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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 08, 1958

RECORD OF CONVERSATION AT A DINNER GIVEN BY THE FRENCH AMBASSADOR DE CARBONELL ON JAN. 3, 1958

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    The French ambassador leads a discussion on the feasibility of the Rapacki Plan, including potential obstacles and benefits.
    "Record of Conversation at a Dinner Given by the French Ambassador De Carbonell on Jan. 3, 1958," January 08, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polskie dokumenty dyplomatyczne 1958 (Warszawa: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2011), Document #6, pp.13-15. Translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/208853
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6

January 8, deputy minister Naszkowski’s record of conversations

with diplomats accredited in Warsaw regarding the Rapacki Plan

Warsaw Jan. 8, 1958

Top secret

Record

of conversation at a dinner given by the French ambassador De Carbonell

on Jan. 3, 1958.

Apart from the host, the following took part in the conversation: US ambassador Beam, Yugoslav ambassador Milatowicz, Swiss envoy Gygax, and several lower-rank diplomats.

The discussion was initiated and kept going by the French ambassador. The US ambassador rather kept a distance, apparently in order to avoid controversy. It is possible, however, that the Frenchman initiated the conversation at Beam’s suggestion or in agreement with him. The others threw in loose remarks.

The conversation concerned the Rapacki Plan. The diplomats admitted that the plan was quite welcome, and tried to probe me how far are we prepared to go in the control department. They were interested both in the scope and type of control and in the structure of the control organ. I made only general statements to the effect that we are ready to consider control methods that are very effective, i.e., varied, and the control organ could have different make-up and include only the members of the accord or representatives of third-party states or both categories.

An exchange of words ensued regarding the feasibility of stock and installation inspection. Beam said that it was not completely feasible. Without going into the heart of the matter I said that no system of control could fully guarantee security without a minimum of trust of both parties.

De Carbonell raised the GDR as an obstacle for a possible accord, both in terms of signing an agreement and of agents of control (the FRG would not allow to include GDR representatives on the inspectors’ team). I stressed that surely those present have no doubt that when Poland put forward its initiative was not trying to maneuver the FRG or the western powers in a direct or indirect recognition of the GDR as some press titles seem to imply. (My interlocutors agreed with me). Obviously, the GDR is our ally, and we are connected by definite ideological bonds and those under the Warsaw Pact, and we are interested in its growing international prestige. Any kind of discrimination of the GDR is also out of the question. But this does not mean that we are blind to certain current realities.

Probably the chief (and probably recognized) advantage of our plan is a realistic approach to the current international situation. So, if there is mutual readiness to negotiate our plan as well as good will, I have no doubt that it would be possible to find ways to implement our accord and avoid collateral complications without violating the rights and the prestige of any of the parties.

In turn, my interlocutors asked how we envisage the way to commit the great powers that have a nuclear arsenal on the territory of the proposed zone. I avoided specifying our position,  emphasizing that would have to be a result of consultation, primarily between the powers. What is interesting from this point of view are the latest proposals of prime minister Bulganin. In any case I believe that we would need to consider both the commitments to their own actions and, perhaps, the guarantee that all the participants in the zone would execute them.

The Swiss envoy asked why we speak so little in public about our plan (sic!). The others protested strongly. Beam threw in a jocular remark that it is hard to complain about insufficient 'publicity' in this case. The Swiss envoy explained that he referred to our failure,  to publicize min. Rapacki’s demarches to some of the diplomats. The remaining diplomats replied on my behalf and emphasized in a congratulatory tone the very fact that we avoid what is described as 'propaganda', and that thanks to our use of diplomatic channels our plan is treated 'seriously'.

The French ambassador expressed doubt whether in view of the modern weapons, especially missiles, it is really important to move the nuclear missile launchers and stockpiles several hundred kilometers West and East.

I admitted that this is not strategically important, and that war can be started even if there is a nuclear-free zone. But that would be an argument against our plan if we were to consider it from a narrow military point of view. The plan’s chief advantage is how its implementation would influence the atmosphere, the détente. Also, if the plan were to be implement, it would be a tangible proof that agreement can be reached with respect to such difficult problems, which in turn, beat on further and broader disarmament agreements.

De Carbonell said he was convinced (at least overtly), and the others also agreed with the arguments presented.

I believe that this conversation is to be treated as a probe before the announced démarche of the three powers to our MoFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs].

P.S. In the course of the discussion, Beam made vigorous attempts to impugn the widely spread opinion of Dulles’s 'fading star'. He stressed that Dulles allegedly enjoys Eisenhower’s complete confidence. This might have been a fine allusion to our press that recently advertises quite loudly Dulles’s lack of popularity or even his quick retirement.

/–/ Naszkowski

AMSZ, z. 23, w. 14, t. 163

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