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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 22, 1978

MEETING OF THE POLITICAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE WARSAW TREATY MEMBER COUNTRIES

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    Meeting minutes taken by Romanian Ambassador Vasile Sandru at sessions of the Warsaw Treaty Political Consultative Committee, taking place in Moscow on 22-23 November 1978. Session I contains a speech by Leonid Brezhnev in which he discusses détente, Warsaw Pact economic cooperation, disarmament, national liberation movements, and relations with China, the Western countries, and Japan. In Session II and III political leaders of the other Warsaw member countries respond to Brezhnev’s speech. Session IV features a report by Commander-in-Chief Viktor Kulikov on the United Armed Forces. He recommends an increase in military expenditures. All of the leaders agree, except for Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania.
    "Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty Member Countries," November 22, 1978, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Contributed to CWIHP by Ambassador Vasile Sandru from his personal files. Included in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 24, by Mircea Munteanu. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/110836
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Ambassador Vasile Sandru

The meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty member countries
Moscow, 22 – 23 November 1978


Opening the meeting, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev stated that one expects from the Political Consultative Committee a new impulse, to do all possible to justify expectations.

Session I: Chairman Edward Gierek, First Secretary of the Polish United Workers Party.

He proposed the agenda of the meeting:

1. Further measures to be undertaken for stopping the arms race, eliminating the danger of a nuclear war, strengthening détente, as well as current problems of security and cooperation in Europe.

2. The military report.

The agenda was accepted.

The first speaker was Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

He remembered the bilateral conversations with the leaders of WTO member countries during the summer in Crimea: the international situation got more complex; the tendency of some Western circles to slow down détente, the anticommunist maneuvers, etc. He asked: where is it going further? Towards détente, or back to the Cold War?

One of the main causes of the fury within the imperialist camp is the growing strength of the force and position of socialism. In the socialist countries great successes have been reached; more attention is being paid to technical-scientific progress, including through relations with capitalist countries; the living standard has increased; new important measures for the perfection of the social life have been undertaken (new Constitutions and constitutional acts); defenses on the ground, in the air and on the seas got strengthened. We are not weaker than the capitalist countries.

[Page 2]

The WTO member countries have never done and they do not do anything more than what is necessary for a sure defense. But even parity is met with adversity by the capitalist countries.

The USA does not want to give up the idea of making a new jump in order to change the equilibrium. The USA military budget reached USD 130 billion; they are elaborating new systems of mass destruction – neutron weapons, laser, genetic, ultra-sonorous arms, and so on.

The Washington NATO Council session has elaborated a supplementary program of 10 years.

The sphere of imperialism’s domination is diminishing as a result of the victories of the peoples of former colonies: Laos, Angola, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Namibia, Rhodesia, South Africa – are funeral tolls for the imperialists as well as Iran, Nicaragua.

They are crying about the hand of Moscow; they do not want to recognize that the revolution is maturing on a national basis, not on an export of revolution basis.

They are not satisfied with the situation in the developed capitalist countries.

Imperialism is not able to face the crises. We can expect a massive attack against détente.

The government of the USA is doing everything in order to push back the socialist countries, to create discord among the socialist countries. This is their “gold dream,” one of strategic orientation of the USA. Even economic relations are utilized as a means of blackmail the socialist countries in order to undermine their unity. Some of the socialist countries are declared able for cooperation, but they try to bind their hands with debts, while towards others they promote a reserved policy. Against Cuba and Vietnam – the embargo.

The Carter Administration has developed a smooth-faced campaign about human rights; this is a brutal interference into the domestic affairs of the socialist countries. Their goal is to prevent understanding between countries of different social systems.

Regretfully, imperialism has found an ally in China. The policy of Beijing makes it a very attractive partner for imperialism. China is provided with weapons and is pushed toward attacking the USSR and the socialist community like the mode of proceeding with Hitler.

[Page 3]

One who does not understand these things understands too little on the actual situation. The treaty with Japan is a step in the same direction.

One cannot exclude the coalition of the American and Japanese imperialism with the wary jingoism, though between them there are serious contradictions. It is not obligatory that this possibility became a reality; it depends on us.

Experience shows that when the socialist countries are acting together, they are able to repel attacks, to improve the situation and to promote détente.

Relations among the socialist countries are now getting a special importance. We have always put mutual assistance at the forefront. We should help especially those countries who have been under very strong pressure by imperialism. So it was when we helped Cuba, when we helped the GDR to be recognized officially, as well as Vietnam against the imperialist intervention.

Now the problem of helping Vietnam is again topical, against the aggression from the north.

The USSR is doing everything to help Vietnam. This needs great expenses. Our Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation is a new step to developing our relations.

We know that you also provide help to Vietnam and Laos. We hope our efforts will not slacken.

Our position on China’s general policy

Their assertion about the hostile policy of the USSR is an absurdity. Deng Xiaoping stated that the Soviet-Chinese Treaty has lost any value; Beijing is provoking us to tear this treaty. But we will not be provoked. We never will, by our own willingness, tear a document which is devoted to the friendship of the Soviet and Chinese peoples. If the Chinese do it, they will do it by their own responsibility. We are always in favor of normalization of our relations on a reasonable basis.

But they do not agree. They are not interested in principles, they pursue the goals of great power, of domination. To this end they are ready to cooperate with anybody; pursuing the goal of strengthening their military potential they are ready to make an alliance with anybody.

Only a united action of all the peoples may stop them, and contrary, any direct or indirect approval, or the tendency to close one’s eyes is encouraging them. The main task consists in undertaking a decided action against the policy of China.

[Page 4]

Our economic cooperation

We have successes, but we face serious difficulties: the diminution of the labor force’s reserves, to satisfy the necessary food production and goods for mass consumption.

Then, lagging behind as compared with the world level of science and technology.

It is necessary to get technology from the capitalist countries, but it is difficult: we need foreign currency and we will depend on the capitalist market.

We should buy there only indispensable goods and coordinate ourselves so as not to buy goods which we can produce in our countries.

We must ensure specialization and cooperation in production: regretfully the programs are being elaborated too slowly, and the implementation goes more slowly, as for instance the nuclear energy equipment because of commercial causes, though nuclear energy represent a political problem and we have to approach it like a military issue.

At the XXXII session of COMECON there was proposed a meeting of the chiefs of government at the beginning of 1979 in order to examine the stage of the elaboration of the long-term cooperative special program. Toward this goal all the mechanism of the COMECON should work. To this end the COMECON session in the summer of 1979, which coincides with the 30th anniversary of the COMECON, will have great importance and new important documents will be adopted.

The forms of political cooperation

The desire was expressed to hold every year a session of the Political Consultative Committee, and more frequently the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, as well as to define more clearly the mode of activity of the Joint Secretariat. The parliamentarians should also meet more frequently.

[Page 5]

The military aspects

We agree to abolish the military blocs, but as long as NATO is maintained our duty is not to admit that NATO would encroach the military equilibrium.

The defense of the socialist countries should be at the necessary level.

NATO member countries are thoroughly coordinating their efforts and it should be inexcusable not to undertake all the necessary measures.

The development of relations with Western countries and Japan

Despite the class solidarity of the bourgeoisie from the USA, Europe and Japan, their interests do not always coincide, there are contradictions.

The imperialist circles from Western Europe are obliged to be more cautious because for them it is clear that in the outbreak of war of large proportions, Western Europe would be the first destroyed.

France, and Germany have adopted the course of political détente and are not ready to follow the USA’s course.

Their position on the problem of the Middle East cannot support the USA, being interested in oil.

The USSR is developing relations with Western Europe. Soon, A.A. Gromyko will visit Italy and Brezhnev will visit France.

In Spain the situation is rather complex and interesting. We should establish direct contacts with the political leaders of Spain. In January 1979 the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs will visit the USSR; the Prime Minister of Spain also wants to visit Moscow.

With Japan we have good relations, without territorial concessions. Without such good relations Japan could be much more connected with China.

Disarmament

The draft of the Conference’s document speaks about our proposals. Now it is necessary to do everything for:

  • successful conclusion of the current negotiations. The most important are the negotiations on SALT. The USA Administration arrived at the conclusion that from the point of view of domestic policy it is opportune to sign SALT during this year. The positions got so close that it is possible to sign it, if the position of Carter will not pass to the other side. Then it will be timely to meet with Carter for signing and to give a new impulse to Soviet-American relations.

  • [Page 6]

  • Vienna – the West has not answered our proposals. We should intensify pressures on the West. Public opinion should know who must make the answer move. An evident adversary of the progress of these negotiations is the Federal Republic of Germany, which wants to avoid any limitation of the force of the Bundeswehr and of its weight in NATO. Now there is no need for large steps, but useful proposals in some directions are necessary. For instance the proposal of 1976 concerning no first use of force: the NATO countries are prevaricating, under the pretext that the WTO could get some advantages in classic armament. Then we would propose a pact of non-aggression, as we have proposed it earlier.

Politicians from Western Europe are frequently speaking about the danger of the accumulation of nuclear missiles in Europe. Schmidt had talked to me about them. They are really out of SALT negotiations, and Vienna – a gray zone. In principle we are not against their reduction; there is no type of weapons for which we could not be ready for negotiating their reduction on a mutual basis and with no diminishing of security. We should discuss at the same time the American missiles in Europe.

The political-propaganda assurance, the moral pressure upon the other side could be more active, and more precisely oriented, as well as foreign policy actions. We have good experience i.e. with the mass campaign against the neutron bomb. We should use it in other fields of the struggle for stopping the arms race and for a military détente.

We have to intensify the cooperation in combating Euro-Communism.

Special attention should be paid to social-democracy, taking into consideration their weight in the international political life. They remain sure allies of the bourgeoisie (for instance the role of turning towards the right wing in the Portuguese revolution; then the contacts with some elements from Czechoslovakia); but there are some common interests in the struggle for disarmament. Boris Ponomariov participated in the social-democrat conference on disarmament problems in Helsinki and we will continue the discussion in Moscow in January 1979 with a delegation of the Socialist International (Willy Brandt, Sorsa, and others).

[Page 7]

Our policy towards the zone of national liberation movements

We should support these movements, but we have to act in such a way as not to provoke the aggravation of the international situation.

The imperialist states are using all means. The liberation movement's forces address to the socialist world for help; we cannot remain indifferent. Socialist countries do not pursue advantages for themselves, as for instance Cuba or Southern Yemen and Ethiopia. This is not an intervention into domestic affairs, but an internationalist policy to support a people, a noble, disinterested policy.

Our possibilities are not unlimited, that’s why we must establish the main directions, in order not to scatter our forces. At the forefront the Democratic People’s Republic of Yemen, Ethiopia, Angola, Afghanistan and some other countries in which fundamental social transformations are occurring, political parties are emerging and which follow an anti-imperialist policy. Our treaty with Ethiopia is one step.

At the next meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs they should establish concrete support to provide to these countries. The same concerning cooperation with the non-aligned countries in view of their next conference in Havana, 1979.

The Middle East: events are confirming the correctness of our position. The transactions of Sadat with the aggressor have not had the expected success by the Americans. They did not succeed in attracting Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. The results are rather contrary. The betrayal of Sadat has contributed to strengthening the resistance of the Arab countries: the rapprochement between Syria and Iraq has substantially changed the atmosphere within the Arab world; the position of Jordan got better, then the conference in Baghdad took place. We positively appreciate.

Shortly about Iran: as a consequence of the actions of large masses against the regime a tense situation was created and prospects remain unclear. The USA wants to support the Shah, not only politically, but the intention is to resort to all means. In these conditions we have considered it necessary to state that the USSR is against any intervention in Iran in any form, and under any pretext. Any intervention in Iran affects the security interests of the USSR. I have informed President Carter. Washington stated officially that it has no intention to interfere, but it added that it is supporting the efforts of the Shah.

[Page 8]

The document which we are going to adopt is a good one. The wishes expressed during the consultations have been taken into consideration, so the document is reflecting precisely our common positions. Our positions will demonstrate to the entire world that the socialist countries take as a guide the true interests of détente and of the general peace.

Session II: Chairman Nicolae Ceausescu, Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party, President of Romania.

Edward Gerek:

Our conference is taking place in conditions when problems of great importance to the international situation are being solved.

I completely agree with the speech of L. I. Brezhnev. Life has confirmed the course of détente of the program of the XXV Congress of the CPSU, as well as of other parties. The socialist community is maintaining the initiative. Due to détente we are fulfilling our historical mission – eliminating the danger of war. We have to develop the process of détente in order to give it an irreversible character.

The continuation of the détente process is depending in a great proportion on Soviet-American relations. Poland is supporting the policy of the USSR, full of responsibility, in relations with the USA. It is our common policy.

The People’s Republic of Poland is trying to influence the position of the USA in order to carry on a more realistic policy. I have sent a message to Carter on the urgency of SALT II.

His answer contains a series of positive elements concerning relations with the USSR and Europe.

E. Gerek underlined the progress reached in Europe, the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, especially the principle of the inviolability of borders. Some Western countries are trying to use human rights in order to legalize their anti-socialist activity. But in this field too capitalism should be pushed to defend itself.

The PR of Poland has proposed an initiative in the UN – education of peoples in the spirit of peace. He expressed thanks to the countries who supported this initiative.

[Page 9]

We should intensify our efforts for organizing the new European meeting, for preparing the Madrid meeting. We have to prepare together measures for counteracting Western actions.

Speaking about relations with Western countries, E. Gierek mentioned active relations with Scandinavian countries, with the UK, Italy and France. He underlined the positive role of France for the détente policy.

We will continue, together with the USSR and the GDR, our actions of cooperation in the Baltic Sea area.

Poland is supporting the stability of the situation in the Balkans.

We share the position of the USSR concerning the actions of the Federal Republic of Germany. Together with the USSR we will further support the GDR

Now the most urgent task is to slow down the arms race. The PR of Poland is supporting all the initiatives of the USSR, which is playing the decisive role. We agree with all that the USSR is undertaking. Especially the non-proliferation of nuclear arms, forestalling the access of the FRG. The Soviet proposal on guaranties is very important. He stressed also no first use of nuclear weapons in Europe.

E. Gierek proposed that the next Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs session study the elements of the program of disarmament on which to concentrate actions during the future: the Vienna negotiations (proposals of 8 April 1978), dialogue with the social-democratic parties, support from the Vatican of the détente line (after the election of the new Pope it is possible that this line be maintained).

E. Gierek paid special attention to the “Chinese line” which is the only one that is officially proclaiming the inevitability of a new world war. It calls for arming and pursues territorial destabilization. It is exercising a rude pressure upon Vietnam and tends to suppress other Asian peoples. The expansionist policy of China enjoys the support of the USA, which seeks to play the “Chinese card.” Any underrating of the necessity to counteract the Chinese line is dangerous. This is the Polish opinion.

The Polish leader expressed support for the cause of peoples’ liberation. He condemned the “separatist agreements” of Camp David, and expressed support for the African countries of socialist orientation.

A special support was underlined for the policy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and for the Soviet-Vietnam treaty.

The unity and cohesion of the socialist countries guarantees the efficiency of our common peaceful policy. It is necessary to strengthen our alliance and interaction, to perfect our consultation mechanism.

[Page 10]

The decision taken in Bucharest to establish the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs led to positive results. Their meeting in Sofia had good results.

The Polish delegation approves of the Moscow Declaration for its spirit of peace, security and cooperation.

Erich Honecker, First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany from the GDR

He stressed that L. I. Brezhnev made a convincing speech and we share his conclusions.

After the summit in Bucharest [in 1976] détente became the determining tendency in the world – important transformations, people’s revolutions in Africa, Afghanistan, and so on; strengthening of the movement for disarmament. The USSR obliged the Carter Administration to continue the SALT negotiations and so on.

There are various forces in the Cold War. Particularly the collusion of imperialism with Beijing in Africa and elsewhere.

It is necessary to complete political détente with military détente. NATO’s maneuvers are taking place near the border of the GDR (5 min. by plane). The FRG is pursuing the possibility of leading military operations within the depths of GDR territory.

NATO is becoming the coordination center of imperialism against socialism.

According to his opinion “superiority over socialism cannot be obtained in any field anymore.”

The GDR supports the policy of the USSR and of the Soviet Government not to permit changing the correlation of forces. From this – continuing détente and our common course, within the conditions of acutization of the international situation.

Relations with the USSR saw a new development after the conclusion of the Treaty of Friendship of 1975; similar treaties have been concluded in 1976 with the People’s Republic of Hungary, the People’s Republic of Mongolia, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People's Republic of Poland, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. After the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, the GDR has concluded more than 90 agreements with the participating countries.

[Page 11]

E. Honecker expressed high appreciation for the official visit of L. I. Brezhnev to the FRG. “The adopted declaration has a large political significance for all the world.”

He expressed his opposition to producing the neutron bomb and supported the world conference for disarmament.

He proposed to link the capitalist countries’ governments with the policy of peaceful coexistence and together to take steps towards disarmament.

E. Honecker shared the assessments of L. I. Brezhnev concerning the capitalist countries and his proposed measures for strengthening the peace. He expressed his thanks to the USSR, the CPSU, the Soviet government, and personally to L. I. Brezhnev for having signed the treaty with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. This treaty will influence not only the situation in Europe, but in the entire world.

He expressed his agreement with the opinion of L. I. Brezhnev concerning the Middle East. Camp David has not solved any problem.

Concerning Africa, E. H. underlined the necessary cooperation with the countries of socialist orientation – Ethiopia, Mozambique, Algeria, and others.

Speaking about the Socialist International, he mentioned that this organization is acting not only in Africa, but also in Europe in order to weaken and split the workers' movement.

At the end he proposed, in order to increase the efficiency of the WTO, to hold summit meetings every year. The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs should establish concrete measures, as for instance to elaborate common positions on the Middle East, Africa, and others, as well as a retort to revisionism, Maoism, etc.

Janos Kadar, First Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party.

World events have confirmed the assessments of the Bucharest WTO summit of 1976. The CSCE meeting in Belgrade was successful, with various positive results.

All these events prove the growth of the influence of the Soviet Union, of the socialist countries and other progressive forces.

At the same time there is a certain stagnation of détente. Its adversaries have passed to the offensive. Now the most important thing is defending détente. It is necessary to promote the implementation of the Helsinki Final Act. We must begin the preparations for the Madrid CSCE meeting.

[Page 12]

The process of arming is reaching the limits, beyond which the danger of war is increasing. The draft of our Declaration will show to the world that the socialist community is ready to conclude agreements on disarmament. At the same time NATO’s tendency is oriented toward reaching military supremacy.

It is necessary after signing SALT II to start negotiations on SALT III, as well as the draft agreement on guaranties for non-nuclear states.

The liberation movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are confronted by the means utilized by imperialism. A high appreciation for the internationalist help provided by Cuba to the liberation movements.

The Hungarian leader underlined the “more and more negative role of the Chinese leadership,” their tendency to great power hegemony; they are cooperating with NATO and with the regime of Chile; have concluded a treaty with Japan. The hegemonic Maoist foreign policy represents a great burden for Vietnam, and it is also threatening Laos. We have to support both Vietnam and Laos.

Referring to human rights, J. Kadar underlined the thesis of the draft Declaration according to which the WTO countries are against the encroachment of human rights by the fascist and dictatorial regimes.

The foreign policy activity of the WTO member countries is agreed upon; this is necessary also in the future. The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs represents a good framework for exchanging views, for elaborating common positions. At the same time it’s necessary to have the systematic activity of the Joint Secretariat of the WTO.

J. Kadar underlined the principle importance of proletarian internationalism.

According to his opinion the most important form of the unity of the socialist countries is the WT Organization. It has a vital importance for the destiny of our peoples. Avoiding the danger of a new world war depends on the efficiency of the WTO.

J. Kadar expressed his support for the draft Declaration.

Session III: Chairman Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev

Speech of Nicolae Ceausescu:

The main force of the socialist countries consists in the successes of the socialist construction. The pace of economic development of the WTO member countries has diminished to half as compared with the former five-year plan.

[Page 13]

This has an impact on the living standard of the people. Economic development will improve the consciousness of the masses. Their capacity to struggle to defend the peace, détente depends on this development.

It is necessary to perfect relations among the socialist countries. It should be useful to initiate profound discussions in order to reach a diversification of relations among socialist countries.

Our peoples need peace. That’s why the central goal of our foreign policy is and must be the fight against war preparations, strengthening détente, etc.

In international life there are two diametrically opposed tendencies:

  • the assertion of the people's will;

  • the accentuation of the imperialist, colonialist and neocolonialist policy of force and dictate, of dividing spheres of influence. The main danger is the way of military intervention. Hence the strengthening of the struggle against the policy of force.

The deepening of the economic, political and other contradictions amongst the Western capitalist countries, their crises, are affecting the entire world climate, including the socialist countries.

In spite of the accentuation of the imperialist policy of force one should not draw the conclusion that the situation is unavoidably evolving towards a new world war.

Our countries should not let themselves be engaged in the arms race, in increasing military expenses. On the contrary. The socialist countries have the decisive role in developing positive tendencies in international life.

In order to prevent the worsening of the international situation and to strengthen détente, the unity of the socialist countries, of all forces of peace is necessary. That’s why our party and our government will strengthen relations with all socialist countries.

The goal of the Warsaw Treaty, of the activity of the Political Consultative Committee is to defend our countries against an imperialist aggression in Europe; here have been concentrated the largest forces. Hence the largest attention should be paid to the struggle for strengthening security and developing cooperation in Europe.

Romania maintains very good relations with all European countries, without exceptions. Hence it is possible to get new positive results.

[Page 14]

Concerning the CSCE meeting in Belgrade, though they agreed to a new meeting, we cannot be satisfied with the general results. In Europe the reactionary, neo-fascist, nationalist, chauvinistic and irredentist circles have activated in the last time.

For the socialist countries the expenses of arming represent a burden, an obstacle on their way towards progress.

The international situation in Europe is the most complex.

    It is necessary to act:

  • to prepare the Madrid CSCE meeting;

  • to enlarge economic cooperation, to eliminate the obstacles on this way;

  • the problem of human rights – we should act in such a way as to demonstrate that socialism is resolving the fundamental human problems;

  • to promote a superior ethic;

  • to start applying measures of military disengagement, and disarmament; these measures should be at the forefront of our activity;

  • the special UN General Assembly session. Romanian and Soviet proposals - Romania is paying great importance to SALT negotiations.

Several other measures for which one must activate:

-Freezing military expenses and effectives as well as armament at the level of 1978, a 10 – 15% diminution until 1985. The great states should start a reduction;

-Commitment not to place new troops and arms and to start their reduction, abolition of military bases, first the nuclear ones;

-Commitment of states not to accept foreign military bases on their territory;

-Commitment of nuclear powers to guarantee not to attack non-nuclear countries;

-Reduction of military maneuvers;

-Concluding a European Pact not to resort to use of force;

-Implementation of the Vienna agreement without changing the existing correlation of forces;

[Page 15]

-Measures of disengagement and disarmament in Europe to be negotiated within the framework of European Security with the participation of all European countries.

The proposal of the Romanian Communist Party and Socialist Republic of Romania: “The socialist countries should initiate the reduction of troops and military expenses by at least 5% and withdraw troops from other countries indifferently of the positions of other countries.” The implementation of this proposal would create a powerful stimulus for the struggle of peoples to determine all states to do the same.

It is necessary to act for the reduction of the military activity of both blocs.

If the socialist countries will promote an active policy for the diminution of the tension and for dismantling the military blocs the results would be positive. The orientation towards dismantling the blocs should be accentuated within the actual conditions.

In the general international situation an exchange of views is useful, though this subject is not connected with the activity of the Political Consultative Committee.

N. Ceausescu underlined several ideas: the right of peoples for a free development; to liquidate economic inequality; solving problems through negotiations; peaceful co-existence; to liquidate underdevelopment; implementation of the new international economic order; preparing the special session of the UN General Assembly in 1980; disarmament, firstly the nuclear one, etc. He mentioned also the decree on peace signed by Lenin whose provisions – peace without annexations, without domination upon other nations, without contributions – are a symbol of the ideals of socialism. That’s why the center of the policy of the socialist countries should be disarmament. It is necessary to ask ourselves: have we done enough for the cause of peace?

The socialist countries should be present in practical measures for peace in the Middle East.

In Africa the situation is very serious.

We should promote friendly relations with all socialist countries, with developing and non-aligned countries, with all the states.

[Page 16]

I do not ignore the fact that between some socialist countries there are misunderstandings and disagreements. Profound worry is caused by the fact that misunderstandings are degenerating into actions of support for antirevolutionary forces and calls for uprising in socialist countries. Such actions are in total contradiction with the principles of international law and the UN Charter.

Given that the issue of our visit to China and the visit of Hua Guofeng in Romania have been mentioned, it is necessary to underline that the two visits are a contribution to the development of relations between the socialist countries. There is a possibility to surpass the misunderstandings and we should do all for this goal.

We are puzzled about the mode in which the mass media of some socialist countries have reflected the visit of Hua Guofeng in Romania, their insinuations, which were in total contradiction with the realities. As the shared information through mass media is still too summary and sometimes there is false information, I raise the problem of improving this activity, to elaborate clear orientation so that mass media reflects reality.

Speech of Gustav Husak, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

The policy of détente remains the decisive tendency in Europe.

It is a happiness that the great USSR and the socialist community exist. The speech of comrade L.I. Brezhnev represents a profound Marxist-Leninist analysis of the internal situation. The decisive factor is the force and unity of the socialist countries, their common actions. The class adversary is directing his actions towards undermining our unity.

The Chinese policy: Beijing cannot deceive us by saying that it has disagreements with the USSR, but it has good relations with other socialist countries. What does represent its policy toward Vietnam, Cuba and Czechoslovakia, where it supports Maoist groups. So it is not an ideological quarrel, as some try to convince us. The Chinese leadership has betrayed the interests of the Chinese people. This fact is determining our position against the Chinese leadership.

NATO is promoting the arms race in order to reach supremacy.

The hegemonic policy of China against Vietnam is stirring up the present regime in Cambodia.

[Page 17]

G. Husak paid a high appreciation to the Soviet-Vietnamese Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

He appreciated the internationalist behavior and the abnegation of Cuba. The socialist internationalism should act against the imperialist and Chinese attacks against Cuba.

Concerning “the campaign organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the internationalist help” [i.e. 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia] Gustav Husak said “it has not even the smallest success.” He remembered also the 40th anniversary of the Munich Pact against Czechoslovakia.

He expressed full agreement with the point of view of L.I. Brezhnev concerning strengthening unity and the WTO, in order to elaborate collectively and ensure the coordination of the entire foreign policy.

Session IV: 23 November 1978, Chairman Gustav Husak

Speech of Todor Zhivkov, First Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian delegation wholly approves of the Declaration and the Communiqué.

He expressed complete agreement with the speech of L.I. Brezhnev.

During the last two years, after the meeting in Bucharest, new steps in changing the correlation of forces in favor of real socialism have been carried out due to efforts of the USSR, other socialist countries and other progressive forces.

The most important is to further strengthen the WTO.

Concerning the process of integration in COMECON, the Bulgarian leader underlined the necessity of further perfection of its functioning, due to the fact that it does not respond anymore to the present tasks. More efficient work is necessary, more initiative from the part of the Secretariat.

At the end of the session the Declaration was approved and it was decided to publish it that same day at 18:00 by radio and TV, and in the press the following day.

[Page 18]

The second point of the agenda: The report of the Commander-in-Chief of the United Armed Forces, Marshall Kulikov.

He presented the military expenses of NATO member-countries in a table (I have noted only the big countries):

Billion USD

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

U.S.A

78,3

81,7

89,9

93,7

100,7

111,9

134,1

U.K.

11,0

11,4

13,6

13,8

13,0

15,5

17,4

France

8,4

10,2

12,6

12,7

14,3

17,2

19,6

F.R. Germany

11,9

13,8

15,3

15,9

17,6

21,0

22,1

Canada

2,5

3,0

3,0

4,4

4,4

4,6

5,3

…………………

Total NATO

123,0

132,9

149,2

157,2

168,1

191,1

222,3

He demonstrated that NATO member countries are increasing military expenses every year, so the WTO member countries should do the same.

Further he described the NATO military organization: the Central General Staff has more than 1000 people; the regional staff: Northern Europe – more than 600 people; Central Europe Staff – approximately 400; Southern Europe Staff – about 200. The NATO Commander-in-Chief enjoys large powers both in peacetime and in wartime.

The WTO military organization was far below this NATO structure.

The Soviet Commander has formulated some critical observations concerning the Romanian Army.

The non-participation of the Romanian Army in WTO military maneuvers and exercises is depriving it of the possibility of assimilating advanced experience and military education.[1]

He also raised the problem of anti-aircraft defense in the South-Western direction in which were implied Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the USSR.

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The plan of defense in this direction was not yet agreed, because the Romanian part has not elaborated its share, which is encroaching on the integrity of the plan and diminishes the efficiency of the defense in this direction.

Further the Commander-in-Chief stressed the necessity to assign supplementary means, as well as to assimilate new military techniques. He also asked to increase the number of military units in case of war and to unify the flight techniques.

He underlined the necessity to perfect the leadership of the United Armed Forces. The organizational structure of the staff has been improved, but major problems have not yet been solved:

  • the strategic command of the UAF in wartime should be centralized and united under the command of the UAF which should have large power;

  • creation of staffs in the three direction (like NATO);

  • creation of the united fleet in the Black Sea.

Nicolae Ceausescu presented his opinion on the Commander’s report:

1. This report has not been elaborated and discussed within the Military Council as stipulated in the Statute and should be normal.

2. The RCP and the SR of Romania cannot accept the assessment of this report. If we accept them, we have to come to the conclusion that we are facing a conspicuous war and must adopt extraordinary measures, which does not correspond to reality.

The figures presented as representing NATO military expenses contain an elementary defect: they do not take into account inflation. According to some assessments we are attending a diminution, or a growth less than the growth of military expenses of WTO countries.

It is not right to adopt measures which burden the economy of the socialist countries and give a strong impulses to the arms race.

It is not possible to accept the proposals concerning arming in the following 5 years plan. Each government decides what it thinks, but we cannot commit ourselves to this path;

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this would mean not fulfilling our economic plans and would cause grave prejudice to our economy and to the fight capacity of our army.

It is necessary to make realistic assessments (as were made at point one of the agenda): the perspectives of peace, the possibility to prevent a war and to ensure the arming in a normal peace which could ensure our defense and social-economic development. We should demonstrate our trust in the possibility of détente, in avoiding a war and to open the prospects for the implementation of disarmament.

3. Concerning the considerations about the participation of Romania. It was asked to include these considerations in the report and it was normal to be included.

We long ago raised the problem of clearing up the conditions under which we have to fight commonly with Bulgaria, the USSR and Hungary. These conditions must be established through treaties, through direct understanding between the states. No decision of the commander of the UAF can be valid. We are ready to begin the elaboration of the agreements.

4. Concerning the draft (military) resolution, N. Ceausescu said he has directly discussed it with Kulikov. But the Commander-in-Chief did not take in to account his proposals.

He stressed two “fundamental issues”:

- the draft provides for a rapid change in arming, asking to increase the investments, which is not possible.

He proposed to improve the formulations:

- the problems concerning the UAF statute in wartime.

He agrees to start with the elaboration of this statute but it should not be established now, before examination of its content by the ministries of defense and by the Political Consultative Committee and the governments.

N. Ceausescu did not agree with article 6 of the resolution (which established the leadership in time of war) because the provision of this article could annul completely the political Declaration.

He proposed to reexamine the draft in order to improve it, and stated that the Executive Political Committee of the RCP decided not to accept it in that form because it is in contradiction with the Warsaw Treaty signed in 1955.

Gustav Husak presented the opinion of Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.

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He expressed thanks to the united command for the great work it accomplished the last time.

He considers that the report is real, lucid and the prospects of further development of our armed forces are necessary.

Czechoslovak Socialist Republic entirely agrees with the report and supports the draft resolution.

Eric Honecker

The report of the Commander-in-Chief of the UAF presented with a high responsibility and extreme precision NATO’s preparation for war. The session of Washington.

We have no right to lag behind.

It is high time to perfect the WTO’s defense, according to article 5 of the Treaty and the decisions taken in 1959.

Creation of regional commands and of the fleet are an objective necessity.

The delegation of the GDR accepts the draft resolution and expresses thanks to Marshall Kulikov and his collaborators.

Todor Zhivkov

The Bulgarian delegation approves the report and the proposals presented by comrade Kulikov.

Maybe I have not understood comrade N. Ceausescu’s assertion that the report has not been agreed; we have been informed and Kulikov said he was going to Bucharest.

Historical fact shows that NATO was created first for fighting against the socialist community. So now we are not beginning. It would be a great crime if we do not see this fact. It was not us who unchained the arms race, it was NATO.

Janos Kadar

The delegation of the People’s Republic of Hungary agrees with the report.

Some observations in connection with what was said: concerning the role and the functions of the WTO we have expressed our views yesterday: WTO and its military organs are the guarantee for us and the European peoples to live in peace.

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They are also the most important guarantee for the defense of our socialist achievements.

It would be superfluous to discuss here the financial side and how much the figures correspond to reality. We are aware that the figures and the assessments of the commander fully correspond to reality.

Certainly we wish to allocate our means for development, but now we must assign for strengthening the defense so that the WTO could be at the level of the needs.

The PR of Hungary accepts the proposed measures.

Concerning the leadership in time of war (articles 5 and 6) the Hungarian delegation supports them, because NATO has already decided for the time of war.

Edward Gierek

The delegation of People’s Republic of Poland has listened attentively to the report and supports it and approves the proposals. They correspond to the present situation when NATO is increasing military expenses. The inflation is not essential.

The basis of our peaceful policy consists in the measures of strengthening our defense capacity.

PRP will cooperate for multi-sided strengthening of our defense, which is not affecting the course toward strengthening the peace.

L. I. Brezhnev

It seems that it is not necessary to extend the discussion on this problem. Its essence is well known to everybody. We are living in peaceful conditions but we know how important it is to be ready for any case, for any turning.

We regret that the Romanians have a different point of view, opposed to all delegations.

Gustav Husak

All delegations have presented their positions. The delegations of six countries have expressed their agreement.

In connection with the fact that the Romanian delegation does not agree it would be possible to inscribe its separate point-of-view in the protocol; then the decision will be binding for those who have accepted it.

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N. Ceausescu

Concerning the ideas of comrade Husak as chairman:

I have asked and I propose once more to reexamine the draft resolution, to take a pause toward this end.

If no, you are assuming the entire responsibility for the consequences.

It is possible to elaborate a decision acceptable for all.

Gustav Husak

Comrade N. Ceausescu has repeated the point of view of the Romanian delegation.

I do not see the sense of a pause in order to reexamine this text.

Nobody can impede us from taking care of our defense.

N. Ceausescu

I ask you to have in view that we will be obligated to inform the Central Committee and the Great National Assembly about this decision. We cannot make a secret of this decision for our people and for the legal authorities.

G. Husak

We take note of the position of comrade Nicolae Ceausescu.

Then he proposed that the final communiqué be presented on radio and TV.

As conclusion of the meeting:

Our two day meeting is a new important stage for deepening our cooperation and strengthening the unity of the WTO member socialist countries.

We have reaffirmed our devotion to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and socialist internationalism, to develop our cooperation in all fields.

We have examined and adopted new measures for strengthening our defense capacity.

We thank the great USSR and CPSU, and comrade L. I. Brezhnev for his initiative to organize this meeting and for the profound impression of his speech.


Footnotes

[1] After the 1968 military intervention in Czechoslovakia, the Parliament of Romania decided that the Romanian Army would not participate in Warsaw Pact military exercises and no such exercises would be admitted on Romanian territory. [back]