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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October, 1976


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    An analysis of the November 1976 plenary session of the socialist countries' permanent commission of scientific institutions discussion about issues of European security and cooperation.
    "Material for Discussion in the "Permanent Commission on Issues of European Security"," October, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA: MfAA C 385/78
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From 9-13 November 1976 the plenary session of the socialist countries' permanent commission of scientific institutions had its plenary session in Sofia about issues of European security and cooperation, entitled: "Current issues in the development of the détente process and in peaceful cooperation in Europe", in which representatives of the institutes for international relations of [various] socialist states participated (USSR, CSSR, PRB, PRP, PRH, GDR).

Babelsberg, October 1976[1]

for discussion in the "Permanent Commission on Issues of European Security",
Sofia, November 1976


3. About the main imperialist powers' modification of strategy and politics towards the socialist states

3.1 Under the influence of the internal and external factors mentioned, the strategy and politics of the realistic imperialist forces shows the tendency to continue to adapt to the necessities of peaceful coexistence with both a policy of state monopolistic capitalism and a policy of containing the revolutionary world process.
First, the level, intensity and speed of the development of relations with the socialist states is to be used as a lever for driving a wedge between the community of socialist states and the two other principal revolutionary trends. [2] In this sense they are trying to interpret the recognition of the inviolability of the territorial status quo as sanctifying and cementing the existing "social status quo" in the capitalist world and, according to this rationale, they are trying to protect the area of capitalist rule and its sphere of influence against social and revolutionary processes, against influences from the socialist system.

Second, the development of cooperation between socialist and capitalist states is to be used for systematically and permanently influencing the economic, political and ideological processes in the countries of the socialist community of states, in order to induce the erosion of their social order. This goes along with speculations about the long-term instrumentalisation of internal contradictions and difficulties [in the socialist countries] in the interest of a purposeful imperialist policy of differentiation. [3] […]

3.2 According to these aims, in the aftermath of Helsinki, the leading imperialist statesmen have tried to define more accurately the contents and character of their strategy towards the socialist states. Diverging formulations notwithstanding, like "containment of Soviet power without global war" (Kissinger) [4], "peace through strength" (Ford) [5], "realistic policy of détente" (Genscher) [6], "balanced détente" (Schmidt) [7], or "maintenance of a balance of power" (Giscard d'Estaing) [8], these statements are expressions of the nucleus of the strategic and political common interests between the main imperialist powers. […]

3.3 The contradictions in the attitudes of the main imperialist powers towards continuing and deepening the process of détente are being increased both by new references to certain elements of the "containment doctrine" from the times of the Cold War, and the attempt to implement them [these elements] within the framework of a policy partially taking into account the requirements of peaceful coexistence.
Characteristic indications are: […]
- further practical development of cooperation with the socialist states in several areas and the profession to sticking to the obligations resulting from the Helsinki Final Act [9] and other treaties go along with increasing attempts to partially escape them or to intervene in the internal affairs of socialist states to the detriment of existing agreements. In this sense there is resistance against lifting the discrimination against socialist states in trade and – differentiated – against any further contractual embodiment of basic principles in the relations between socialist and capitalist states on a bilateral level, as well as against any institutionalisation of political consultations. On the other hand, special emphasis is increasingly being laid on unjustified demands towards the socialist states concerning the exchange of "people, opinions and information".

3.4 In the context of the above-mentioned shift of emphasis in the imperialist strategy and policy towards the socialist states, special attention is being paid to NATO's political and military consolidation, and its [NATO's] relevance for the application of the so-called double-strategy is being enhanced. This goes along with a stronger foreign policy emphasis on transatlantic cooperation and on further developing integration in Western Europe. Within NATO, the EEC, as well as in other European institutions, there is an increasing tendency of coordination between the main imperialist powers towards the socialist states. This is especially true for:
-the field of security and military policy and the attitude towards the socialist states' proposals concerning détente steps in the military area
-the field of economic and trade relations
-the field of ideological competition; with reference to the respective parts of the Helsinki Final Act, emphasis is being laid on demands for "guaranteeing individual human rights". […]

3.6 Within the "realistic policy of détente" the current government of the FRG directs its thrust of attack mainly against the GDR.
There is a focus on:
-the permanent intention of questioning the character of the frontiers between the two German states according to international law, and the permanent intention – based on one-sided interpretations of the Helsinki Final Act and the Basic Treaty [10] – to force the GDR to change its regime at the frontiers and, in the middle and long term, to open up possibilities for ideological infiltration;
-the attempt to abuse the Quadripartite Agreement [11] so as increasingly to tie West Berlin to the FRG, thereby increasing the possibilities for interfering in the GDR's internal affairs, and thus reaching an internationalisation of specific FRG interests through the inclusion of West Berlin in the political integration agreements within the EEC. […]


[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] Titoism and Maoism are the two other revolutionary trends the authors refer to. On Tito's relationship with Stalin, see Leonid Gibiankij: The Soviet Bloc and the Initial State of the Cold War – Archival Documents on Stalin's Meetings with Communist Leaders of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, 1946-1948, Cold War International History Bulletin No. 10, Washington, D.C., 1998. See also Svetozar Rajak: Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union in the early Cold War, London 2006. For one of the most recent accounts of the Sino-Soviet split, see Dong Wang: The Quarrelling Brothers – New Chinese Archives and a Reappraisal of the Sino-Soviet Split, 1959-1962, Cold War International History Working Paper No. 49.

[3] "Differentiation" was communist jargon for Western or bourgeois "subversion", aiming at breaking up the common front ("unity") of workers and/or of the socialist states.

[4] Henry A. Kissinger was National Security Advisor to American Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford (1969-1975) and Secretary of State from 1973-1977.

[5] Gerald R. Ford succeeded Richard Nixon as President of the USA. His tenure was from 1974 to 1976.

[6] Hans Dietrich Genscher (FDP) succeeded Walter Scheel as the FRG's Foreign Minister. His term of office was from 1974 to 1992.

[7] Helmut Schmidt (SPD) was the FRG's chancellor from 1974 to 1982.

[8] Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (Républicains Indépendents) was French President from 1974 to 1981.

[9] The CSCE negotiations resulted in the Helsinki Final Act, which was signed in Helsinki by the Prime Ministers and Heads of State of the 35 participating states. For the text, see .

[10] The Basic Treaty between the FRG and the GDR was signed on 21 December 1972. For the text, see Ingo von Muench (ed.): Dokumente des geteilten Deutschland, vol. 2 (since 1968), pp. 301ff.

[11] The Quadripartite Agreement was signed on 3 September 1971. Ibid., pp. 94ff.