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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 07, 1958

UNSIGNED DRAFT CODE MESSAGE TO DIRECTOR BLUSZTAIN

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    This message summarizes responses to the Rapacki Plan from countries in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and North America.
    "Unsigned Draft Code Message to Director Blusztain," January 07, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polskie dokumenty dyplomatyczne 1958 (Warszawa: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2011), Document #4, pp.8-12. Translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208841
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4

January 7, unsigned draft code message: assessment of response to the Rapacki Plan

Warsaw, cJan. 7c, c19c58c

Urgent

cDir. Blusztajn

I am sending draft of report regarding the Rapacki Plan, requesting remarks. Jan. 7c, gg

l. General assessment of the current reception of the Rapacki Plan[1]

a) echoes in Western government circles :

Based on the current press reports from our stations, we could infer that the Polish initiative received warmest welcome in Norway and Denmark. From the very beginning, the Canadian government was favorably interested in the initiative. Recently, there were also signs of such interest in London (Lloyd’s television interview).

The last two weeks have brought on certain changes in the position of certain west European governments, when compared with the time immediately after minister Rapacki’s diplomatic talks. Thus we should note last week’s statement of the Bonn spokesman, where he speaks about “the Bonn government’s considering” the Polish proposal, which is a certain mitigation of Adenauer’s negative stance of last month. On the other hand, the French prime minister (Gaillard and Pineau) took a clearly negative stance. The statement by Larock, the Belgian foreign minister, halsoh described the Rapacki Plan as insufficient. In both cases (France and Belgium), the public statements by politicians from hboth countriesh, depart from the tone and the interests (France and Belgium), from the public statements by politicians from both countries, from the tone and the interest shown in talks with the government circles of our missions  and in conversations with diplomatic envoys of those countries in Warsaw.

The Italian government also took a cautious approach; neither do we have a clear reaction of Austria or Sweden.

As regards the stance of the United States, apart from the hambiguous stanceh and the ambiguous statements by Dulles at the Paris press conference[2]7 (he agreed that it was reasonable to create the nuclear-free zone, but questioned the so-called separate treatment of the FRG, a NATO member), Washington did not take any official stance.

The American press, probably inspired by the DS [US Department of State], initially rather ignored the Polish proposal, but recently we find more statements on the  subject, which are also related to Bulganin’s proposal,[3] expressed in his December letters to the governments of capitalist states.

A definite negative stance toward the Polish plan was that of the Dutch foreign ministry.

Apart from the great powers and west European states, another leader to mention it was Nehru, who supported it.

As of today, we have not received any official response to the December talks conducted by minister Rapacki with ambassadors of three powers and the talks of our representatives in other Atlantic countries. Western press says that the foreign ministries of western countries, chiefly of Great Britain), is drafting instructions for their ambassadors in Warsaw that they conduct conversations with minister Rapacki in order to obtain more precise information about the Polish proposal.

b) the position of socialist states:

In the statements made in the last four weeks, apart from support for the Polish project, two moments deserve particular attention:

Making the creation of the nuclear-free zone conditional on an “accord in this matter is reached between the FRG and the GDR” (Bulganin, Khrushchev);

Suggestions as to extending the nuclear-free zone onto the Scandinavian countries, European neutral states and Hungary (Neues Deutschland).

Yugoslavia offered its full support to the Polish plan.

c) Echoes in the non-government political circles:

The Polish proposal is an object of heated interest in almost every prominent west European periodical. The idea of a nuclear-free zone received support from Le Monde in France, The Times in Great Britain, Die Welt in the FRG.

General support for the Polish proposal also came from social-democratic leaders in: Great Britain — Bevan, the FRG – Ollenhauer, in Belgium – Huysmans, in Norway – Fin Moe, in France – Moch. In the United States partial support for the Polish proposal came from such politicians as Kennan or columnists like Lippman.

2. Chief arguments put forward against the Rapacki Plan:

a) the Polish initiative comes down to destroying NATO's strategic structure:

It is being pointed out that although the Bundeswehr is only in the organizational stage, the German area constitutes the foundation to NATO military structure. Eliminating thermonuclear weapons, the storage facilities as well as the launching pads from this area, will practically move the Atlantic strike forces to the toward the peripheral centers, thus leaving the overwhelming classical, [conventional] Soviet armed forces on the Elbe. Such a transfer would also give advantage to Soviet long-range missiles over the medium-range American missiles that the American side now has.

One reply to this objection came from western journalism, particularly in The Times, and in part from Kennan’s argument that underlined the fictitious character of the very premise that the German area was indispensable for the strategic plans of the Atlantic alliance.

Let us also mention Norstad’s speech of December 23, where he said that “from the military point of view, the Polish proposal to create a nuclear-free zone does not seem to be an obstacle for the system of deploying remote-controlled NATO missiles.”

b) The Polish initiative is aimed at factually creating a situation that “discriminates”

West Germany in the Atlantic camp.

This can probably be reduced to the fear of a slow evolution toward a neutral Germany, and later toward their severance from the Atlantic camp.

c) from the point of view of West German policy, one of the principal arguments is the charge that the creation of nuclear-free zone on both sides of the Elbe means business as usual with respect to German reunification and consolidation of Germany’s division.

d) recently, western journalists and politicians, mostly English, make efforts to probe and find out whether the Rapacki Plan was conceived by the Poles or by the Soviet Union and is now being put forward via us. This is connected with the discussion o Bulganin’s proposals.

e) control system in the nuclear-free zone is meeting with increasing interest. We should assume that this issue would be the main subject of further diplomatic talks.

Certain western circles spread the claim that the nuclear-free zone is not a realistic proposal, because the Soviet Union would never accept a plan that would be acceptable to the West.

3. The Rapacki Plan and other political issues

More and more frequently press discussions and speeches by western politicians link the Polish proposal with other issues, such as withdrawal of foreign troops from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary and with negotiations with the USSR. Circles that are favorably disposed toward the Rapacki Plan (cf. l-a) claim that the most convenient subject matter with the USSR could be the Polish proposal, which could also lead to the withdrawal of foreign troops from Central Europe. The most active in this discussion are the Labor Party circles in Great Britain.

AMSZ, z. 9, w.47, t.627

[1] See PDD 1957, doc. no 283.

[2] US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was in Paris at a session of the Atlantic Council on December 1618, 1957.

[3] On December 10, in Washington, the Soviet ambassador submitted a letter of the Soviet prime minister to President Dwight Eisenhower. Similar letters were submitted to prime ministers of Great Britain and France (December 11), the FRG minister of foreign affairs, and to governments of other NATO states. Furthermore, the Soviet government sent notes to Portugal and Spain and to 83 UN member states and Switzerland. These [documents] contain disarmament proposals, among them commitments of the great powers to refrain from use of nuclear and hydrogen weapons, as well as to cease experiments with those weapons, at least for two, three years; the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in Europe that comprises the FRG, The GDR, Poland and Czechoslovakia, signing a non-aggression pact between NATO And Warsaw Pact members. The proposals were to be discussed at a meeting of leaders of the great powers.

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