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October 20, 1970


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    An analysis of the Warsaw Pact states' interests and goals in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe negotiations, including discussion of the military, territorial, economic, cultural, and scientific-technical aspects of the negotiations.
    "Attitudes and Measures of the Warsaw Treaty States for Convening a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1970-1971," October 20, 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA: MfAA C 366/78
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the GDR[1]
HA GP Sector ESC[2]

Attitudes and measures of the Warsaw Treaty States for Convening a Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1970-1971

20 October 1970

Some questions regarding the preparation and realisation of a European Security Conference in the struggle for the establishment of a European Security System

I. The socialist states' concept of a European Security System and its basic elements

1. Strategic objectives of socialist security policy in Europe in connection with the preparation and realisation of a European Security Conference

1.1 The socialist states' strategy for the fight between systems in Europe assumes that the position of the socialist community of states in the international struggle has increased its influence in international relations and in socialist and democratic movements in Western European capitalist states. This is particularly true for the USSR as a leading power. Future class struggle on a European scale presupposes a further strengthening of the Warsaw Treaty, of the community of socialist states in general as well as of its international magnetism. The strategic aim of the community of socialist states lies in establishing advantageous conditions for a quick and complete development of a socialist and communist society. At the same time, this creates favourable conditions for the struggle of the anti-imperialist states for the roll-back and the gradual overcoming of the state monopolist system.

1.2 The favourable external conditions for which the socialist states strive, based on their solidarity and growing strength, can be defined in general as follows:
-gradually roll back the influence of the military elements in the anti-socialist global strategy and concentrate the class struggle on the fields of politics, ideology, economy, science, and technology, in the form of a stiff competition between the antagonistic social systems, thereby establishing the preconditions for developing qualitatively improved relations of peaceful coexistence between capitalist and socialist states in Europe
-On this basis, the gradual realisation of a collective system for security and cooperation as the result of the offensive policies pursued by the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Treaty.
The continuity and effectiveness of this strategy largely depends on the socialist states' ability to avoid situations of heightened conflict outside of Europe, containing the danger of a global military conflict.
The inter-systemic European state-to-state relations, being determined by the above-mentioned characteristics, are based on several preconditions and contents.

1.3 The decisive precondition for successfully continuing the offensive of the socialist European security policy lies in the conceptual and practical solidarity amongst socialist states, under the guidance of the Soviet Union. Pursuing separate nationalist interests is clearly to the detriment of solidarity amongst the socialist states and of their organisation, and it impedes the effectiveness of the offensive of socialist security policy in Europe. Increasing unity in strategic and tactical actions among the Warsaw Treaty states enables them to exploit the detente interests of a part of the ruling class, as of the monopolist bourgeoisie, while at the same time limiting the anti-socialist influence of the Ostpolitik-strategy. The ideological unity of socialist states on the basis of Marxism-Leninism secures the combination of detente policy in inter-systemic relations among states and increased political-ideological struggle with the late capitalist system.

1.4 Political-ideological unanimity among the socialist states, with the Soviet Union at their head, is the decisive precondition for pursuing the policy of the community of socialist states in Europe, as in the next stage the class struggle between both systems will sharpen and will increasingly focus on political, ideological, economic and scientific-technological competition. In the course of their "flexible strategy",[3] the imperialist states, specifically NATO's main powers, undertake tremendous efforts to adapt themselves to the requirements of sharpening inter-systemic competition in the field of the political-ideological struggle. (Extensive development of so-called peace-research, publication of imperialist blueprints for Europe, establishing of detente theories which are designed to gain interest among parts of the democratic forces in Western Europe[4] and which should facilitate ideological infiltration in socialist states). In this stage, the general problem for the community of socialist states in relation to the inter-systemic competition will lie - on the one hand - in exploiting the development of European security arrangements to a maximal extent, and at the same time to further conduct the ideological offensive against the late capitalist system. Hence, the alliance question has extraordinary relevance for socialist security policy. With regard to pan-European security settlements, there is a need to approach the widest range of people possible, including parts of the bourgeoisie; while for the successful continuation of the ideological offensive, a decisive confrontation with all kinds of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois thoughts - particularly with those of right-wing social-democratic leaders - is paramount.

1.5 Establishing a stable system of European security necessitates rolling back the political and military influence of the United States in Western Europe as an essential precondition. At the same time, this requires counteracting the EEC's deepening and enlargement as well as [the creation of] a Western European political union.

1.6 In the current state of inter-systemic struggle in Europe, the fight against West German imperialism and revanchism remains an essential task of the Warsaw Treaty states. Therefore, establishing judicial and political settlements, thereby reducing the room of manoeuvre for West German imperialism, remains an essential task for any socialist European policy. This includes the definitive securing of the territorial status quo in Europe and thereby also that of the GDR, as well as the FRG recognising the GDR according to international law. [. . .]

1.7 The tendency towards developing new forms of economic cooperation with the capitalist states that go beyond traditional trade relations has to be seized by the Warsaw Treaty states as a lever for the establishment of a European security policy, with special attention to strengthening our own economic performance. Nevertheless, at the same time, the anti-socialist effects intended by the imperialist states have to be resisted through increased coordination and cooperation in the Comecon[5] system. [. . .]

II. Interests and policies of the imperialist states regarding the preparation and realisation of an ESC [. . .]

III. Development of the fight for the essential elements of a European security system, focussing on the preparation and convening of a European security conference [. . .]

2. Succeeding in attaining the general recognition of the territorial status quo in Europe

2.1 The outlined development guarantees the acceptance of the first item on the agenda as was proposed by the socialist states at the Foreign Ministers' conference in Prague.[6] On the one hand, this secures priority for the problems of generally recognising the territorial status quo in the discussion about European security. At the same time, one has to counter the argument that after the bilateral status quo settlements such a conference item might become superfluous. In addition, it is necessary to counteract the tendency of shifting the focus of the conference to problems of inter-systemic economic and scientific-technological cooperation.[7] A dilatory handling of the status quo question might serve as a means to that end. [. . .]

2.3 An all-European settlement about recognition and respect for the territorial status quo in Europe is reachable in the context of a multilateral renunciation of force during the European security conference. It appears to be possible that the formula so far proposed in the Prague declaration to respect the territorial status quo could be extended according to the formulation in the treaty between the USSR and the FRG about the inviolability[8] of frontiers of all European states including the Oder-Neisse border and the frontier between the GDR and the FRG. The declaration of the states of the Warsaw Treaty in support of a pan-European document on the renunciation of the use and threatened use of force in the mutual relations among states in Europe reads: "They guarantee that they recognise the territorial integrity of all European states within their current frontiers and that they strictly respect them." In the treaty between the USSR and the FRG, the respective formulation sets out: "They assure to respect the territorial integrity of all states in their current frontiers unreservedly and they regard, today and in the future, the borders of all countries in Europe as inviolable in the form that they exist on the day of the signing of this treaty, including the Oder-Neisse line which forms the Western border of the People's Republic of Poland, and the border between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic."[9]
With the pan-European agreement about respecting the territorial integrity of all European states as well as their borders, the options of a European Security Conference for status-quo arrangements end. The question of normalising the relations of capitalist states - including the FRG - towards the GDR, as well as the recognition of West Berlin's status as an autonomous political unit, being a status quo question, cannot be items on the conference agenda. This does not, however, exclude them being raised at this occasion or another. [. . .]

5. Inter-systemic cooperation in the economic, scientific-technical and cultural fields as well as for the regulation of environmental problems
[. . .]
5.4 In January 1968, the IPRA (International Peace Research Association), represented by Prof. Galtung, has already presented a comprehensive study about inter-systemic cooperation. Although in the meantime new ideas ["aspects"] on this problem have been published on the imperialist side, this study can still be regarded as the most comprehensive imperialist concept for inter-systemic economic exchange. Its essence is the following thesis:
The increasing decentralisation of economic life in the socialist countries leads to increasing homology (adaption). This would make economic and scientific-technical cooperation easier, specifically through direct contact between producers. This kind of cooperation would itself facilitate decentralisation, as the socialist states would be willing to restructure their economic systems because of advantages resulting from economic cooperation. It is true that no return to a capitalist system could be expected, but a process a de-ideologisation would take place which "possibly would result in creating new types of economic systems in the socialist countries." (Galtung study, item 58)
These bourgeois ideologues view inter-systemic cooperation as a central piece of their ideological-political battle against socialism. Hence, in contrast to developing solutions for questions of security, they want to give first priority to developing inter-systemic cooperation as they expect a new "political situation" to further the realisation of the imperialist anti-socialist aims. In this context, explicit emphasis is laid on the "German question"[10] as a central question of politics. The above-mentioned study (in item 74), with reference to exploratory observations in most of the capitalist and socialist states, assumes a unanimous position that in the distant future in these countries
-peaceful coexistence would prevail and war in Europe would be improbable.
-mutual economic integration would increase and the benefits of cooperation and of competition would be greater for both sides.
-inter-systemic cooperation in its bilateral and multilateral form would increase.
-a de-ideologisation of "old questions" would increase and "that more people from one side would increasingly identify themselves with people from the other side". More emphasis would be laid on those questions, such as on the generational problem.
-developing societies would mutually be more open to a relatively free exchange of information, goods, people, capital, services and cultural goods.
-a general decrease in the relevance of frontiers would take place.

5.5 Imperialist political scientists have used the theory of convergence to develop strategic assumptions about expanding economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation between capitalist and socialist states in order to use the comprehensive application of relations of peaceful coexistence to increase anti-socialist subversion and the diversion of the Warsaw Treaty states. It is quite obvious that a further sharpening of the class struggle will take place concerning all questions of implementing and designing relations of peaceful coexistence between states of both social systems in Europe.


[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] HA GP stands for 'Hauptabteilung Grundsatzfragen und Planung' which roughly translates into 'Bureau for Principal Questions and Planning'.

[3] For the latest addendum to the academic literature on the history and meaning of NATO's "flexible response" strategy - from a West German perspective - see Bruno Thoss: NATO-Strategie und nationale Verteidigungsplanung. Planung und Aufbau der Bundeswehr unter den Bedingungen einer massiven atomaren Vergeltungsstrategie 1952-1960, Munich 2006.

[4] The term 'democratic forces' depicts - in the jargon of "real-existing socialism" - the communist and other left-wing persons and groups in Western Europe. See Michael Roik: Die DKP und die demokratischen Parteien, 1968-1984, Paderborn 2006. Till Koessler: Abschied von der Revolution - Kommunisten und Gesellschaft in Westdeutschland, 1945-1968, Duesseldorf 2005.

[5] Comecon stands for the 'Council for Mutual Economic Assistance'.

[6] The first item proposed at the Foreign Ministers' conference in Prague from 30-31 October 1969 treated the principle of renunciation of force. Records of the Meetings of the Warsaw Pact Deputy Foreign Ministers, edited by Csaba Bekes, Anna Locher and Christian Nuenlist ().

[7] "The broadening of commercial, economic and scientific/technological relations between the European countries" was the second item of the Prague declaration of October 1969. Ibid.

[8] This is a highly revealing passage, as the GDR diplomats, obviously following Moscow's phraseology, adopted the West German translation of the Russian term 'prisnanie' ('recognition') - officially interpreted by Soviet diplomacy as meaning 'unchangeability'. For a reconstruction of the negotiations preceding the Treaty of Moscow, see Werner Link: Die Entstehung des Moskauer Vertrages im Lichte neuer Archivalien, in: Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte 49 (2001), pp. 295-315, here p. 307. See also Gottfried Niedhart: Peaceful Change of Frontiers as a Crucial Element in the West German Strategy of Transformation, in: Oliver Bange/Gottfried Niedhart (eds): Helsinki 1975 and the Transformation of Europe, Oxford/New York, 2008, pp. 65-84.

[9] This translation differs from the one provided on the website of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. (where "assure" reads as "guarantee", and "unreservedly" as "unrestrictedly").

[10] This was put in inverted commas as - naturally - the GDR did not did not see her own existence as a 'problem' nor did East Berlin authorities - at least officially - therefore perceive the "German question" as "open".