Publication: The Times

Full Citation

  • Title Russian assurance to Nixon on Berlin
  • Author FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT
  • Publication Title The Times
  • Collection The Times Digital Archive, 1785-2008
  • Date Saturday,  Feb. 22, 1969
  • Issue Number 57492
  • Page Number 5
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library Times Newspapers Limited
  • Copyright Statement © Times Newspapers Limited.
Russian assurance to Nixon on Berlin FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT -Washington, Feb. 21 The Soviet Union has intimated that there will be no trouble for Berlin which could embarrass President Nixon in western Europe next week. The understanding is that there will be some kind of pressure, but just sufficient to keep the east Germans happy, as one official put it today. On the other hand, the White House has been assured that the reasons for the President's visit are fully understood. This is perhaps no more than was to be expected, but the Soviet Union is anxious to begin talks on the limitation of strategic nuclear weapons. It does not want to create another Czechoslovak-type situation which led to the postponemen.t both of those talks and the American ratification of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The White House also expects little trouble from student agitators in spite of excited reports from Europe. The Secret Service has complete faith in the Metropolitan Police, which will be responsible for the President's security in London, and elsewhere, especially in Berlin, the weather is expected to be too harsh for the usual outdoor nonsense. As for the nature of the talks, there has been little of the careful preparation that precedes formal meetings of heads of governments. Britain, for instance, has only indicated that Mr. Harold Wilson would like a wide-ranging discussion on Nato, Europe and east-west relations. In any case the ptime objective of this tour is for Mr. Nixon to get to know the allied heads of government. Certainly th. President wi'l avoid, if he can, getting involved in the present dispute within the Western European Union. The Americans have always seen WE.U. as a purely European group which could only be of special interest if it developed into a truly representative body. The recent pronouncements of Mr. Healey, the Defence Secretary. on western Europe's defences is expected to be referred to within the broad discussion on Nato. President Nixon will reaffirm the American nuclear commitment if only to reassure the Germans, who have also intimated that they want to discuss Berlin and troop levels. M¢r. Nixon also wants discussions on troop levels, but most of all wants to know what west Germany and other allied countries are prepared to do in the common effort. Nevertheless, Mr. Healey has introducdd a note of realism into the discussions. His Munich conclusions are not wholly acceptable or palatable here, but as he is the most experienced Defence Secretary in the alliance his conclusions carry considerable weight. Equally important, Dr. Henry Kissinger, the presidential assistant for national security affairs, has been thinking along similar lines. The B.B.C. will show the first live colour television pictures inside Buckingham Palace and No. 10 Downing Street during President Nixon's visit to London on Tuesday. B.B.C. 1 and 2 viewers will see the coverage between 12.25 and 1 p.m.