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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 27, 1970


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    A discussion about the East Germany, West Germany, and the Sino-Soviet border conflict.
    "Embassy of the GDR in the PR China, 'Note about a Conversation of the Ambassador of the GDR in the PR China, Comrade Hertzfeldt, with the Deputy Foreign Minister of the PR China, Qiao Guanhua, on 24 August 1970 between 17:00 and 18:00 hours'," August 27, 1970, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PA AA, C 1364/74. Translated by Bernd Schaefer.
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Embassy of the GDR in the PR China

Beijing, 27 August 1970


about a Conversation of the Ambassador of the GDR in the PR China,

Comrade Hertzfeldt, with the

Deputy Foreign Minister of the PR China,

Qiao Guanhua,

on 24 August 1970 between 17:00 and 18:00 hours

in the Chinese Foreign Ministry

Participants from the GDR Embassy:

Comrade Eller, 3rd Secretary

Comrade Kunz, 3rd Secretary

Participants from the Chinese Foreign Ministry:

Li Lianqing, Deputy Head of Main Department Soviet Union and Europe

Wang Yanyi, Employee in the GDR Section

A [female] Notetaker

The GDR Embassy had asked for a meeting on the 19th or 20th of August. On 24 August, the Foreign Ministry of the PRC informed that Qiao Guanhua will receive Comrade Hertzfeldt on the 24th of August at 17:00 hours.

In opening, Comrade Hertzfeldt referred to their recent meeting, where Qiao had asked for further information as soon as the Comrade Ambassador will have obtained some. Now Comrade Hertzfeldt referred to the meanwhile publication of the text of the treaty between the Soviet Union and the FRG[1] [Federal Republic of Germany] and to other publications on this subject. He explained the statement of the GDR Council of Ministers about the treaty. Among else, Comrade Hertzfeldt stated this treaty contains in fact the recognition of the Status Quo in Europe. For the first time, the West German government had to make a commitment under international law to respect the borders in Europe, today as well as in the future. This includes expressis verbis also the recognition of the Oder Neisse Border[2] and the border between both German states. Territorial integrity of all European states in their current borders is recognized, this means also those of the State of the GDR. In the statement by the Council of Ministers, this complex was defined as the core of the treaty. Comrade Hertzfeldt explained why in this declaration by the Council of Ministers the treaty was called as being realistic and up-to-date. The declaration does underline that the conclusion of this treaty is a result of the peace policy of the Soviet Union and the socialist community of states.

Comrade Hertzfeldt added that the West German side had also to make some statements of intent, with the result that first it will not represent the GDR abroad respectively want to act in its name, second it will further the membership of both German states in the United Nations, and third that it will support the convening of an European Security Conference.

Referring to the respective exchange of memoranda between Bonn and the Western Allies[3], the statement by the Council of Ministers also encourages the Western Allies to reconsider their relationship with the GDR. Today there is no obstacle any more to not normalize relations with the GDR and reject its accession to the United Nations. The commitment by the FRG to raise territorial claims neither now nor in the future, is very important because it is also binding for future [West German] federal governments. With this treaty, normalization between third countries and the GDR, as well as between the FRG and the GDR, are wide open. This treaty is a defeat for West German revanchism. At the last meeting, Comrade Minister [Qiao Guanhua] had correctly pointed out the dangerousness of the reactionary forces in West Germany. This treaty was a hard blow to them. So it is not surprising that the are raging about it.

This treaty does entirely represent the policy and interests of the GDR. All corresponding questions were, as usual, discussed during all phases of preparation and conclusion of the treaty in coordination between the Soviet Union and the GDR.      

Qiao Guanhua thanked Comrade Ambassador for the information. He said there are obviously many things one could still talk about in this context. He wants to ask Comrade Ambassador about his personal opinion on two issues. Will the United States, England, and France soon recognize the GDR, and will the accession of the GDR to the United Nations be resolved in the coming weeks?

Comrade Hertzfeldt replied that in the future certainly more countries will recognize the GDR. There are indications from some, especially neutral and Afro-Asian countries that they are seriously considering this question. Maybe there will also be a continuation of the process initiated by the meetings between the two German government leaders.[4] All these factors had mutual impacts. As the establishment of relations [by certain countries] with the GDR had a certain impact on those meetings, the latter themselves will have some effects in return. The United States, England, and France will be unable to ignore these developments permanently, especially since realistic insights are growing without doubt within those countries.

Regarding the second question, Comrade Hertzfeldt explained based on facts that our constructive proposals for an equal membership of both German in the United Nations have received a lively and positive reception. There are even those who believe that an accession of both German states to the United Nations is the best possible way to resolve the complicated question of recognition, without being forced to expose themselves too much. Obviously it is difficult to make concrete statements on both issues about timelines and procedures.

Qiao Giuanhua asked how many countries have established diplomatic relations with the GDR. Comrade Hertzfeldt told the number and added it had doubled within last year. Responding to a respective question by Qiao, he said that just recently Ceylon[5] had established diplomatic relations with the GDR.

Here Qiao said that there are currently three women in the world who are Prime Ministers: Bandaranaike[6], Gandhi[7], and Meir[8]. Ms. Bandaranaike has done a good thing, but Ms. Gandhi is too weak.

Following up, Comrade Hertzfeldt explained the recent development of [GDR] relations with India. As far as Israel is concerned, it is known that the GDR is not interested in relations in this case.

Qiao then asked which Arab states have not yet recognized the GDR, and whether Tanzania has already recognized the GDR. Responding to Comrade Hertzfeldt’s respective answers, Qiao stated that Libya has still to solve difficult and urgent domestic problems. Then Qiao returned again to the question of a United Nations membership by both German states. He said it is not quite clear to him how the accession to the UN is supposed to occur. To his knowledge, there does exist a provision according to which countries defined as enemy states should only be accepted into the United Nations after a Peace Treaty has been signed. Yet there is no Peace Treaty until today.

Comrade Hertzfeldt then explained that, due to the resistance of the Western powers and Bonn 25 years after the end of the war, no Peace Treaty has come about despite many constructive efforts from the side of the Soviet Union and the GDR. The [1945] Potsdam Agreement is binding international law and current law. The Potsdam Agreement had stipulated to assign the German people, after fulfillment of well-know conditions, an equal place among the family of peoples. The GDR has exactly fulfilled the Potsdam Agreement and thus has politically, morally, and legally a legitimate claim for an equitable position among the peoples, this means also within the United Nations. It is known that the GDR has no objections against an UN membership of the FRG and has repeatedly proposed to accept both German states into the United Nations.

Qiao responded it might probably also work without a Peace Treaty. For instance, until today China does not have a Peace Treaty with Japan or West Germany although China is also a victorious power [=of World War II]. This question [about the Peace Treaty] had come to his mind because in today’s global policy the Charter of the United Nations is not followed at all. In any case, the United Nations are manipulated by thyme great powers. For example, China has plenty of reasons for the demand to restore its legitimate rights in the United Nations. However, this has not occurred until today. Instead the great powers call the reasonable unreasonable and vice versa.

Comrade Hertzfeldt said, as it is known, the GDR supported and is supporting the demand of the PRC for the restoration of its legitimate rights within the United Nations, and after the expulsion of the Jiang Jieshi Clique from the United Nations. He asked Qiao Guanhua what should be made of Western rumors about the option of a compromise on the issue by a simultaneous representation of the PR China and Taiwan in the United Nations.

Qiao Guanhua thanked for the support of the GDR and stated there absolutely cannot be any compromise made on this issue. All so-called compromise proposals are just new ploys. Obviously in the future there will be ever more countries that will advocate the restoration of the legitimate rights of the PRC. However, the Jiang Jieshi Clique must be expelled from the Security Council and the United Nations. Frequently the PRC has made its position clear to the Americans, both indirectly and directly. The United States have to return Taiwan to the PRC. Instead they are deploying nuclear bombs and warships there. They have revived Japanese militarism which has doubled its military budget. Sato[9] said Taiwan and South Korea belong to the Japanese sphere of influence. He clearly displayed his reactionary and duplicitous face. On the one hand he wants to maintain contacts with China, on the other hand he is always advocating the proposition that the question of United Nations membership for the PRC is an important issue that therefore needs to be decided by a two-thirds majority. France is supportive of the demand of the PRC. Therefore the relations with France are quite good. This year the question of China’s U.N. Membership will be back on the table and the motions will be supported by still more countries. However, a compromise is not an option. 25 years have already passed, and China has been doing well even without an U.N. membership. Still, the PRC is grateful to each state that is actually supporting China on this issue. However, Qiao does not believe the question can be resolved.

Then Qiao thanked for the information by Comrade Hertzfeldt about the Soviet-West German Treaty. He referred to the concerns he had voiced at the last meeting, even before the publication of the treaty’s text. For now he can say that his concerns have not fully disappeared after that publication. Certainly there will be opportunities later on to exchange opinions on this issue. Differences must not prevent us from the development of normal state-to-state relations. There is no doubt that the PRC will support the GDR in its struggle against West German militarism. As far as the development of state-to-state relations is concerned, PRC and GDR have already made progress in the area of trade.

With regard to the Soviet- West German Treaty, he is convinced that there will be future opportunities to talk about it. He is in favor of staying in contact with Comrade Ambassador any time.

In conclusion, Comrade Hertzfeldt inquired about the Soviet-Chinese border negotiations. During the dinner on the 4th of August, Qiao had agreed that these border negotiations are not just important to China and the Soviet Union, but also to the GDR. In the meantime, Comrade Ilychev had arrived as the new Soviet head of negotiations. However, the West is spreading all kind of reports about troop concentrations, one time on the Soviet side, the other time on the Chinese side. What should one make of this?

Qiao said you must not blindly believe those Western reports. You have to view the facts and analyze them. Unfortunately there is no more time today to talk about those things extensively. It is understandable that the “German Comrades” are very, very interested in the PRC-Soviet Union negotiations. The Chinese position on this question is still the same. The Chinese side will make utmost efforts to resolve the border issues with peaceful means through negotiations. China will never undertake provocations. If, however, someone would attack China, it will retaliate. The negotiations are going on for some time already, unfortunately there have not been any results achieved so far. The PRC is also aware of the important relevance of these negotiations, not just for China and the Soviet Union but for the situation in the world. One can further talk about this issue at a later occasion.

Concluding, Qiao Guanhua thanked for the visit by Comrade Ambassador.



[Heribert] Kunz


1. [GDR] Foreign Ministry, [Foreign Minister] Comrade [Oskar] Fischer

2. Foreign Ministry, Comrade [Kurt] Schneidewind [Far Eastern Department]

3. [SED] Central Committee, Comrade [Paul] Markowski [International Relations Department]

4. Foreign Ministry, Central Information Unit

5. Embassy Beijing

[1] Moscow Treaty of 12 August 1970.

[2] Two rivers delineating the border between Poland and the GDR, i.e. the Polish Western border.

[3] United States, Great Britain, and France.

[4] Meetings between West German Chancellor Willy Brandt and East German Minister President Willi Stoph on 19 March respectively 21 May 1970 in Erfurt and Kassel.

[5] Since 1972 Sri Lanka.

[6] Sirimavo Bandaranaike (1916-2000), Prime Minister of Ceylon/Sri Lanka 1960-1965, 1970-1977, 1994-2000.

[7] Indira Gandhi (1917-1984), Prime Minister of India 1966-1974, 1980-1984.

[8] Golda Meir (1898-1978), Prime Minister of Israel 1969-1974.

[9] Eisaku Sato (1901-1975), Prime Minister of Japan 1964-1972.