Search in

Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 26, 1968


  • Citation

    get citation

    A description of the level of support for the West German government's ''Ostpolitik'' in various Western European countries
    "Proposals for Further Measures Concerning European Security," February 26, 1968, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA: MfAA C 326/77
  • share document


English HTML

Berlin, 26 February 1968[1]

West European Department

Proposals for further measures concerning European Security

Point of departure: Bonn's Ostpolitik has not led to the success expected during the constitution of the Kiesinger/Strauss[2] government;
the GDR is ever more present in the minds of people in Western Germany and in the Western European countries (demands for her recognition);
the draft of the GDR's socialist constitution mirrors the position of the GDR according to international law. Aside from stating that the GDR is a socialist state of [the] German nation, it emphasises that the realisation of a single German state is only possible under the conditions of socialism.

An analysis of the attitudes of Western European states towards the establishment of a European Security System[3] comes to the following conclusions:
Basically, all Western European states work on the assumption of the territorial status quo and the effective existence of the GDR;
the nuclear limitation treaty[4] has been supported by the majority of these states – partly with some reservations;
Bonn's so-called neue Ostpolitik is supported with almost no restrictions;
the GDR's recognition as a sovereign German state is rejected by all Western European governments or declared as dependent on steps taken by Bonn;
despite the fact that neo-Nazism in Western Germany is rejected, it is denied that it is part of the political system in Western Germany and that there is a connection to the government's policies;
particularly in France, [there is a] search for plans for a settlement of European problems (attempt for a compromise between Bonn's Ostpolitik of expansion and status quo!).


[1] Copyright: Project 'CSCE and the Transformation of Europe', University of Mannheim and the Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center. All rights reserved. The "CSCE and the Transformation of Europe" Project is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung. If cited, quoted, translated, or reproduced, acknowledgement of any document's origin must be made as follows: "Oliver Bange/Stephan Kieninger (eds): "Negotiating one's own demise? The GDR's Foreign Ministry and the CSCE negotiations - Plans, preparations, tactics and presumptions," CWIHP e-Dossier Nr. 17, on behalf of the Project 'CSCE and the Transformation of Europe', University of Mannheim 2008 (

[2] During the Grand Coalition between CDU/CSU and SPD from December 1966 to September 1969, CDU Chairman Kurt Georg Kiesinger served as Chancellor of the FRG. Franz Josef Strauss, Chairman of the CSU, Bavaria's conservative party, was Minister of Finance in the Grand Coalition. It is interesting to note that the GDR diplomats did not refer to a CDU-SPD – or Kiesinger/Brandt – coalition but to "the Kiesinger/Strauss government" – thus obviously referring to an established inimical stereotype in communist perception, namely that of right wingers dominating politics in West German governments.

[3] Soviet proposals for a European Security Conference date back to 1954, when Foreign Minister Molotov proposed such a conference with the intention of preventing the FRG's integration in the military alliance of the West (through the European Defence Community then under discussion). See Wilfried Loth: Helsinki, 1. August 1975 – Entspannung und Abruestung, Munich 1998, pp. 40ff. In July 1966, in their Bucharest Declaration, the member states of the Warsaw Pact renewed their demand for a convocation of a European Security Conference. The conference – or at least the discussions between the two blocs over the prospect and eventual contents of such an all-European conference – was meant to put pressure on Bonn to recognise the existing territorial status quo in Europe as a result of World War II. Additional Soviet motives behind the Bucharest Appeal lay in trying to reduce US commitment in Europe, in blocking or at least slowing down European integration, and in preventing the FRG from obtaining direct or indirect access to nuclear weapons. The text of the Bucharest Appeal is printed in
Europa-Archiv 16 (1966): D 414-424.

[4] The Non-Proliferation Treaty – or 'Nichtverbreitungsvertrag'– as it was officially known. It is interesting to note that by referring to a 'Kernwaffensperrvertrag', GDR diplomats adopted an unofficial term that closely resembled the 'Atomwaffensperrvertrag' (Nuclear Shut-out Treaty) introduced by Franz Josef Strauss in West Germany as a campaign slogan (referring to the exclusion of the Germans from technological advancement and power) to further his own aspirations for the Chancellorship. See Oliver Bange: NATO and the Non-Proliferation Treaty: Triangulations between Bonn, Washington and Moscow, in: Andreas Wenger/Christian Nuenlist/Anna Locher (eds): Transforming NATO in the Cold War – Challenges beyond deterrence in the 1960's, London 2007, pp. 162-180; see also the memoirs of Strauss's personal assistant Friedrich Voss, Den Kanzler im Visier – 20 Jahre mit Franz Josef Strauss, Mainz/Munich 1999.