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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 08, 1958

CODE MESSAGE NO. 11789 FROM FOREIGN MINISTER RAPACKI TO NASZKOWSKI (MOSCOW)

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    Rapacki reports various reactions from the West to the new version of the Rapacki Plan.
    "Code Message No. 11789 from Foreign Minister Rapacki to Naszkowski (Moscow) ," November 08, 1958, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Polskie dokumenty dyplomatyczne 1958 (Warszawa: Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych, 2011), Document #264, pp.682-684. Translated by Jerzy Giebułtowski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/209012
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264

November 8, code message of the minister foreign affairs

to the party and government delegation (to Moscow)

regarding the reaction of the Western states to the modification

of the plan to establish the nuclear-free zone

Warsaw, Now. 8, 1958        Top secret  

CODE MESSAGE [No] c11789   Nov. 8,  20.50 hrsc

Moscow – Naszkowski cfor the Delegationc

We report the reaction of the West to the new version of the Plan:6[1]

Bonn: MoFA spokesman: too early to take the final position. He sees the main shortcoming in the fact that the new proposals do not advance the German reunification. He believes that discussion over the new version is made more difficult by the current Geneva conferences.

CDU press: the new version does not guarantee the reduction of the military preponderance of the East over the West.

SPD: welcomes the fact that the new version took into consideration the objection of the West. The proposals should be analyzed and seriously negotiated. Ollenhauer said that when the Plan is analyzed, a discussion on German reunification might ensue.

FDP (Mende) halsoh assesses favorably the fact of the Plan’s modification and opposes its rejection without a debate, emphasizing the importance of the partial and regional disarmament agreements.

The independent [newspaper] Die Welt halsoh opposes rejection. Any opponent would be morally obligated to put forward specific counterproposals.

Paris: MoFA spokesman: they appreciate Poland’s efforts to take into consideration the West’s critical remarks. Quai will examine the Polish proposals with greatest care.

Monde hclaims thath the early reactions in Western capitals are far from positive. They believe the new version is chiefly aimed at enabling tactical nuclear armament of the FRG, and that it indirectly advances the efforts at recognition of the GDR by the West and at upholding the status quo in Europe. hFrance Soir claims that the West’s reservations regarding the Plan will be the same as in the case of the original version of the Plan. The purpose of denuclearization was to lead to the withdrawal American troops from Europe. Similar claims can be found in Aurore and La Croix.h Les Echos claims that the NATO Permanent Council studies the new Polish proposals. Populaire says that the plan will be thoroughly analyzed by technical and political experts.

London: FO spokesman: If the new version was aimed at taking into consideration our objections regarding the original plan, and we are grateful for it. We have received no official information from the Polish government yet. When we receive it, we shall give it substantial  attention7[2]

[The] Times ceditionalc h(by MacDonald),h sanctioned by the FO: The new version does not erase the reservation that in the event of conventional forces reduction, no true balance would emerge. The Soviet forces would remain close to the zone, whereas the American [forces] would need to withdraw across the ocean. It follows that any discussion must take place on the basis of general disarmament negotiations.

The attention that would be paid to the new version would depend on the progress or failure of both Geneva conferences.

[The] Economist mentions one advantage of the Plan: the removal of the dangerous prospect of equipping the FRG with nuclear weapons and the opportunity to test the effectiveness of the control system.

Foot in the Daily Herald and Tribune appeals that the Plan be adopted as the basis for talks.

USA: No official reaction yet. The press reports without extensive commentaries.

New York Times of the 6th [of this month] claims that the government circles are worried by the choice of the moment to announce the new version. They wonder whether the Polish proposal does not herald, in the talks about a sudden invasion an attempt to divert attention from an attack from outer space onto a land assault.

Canada: Sieradzki’s conversation at MoFA. They believe that a modification of the plan will erase Canada’s reservations, but would not change the position of the determined opponents of disengagement. The Polish efforts are useful because they mobilize supporters, which would facilitate adoption of the Plan in more favorable circumstances.

Italy: No official reaction. The press reports without any commentaries. The conversation with the editor-in-chief of the Christian Democratic [newspaper] Il Popolo shows that no opposition to the Plan defines the position of the Christian Democratic leadership on the Plan. Any positive public attitude is not an option due to Italy’s alliances and the internal situation.

Those in the [Giuseppe] Saragat circle believe that the new version aims for a balance of forces and therefore should be considered seriously.

Sweden: Erlander said at a press conference that the new version met with an even greater interest in Sweden than originally.

N. Delhi: Nehru said at a press conference: “When the plan was put forward for the first time, we welcomed it. We are still of the opinion that it is the right approach, and it aims at reducing tension. That is why we will welcome it, if it is adopted, even some changes if they are necessary. It is necessary that the plan be discussed, and it cannot be rejected time and time again.”

fRapackif

AMSZ, ZD 6/77, w. 58, t. 816

6 See doc. no 248.

7 By code message of November 6 on the British reactions to modifications to the Rapacki Plan, the ambassador in London reported: “In private conversations primacy is assigned to the question why such an important statement was sent to the press and not via diplomatic channels to the interested governments. They remind us that the British government submitted its reservations to the first version of the plan in the form of a diplomatic note. According to them, your current move is, in a sense a reply to these reservations, but was directed not to governments, but to journalists. The text of the statement refers to the fact that the PRP took into consideration critical remarks of serious circles in the West, but since is not addressed to governments but to the press, one is under the impression that it is rather a matter of a propagandistic gesture made over the head of governments to various opposition groups”; AMSZ, z. 9, w. 53, t. 702.

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