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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 20, 1965

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE POLITICAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE OF THE WARSAW PACT MEMBER STATES, WARSAW

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    (Excerpts) Minutes of discussions of the Warsaw Pact Political Consultative Committee concerning non-proliferation. The Romanian delegation argues against a joint declaration of the Warsaw Pact on non-proliferation for fear that it might be used against China. The other delegations argue that a joint declaration is necessary in order to prevent the creation of the Multilaterall Nuclear Force proposed by NATO.
    "Minutes of the Meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact Member States, Warsaw," January 20, 1965, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AAN, KC PZPR, sygn. 2662, pp. 152-190. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111612
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[Gheorghe Gheorgiu] Dej: Please allow me to say a few words, although I will not say anything new that I have not already said at our meeting. It has to do above all else with the idea of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and the inclusion of a relevant formulation in the Communique [from the meeting]. We already spoke of our position regarding the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. It is true that today many countries, including the USA, are coming forward regarding the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. And not only the USA. Other countries as well (e.g., India) which want to exploit this idea with the goal of linking it to a definite campaign, having as its goal the condemnation of China for the tests it conducted with an atomic weapon. The Indian government, as far as we know, gave instructions to its representatives in other countries to sound out the situation, along with the stance of these countries regarding the aforementioned problem, because it seeks to bring its campaign before the United Nations assembly. It is directed against People's China.... The government of India wants to demand a harsh condemnation of People's China at the UN.

The question arises whether it is useful for us at this time to link the matter [of the MLF] with the question of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons ... when all our exertions are directed against the creation of multilateral nuclear forces. We can think about it, or even better, establish contacts with representatives of China, Korea, Vietnam and other socialist countries and bring them over to our side, to a position opposed to the creation of the MLF. We would achieve in this way at the very least a unity of stances among the socialist countries on this very important international issue. We are not presenting the issue in a way that would oppose the campaign directed against third countries. For us it has to do with the actions of the Indian government, with which our countries maintain good relations; we should use them to influence [India] not to use the tribunal of the UN against People's China. It cannot be ruled out that this is connected with the stance of the USA, which is also presenting the matter of China in the very same way....

... Right now, the government of India is expanding its efforts. We have expressed our regret about this, and it is an unpleasant surprise that the Indian government is undertaking such efforts. Why is it not so sensitive, for example, with regard to the MLF, the question of prohibiting nuclear weapons, or the arms race? Nevertheless, it wants to create a scandal at the UN out of the Chinese matter. This will lead to a worsening of relations between China and India and (it cannot be ruled out) to other unpleasant things. For both the former and the latter country are beginning to engage each other in this way. We have to think out what we should do, [and] we have to appeal to the governments of other countries, in order to calm [the situation] and to approach sensibly the ... resolution of controversial problems....

... I would like to declare with total conviction that we will be making a mistake if we include in the communique such a formulation [i.e., supporting nonproliferation]. The government of India will not fail to exploit it, and we will not be able to oppose it....

Ulbricht: We have to be guided by the fundamental danger. And the fundamental danger now is the USA-FRG atomic bloc. In this regard we must take into account that the Bonn government is the only one putting forward revanchist demands. This does not concern India or any other states. That is, the danger of proliferation of atomic weapons lies in the fact that the FRG will receive such weapons, which it will use for its revanchist goals. That is where the main danger lies that we should come out against.
The Romanian comrades, however, are trying to skirt the problem and turn attention to India's initiative. [Dej tried to respond at this point.]

Let me finish, Comrade Dej, I did not interrupt you.

The attempt to skirt the fundamental problem represents a great danger for the countries of the Warsaw Pact because it would mean that they are not coming out against the proliferation of atomic weapons. The FRG will receive the right to jointly decide upon the use of nuclear arms, and we are supposed to just declare that we are in favor of a treaty on the non-use of such arms?
Currently, the fact of possession of nuclear arms creates a concrete situation in itself, and leads to certain activities. This is a very complex problem. We believe that the most realistic move is to strive for the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons.
The USA possesses nuclear weapons and the most important question now is in what way and under what conditions it will give the Federal Republic of Germany access to them, how broad of a right the FRG will have to use these arms. In this lies the main danger.
I am certain that the Chinese comrades will support our stance. They told us that they are against multilateral nuclear forces among the NATO countries, that they are against the proliferation of nuclear weapons by the USA and their transfer to the FRG, and I believe that this is the most proper point of view. I do not doubt that we will easily be able to agree with the Chinese comrades, because this is not a matter that is open to discussion.
Dej: If the Chinese comrades respond in the affirmative, then I will carry out a self-criticism not only before you, but also before the Chinese Comrades.

Ulbricht: But we have come together here as the countries of the Warsaw Pact to talk about a concrete enemy. We cannot consult about all our resolutions in advance with every country. After all, we have a treaty that was concluded by certain states. In signing it, we agreed to a particular order that we have to abide by.

We believe that the formulation on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons must be added to the communique. If we do not include this formulation, it will mean that we are not against the West Germans receiving atomic weapons.

If we come forward only later) after the FRG receives these weapons (with a proposal forbidding the use of these weapons, it will not be any policy. The Chinese comrades will not do that, they will not sign.

I ask you, Comrade Dej, are you in favor of our going on record in the communique that we are against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the form of the MLF--which would mean that the West Germans will receive the right to participate in the use and concentration of these weapons or, to put it bluntly, will mean the joint atomic armament of the USA and the FRG?

Should we go on record in the communique in this fashion? What do you think?

Dej: We completely agree that it be recorded in the communique that we all believe that the Germans should not achieve access to nuclear weapons. But we cannot link this idea with the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. For that is a much broader idea. We can link it to the regime established in Germany on the basis of the treaties concluded after the Second World War.
Ulbricht: You speak of the Germans--which Germans do you mean?

Dej: The Federal Republic of Germany.
Novotny: We should specify certain things. The Americans, for example, also assert that the FRG cannot receive nuclear weapons. We do not want that--they say--and for that very reason we are organizing joint nuclear forces.

For us, it has to do with the West Germans not receiving nuclear weapons in any form.
Dej: We should write in the communique that the FRG cannot receive nuclear weapons in any form.

Novotny: Such a situation has now developed that we must take a stance. Either accept it as it is, or work to change the situation. And the question here does not apply just to Germany.

Gomulka: Clarifies the Polish stance regarding the MLF. We assess the multilateral nuclear forces as a proliferation of nuclear weapons to states that do not yet possess them. That is why we are coming out against these forces, without limiting the question to the FRG and the NATO states.

The Romanian comrades--and as Comrade Dej assert--also the Chinese Comrades speak only of the FRG and NATO.

Dej: It has to do only with the FRG and preventing it from gaining access to nuclear weapons.

Gomulka: For us the term AMLF@ is a synonym for the term ?proliferation.? Tell us yourselves: If German units join the multilateral nuclear forces under an American command that receives nuclear weapons--is that not a proliferation of nuclear weapons? And 25 battleships?

After all, these are only the first steps. Schooling German units in the USA and preparing them to handle nuclear weapons is that proliferation?

Maurer: Of course.

Gomulka: For me it is a matter of not dividing these matters, that the MLF be treated as a proliferation of nuclear weapons. We are against that. The Romanian comrades agree with us in our assessment of the MLF, and if they agree--they should also come out against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

But you, Comrades, apply this only to the FRG and not to all the NATO countries. I think that you would also not want other NATO countries--e.g., Turkey, Belgium, Holland, etc.--to possess nuclear weapons. You should also specify this.

If we proceed only with that proposal--that will be our weakness, because when they ask us about other countries, we will have nothing to say.

Second, for some reason, Comrade Dej has not taken into account the fact that the current situation is somewhat different than several months ago. Before the experimental detonation of an atomic weapon in China, the idea of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons was also leveled directly against the Chinese Republic. Now, this problem no longer exists. China counts itself among the nuclear powers, and we are not coming out against China. This means that there is a different situation.

Let us see now what the intentions of the Chinese comrades are in this regard, to which countries the People's Republic of China would like to proliferate nuclear weapons. I do not know which [countries], and I think that the PRC absolutely does not want to proliferate these weapons. But the danger lies in the fact that such countries as Japan and India--i.e., the very two countries that are coming out against the PRC--can produce atomic weapons with relative ease. If every state accepted a treaty banning nuclear weapons, that would also lie in the interest of People's China and the entire socialist camp. That is the second matter that Comrade Dej should take into consideration.
Third matter: we can find many documents--our declarations and statements, adopted together with the Chinese--in which we expressed our coordinated stance regarding the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Those are declarations from the Warsaw Pact and from the international conferences of the communist and workers' parties.

We all stand in favor of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and under new conditions we are reaffirming our old declarations.
The fourth matter that I would like to touch upon is linked to the communique. In our discussions, Com. Dej came out in opposition to the draft treaty that Com. Ulbricht proposed to bring before the UN in the name of the socialist countries. That matter is closed. [The question] no longer has to do with whether the members of the commission can argue about the text of the treaty. There will not even be time for precise study of all of its provisions. We also have comments regarding the contents of the treaty.

But at this moment, the discussion is not about the draft [nonproliferation] treaty, but about the communique, about whether we should add to it a formulation stating that we are declaring ourselves to be opposed in general to the proliferation of nuclear weapons to new countries. We have already declared ourselves against the MLF. I cannot understand why you are opposed to such a general formulation. If you were against the treaty, that would be understandable, but your opposition to the communique is not understandable.

Now regarding the UN. You are saying that India will be coming forward with its proposal. But there are more countries that might come forward with proposals directed against the PRC--e.g., Ireland, which preceded even India and presented a proposal signed by Sweden, Norway, Brazil, Burma, the USA, England, Canada, and other countries coming forwards with proposals on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. It is a matter of course that such a proposal will be presented at the UN.

Novotny: The entire world knows that we are consulting about this now.

Gomulka: And now we are supposed to come out at the UN in opposition to the idea of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons!?
After all, this is a matter of our entire policy. We should orient ourselves to what sort of treaty it is that they are proposing....

... It is clear to us that achieving a ban on the use of nuclear weapons will be a very difficult matter and at the current stage of development of the international situation, the West will not agree to it. We are presenting more far-reaching demands--the destruction of stockpiles of these weapons and even--this is already a new stage--universal disarmament.

Thus the question of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons lies, so to say, as the first and easiest step. The second step might be a ban on their use.

I do not have anything against your talking with the Chinese comrades, but don't we have our own minds, can't we evaluate the situation? We are not coming out here in opposition to the interest of the People's Republic of China.

If our initiative is rejected and the NATO states create an Atlantic, or some other kind of multilateral nuclear forces, then the problem will be different. Then we will assemble again and confer about how to proceed in the changed situation. Could it be that we will decide whether or not to give nuclear weapons to the Warsaw Pact states? In other words, then the situation will be different.

You think the same as we do, but you are afraid that this will create further differences between us and the Chinese comrades, that it might inflame the situation? But after all, parties can mutually influence each other. We may also be able to influence the views of the Chinese comrades.

Maurer: ... The problem of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons is a broad matter of universal character and affects all the states of the world. There are both advocates and opponents to the idea. Currently, we have found ourselves in a situation in which we are supposed to take a stance on this problem, to declare ourselves either for or against it.

The Romanian delegation is guided by the following fact: the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact states decided to gather in order to declare itself against the danger of nuclear war on the part of West Germany. Com. Ulbricht's entire speech, as well as all of your speeches, mainly had in view this same goal, and that is normal....
Why are we against a formulation on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and its placement in the communique? Because several socialist countries to not support the idea. It would be good to add that idea to our fighting arsenal only after we are certain that all socialist countries will support us.
You, Comrade Gomulka, have expended much energy and employed good logic in order to prove that the Chinese comrades (and not only they) will support your point of view. It seems to me that it would be easier to simply discuss the matter with them. Moreover, we will not only need the consent of the socialist countries, but also non-socialist and even developing capitalist countries. Do you believe, for example, that France will be in favor of the formulation on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons?

Gomulka: Yes, that's what I think. We should be certain of that. France is one of the leading states in the struggle against the atomic armament of the FRG....
Gomulka: I have one question. Do you consider our earlier declarations regarding the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons to be invalid?

Maurer: I did not say that. The Romanian position can be reduced to the idea that we always link the question of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons with the much broader question of concluding a treaty on nuclear disarmament....

* * *

Brezhnev: First of all, I want to clarify and ask Com. Dej and Maurer whether what you are saying (to refrain from such a formulation at this time) is the personal opinion of the Romanian Workers' party, or whether you are subordinating [your opinion] to an understanding with the Chinese comrades? I would like to clarify why I am posing this question. Our party has always had and does have its own opinion regarding the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, and we do not intend to retreat from that opinion....

So much depends on the clarification because it is important for my further presentation that I know I repeat whether the stance voiced by you is the principled position of your own party, or whether you want to consult with the Chinese comrades as well.
If you are in favor of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons as a matter of principle, we are glad, and we do not have anything against your seeking the opinion of the Chinese comrades.

In my address I said that it would probably be useful to bring up the question of the non-armament of West Germany with nuclear weapons in the UN assembly, to the extent that People's China will associate itself with such an initiative.
If I understand you well, you have your own stance, and your party declares itself to be in principle in favor of ... nonproliferation...

Maurer: Our stance is as follows: We are in favor of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons as a first step, closely linked with nuclear disarmament. We support the idea of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons because it is a good idea, but we oppose adding it to the communique from a tactical point of view; in the interests of better organizing our struggle, we oppose adding it to the communique.

Brezhnev:... I am speaking in the name of the CPSU CC. Nobody is against universal disarmament, but it seems to me that there was mention in the Declaration and Statement from the Moscow conferences of the international communist movement of 1957 and 1960 that we should strive for disarmament by various means, including the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. We all signed those documents then, including the Chinese comrades.

On this question, there are no differences between us. Another matter, and this is already a separate issue, should we add such a formulation to the communique?
In our opinion, repeating and accumulating all our old positions in a document does not strengthen the document. The document should be short, sharp....

... We are sitting in the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party at an extremely important historical juncture.... Simply remember how it was before and compare it with what is being done today. The Potsdam Agreement? It has been dissolved. Step by step, the imperialists are preparing for war. The revanchists dream of revenge. The Americans want to exploit this force ... of over 30 million revanchists.

There has also been a process of secret armament. The Americans are openly selling atomic fuel for West German reactors. Officially, they say that it is for peaceful uses. But it is clear to specialists that the uranium that is being burned in them can yield plutonium, which is indispensable for atomic missiles. The Germans assert that they are preparing rockets for space research and similar goals. But I seriously doubt that the West Germans are truly interested in outer space. It is revenge that interests them.

We should demonstrate flexibility and courage and take steps that will demonstrate our readiness to give it to the imperialists in the teeth. We cannot permit ourselves to lag behind public opinion, [we] cannot permit ourselves to lose its trust.
If we do not affirm our stance in favor of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons now, the imperialists will say: ?They lacked courage and will swallow the proliferation of nuclear weapons.?...

Should we add to the communique a formulation regarding the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons? Personally, I am for it, although there may be other forms. What is important is that you say that the Romanian Workers' Party supports nonproliferation in principle. Hence, we can discuss the issue of whether to add the formulation [on nonproliferation] ... to the communique or not, and we can also think up a number of other forms.
The USSR, for example, might come forward with a relevant proposal at the UN assembly, and the other socialist countries not as members of the Warsaw Pact, but as [individual] states can voice their support for it.... Otherwise, the initiative might slip from our hands, and we might find ourselves left behind. Yes, it is a question of prestige....

Maurer: I would like to ask, why must we decide today whether to present to the UN a joint proposal on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, and why can't we speak about it after consultations with other fraternal parties?

Brezhnev: Because we gathered together for exactly that, to decide the matter now. Do we have to assemble again in two weeks? We all agreed, after all, to inform them. But even if they do not agree, that will not cause us to change our opinion. Similarly, if the Romanian comrades have their own principled opinion, it will remain unchanged, regardless of any consultations. We cannot after all postpone our decisions until we consult with other countries e.g., with Indonesia, which is also affected by the issue....

* * *

Novotny ... We might of course reproach the German comrades for viewing the matter too narrowly, linking it to German interests. You might demand a change in their formulations. But one party ... is putting the issue forward, and we all came here to discuss it. We believe that reducing the issue of the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons to only the FRG is politically unacceptable. It's not just the FRG that is being discussed. It has to do with a general ban against the proliferation of these weapons....

... Let the Romanian comrades forgive me, but if we proceed in accordance with their suggestion, then the entire world will know that we did not achieve an understanding, that we did not come to a unified stance through the fault of the Romanian comrades. We are here in a close circle, among communists. So we can state things bluntly. The whole world is waiting for a reaction. The entire Western press is expecting the Romanian delegation to arrive with a different stance. I am putting this bluntly and ask the Romanian comrades not to be insulted.

Dej: Public opinion around the world expects us to declare ourselves against multilateral nuclear forces that is, we will declare ourselves regarding matter for which we have now gathered....

* * *

Gomulka: It is already 1:00 p.m. We have little time left. We talked about whether to add to the communique the issue of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons which will be brought before the UN assembly. You [the Romanians] were against it, and we will not include the addition regarding the UN in the communique. But we are participating in our session as members of the Warsaw Pact. Comrade Brezhnev presented the stance of the CPSU, which we all support you as well including [the idea] that we should contact the other socialist states that are not members of the Warsaw Pact and coordinate with them. It cannot be ruled out that they will oppose bringing the matter to the UN, but this does not mean that one of the socialist countries or several countries will not present it at the UN. That is their sovereign right. We are thus finished with the first issue.

Let us turn now to the second issue arising from our discussion. The Romanian comrades have proposed consultations here on a broad range of subjects. Consultations between the member countries of the Warsaw Pact are thus all the more necessary. Comrade Ulbricht came forward with a proposal, supported by the Soviet comrades, calling for our acceptance of an internal statute that would obligate the ministers of foreign affairs of the Warsaw Pact states to come together periodically for consultations.
This arises from the resolutions of the Warsaw Pact, in which there is mention of consultations. We are also a Consultative Committee. But it would be difficult for us to gather three times a year. Our ministers of foreign affairs should systematically gather and consult on current questions. We should charge them with such a responsibility by means of an internal statute, which will not be subject to publication.

Maurer: We already responded to that some time ago when Khrushchev wrote to us on the matter. We are fundamentally opposed to the creation of such an organ because the Political Consultative Committee is already an organ of a permanent character.

Gomulka: We are not interested in the creation of such an organ. We will order the ministers of foreign affairs to gather for consultations to the extent that it is necessary.

Maurer: There is a great lack of clarity here and a confusion of ideas. The Political [Consultative] Committee was created on the basis of the Treaty, which was signed by representatives of all the member countries, which received the necessary mandate from their countries' governments. In this way, the Political Committee was created as the forum that signed the treaty.
In the Political Committee, government delegations participate. That can be ministers of foreign affairs, other ministers, or special representatives. Nothing prevents the ministers of foreign affairs from gathering when the need arises. But why do we need to create yet another organ--beyond the Political Consultative Committee--with a permanent character that would give orders to other representatives[?].

Gomulka: The ministers possess the powers granted to them by their governments. A meeting of ministers is not a permanent organ that would replace the Consultative Committee. For example, in preparation for our current conference, the deputy [foreign] ministers gathered earlier....

Dej: Nobody is preventing our ministers from gathering and exchanging views. Why is a special statute necessary for this matter?

Brezhnev: In order to give expression to our unity and our striving for more consolidated work.

Dej: Neither the ministers of foreign affairs nor their deputies will define the policy of our countries; they will carry out the directives they receive. If any of our countries comes forward with such a proposition, we should define why we are calling the meeting and for what issue.
Gomulka: Of course, we would demand that, for we believe that there are too few consultations among us. They are necessary for the sake of working out a common line. For example, Khrushchev did not consult with us about his desire to go visit the FRG. And after all, that affected all of us. Or a second example: Rapacki came forward at the UN with a proposal related to the question of European security. We feel guilty that we did not consult with the other socialist countries on this issue, although the proposal was presented in a very general form. Now, we would like to consult about its concrete contents. If you do not want to participate, we will consult with those countries that want to. Many events occur in the international arena. Don't you think that we should exchange views on these subjects?

Dej: Fine, but why a statute?

Gomulka: And why shouldn't we approve a statute? Until now, there was no statute, and countBhow many consultations were there?

Dej: And what guarantee do you have that they will take place now?

Gomulka: If we approve the statute and the Romanian government demands--a Romanian minister presents such a proposal--then we will be obligated to participate in such a consultation.

Dej: If it has to do with imposing moral obligations, there is no need to approve a statute....

Ulbricht: In the course of the last year-and-a-half, no consultations occurred; that is, we did not carry out the resolutions of the Warsaw Pact, despite the fact that individual states had a number of [political] initiatives. We want to insure that the resolutions of the Warsaw Pact are carried out by regularly convening such meetings....

Dej: We would ask that these issues be left aside because we want to have time to reflect upon the text of the communique.

Gomulka: I want to be precise. You are opposed to approving a statute regarding regular meetings of the [foreign] ministers?

Dej: Yes, we are opposed to a statute....


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