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October 10, 1969


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    An analysis written by the GDR's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the respective positions of European socialist states, socialist states in general, and NATO and other capitalist European states, on the organization of a European security conference, as well as guidance for carrying out the CSCE negotiations based upon an analysis of each side's perceived strengths and weaknesses
    "Working Material for the Preparation of a European Security Conference," October 10, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA: MfAA C 367/78
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10 October 1969[1] [2]

Department for Analysis, Planning and Prognosis

Working Material for the Preparation of a European Security Conference

The Interest of European Socialist States concerning a European Security Conference

1.1 The goals of Socialist Policy towards Europe as criteria for the politics of European Security

The main goal of the European policy of the states closely linked with the Soviet Union is to change the balance of power in favour of socialism. The struggle for a European Security System is part of this policy. It aims, by establishing peaceful coexistence between the states of both systems, to reach the best external conditions for the development of the socialist social system in Europe.
The long-term goals of the European policy of the socialist states are:
-consolidation of the unity and increasing the strength of the socialist community of states based on socialist internationalism and on jointly agreed resolutions. Ongoing coordination of the foreign-policy and foreign-economic behaviour of states of the socialist community towards the capitalist system.
-development of an offensive policy of peace for guaranteeing the external security of the socialist states in order to establish peaceful coexistence between states of different social systems.
-support for the struggle for socialism and democracy in Western European countries and the realisation of a broad anti-imperialist unity of action for the fight for European Security.
-roll back of NATO's influence and the eventual overcoming of this aggressive alliance system.
-isolation and roll-back of the aggressive and revanchist policy of West German imperialism as the main obstacle to implementing a European Security System.
-containment of the effects of the aggressive special pact between West German and American imperialism; roll-back of US influence in Western Europe as a cornerstone of global anti-socialist policies.
-preventing the further development of Western European integration towards a political unit. Supporting contradictions among the states of the capitalist system. [. . .]

The interests of socialist states regarding the preparation and implementation of a European Security Conference

To socialist states, the European Security Conference is an important means for the step-by-step implementation of preconditions for a collective Security System in Europe and for the realisation of the long-term goals of socialist policy in Europe.

The preconditions for a collective European Security System are:
-consistent implementation of the principles of peaceful coexistence according to the UN Charter.
-comprehensive recognition of the territorial status quo, including the existing borders of all states in Europe
-recognition of the GDR according to international law and the surrender of the West German "Alleinvertretungsanspruch":[3] normalisation of relations between non-socialist states and the GDR.
-recognition of the status of West Berlin as a special political unit
-West German abandonment of ABC-weapons
-steps regarding disarmament and armament constraints
-dissolution of NATO and the Warsaw Pact after respective security agreements [. . .]

The preparation and implementation of the conference based on the proposed agenda of the socialist states is a means of counteracting the tendency of increased tensions in Europe. This favours socialist security interests, is useful for the struggle against the opponents of a European Security System, and can create opportunities for institutionalising the movement towards a European Security System.
Preparing and implementing a conference enables us to make better use of the contradictions between imperial states as well as taking into account the interest of small capitalist states and supporting the struggle of socialist and democratic forces within the countries of Western Europe.
The proposal of the conference is suitable for coordinating the policies of socialist states concerning the establishment of relations towards the capitalist countries of Europe. This coordination especially allows for further prioritising political questions over economic questions concerning the cooperation with capitalist states [. . .]

The conception and policy of NATO states and other capitalist European states towards a European Security Conference

- Discussing questions of European security at the conference would once more demand a negative position concerning the basic questions of European security and would thus again unveil the defensive and destructive NATO policy.
- The main motive for protracting the preparation of the conference by the main NATO states is their fear that a conference might be an efficient means for changing the balance of class-powers in Europe by means of the equally recognised participation of the GDR, and therefore the strengthening of her status according to international law. [. . .]

2.3 The position of Western Germany towards the preparation and implementation of a European Security Conference

The characteristically negative and ambiguous approach of NATO's main powers towards the implementation of a European Security Conference is being taken most decisively and resolutely by the West German government. The demands for a settlement of European security problems on the basis of the Budapest Appeal is directed against the West German policy of revanchism and hegemony. Whereas the CDU/CSU will further resist the conference most resolutely, the SPD tries to use the preparation and implementation as a means to enhance her "Ostpolitik" concept, assuming that it offers opportunities for her efforts to establish diplomatic relations with all socialist states excluding the GDR and to pursue a policy of increasing disintegration [of socialism], particularly in the GDR. [. . .]

3.2 Assessment: Possibilities for using the Conference for realising the goals of socialist policy towards Europe

If the socialist states can reach the earliest possible implementation of the European Security Conference based on the Budapest Appeal, this would clarify the efficiency of the socialist offensive for peace in Europe. This would also increase its political-psychological effect. In the field of coexistence, this also helps to contain the negative effects of the expanding and poorly coordinated bilateralism among socialist states. By establishing facts quickly via socialist proposals, it is possible to improve the steering of the development of European security policy, to prevent the other side from making counter-proposals and to decrease the meaning of the imperialist interpretation of the relief action in the CSSR.
The quick establishment of a conference can also be used to counteract Chinese expectations that increased tensions in Europe might further their anti-Soviet goals. At the same time, the possibilities of aggressive imperialist forces, as regards benefiting from the Chinese policy, are decreasing.
The overwhelming advantage of an early implementation of the conference brings with it the disadvantage of reduced time for our attempts to influence the attitude of non-socialist states and various political groups within them. Therefore the proposals regarding the content [of the conference] would be reduced to questions which are already ripe for resolution. This means that during the conference the West German problem will be taken into account by the socialist states, but it will not be a matter of negotiation.
The European Security Conference contributes to action against the opponents of détente, the imperialist forces in Western Europe. It also contributes to the containment of the anti-socialist "Ostpolitik" and the narrowing of its freedom of manoeuvre by means of a unified socialist policy.
On the other hand, preparation and implementation of the conference, especially in the field of bilateral relations, enables the opponent to appear ready for détente and to put strength behind his "Ostpolitical" activities. This might create illusions in the form of a much too positive view of détente in Europe and the belief in the diminished aggressiveness of imperialism. West German imperialism in particular could, in case of poorly coordinated policies among socialist states, succeed in the establishment of diplomatic ties going beyond economic, academic-technical and cultural contacts.
The struggle with the opponent during the preparation and implementation of the conference forces the socialist countries to coordinate their positions in ever greater detail. This strengthens the process of political integration. The initiative, including the Soviet proposals, gives greater credence to the perception of the Soviet Union's leading role.
The broad discussion and multiple diplomatic activities concerning European security questions, as well as the fact that the coordination of socialist policies does not yet include discussion about the planning of strategies, tactics and binding policy guidelines, might enable single socialist states to pursue their own national interests.
Based on general democratic proposals, the initiative of the socialist states compels the opposite side to start [what will be] an intensifying discussion to establish their own concept.
Due to diverging interests of several big and small NATO countries, as well as the neutral capitalist states, this supports the emergence of frictions between them and therefore underpins an increased exploitation of intra-system contradictions in the non-socialist part of Europe.
At the same time, to a certain extent, the most aggressive forces are being given the opportunity to enhance the status of their integrationist organisations under the pretext of thorough preparation and the necessity of coordinated action.
The socialist initiative for peace activates the development of the anti-imperialist democratic action unit in Western Europe.
The participation of the GDR in a European Security Conference is connected to progress on recognition according to international law and to a further rollback of the "
This is based:
-upon a more intense inclusion of the GDR into regional multilateral cooperation.
-upon a – partially
de facto – equal status [of the GDR] compared with other subjects of international law in Europe.
-upon favouring increasing
de facto relations between non-socialist European states and the GDR.
-upon support for the discussion about the necessity of establishing diplomatic ties with the GDR in Western European states.
It has to be taken into account that the participation of the GDR in a conference without bilateral recognition according to international law on the part of the non-socialist European countries could be used as a pretext for delaying the establishment of diplomatic ties. NATO countries could also use the conference as an occasion to once more give voice to their support for the West German policy of non-recognition for the GDR.

The agreements of a first European Security Conference – which might be followed by others – are suitable to create the preconditions for further solutions. In this respect, the establishment of a conference and its agenda have a higher political relevance than the contents of the documents do in themselves.
As the contents of the agreements are not that detailed with respect to European security questions, and only cover a small part of this field, the opposite side can seize the opportunity to interpret them along their lines and can emphasise other parts of their coexistence concept according to its "Ostpolitik".
An agreement about a multilateral settlement establishing equal and non-discriminatory relations between the states of the different systems in the areas of trade, economy, science and technology is in the interest of the socialist countries.
But such an agreement, particularly in the field of bilateral relations, might also support the intentions of Western European countries and contribute to tendencies in individual socialist countries primarily to pursue the so-called cooperation between East and West, and to the disadvantage of common socialist security demands.[6]
Socialist states, in particular the GDR, have the opportunity to show their own policy in the best possible light and to declare their attitude towards the basic questions of European security. On the other hand, West German imperialism within the framework of the conference could promote its own interpretation of "Ostpolitik".

The attitude of socialist countries concerning questions of contents, law and organisation of the preparation and implementation of the conference

Basically, the Soviet proposals regarding a European Security Conference represent the common view of socialist states. All socialist states are in agreement that the solution of European security problems represents a long-range task. In this respect, the conference is just a first step.
From the previous attitudes of some socialist states, one can conclude that there is a chance that they wanted to have certain questions of European Security discussed as they expect quite a positive reaction from a number of non-socialist states.
As additional issues, the PR of Poland might demand collective recognition of the Oder-Neisse border within the framework of the conference, as well as resolution of regional disarmament measures, especially the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone after West German signature of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Following from her concept of economic cooperation with capitalist states and in conformity to her bilateral relations, the PR of Hungary might demand a stronger focus on the concrete contents of the document with regard to the establishment of ties in the fields of trade, economy, higher education and technology.
The SR of Romania might push for a definition of those UN principles mentioned in the documents in order to establish their relevance for intra-system relations.
One can assume that the SFR of Yugoslavia, not participating in the multilateral intra-system consultations within the framework of the Warsaw Pact, will appear at the conference with its own concepts and initiatives of European security. These activities might include several aspects: Demanding the dissolution of military alliances, emphasis on the principles of sovereignty and of non-interference, also regarding the relations between socialist states, emphasis on economic cooperation with capitalist states, based on an exaggerated emphasis of détente trends in Europe, etc. These attitudes are the basis for a certain degree of cooperation with the SR of Romania and with some small non-socialist European states.
With regard to the legal-organisational dimension, the socialist states agree:
-that the GDR takes part in the conference with equal rights and duties like all other European states;
-that the USA und Canada take part in the first European Security Conference;
-that the establishment of a preparatory conference of states from both systems is not expedient (position of SR of Romania unknown);
-that the conference takes place until mid-1970 in Helsinki if possible;
-that one should strive for the continuation of the European Security Conferences and their institutionalisation;
-that the agreement should have the greatest possible legal force.

The GDR strategy and tactics during the preparation and implementation of the European Security Conference

Principles ruling the GDR's actions during the preparation of the European Security Conference

The complicated conditions for the preparation of the European Security Conference require keeping to the maxim that the advantages mentioned in 3.2 are used to the maximum extent possible, and that the disadvantages are contained as much as possible, to reach the optimum result from the conference for socialist security policy in Europe.
The agenda, the organisation, and the substantive results of the European Security Conference have to enhance the solution of European Security question in any case. They must not contain any prejudicial formulas that might block the continuation of the offensive of socialist security policy. This means that, recognising the real circumstances, the path to more precise and legally binding resolutions on individual security issues might lead through general declarative agreements. [. . .]

In the struggle for a solution of European security questions, the GDR has special responsibility in the argument against aggressive West German imperialism. This means that the GDR is obliged to analyse with great vigour the policy of leading groups in Western Germany which is directed against détente and European security. Therefore, the GDR has to show up the potential danger of West German policy internationally. This means particularly that, on the one hand, GDR policy towards Western Germany has to accord with the comprehensive socialist European Security policy. And, on the other hand, it means that further development of the socialist community's general strategy in Europe and the policies of individual socialist states towards Western Germany have to recognise the special task of the GDR.
One has to undertake all necessary means for keeping to the principle that unless the GDR participates on the basis of equal rights, a European Security Conference cannot take place. In order to push through the equality of the GDR and its special role in European policy, its active participation in all initiatives concerning the security conference has to be achieved (including initiatives from Warsaw Pact countries, from groups of socialist states, from groups of socialist and capitalist states).
It could also be appropriate that, following prior strategic-tactical coordination between socialist states, initiatives are undertaken by the GDR alone, to emphasise her equality.


[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] Excerpts from pp. 1-6, 8, 11, 37-45, 47.

[3] 'Alleinvertretungsanspruch' describes the assumed claim to act as the sole representative (of Germany and all Germans) made by the FRG. During the 1960s, this term was widely used by the GDR authorities and its communist partners within the Warsaw Pact as a pseudonym for Bonn's 'Hallstein-Doktrin'. The doctrine set out that diplomatic relations to all states recognising the GDR were to be cut off and that economic and trade restrictions against such states would follow. See Werner Kilian: Die Hallstein-Doktrin - Der diplomatische Krieg zwischen der BRD und der DDR 1955-1973 Berlin 2001; William Glenn Gray: Germany's Cold War – The Global Campaign to Isolate East Germany, 1949-1969, Chapel Hill 2003.

[4] For an online collection of East German, Romanian and Hungarian documents related to the Budapest Conference of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact leaders, see .
Budapest Appeal of the Warsaw Pact states for the convocation of a European security conference, 17 March 1969. An excerpt is edited in: Vojtech Mastny/Malcolm Byrne: A Cardboard Castle? An inside history of the Warsaw Pact 1955-1991, Budapest 2005, pp. 330-331. For the complete text of the Budapest Appeal in German, see Europa-Archiv 7 (1969): D 151-153.

[5] See above.

[6] During the Warsaw Pact's Foreign Ministers Conference in February 1967, the GDR, Poland, and the CSSR established what Western observers labeled the 'Iron Triangle'. The demands of these three states towards the FRG were bundled up: recognition of the Oder-Neiße border, recognition of the GDR, renunciation of nuclear weapons, and the cessation of the Munich Treaty. See Oliver Bange: Ostpolitik und Détente – Die Anfaenge 1966-1969, Mannheim 2004 (Ms); Douglas Selvage: The "Warsaw Treaty is dissolving" – Poland, the GDR and Bonn's Ostpolitik, 1966-1967 at the conference "NATO, the Warsaw Pact and the Rise of Détente, 1965-1972", 26.-28.9. 2002 in Dobbiaco/Toblach, forthcoming volume (2008) edited by Leopoldo Nuti/Christian Ostermann et al. See also Wanda Jarzabek: "Ulbricht–Doktrin" oder "Gomulka Doctrine"? Das Bemuehen der Volksrepublik Polen um eine geschlossene Politik des kommunistischen Blocks gegenueber der westdeutschen Ostpolitik 1966/1967, in: Zeitschrift fuer Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung, 55 (2006), H. 1, pp. 79-114. Oliver Bange/Tim Geiger: Die kirchlichen Versoehnungsinitiativen und die Reaktion der deutschen Volksparteien", in: Friedhelm Boll (ed.), Von der Versoehnung zur Zusammenarbeit – der deutsch-polnische Bischofsbriefwechsel des Jahres 1965, Bonn 2008 (forthcoming); and the contributions by Oliver Bange: Ostpolitik as a Source of Intra-bloc Tensions; and Douglas Selvage: The Warsaw Pact and the German Question – Conflict and Consensus, 1955-1970, in: Ann Heiss/Victor Papacosma (eds): NATO and the Warsaw Pact: Intra-Bloc Conflicts, Ohio 2008 (forthcoming).