the United States and the Nine within the Atlantic framework. But it seems clear from the experience of the past several months that the Nine have reservations on this score and that therefore the effort to produce formulations that we believe to be essential are bound to lead to continued arguments or even acrimony. On the other hand, to gloss over the obvious difference of view by compromise language would obscure what I believe to be a fundamental issue that must sooner or later be faced on both sides of the Atlantic and could even lead relationships between us to fall into a pattern which we would not want for the future. Consequently, I have concluded that it would be preferable to let the situation mature further in the hope that at a later time events will demonstrate the mutual benefit all of us will derive from the achievements of more organic consultative arrangements. In these circumstances, the possibility of my participation in the signature of the declaration, which you were kind enough to mention in your letter, should, of course, also be deferred until a later time.

I have written to you in all frankness because I think it is essential that there be no misunderstanding between the United States and the Nine with regard to our views on the nature of the relationship which should exist between us. You will, undoubtedly, wish to convey these views to your colleagues.

[Page 227]

There is, of course, a relationship between the USEC Nine Declaration and the NATO text. We will have further views to convey to the Allies concerning the NATO Declaration at an early date.

I want you to know that I continue to be personally and profoundly committed to a continually strengthened relationship among the Allies. It is my hope and belief that the nations of NATO share this desire, and that we will together develop a restatement of the principles which guide our fundamental partnership. With warm regards, sincerely, Richard M. Nixon.

  1. Summary: The Department forwarded a letter from Nixon for delivery to Brandt on the EC-Arab initiative.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 61, Country Files, Europe, General, German Exchange (1 of 3). Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Sonnenfeldt on March 11; cleared by Hartman, Edward Streator in EUR/RPM, and Scowcroft; and approved by Kissinger.