Preparatory talks for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe began in November 1972, in Helsinki, Finland. This final product of seven months of discussions, known as the Blue Book, served as the procedural manual for the Conference when it officially opened in July 1973. It contains recommendations on various aspects of the Conference including organization, agenda, participation, rules of procedure and financial arrangements.
The organizational section provides that the Conference be divided into three working sessions designated Stages I, II, and III. Stage I was a ministerial level meeting designed to open the Conference and allow for the adoption of the Blue Book. Stage II was the working session during which the committees and sub-committees of the Conference met in Geneva and drafted declarations, resolutions and other working documents. The verbatim records of Stage II discussions have not been published. Stage III was the August 1, 1975 summit conference at which the 35 participating States signed the Final Act.
The Blue Book agenda appears to have been strictly adhered to in the subsequent proceedings. The Final Act of the Conference followed the agenda format with two notable exceptions, the Basket I section on "Questions Relating to Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean" and a subsection of Basket II dealing with "Trade and Industrial Cooperation."
The rules of procedure are of interest to those concerned with the technical aspects of the Conference. Questions concerning official languages, chairmanships, working bodies, and representation are considered and the production of official verbatim records for Stages I and III (though not Stage II) is agreed upon. The section devoted to financial arrangements divides expenses for the Conference among the participating States on a sliding scale with France, Italy, the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany bearing the largest burden.
Jacqueline P. Granier,
Human Rights and the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe,
13 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vjtl/vol13/iss2/17