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Gromyko: If we agree on joint action, we should discuss it.
Kissinger: That is no problem. When I have something we will discuss it.
Gromyko: You can discuss it with our Ambassador here. He will be going away but you can discuss it with the Chargé (Vorontsov).
Kissinger: Is he informed?
Kissinger: That is the only solution. Our Ambassador [Stoessel] will not be there until the 17th. But we have confidence in him. That is why he was selected.
Gromyko: With regard to Syria, everything should be taken up and discussed through the application of this method, and everything that arises should be considered in the framework of the Geneva Conference. If something is discussed on a bilateral basis, even this should be considered as in the framework of the Geneva Conference. If something should come up on a higher level, we should not exclude that you and I could come to Geneva and look it over.
Kissinger: We don't exclude that.
What we will resist—so there is no misunderstanding—is if we think you are trying to drive us in the direction of the Arabs. You have not done this.
Gromyko: We have not.
When the talks themselves take place, the Syrians want us to do it all. It cannot be done. The Syrians have to talk to the Israelis. They can do it as a part of the Egyptian delegation. But we cannot do the whole negotiation.
And when the Syrians and Israelis talk, we think for the sake of the Israelis it is better that a UN man be present but our two ambassadors should be in the closest contact. I will send Bunker there and he will be in touch with Vinogradov.
Gromyko: I don't understand this. We just agree on something and now you say Israel and Syria will talk and our ambassadors just talk.
Kissinger: They will exchange ideas.
Gromyko: Are they worried about security? How many nuclear weapons do they have?
Kissinger: After diplomatic relations.
Gromyko: How can we do it with such an attitude of theirs?
We cannot understand. Such an approach is contrary to the readiness to have a normalization of relations. Without something positive, our public and our leadership could not accept. And to discuss within the framework of the Conference we agreed on, this cannot be.
Kissinger: I have to discuss it with them.
Gromyko: Then discuss it with them. If you inform us, we would appreciate it.
Kissinger: I will inform you in a couple of days.
Gromyko: I was a neighbor of the Israelis at Geneva. But not to have meetings—what secrets do they have?
Kissinger: It is not a question of secrets, because presumably the Syrians would tell you everything that was discussed.
Gromyko: It is a question of confidence. Certainly some degree of confidence should exist between the participants, even Israel and the Soviet Union. We are pleased knowing about the reaction in Israel to our statement at the Geneva Conference. They interpreted it correctly.
Kissinger: It was a favorable reaction. Under what conditions would diplomatic relations be reestablished?
Gromyko: When there is substantive advance toward a settlement of the substance of the problem.
Kissinger: Would you consider a Syrian disengagement agreement a substantive advance?
Gromyko: It must be a living process, not a dead process. They say: “We don't even want to be present with Soviet representatives." This I will tell my colleagues.
Kissinger: You can tell your colleagues that if there is a reestablishment of diplomatic relations, then they will be present.
Gromyko: I will not repeat the old story about the horse and cart. Israel doesn't want to discuss the problem in the framework of the Geneva Conference in the presence of the Soviet Union. My colleagues would regard it as an insult; I personally would regard it as an insult.
Kissinger: We will discuss it with them.
3 In his statement on December 22, Gromyko pledged the Soviet Union to assist in eliminating the tension in the Middle East. He insisted that Israeli troop withdrawal from the occupied territories was key to peace and cooperation in the region.
Gromyko: On West Berlin, I think you underestimate the consequences of certain actions of the Federal Republic. We have relations with them; we do not want a worsening of relations. But we now are witnessing certain forces in West Germany which are pressing the Government and the Government does not have the stamina to resist. They take steps contrary to the Four-Power Agreement. And as to the Three Powers, we regret they did not show a minimum of respect and loyalty to the Four-Power Agreement and the Soviet Union. Only because the Federal Republic took this step, they say “We agree.” Now the representatives of West Germany say: "If you take certain steps in regard to communications you will be responsible for the consequences." I do not want to use harsh words, but it is strange statements by West Germany. It is not only to the Democratic Republic but to the Soviet Union.
Kissinger: We were told by the West Germans that you are responsible.
Gromyko: It touches not only the Democratic Republic but the Soviet Union. So I would like to ask you to look into the situation. Maybe you have not had time.
Kissinger: I have looked into it. The original decision was made before I became Secretary of State, in August or September. The legal decision of the Federal Republic was that it is not a constitutional body. It does not make laws, only studies. I am just telling you the (their) legal position. The agreement only prohibits governmental functions.
That is the legal position; let us look at the real position.
I believe we should be more careful about these bodies in the future. We should look at their functions. And we should look at the governmental bodies. But we can't retroactively withdraw our approval. This would create an enormous crisis in our relations with the Federal Republic.
Gromyko: It would not be enough. Because the representatives of the Federal Republic will always say: “This is the law, this is the precedent." The immediate task is not to materialize it (sic), not just to worry about the future. Otherwise there is a violation of the Four-Power Agreement. No matter what its body and functions, it represents the power, the power of the Federal Republic and the state, the state. They represent this attitude.
4 On February 4, Kissinger and Gromyko discussed the implications of the establishment by the West German Government of the Federal Environmental Office in Berlin and whether it violated the 1971 Quadripartite Agreement. A report on the meeting is in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-15, Part 1, Documents on Eastern Europe, 1973–1976, Document 91.
Kissinger: I have to examine it in light of what you have said. I don't think it can be reversed from our side, but we can prevent similar occurrences.
Gromyko: For us it is a serious matter, and it is only to defend the agreement. There is no other way. Kissinger: You will show restraint in what
do. Gromyko: What is restraint? Up to now we have been hoping something would be done on the other side to remedy the situation. Even the Democratic Republic was going to take action but did not. So we are doing this. But for us there is no other way but to make certain conclusions.
I do not touch the broader aspects of this matter, because it, too, is just a question of confidence. One year and a half, and the agreement has been violated.
In West Germany there are two political parties, but for us it is a state. If the Government reflects the quality of West Germany as a sovereign state, then it has expressed its will in the agreement, no matter whether the other political party demands modification.
I have tried to put forward arguments in favor of our estimation of the situation. I discussed with the General Secretary our position as well. He asked me, told me, to stress this very candidly, hoping that you personally would pay attention to this.
If you have something on this, we would appreciate it as soon as possible.
Kissinger: I will be in touch with the German Foreign Minister next week, when he comes here [for the Energy Conference).
Europe Gromyko: I may visit in mid-February Paris and Rome. I tell you preliminarily I may go. I was invited long ago, but my schedule was crowded. Not to go specially, but just to consult, and probably I will work for both of us.
If you have any wishes for me in connection with my forthcoming conversation with Jobert ...
Kissinger: No. We will ignore him. He wants a confrontation with me, to get him publicity in Paris.
Gromyko: Don't think it is different with me.
Kissinger: No, he has the same attitude towards you. He does not discriminate against us. What can we do?
You will be aware of the fact that whatever you say to Jobert he will go to the Middle East with, for his own benefit.
Gromyko: You may be sure that whatever we talk with you will be considered confidential between us; it is essential. He, and if I see Pompidou, will express one or another form of dissatisfaction. Not only with your actions, but the different aspects. It is not the first time.
They don't like it when we do something together.
Kissinger: No. At first he tried to involve them in the Geneva Conference. But not lately.
Gromyko: By the way, you and we did not recall the one question we discussed when you were in Moscow: the question of guarantees. Then we reached an understanding in principle about the role.
Kissinger: We said we were prepared to give guarantees. We don't insist on it. It depends on what the parties want.
Gromyko: Did you discuss it?
Kissinger: I don't know what the Arabs want. The Israelis are not enthusiastic.
Gromyko: They rely on their own arms!
Kissinger: They are prepared to discuss it when there is a final settlement. They are afraid the guarantees will be used as a substitute for ...
Gromyko: We are talking about fulfillment. Something must be guaranteed. What will be guaranteed? Fulfillment of the agreement.
Kissinger: We have never discussed it with the Arabs. Our discussions with the Arabs are much less intimate than you could judge from the time we spent on them. Most of the time was spent on the details of disengagement.
Gromyko: What is your attitude toward guarantees if the parties agree?
Kissinger: We are prepared.
Kissinger: No, I am trying to figure out what you have in mind. That without the parties having agreed, the two parties can intervene Can you give me an example?
Gromyko: That certain articles out of the X articles of the agreement are not fulfilled, and country A is not doing it. Then we say: "You're an honorable country; you are doing something wrong."
Kissinger: Then you have a violation of the agreement. What we don't want is intervention of outside powers without the request of the parties.
Give me another example; then I can react more.