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7. Editorial Note

On October 14, 1970, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger sent President Richard Nixon a briefing memorandum for a meeting of the National Security Council that morning on the Ostpolitik of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt. In the memorandum, Kissinger addressed the implications of Brandt's Eastern policy not only for German politics but also for Soviet diplomacy. "The West Germans assume that the Soviet Union will accommodate to Bonn's policies,” he explained, “because of the problems with China and because of the intense Soviet desire to gain greater access to Western technologies." Kissinger, however, questioned this assumption:

"Brandt's willingness to recognize the status quo as the starting point for changing it and expanding German influence in Eastern Europe and over East Germany runs directly contrary to the imperatives of Soviet policy, which surely must be to freeze the status quo, to contain German ambitions and consolidate Soviet hegemony in East Germany, while Germany remains divided; the result could be stalemate and frustration inside Germany."

The situation was further complicated by the linkage Brandt had established between ratification of the Moscow Treaty and a "satisfactory" settlement in the quadripartite talks on Berlin. "The consequences of this turn of events," Kissinger argued, "are that we gain some greater bargaining leverage, but, at the same time, there will be even greater pressures on the Germans to see to it that a speedy solution is reached." Kissinger was skeptical that such leverage would impress the Soviets: "On Berlin, I feel that our present tactical position is sound enough but that we should be quite wary of German desire to speed up the talks or draw us into uncertain and unexplored territory. It seems highly doubtful that we will obtain an agreement, especially on access, that will be invulnerable to Soviet pressure." The full text of the memorandum is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969-1972, Document 125.

President Nixon chaired the meeting of the National Security Council at 9:35 a.m. in the Cabinet Room. Kissinger first briefed the attendees on the general issues involved:

"The West German policy is not new. What has changed is that in the previous government the Eastern policy envisaged and sought a closer relationship with the East European satellite countries leaving the USSR aside. This failed. Brandt therefore concluded that the best approach was to concentrate on improving relations with the USSR. The focus of German policy is now on the USSR and to rely on the existing territorial arrangements; this amounts to their de facto

recognition. The objective is a lessening of tensions weakening the ties between the East and the USSR."

Kissinger turned to Martin Hillenbrand, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, to present the "latest details" on the Berlin negotiations. Hillenbrand reported that the results had been "indeterminate":

"After the German-Soviet agreement the FRG thought that the linkage with Berlin would soften the Soviet position on the Berlin negotiations. The opposite was the result. The talks are not at an impasse necessarily. Why the Soviets are now holding a tough line is not clear. Some people think it is a general toughening of the line across the board."

Hillenbrand observed that the United States was "in a good tactical position; we have given away nothing." "If Gromyko shows any give in his talks with the Secretary of State this week and with the British later," he added, "we may have an inkling of where to go." Kenneth Rush, Ambassador to West Germany, was more pessimistic, especially on the subject of Soviet intentions. "[T]he Soviet effort is to drastically change the status of West Berlin," he argued. "They are determined to destroy the viability of West Berlin and to destroy its links with the FRG and the West." Rush also issued a warning: "We must avoid having the onus of a breakdown of negotiations or of Ostpolitik rub off on us-we must shift it to the Soviets." The memorandum of conversation is printed in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XL, Germany and Berlin, 1969-1972, Document 126.

8. Editorial Note

After the National Security Council meeting on October 14, 1970, Secretary of State William Rogers approached H.R. Haldeman, the White House Chief of Staff, to complain about the secret meetings between Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger and Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. As Haldeman noted in his diary, Rogers was upset that "K[issinger] was meeting with Dobrynin about Cuba without telling him. He [Rogers] talked to Dobrynin and looked foolish because he didn't know. Asked me to tell P[resident], because Rogers felt K was doing this under P's orders and wants to know why." (Diary entry, October 14; Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries: Multimedia Edition) The Chief of Staff immediately raised the issue with the President. According to Haldeman's handwritten notes, Nixon issued the following instructions:

"K shld talk to R-before he talks to Gromyko so he'll know about summit. Doesn't have to give all details but there has been some ref—

& it is left to be disc[ussed] when G[romyko] mts P & that's how K shld handle w R. K tell R this is how to handle-don't worry about R setting it up w G-do say nothing shld be done-just refer it to mtg w P. K must inform R before he sees G-can't assume it won't come up-& R shld not be caught unawares." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, Staff Member and Office Files, H. R. Haldeman, Box 42, H Notes, Oct. 1, 1970-Nov. 9, 1970, Part I)

According to his Record of Schedule, Kissinger met Rogers from 11:32 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on October 15. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-76) No record of the meeting has been found.

Rogers was not the only Department of State official to raise the issue of contacts with Dobrynin. On October 2, Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jacob Beam in Moscow wrote a letter to Under Secretary of State John Irwin in which he expressed concern about his access to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

"I note that Dobrynin has proposed periodic luncheons with you, which is all to the good. I wish I could obtain the same commitment in Moscow, but the situation is somewhat more difficult. I have been here almost eighteen months but have not had the privilege of entertaining the Foreign Minister, despite two invitations. It is true that your counterpart, First Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov has been absent in China for a long time, but he has also been a hard man to see socially, although he will receive me in the Foreign Office officially on stated business.

"As regards Dobrynin, he failed to make the customary call on me during the long period he was in and around Moscow. I have always observed this courtesy when I have been in Washington."

Beam suggested that Irwin could improve matters by providing guidance on issues of "major importance" arising from his informal contacts with Dobrynin. "Reference need not be made to your talks with Dobrynin," Beam explained, "but the points you may wish to put across with him in Washington could be usefully reiterated here by way of emphasis, because it is by no means certain that Dobrynin fully reports our side of the discussion." (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL US-USSR)

In a memorandum to Irwin on October 13, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Martin Hillenbrand included a draft reply to Beam's letter. Hillenbrand also provided the following background information:

"Ambassador Beam's difficulty in gaining informal access to Soviet leaders is a long-standing problem which has disturbed his predecessors as well. Raised to political power within the covert channels

of the Communist Party, Soviet leaders have traditionally been reluctant to associate with foreigners. Communication with present Politburo leaders has been especially difficult because their accession to power coincided with our increased involvement in Vietnam. In the interest of promoting better relations with other communist countries, they have been wary lest close association with U.S. representatives add fuel to Chinese charges of Soviet-American collusion." (Ibid.)

In his reply to Beam on October 15, Irwin promised to “take an early opportunity to raise with Dobrynin the difficulties you have had in making contacts in Moscow and express to him concern over the double standard that seems to prevail." The Under Secretary also approved the Ambassador's suggestion for guidance in the future. “To minimize the possibility that Dobrynin might not report back to Moscow fully and accurately what he has been told here," Irwin assured Beam, "we shall keep you informed and, when appropriate, suggest that you make parallel representations directly to the Soviets. I also agree that it would be wise to have you follow up in Moscow on any matters of substance which arise in our luncheon meetings." (Ibid.)


Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National
Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1

Washington, October 15, 1970.


Soviet Private Note on Middle East Violations

I am sending you separately a memorandum summarizing and enclosing my four recent, significant conversations with Ambassador Dobrynin.2 In our fourth session, October 9, he gave me an oral note on the Middle East (attached at Tab A)3 which I particularly wanted to

1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 71, Country Files, Europe, USSR, Gromyko, 1970. Top Secret; Sensitive; Nodis.

2 Document 6.

3 See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XII, Soviet Union, January 1969-October 1970, Document 228.

highlight for you. Dobrynin says this note is for you alone and they do not plan to refer to it elsewhere. In this note the Soviet leadership:


-complains about the "hostile" campaign we are supposedly inspiring against them concerning, in particular, their violations of the Middle East ceasefire and, more generally, the theme of a "credibility gap" with regard to the Soviet Union;

-maintains that our charges of violations are groundless because the Soviet Union was only “informed" of the ceasefire and was not a party to it;

-insists "that there have not been and there are not now rocket launchers manned by Soviet personnel in the Suez Canal zone”;

-claims we almost completely ignore Israeli violations and blames the affair on our support of Israel in its efforts "to deliberately complicate the question of ceasefire in order to torpedo the negotiations";

-maintains that our proposals and subsequent statements did not organically link the Jarring talks to the ceasefire;

-points to the "uproar" created by your recent trip, our delivery of Phantoms to Israel, and our U-2 flights in violation of UAR "territory" as examples of our own steps of aggravation in addition to supporting Israel's obstructionism;

-reaffirms that the USSR remains a supporter of a speedy political settlement, an opportunity for which is created by the Arab agreement to negotiate through Jarring and by the "actually existing state of ceasefire";

-states Soviet readiness to continue bilateral and four power talks;

-asks where the US is going in the Middle East and wonders if we will support with deeds what we say to the Soviet government or if we are in effect out to deceive them.


I am struck by the almost plaintive defensive tone of this note— especially considered in the context of the resolution of the Cuban base issue and a previous conciliatory note on Jordan. The defensive nature is all the more evident when compared with the much harsher Soviet

Nixon underlined most of this phrase.

See footnote 5, Document 3.

"Nixon underlined most of this paragraph.

"Nixon underlined these three examples. The source of "uproar" was the President's visit on September 28 to the Sixth Fleet, which was stationed 15 miles off the Italian coast in the Mediterranean Sea; Nixon remained overnight on the aircraft carrier Sarat vga.

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