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May 28, 1960

Letter, Foreign Minister Václav David to Prime Minister Viliam Široký

This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)

Minister of Foreign Affairs


In Prague, on 28 May 1960

No 017 417/60-MO

Attachment: 1

[Stamp] SECRET!


Dear comrade,

On 28 May in the morning I was visited by the Ambassador of the Soviet Union, comrade Zimyanin, who handed over the memorandum by the Soviet government on the new proposals by the USSR further developing the program for general and complete disarmament. I am attaching the Czech translation of this memorandum.

The Soviet Union with its new proposals yet again shows its consistent attempt to peacefully resolve the most pressing international issues and especially the issue of general and complete disarmament. It accommodates the proposals and standpoints of France and also partially the United Kingdom. The new Soviet proposals hence create a basis for approximation of positions and a new based for further negotiations at the Ten Nations Committee on the program for general and complete disarmament. Undoubtedly, these proposals will effectively help the further advocacy for general and complete disarmament by the delegations of socialist countries.

New proposals of the USSR will be transmitted on 2 June 1960 to governments of all members as well as non-members of the UN.

[Page 2 begins here]

The government of the USSR is asking the Czechoslovak government to promptly issue a position on these proposals. It expects the socialist countries, which have already fully supported the proposal of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR N.S. Khrushchev, submitted to the 14th UN General Assembly on 18 September 1959, will also now support the new proposals by the USSR, which further develop the program for general and complete disarmament.

I propose therefore to convey to the Soviet Ambassador on Monday, 30 May 1960, an agreement and full support of the Czechoslovak government to the new Soviet proposals.

Given the importance of this step by the government of the USSR, which will yet again demonstrate to the whole world the struggle of the Soviet Union and socialist countries to resolve controversial issues, I propose that, after the Soviet Union publicizes its proposals, the Czechoslovak government publicly takes a stand on 3 June 1960. Depending on the form of the publication of the Soviet proposal, it would be possible to publish a short government position on 5 June 1960, which would appreciate the contribution by the Soviet Union to the negotiations on the most pressing issues today, highlight the importance of the new Soviet proposals, and express the full support of the government of [Czechoslovak Socialist Republic].

I request that you approve giving a response to the Soviet Ambassador and following the proposed approach.

With comrade greetings,

[signature] V. David



Dear Comrade

Villiam Siroky

Prime Minister



[Stamp: Government Office
entry reference:
arrived on: 30 May 1960
submission has 2 pages
secret attachments 1 of 3 pages
Other attachments: 0]


[Attachment starts here]


In situation when the supporters of the “Cold War” use all means to spoil the relaxation of international tensions and the resolution of unresolved international issues, the efforts of socialist lands aiming at strengthening peace and international security are of particular importance. The most prominent place in the struggle for peace belongs to the disarmament issues. The proposals of Soviet Union from 18 September 1959 on general and complete disarmament had great influence on broad public masses in all countries. Under the pressure of public opinion, the governments of Western powers were forced to vote for the UN General Assembly resolution, calling on the governments to make every effort to reach a constructive solution to the problem of general and complete disarmament.

But the subsequent events and especially the actions of the Ten Countries Committee on Disarmament, Western powers have no intention to seriously negotiate on measures to bring general and complete disarmament into effect. All of their efforts in this question aims at achieving arms control without disarmament.

The attitude of the governments of the Western powers in the questions of general and complete disarmament makes the continuation of the tenacious struggle for general and complete disarmament even more important.

The Soviet government has prepared for a conference at the highest levels new proposals in which attention was paid to negotiations between N.S. Khrushchev and de Gaulle and leading officials from other countries as well as to the activities at the Ten Countries Committee in March-April of this year. Given that the United States frustrated the Paris Conference of the Heads of Governments, the Soviet government plans to submit these proposals to the governments of all countries, taking into account that they will be especially discussed at the Ten Countries Committee on Disarmament, which will restart its work on 7 June in Geneva.

[page 2 starts here]

The new proposals, as well as the proposals of the Soviet government from 18 September 1959, form the program for general and complete disarmament, divided into three phases. However, the sequence of execution of individual measures within the different phases is adjusted in the new proposals with the view to approximate them to the view of Western powers, especially France.

The most important new factor in these proposals, compared to the proposals of the USSR from 18 September 1959, is that already in the first phase, the destruction of all nuclear weapons delivery means is foreseen (military rockets, military airplanes, marine and submarine navy and artillery able to shoot nuclear charges, etc.), while at the same time destroying all foreign military bases and withdrawal of all foreign armies from foreign territories.

It is also new that it is proposed that the ban and destruction of all nuclear weapons should take place in the second, not in the third phase, as was stated in earlier proposals.

The decrease in the number of armed forces of states, including of the USSR and USA, to the level of 1.7 million men, is in the new proposals expected in the second phase (as opposed to the first one, in the proposal from 1959).

The complete abolition of armed forces and armaments of states is expected to be completed in the third, final phase.

The proposal also assumes that once the general and complete disarmament is completed, states would commit that in necessary situations, they would supply the [UN] Security Council with police units (gendarmes), which will remain at the disposal of states. Such police unites (gendarmes) would be used only to support peace among the nations, and not to oppress nations, which struggle for their independence and social advancement, and also not to interfere in domestic affairs of countries.

[page 3 starts here]

The new proposals also include detailed explanation of control mechanisms with concrete disarmament steps according to the phases, as well as the structure and composition of the control body, as well as rights and full powers of inspectors on the spot. Detail list of all control measures is created by the need to defeat the propagandist attempts by the Western powers to twist the position of socialist controls in the questions of control mechanisms.

The Soviet government plans to send, on 2 June, the text of all proposals to the governments of all states, whether members or not of the UN.

The Soviet government assumes that this new step in the struggle for disarmament responds to the demands of nations and will contribute to the relaxation of international tensions and to strengthening of the international peace and security.

Given that all socialist countries actively supported the proposal of the USSR on 18 September 1959, we assume that these new proposals, which are further elaboration of the proposals by the Soviet Union towards general and complete disarmament, will also meet the support of the socialist bloc.

Given that we wish to present the new proposals already on 2 June, Soviet government would welcome, if it friends expressed their comments on this issue in the next 2-3 days.

Czechoslovakia participated in the Ten Nation Committee on Disarmament, a short-lived outfit which was mired in superpower infighting and consequently made no substantive progress. This letter, written from Czechoslovakia’s Foreign Minister Václav David to Prime Minister Viliam Široký, is nonetheless informative, as its attachment contains a memorandum outlining Soviet proposals for general and complete disarmament in three phases. 


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Document Information


Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Fund 12 MO/OMO, 1935, 1955-1965 (1960). Contributed and translated by Michal Onderco.


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