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January 30, 1961

Letter from Khrushchev to Ulbricht, in Response to Ulbricht's Previous Letter Regarding a Peace Treaty

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

Dear Comrade Ulbricht!


The CPSU CC has discussed carefully your letter from January 19, 1961 and expresses its agreement with the considerations regarding the measures which should be carried out in connection with the elimination of the remains of the war and the normalization of the situation in West Berlin.  In the exchange of opinions with you in November of last year in Moscow we fixed our measures in this direction; we are undertaking at this time the steps, which you know about, through diplomatic channels.


We know that you are also of the view that in the present situation after the coming into office of the new American president it is necessary and important to attempt to settle the question of a peace treaty with Germany and the normalization of the situation in West Berlin on the basis of an understanding with the USA as well as with the other Western powers.  We are now beginning to initiate a business-like discussion of these questions with Kennedy.  The probe which has been made shows that we need some time until Kennedy stakes out more clearly his position on the German question and it becomes clear whether the US government will be desirous of attaining mutually acceptable resolutions.


We of course agree with you that the questions of the elimination of the remains of the war and the occupation regime in West Berlin must be resolved on the basis of a peace treaty with both German states, and if this cannot be achieved, on the basis of a peace treaty with the GDR. In such a case, it would be understandable to the people of the entire world, including also the German people, that the Soviet Union, the GDR and the other socialist countries are striving for the strengthening of peace and a peaceful resolution of the German question, since they are submitting the proposal on the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany.  The Soviet Union, the GDR and the other socialist countries are striving to preserve peace and to resolve peacefully the German question.   Therefore it is desirable that the measures dealt with in your letter, which under certain circumstances will prove necessary, be coupled with the conclusion of a peace treaty.   If we don't succeed in coming to an understanding with Kennedy, we will, as agreed, choose together with you the time for their implementation.


Of course, we share completely the view expressed by you about measures in the area of the economic stabilization of the GDR and the broadening of economic cooperation between the GDR and the USSR.  Concrete proposals on this question will be discussed now together with the GDR delegation led by Comrade Leuschner.  We have instructed our delegation to let themselves be guided in these negotiations by the principled agreement between us in November of last year.


We support your proposal about a meeting of a party and governmental delegation of the USSR and the GDR and would be glad to welcome a GDR delegation for the discussion of questions of interest to both sides.  The time of this meeting can be settled later.  The results of our exchange of opinion could be summarized in a joint declaration.  We are in agreement that during  this  meeting  we  will  discuss  your  proposal  about  the  convening  of  the  Political


Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty for the discussion of the question of the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany.


With communist greetings,


January 30, 1961

Khrushchev writes to Ulbricht discussing negotiations with Kennedy and other Western powers with both German states.

Document Information


SED Archives, IfGA, ZPA, J IV 2/202/129. CWIHP Working Paper No. 5, "Ulbricht and the Concrete 'Rose.'" Translated for CWIHP by Hope Harrison.


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