Brezhnev and Ceausescu begin by extending warm welcomes to one another before diving into the importance of finalizing a draft of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Most of the discussion is spent arguing over the relevance of disarmament within the treaty.
March 18, 1967
Record of Conversations between L. I. Brezhnev and N. Ceausescu, 18 March 1967
This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation
Sent to Cde. K. U. Chernenko for distribution to the Politburo and Secretariat (+ the MFA and KGB)
RECORD OF CONVERSATIONS IN THE CPSU CC
with N. CEAUSESCU and I. G. MAURER*
* Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev and A. N. Kosygin did not look over the record.
[The following] took part in the conversations: from the Soviet side – Cdes. L. I. Brezhnev, A. N. Kosygin, Yu. V. Andropov, and A. A. Gromyko, and from the Romanian side – Cdes. N. Ceausescu, I. G. Maurer, and P. Niculescu-Mizil.
Second Conversation – 18 March, 1967
L. I. Brezhnev. Let us continue the friendly exchange of opinions. We still owe you answers to some of the questions.
As we stressed yesterday, we attach prime significance to the political aspect of the issue at hand. This is the main principle we should proceed from and this is what we should see as the main strength of the document. Therefore it wouldn’t hurt maybe to go over the political aspect of the issue again, and look at the nature of the document at hand from that standpoint.
This document is not a product of two-or-three-days’ worth of work by a group of employees. It is a result of major political work, of major political struggle. It is no secret (and for you too) that we have been working on the draft agreement for a very long time. It reflects political ideas and desires not only of the Soviet side, but also of our friends both in the socialist camp and outside of it. We strived to include in it everything that would provide political benefits to the communist parties of not only our countries, but of the whole communist movement, and would make it easier for the communist parties to win the sympathies of the working class, of the progressive forces.
What does the working class want – a war or some sort of steps that would curtail the possibility of it breaking out, and would prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons? It’s obviously not difficult to answer this. The working class is expecting from us, from the communist parties, efforts directed at minimizing the threat of war, and at stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It demands that these dreadful weapons do not get into the hands of aggressive circles that exist in the world.
We strived to include in the treaty the maximum that can be achieved.
Yesterday you said that you consider the nuclear non-proliferation treaty a useful thing in principle. This is apparently a common point of view of many parties and countries. We think that the treaty will be well accepted by the progressive public and by the working class. When working on the draft, we premised it on common political interests of the socialist camp as a whole. I want to stress that this also serves as a contribution to the development of those core provisions which we captured in the Bucharest Declaration. In this respect, I will allow myself to remind you what is written in the fourth paragraph of the Declaration (reads): “Bearing in mind the danger to the cause of peace in Europe of the nuclear claims of the Federal Republic of Germany, the States must concentrate their efforts on excluding the possibility of access of the Federal Republic of Germany to nuclear weapons in any form — directly, or indirectly through alignments of States — and to exclusive control or any form of participation in the control of such weapons. The way this problem is resolved will largely determine the future of the peoples of Europe, and not only the peoples of Europe. On this question, too, half-hearted decisions are impermissible.”
We have been strictly taking into account this jointly agreed political decision of ours, which, as you know, we are energetically protecting and advocating for. Today it is also a part of our political struggle arsenal.
We want to stress that the draft treaty is a result of our joint work. This is a draft that we have to fight for. Of course it would be desirable to address all other issuesin one document, including those which we have put forwardnumerous times at the UN, at the Committee of the Eighteen, i.e. those related to full disarmament, destruction of nuclear weapons, and so on. Our position on these issues is well-known. But we have to be realistic, as we already discussed yesterday.
Two years ago we were fighting together against the creation of multilateral nuclear forces, in which FRG would also be a party. These issues were discussed at the PCC in Warsaw and Bucharest. This stage of our struggle was completed successfully. At this time we are at a new stage: this stage will help close the path to nuclear weapons for the FRG and other capitalist countries. We are also for achieving as much of our demands as we can, but we cannot achieve everything immediately.
At the same time, it needs to be pointed out that currently reactionary forces in FRG, Italy and even in the US are resisting the acceptance of this draft treaty. The most reactionary forces in a number of countries rose against it by putting forth various “arguments”, “sticking points”, etc. There is still work, struggle, and a pretty significant one, ahead of us so that we can get this treaty through the vote in the format that it is right now. Of course, all proposals that improve this treaty will need to be taken into account, but it is important that we ourselves have clarity on where our limits are and how far we can go. It is either we subordinate all struggle to the crucial aspect of our course, or put forward some provisions which will make the treaty totally unrealizable. We should have full clarity on this issue, and not try and cloud it with general talk. In our friendly discussion we have to address some of the issues raised in the second half of our conversation yesterday.
You proposed to better tie the treaty with the general measures on disarmament. In principle, there is no way one can object to this. But one should also take into account the other side of this issue. Where are the limits of such tie-in, and in what form this should be done? There is an indirect reference to this in the draft. If you have some sort of language that improves the draft, then we could review it.
Second: there was an idea expressed about all countries being free to conduct scientific nuclear tests and use atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
We have carefully read the text of the document again, and thought about what is written there. Take a look. This clearly says: “… affirming the principle that the benefits of peaceful applications of nuclear technology, including any technological by-products which may be derived by nuclear-weapon States from the development of nuclear explosive devices, should be available for peaceful purposes to all Parties to the Treaty, whether nuclear-weapon or non-nuclear-weapon States;
Convinced that, in furtherance of this principle, all Parties to the Treaty are entitled to participate in the fullest possible exchange of scientific information for, and to contribute alone or in co-operation with other States to, the further development of the applications of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.”
We believe that this type of language provides for freedom and equality for independent work and cooperation with other countries or groups of countries in using scientific information and nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Incidentally, we support this and we consider this wording of the draft provision acceptable. We do not see any discrimination here. In the third paragraph of this document discrimination is also ruled out. If you have wording that would improve it, let us discuss it.
Yesterday we discussed the issue of guarantees. As it was mentioned before, this issue may bring the negotiations to a dead-end, or fundamentally change the political substance of the treaty. Yesterday we also pointed out that we support the control over the IAEA, and we are going to continue fighting for this. But if, let’s say, at this stagewe do notsucceed in this being captured in the treaty in a direct and formal way, then we will strive to gradually implement such control after the treaty has been signed.
It felt like the exchange of opinions that we had yesterday evidenced that there are no objections against continuing work and move towards signing of the treaty. But at the end of the conversation, when we were listening to Cde. Maurer, it turned out that all our discussions were turned upside down in principle, since Cde. Maurer stated that, if socialist countries sign the proposed treaty, it will be a very big loss for them. Of course, it is difficult to agree with this. According to Cde. Maurer it appears that this way socialist countries agree to the conditions that will have grave consequences for them. It seems to us that this deviates from the part of Cde. Ceaușescu’s speech in which he acknowledged that the treaty would improve the general political situation in the world. Such contradictory statements may create the impression that some of the issues are brought up in the discussion with the purpose of bringing the fight for the treaty to a dead-end altogether. In the meantime, our consultations with other friendly countries regarding the draft treaty revealed that all comrades are in agreement with the current draft.
A.N. Kosygin. I would like to elaborate on one issue. During the conversations with Cde. Ceaușescu, other Romanian comrades also agreed that containment of the proliferation of nuclear weapons would be a major political victory for all nations. But the non-proliferation treaty is specifically directed at attaining a situation when new countries will not be able to come into possession of nuclear weapons. And, of course, this would be a major victory for our socialist camp.
There is also another aspect of this. If we give the upper hand on this issue, the issue of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, to American imperialists, and they will (after they introduce their draft) receive support, maybe not of all but at least of the majority countries of the world, then such development, such situation, I believe would be very unfavorable for the socialist camp and for all progressive forces.
On the other hand, if we take the initiative, and as a matter of fact, this is actually exactly how it currently is, then this will have an utterly different effect. In this case we will, again, show to the whole world that we are a more progressive force fighting for peace and against the threat of a nuclear war. Communist parties which work in capitalist countries will get a good opportunity to show the working masses that socialist countries consistently and effectively fight against war.
I am convinced that communist parties in capitalist countries can use this treaty as a very strong weapon in political struggle, especially if it is submitted to the Committee of the Eighteen on behalf of all socialist countries.
In our first discussion we were coming from the position that we need to approach this crucial issue of the world politics specifically from this angle, taking into consideration the big importance which the joint stance of all Warsaw Treaty countries at the Committee of the Eighteen would have. We are convinced that our fight against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, our position which is reflected in the draft treaty (and we could make a respective statement on behalf of the PCC also) would receive the widest support among the nations of the world. And this would be a strong blow to imperialist circles. After all, it is no accident that the ultra-right forces around the world are up in arms against the treaty. Goldwater, Nixon, the right in France, Britain, Italy and Japan – all of them are united in their wish to make this treaty fall through.
As of now, we do not have any guarantees that the current draft will be accepted. So far it is merely a draft that we must support. But we believe that its acceptance would be our great victory.
It would be good to convene the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact, of course not to argue and not so that at its session six countries could take a stand against one, but so that we could find a compromise on the treaty issue, and come to a common opinion. When you called Leonid Ilyich, we understood you correctly and were deeply satisfied with this, because we believe that convening the PCC on the issue of the treaty is a serious political action of the whole socialist camp.
There is one more consideration. In the draft of the treaty it says that any country-signatory to it is entitled to propose its amendments to the treaty. Let’s say you found it necessary to make some sort of an amendment, then we would obviously find a common ground and support you in this.
The most important thing is not to take the issue of signing the treaty off the agenda. We are being completely candid with you, [we say] without the least hidden motive that we firmly believe that the signing of the treaty will be a step towards furtherance of the disarmament. This would be an act which would be deeply appreciated not only by our contemporaries but also by generations to come.
N. Ceaușescu. I would like to say a few words. First of all I will lay out what I wanted to say at the end of my speech. I was prompted by Cde. Kosygin’s thought that he expressed at the end of his speech. We asked the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to meet with us for discussions based on our desire to reach an acceptable resolution of this issue. If we were thinking differently, then we wouldn’t have placed a request about our visit here for consultations. Some discussions may have no objective to reach a specific result in the negotiations. And these discussions are also useful. But we have a specific document in front of us, with respect to which we want to express our thoughts and comments, as well as propose some improvements. We came here with the desire (and we believe that you have the same desire) to work out a document which would reflect a common opinion of countries-parties to the Warsaw Pact.
I would like to touch upon an issue of the differences of opinions between Cde. Maurer and myself. I believe that the accent was incorrectly placed on what I said and what Cde. Maurer said, or maybe there was a misunderstanding. Yes, indeed, I did touch upon the political significance of the treaty and stressed that the treaty could have both a good and a bad impact. And I stressed that in the current wording the treaty could disappoint many nations, the world public, as well as many communist parties. Cde. Maurer added to my speech and said that signing the treaty in its current form would be a big loss for socialist countries, as well as the communist movement. Therefore there is no disagreement between presenting this issue between Cde. Maurer and myself.
I have been saying [this] from the very beginning, and I want to stress that there is no difference between the opinions of the Romanian Communist Party and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. We consider it important and useful to have an agreement that would put obstacles in the [path of] proliferation of nuclear weapons, and I do not want to dwell on this any longer.
But we view the issue this way: does the draft treaty, as presented, fully correspond to this objective. I agree that, indeed, it would be good to ascertain what our limits are when developing this treaty. There are some maximum limits, though of course we have to look at this realistically, reasonably, and not put in front of ourselves the objectives we cannot currently attain. But there are minimum limits too, and if the treaty does not contain a minimum, then it becomes unacceptable. Therefore we need to take into account both the maximum and the minimum limits within which we need to continue discussions so that we could get as much as we could from signing the treaty.
Yesterday Cde. Brezhnev mentioned that for a long time communist and workers parties of socialist countries had a common position on the issues of fighting for disarmament and for banning nuclear weapons.
It is indeed true. We believe that this time too, the socialist countries have to act based on common positions. Our experience shows that when we have common positions, when socialist countries are united and the ranks of communist movement are united, then we are a formidable force. Therefore we believe that, when developing a position on the issues of disarmament, nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, and their banning and destroying, we have to rely on the unity of all socialist countries.
A.N. Kosygin. We have to strive to be united on all political Issues.
N. Ceausescu. I am talking specifically about this issue, which has great importance in the unity of socialist countries, as well as of the whole international communist movement front.
We are at a new stage of the fight against the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Our fight against giving the FRG access to nuclear weapons is currently producing results (after all, the FRG did not get nuclear weapons), though no treaty was signed. But this was achieved thanks to unified actions of all anti-imperialistic forces, and contrary to the desires of American imperialists to provide nuclear weapons to Western Germany under various pretenses, and in various forms. This is all well known.
Therefore the fight that the anti-imperialistic forces have been carrying on, has brought us success. Now we have to advance to the highest level, as I understand this, and capture this in a treaty. At this time the fight will essentially go beyond the issue of preventing the FRG from accessing nuclear weapons. If the FRG’s access to nuclear weapons was the only issue, then we would have signed this treaty without hesitation. But the treaty will not only contain the decision to provide the FRG with access to nuclear weapons, [since] this issue will be resolved in the general context of the treaty. The treaty deals with issues that have a major influence on the international life as a total, including the peaceful development of many countries around the globe. And from this standpoint I have to agree with Cde. Brezhnev that this is a completely different issue than the issue of the FRG’s access to nuclear weapons.
And therefore I believe that it would be advisable to introduce necessary amendments to the treaty. I agree with Cde. Kosygin that these improvements need to be reviewed and agreed on, so that the draft treaty, as Cde. Kosygin says, could be presented as a result of consultations, and so that it could be supported by all socialist countries and, at a minimum, by all socialist countries-members of the Warsaw Pact. Of course it would have great significance, since we, too, believe that we have to continue the fight in connection with the treaty, as was previously said by Cdes. Brezhnev and Kosygin, and we have to mobilize the public opinion to support our proposal. We propose to introduce improvements in the draft which you agree with in principle, and present this draft in an agreed upon form. We have to clarify the limits, below which we cannot go, and start the battle so that we can achieve as much as possible…
A.N. Kosygin. So in your opinion, is a minimum objective included in the current draft?
N. Ceaușescu. No. Certain improvements are needed. I would like to clarify certain issues one more time, and I would like to ask you to understand us, our point of view about these things, our thought process.
We proceed from the assumption that if the draft does not firmly speak about the transition in the near future to measures that would end the race for the production of nuclear weapons and eliminate existing stockpiles of weapons, then the treaty will lead to a situation when there will be countries that possess nuclear weapons and countries that do not possess nuclear weapons.
A situation of inequality is being created which will have grave consequences for the cause of world peace, even if the treaty is signed.
If the production of nuclear weapons continues, the danger of these weapons being used by American imperialists against the nations who resist the policy of domination of American imperialists, will increase.
L. I. Brezhnev. Sorry Cde. Ceaușescu. Right now there is no such treaty, but wouldn’t the arms race continue anyway?
A.N. Kosygin. Nuclear weapons will appear in a number of additional regions.
L. I. Brezhnev. Yes, in a number of additional countries.
I.G. Maurer. At least our hands will not be tied.
Cde. Brezhnev, this is not how we see this issue. Maybe you know better than we do that Romania has no intention of producing nuclear weapons, and primarily because it cannot. If it could, then we could have been looking at this differently.
A.N. Kosygin. Just imagine this picture. In the nearest future Israel will have nuclear weapons…
L.I. Brezhnev… and the Americans will help them with this.
A.N. Kosygin. And tomorrow these weapons will be developed by Italy and Japan, and by other countries. Then what will your objectivebe — to produce them too?
L.I. Brezhnev. And what if Israel produces nuclear weapons, then the UAR will have to produce them too, right?
A.N. Kosygin. And what about India, or Indonesia?
I.G. Maurer. You are asking us a question. But I can also respond with a question. Have you ever heard from the Romanians that the non-proliferation treaty should not be signed or that proliferation of nuclear weapons is a good thing? Of course it is good to sign a non-proliferation treaty, and of course it is good that the nuclear weapons are not proliferated. But at what price will it be achieved? After all, if this draft treaty is signed, then possibly Israel and Italy will not get nuclear weapons, but at the same time the most aggressive American imperialism will retain the possibility of further development of such weapons.
N. Ceaușescu. On the other hand, the issue is the following: in order for each of these countries – let’s say for Israel or for any other – to create one or two bombs, it will take them some time, even if they call on the Americans for help. But then if Israel or Italy produce two bombs each, the Americans can produce atomic bombs by the hundreds. Do you think the possibility of a new nuclear war would decrease in this situation? Therefore we are stressing that it would be advisable to put into the draft treaty that in the nearest future all nuclear powers will start negotiations in order to ban production of nuclear weapons and to destroy existing stockpiles of these weapons. This is the Soviet Union's proposal, not ours. You introduced it previously, and we propose that this language is included in the treaty. We are not saying that the issue needs to be resolved now, we are saying “in the nearest future”. If we could reach an agreement about a certain deadline, that would be even better: we could then move on to working out specific activities, so that the countries-signatories to the treaty, who will be giving up nuclear weapons, would be informed about these activities. Are these demands so unreasonable on our part? We do not insist on destroying nuclear weapons now, but we want the treaty to reflect what was said previously, when we were of the same opinion and acted jointly. This would promote accord in this area. This would also obligate American imperialists to discuss this issue with us in the future. This is also in keeping with the UN resolutions passed up to date on the proposals of the Soviet Union.
A.N. Kosygin. The efforts in this direction will continue.
N. Ceaușescu. We support improving the substance of the treaty.
A.A. Gromyko. We support this too, but what you propose is not going to go through, because it is being introduced as a condition for signing the treaty.
N. Ceaușescu. Let’s introduce improvements to the draft treaty and fight for their adoption.
Next, it seems to me that you do not quite understand what we want. We consider that signing the treaty without a solemn obligation on the part of nuclear powers not to use nuclear weapons against the non-nuclear states, [signing it] without clearly defining specific obligations, would mean creating a very dangerous atmosphere. You do know, comrades, that there are demands voiced in the US to use nuclear weapons against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. How can we adopt a treaty if it does not provide for restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons against other countries?
A.N. Kosygin. Cde. Ceaușescu, I would like to ask you one question. When you talk about guarantees for non-nuclear countries, what is your view of the countries that do not have their own nuclear weapons but who have nuclear weapons of third countries on their territories? Let us take for example the FRG, where there are American nuclear weaponscurrently, but the FRG itself is a non-nuclear state.
N. Ceaușescu. Pardon?
A.N. Kosygin. What I am saying is that the FRG is a non-nuclear country, but American weapons are located on its territory. Can you issue a guarantee to the FRG if western Germans start a scuffle with the GDR? Based on your reasoning they should be provided a guarantee, but after all they would be the ones who would start the war in which nuclear weapons would be used.
N. Ceaușescu. First of all, the question that you have posed to me just now justifies our approach to this issue even more, i.e. the demand to transition in the nearest future to ceasing the production of nuclear weapons and destroying existing stockpiles. After all, if the FRG does not officially obtain nuclear weapons, the Americans will keep their nuclear weapons on the territory of Western Germany, and will be bringing them in and keeping them on the border with the Soviet Union and with socialist European countries. And there are no guarantees that these weapons will not be used at a certain time when they deem it necessary.
If the draft treaty does not reflect what we are proposing, then this may create an illusion that there is no threat of nuclear attack. As to the presence of nuclear weapons in Western Germany, please keep in mind that these weapons are in American hands, and Americans are the ones responsible for this. Of course there is a threat that Americans will transfer these weapons through roundabout ways into the hands of Western Germans. Therefore we have to demand that these weapons are taken out of the FRG.
A.A. Gromyko. The draft treaty forbids such a transfer.
N. Ceaușescu. I believe that no one in the leadership of our party will object that the treaty should stipulate that there should not be any nuclear weapons, of any kind, in Western Germany. I believe that this needs to be done to prevent such a situation.
A.N. Kosygin. Cde. Ceaușescu, this is a separate issue, and we have raised it a number of times in our documents. But one cannot get everything at once.
N. Ceaușescu. I answered your question.
A.N. Kosygin. No, I did not receive an answer to my question. If you and we approach these issues from this perspective, then I can pose twenty similar questions: universal disarmament, and destruction of all nuclear weapons, and liquidation of military bases on territories of third countries, and so on and so forth. These questions are more radical. We have been fighting to get them resolved in the UN for 20 years, but so far mostly without results, though some issues have been resolved. For example, a treaty on the peaceful use of outer space was signed.
A.A. Gromyko. Also, a treaty banning nuclear tests in three environments was signed.
A.N. Kosygin. Who can argue against the objectives that you have mentioned here? You are raising this point as if we are against it.
N. Ceaușescu. I would like us to be clear about what position this treaty puts us in. Some countries are required to opt out of nuclear weapons. And this is very good. But those countries who already have nuclear weapons are not required to give up these weapons. I agree that the issue or nuclear disarmament is currently not a timely one. But the treaty also doesn’t require that nuclear powers undertake obligations or issue guarantees that they will not use nuclear weapons. But such requirement should be included in the treaty. Otherwise, what would stop [people] from saying that this draft is one-sided, that in reality its objective is to provide nuclear powers with the ability to continue the production of nuclear weapons. At the same time, it does not provide any guarantees to the countries who opt out of nuclear weapons that these weapons are not going to be used against them. What we are requesting - is a bare minimum. By raising the issue this way, we are not talking about resolving the core issue of universal disarmament.
This is what my thinking is: if the treaty does not contain any guarantees, then Romania could not sign it, since such a treaty would give American imperialism the possibility of continuing to amass arms and freely exercise control over nuclear weapons, and ultimately decide on the fate of the world as they deem appropriate. This would, as they say in Romania, mean to put a wolf in charge of guarding the sheep. But American imperialism is worse than a wolf. This is not “a paper tiger”, as the Chinese comrades say. It is necessary to make provisions for some sort of minimum guarantees.
It is also necessary to understand, comrades, that the treaty limits the possibilities of non-nuclear states in using nuclear power for peaceful purposes, in conducting research in this area. In our opinion this opens the door to interference into internal affairs of other countries and the possibility of establishing economic dominance on the part of the US. The preamble, indeed, says what Cde. Brezhnev has already talked about here. But the third paragraph stipulates that the countries will enjoy the benefits of peaceful use of nuclear energy using “international procedures”. What are those procedures? It would be advisable to clearly state them.
A.N. Kosygin. Which paragraph is that?
L.I. Brezhnev. This is in reference to nuclear explosions.
A.N. Kosygin. Yes, this is in reference to nuclear explosions only.
N. Ceaușescu. Explosions could be of different types - larger magnitude and lesser magnitude. In our opinion, this needs to be clarified to make it clearer. Furthermore, this is the issue that should be addressed not in the preamble, but in the body of the treaty itself. At this time the preamble is the only place it is mentioned in, and not a word is mentioned in the body of the treaty itself.
A.N. Kosygin. The language of the preamble is stronger - it contains key provisions.
N. Ceaușescu. Both you and we, comrades, know very well (and, by the way, Cde. Maurer is a lawyer), that preamble does not have the same force as an article of an agreement.
I.G. Maurer. But if the preamble and the article have the same force, then this provision should be just moved into an article.
A.N. Kosygin. All articles flow out of the provisions of the preamble.
N. Ceaușescu. We support making certain improvements in the draft. We do not in any way support the position that you think we do, i.e. all or nothing. But we would like to know what we are signing. If you were the only ones signing the treaty, then we would not be making any comments here. We would, of course, have comments but would not have said anything or made statements on this issue, since we do not believe that we should interfere in the issue that is not in our competence. But if there is a demand that we sign this treaty…
A.N. Kosygin. In my opinion, no one is demanding this. These are just consultations. How can we demand?
N. Ceaușescu. … and we wish to sign such a document. (Answering Cde. Kosygin’s comment) Yes, but this draft is addressed to all of us, all states are called upon to sign this treaty. And we are among the countries who wish to sign this treaty. Therefore we put forward our amendments in order to improve the document. If we were among the countries who do not wish to sign this document, then we would not be making statements here. Specifically out of these considerations we have come here and are putting forward our proposals, and these proposals are not aimed against the treaty. Their only purpose is to introduce some improvements into the documents so that they are clearer.
I ask myself this question: how would nations view this treaty, how would it be viewed in socialist countries, if those countries were to sign this document that contains a number of ambiguities and inaccuracies which allow for different interpretations. You were saying, comrades, that Romania may propose amendments after it signs the document. But after the signing our proposals will not have any meaning. We think that if we have any suggestions, they have to be made prior to the signing.
I cannot take responsibility before the Romanian people, before our party and the international communist movement, by putting my signature under a document that will require improvements, amendments and additions immediately after its signing. The Romanian people, and our communist party, as well as other parties, will ask me then, and anyone will have the right to ask me: where is your sense of seriousness? You just signed this document and the next day you are putting forward proposals for its amending. Then why did you sign it?
A.N. Kosygin. This could be done simultaneously.
N. Ceaușescu. This is what it says: “Any Party to the Treaty may propose amendments to this Treaty”. To the treaty, and not to the draft. “The text of any proposed amendment shall be submitted to the Depositary Governments which shall circulate it to all Parties to the Treaty.” That is, as is clear from the text, all of it will be done after the signing of the treaty. What it says should be done after the signing [of the treaty], we want to do now, at the stage of reviewing its draft.
We believe that it would be necessary for the socialist countries to make an effort to improve the draft treaty. I quite agree with what Cde. Kosygin has said here about what needs to be done by the joint effort of socialist countries. And I do not believe that the issues we are raising here may become an obstacle to the improvement of the draft and, going forward, to the signing of the treaty. In our opinion consultations with all socialist countries are necessary as this treaty concerns not only the Warsaw Pact member-states, but all [other] socialist countries as well.
I want you to understand us. We raise these issues not to create some sort of new obstacles on the way to resolving this problem. We are aware that the objective which we are talking about is difficult to achieve. But if we appeal to other countries and do not receive any answer, or even if we receive a negative answer, [if they answer] that they do not agree with the proposed improvements, -- at least then we will have a moral right to say: you received a draft of the document, you were consulted with, and you cannot say that the countries of the socialist camp were presented with a fait accompli. Of course, if other parties and other Warsaw Pact member-states do not consider it useful to adopt such measures, then we should act based on the general consensus. But we believe that acting this way would be beneficial.
With the purpose of improving the draft, it is necessary to roll out the most comprehensive mobilization of social forces around the world, so that we could put pressure on the US, and force them to accept the improved version of the treaty.
Please allow me, in the spirit of our friendly discussion, to tell you that, in our opinion, some of the provisions of the current draft are being opposed not only by reactionary forces of Italy and other countries of the West, but also by some progressive circles, including some European communist parties, as well as by a number of countries which have recently gained independence and would like to sign this treaty, but have a number of concerns about it. They would like to receive extra guarantees in addition to what they have now. We believe that the treaty which has such significant consequences for all nations in the world, should be developed with the participation of all interested parties. It has to be a product of the struggle of the nations wishing to obviate the threat of a nuclear war. Only in this manner, in our opinion, an acceptable agreement can be achieved, which will open the way to strengthening the security of nations and ensuring world peace. This would greatly boost the prestige of socialist countries, and, obviously, would especially boost the prestige of the Soviet Union in the eyes of all nations around the world.
I agree with what Cde. Brezhnev has started with - that when evaluating this treaty, we have to operate on the basis of the political influence which it will have on the future developments in international life. We would be agreeable to conducting a meeting of the Warsaw Pact member-states. Of course it would be desirable that we do not start arguing over these issues there. We believe that if you are also agreeable to the issues raised by us here, we can find a solution agreeable to everyone, and approve it at the PCC and forward this document to the Committee of the Eighteen in Geneva on behalf of all socialist countries-members of the Warsaw Pact.
I.G. Maurer. One second. What conclusion do I make for myself from this whole conversation? And I would like to request that you think my arguments over. We all agree that it is important to take into account the political aspect of this draft treaty. The influence which this document will have in the world, after it has been presented, is very important, especially because it will be presented by socialist countries too.
So this is what it comes to. The improvements, which Romanians demand, are improvements with which everyone agrees: you and we, and other parties of socialist countries. These are improvements which back in the day have been proposed by the Soviet Union during various international negotiations. And yet, we for some reason hesitate to introduce them to the treaty and hesitate to present them as the position of socialist countries. Why? There is only one reason for this: because Americans do not agree with us. Why would we deny ourselves a political victory which presenting our position on the international arena would bring us? Why deplete this position of ours by stripping it of its content to which everyone agrees? Why deplete it only because the US does not agree with it? What is being proposed is that our position is more depleted and less powerful. This is what I think is the case.
Our party’s opinion is that we continue to fight for the improvement of this position, and it is correct and realistic, because in the end realism is determined by not only persistence with which one side defends its positions, but also by the objective correctness and objective incorrectness of the positions taken. We believe that this is how political realism needs to be understood. And in this sense our demands are correct and real.
N. Ceaușescu. We believe that grievances of all socialist countries against the Americans are real, and that our efforts will bring success.
(After the break)
L.I. Brezhnev. We can summarize the results of our discussions and revisit one more time the most essential, key aspects of the issue. First of all, I would like to say that we view this issue through the prism of class struggle with our enemies and protecting the interests of socialist countries, and all nations of the world against the main threat - the threat of war and, in the first place, the threat of a world nuclear war. I doubt that there is any need here to provide proof of our struggle against American imperialism. We have always considered American imperialism our main adversary, and as it is customary to say now - our number one enemy. All foreign policy of the Soviet Union in recent years has been built on this premise. We have been pursuing this course from the general political standpoint by introducing our constructive proposals in the UN. The same course was clearly reflected in our assistance to the struggling Vietnam and a number African countries and nations. Of course, we cannot resolve all problems at once, but we are not hiding our attitude towards the US, and towards their aggressive policy. It is common knowledge. Everyone in the world knows this. And while working on the draft treaty, we have also taken this aspect into account.
Ours and yours collective actions, such as the PCC consultations in Warsaw and Bucharest, are also in essence directed at American imperialism and its strategy. But we have gathered here to discuss a rather concrete issue – the draft of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. All things considered, such a treaty, if we succeed in concluding it, will in broad terms mean a new offensive on American imperialism and its main allies. It should help solve one of the main objectives - preventing the most aggressive country in Europe, Western Germany, from accessing nuclear weapons. We have put a lot of effort into it in recent years. And if our efforts are crowned with the signing of such an agreement, then we will have the right to view this as a new success of joint struggle. And it is not accidental, Cde. Ceaușescu, that the draft treaty is currently faced with the opposition from the most reactionary circles in the US, from the ruling circles in the FRG, the right in France, Italy, Britain and Japan, i.e. the allies of American imperialism. Therefore it is not such a simple issue.
When discussing it here, I believe, a certain shift of concepts and interpretations is taking place. You are saying: “non-nuclear and nuclear countries”, without differentiating that nuclear countries include not only America, but the Soviet Union too. After all, this has to be taken into account.
N. Ceaușescu. I believe I have made this distinction, but if we are reading the treaty, we should be talking about the wording included in it.
L.I. Brezhnev. I will continue this thought. It comes out as if after the signing of the treaty, only America will have the right to produce nuclear weapons, and that no one else exists apart from it. And that there is nothing left for the rest of us to do but to submit to the dictatorship of America. But this has nothing to do with the real state of affairs. Everyone knows, including America, that the nuclear power of the Soviet Union protects the interests of the socialist camp, as well as other peace-loving countries. This is a very significant fact. When we started to discuss the provisions of the treaty in detail, we heard a suggestion to include a multitude of new elements and additional issues in it. At first glance it appears that one could not argue against these elements. Which one of us can argue against universal disarmament? No one. We have put it forward as our proposal, and a very clearly formulated one at that. The efforts related to this issue continue at different stages. They have not stopped, the process continues, and we will continue to fight till the logical conclusion. But we believe that today, having put in front of ourselves a specific objective – to solve one part of the issue, we should not tie to it such issues the solution of which might very well take decades. By tying them today we might derail an important issue of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Therefore it would be desirable to bring some clarity into this issue somehow. We would like to ask you to think over whether it is realistic to combine fighting for the solution of one concrete issue with the long-term issues which will require from the Soviet Union, as well as from all of our countries, colossal efforts. You are saying: why don’t we try? But you and we know well ahead that neither tomorrow, nor the day after tomorrow, nor in two months, it won’t be possible to solve this problem. If we act like certain diplomats who are trying to say as many things as possible and enter them into the record, then it is one thing, but if we act like communists towards communists, then let’s acknowledge it – whether we put forward this issue or not as part of the draft treaty [discussions], we will not be able to solve it at this time. But we can solve the issue of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Furthermore, this issue has an enormous positive significance for us, and you apparently agree with that. So why would we tie to it the issues that will immediately make it impossible to sign the treaty that we are interested in?
You are saying that, even after the treaty is signed, nuclear weapons will still exist in the world, as well as its development and stockpiles. This is true. But it will remain exactly where it is now, i.e. in the USSR, the US, China, France and Britain. However, the process of its possible emergence in other countries will be curbed. So can you really say in this respect that the US will be the only country producing nuclear weapons? I repeat, the USSR is also producing nuclear weapons, and it serves as a counterbalance to the American [nuclear weapons]. Our weapons serve the interests of protection not only of the USSR but also of Romania, Bulgaria and of all other socialist countries. Back in the day, when I was having a discussion with you in Romania, I said and I will repeat it today: we pledge unwavering loyalty to our agreement with you, which reflects the friendship ties that connect our countries. If in these conditions someone tries to attempt anything against Romania, to infringe on its independence and security, we will throw all of our forces to its defence. Therefore, there is a fundamental political difference between “nuclear” countries, as well as between “non-nuclear” countries, and it depends on what countries you are talking about.
We will continue our struggle for the universal, including nuclear, disarmament. I repeat, we will continue. This is the political platform of our party, and this is the political platform of our government. We count on the support of all socialist countries in this struggle. Life shows that everything requires time. We should use a wide variety of forces in this struggle, including international democratic institutions. We have never repudiated this, and have no intention of repudiating it.
If we drag out the signing of the nuclear non-proliferation agreement, what will all socialist countries and the rest of the peace-loving countries gain? Will the atomic weapons production indeed stop in this case? Of course it won’t stop. Cde. Maurer is saying: “At least our hands won’t be tied!” I do not know how to understand this. If this should be understood as Romania intending to produce nuclear weapons, then under current conditions it is, of course, free to do so, but so is any other country, like Israel, for example. But, as you know, we are not proponents of such a development.
When someone proposes to tie a whole slew of other major issues (rightfully important on their own, since neither the USSR, nor Hungary or Poland, or any other countries of our socialist camp argue against the universal disarmament) to a specific objective which we want to achieve, then in the end we have to be aware that by doing so we would be creating conditions under which we would not succeed in signing the non-proliferation treaty. Therefore, in acting this way, we would not resolve a single issue on the path to disarmament. After all, the proposed treaty has to be a sort of a step in this direction.
You are saying that these issues should be [resolved] through consultations. We are doing just that. We have held numerous meetings with the comrades, including your compatriots, in Geneva and in other places. This issue has been gestating for a long time.
A.A. Gromyko. This issue has been developed over four years.
L.I. Brezhnev. This is a product of great efforts of many countries. Consultations with socialist countries have been held. Today we are speaking one-on-one so to say, but you have to be aware that the Politburos of the Central Committees of all Warsaw Pact countries have discussed this issue. All of them discussed this issue independently. All of them expressed a positive attitude to this document. Polish comrades, along with others, expressed the wish to clarify, if possible, the issue of control, but stressed that this should not serve as a pretext for not signing the treaty. The treaty should effectively be developed with consideration of opinions of a large number of countries around the world.
So how does this happen in practice? Currently consultations are taking place in our camp and in the western camp, as well as a wide discussion around the world. We know the opinion of socialist countries, we know the mood of the OAR and other countries. We hope that the vast majority of countries will join such a treaty, though a lot of efforts are still needed to achieve this.
A.A. Gromyko. We just received a message from Geneva that Americans are suggesting to make a month-and-a-half-long break in the work of the Committee of the Eighteen, and are expressing the hope that during this time they will be able to conduct consultations with their allies and agree on the control issue. So there is some time for continuing the struggle.
L.I. Brezhnev. We said in the very beginning that we are still not fully convinced whether we will be able to get this treaty through. We, the socialist countries, would like to get it signed, since by ending the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, it would greatly promote the efforts to minimize the threat of thermo-nuclear war.
I do not agree with you, Cde. Maurer. You make it sound like we do not wish to introduce any improvements into the treaty solely because the Americans are against it, and we do not want to push them. This is not a very nice trick. Alexei Nikolayevich said: if this is all it takes, then we can put forward so many propositions and be such revolutionaries with respect to this issue, like no one else before. We will say: we will not sign the treaty until the US leaves Vietnam! We will not sign the treaty until you provide written guarantees to Cuba! We will not sign the treaty if you continue instigating in Africa! We will look absolutely great doing this. But where are we going to go from there? Will we advance even one step forward? Not a single step forward on any of the major issues. Let us be realistic and take into account what we can achieve at this time and what we cannot. You are saying that supposedly the draft treaty does not ensure freedom of action for all countries in the world, including for Romania, in the area of peaceful use of atomic energy. And it just so happens that we are for absolute freedom and against discrimination. It appears to us that the proposed wording provides for such freedom. Scientific information can be freely used. And if there are any amendments, Cde. Ceaușescu, we do not have any objection to them if they improve this cause and if we are able to agree on them. This already is a specific issue. I think that some improvements are possible. But then you should give us your specific propositions regarding the wording.
In conclusion I want to say once again that we are confident that this treaty is going to have a positive response around the world. Our conviction is based, in the first place, upon the opinion of the brotherly socialist countries – the GDR, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria. We treat their opinion with respect. Their parties are experienced, and their leaders are experienced too. Cde. Ulbricht, for example, has a good sense of the situation being as he is at the frontline. And The PUWP is a strong party. Cde. Gomułka is a seasoned revolutionary. Also Cdes. Kadar, Novotny and Zhivkov are experienced leaders and statesmen. These are all very important parties. Therefore their opinion strengthens our belief. The French party and the Italian party are prominent political forces in Europe.
Of course the reactionary circles in the West will put up provocations against the treaty, create all sorts of obstacles, and disseminate slander in their printed press. But they are not the decisive power.
As to the consultations. So the consultations have just been held. What is your attitude to that? We and you agreed that the best way to exchange opinions is through amicable consultations on the most equal terms. At the same time, we have dispatched our comrades from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all allied countries, so that they could present our point of view in detail and highlight every aspect of the issues related to the treaty. We consider this method of conducting consultations also correct.
It would be good (and I did tell you this on the phone right away) to approve the draft at the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Pact. I said that I welcome your initiative. At the same time, if you remember, I made a reservation that it would be desirable to assemble the PCC after the preliminary consultations which are taking place now. When all provisions have been agreed upon among us, we will assemble in order to memorialize this common opinion and move forward as an organized force, which would lend a different, even stronger tone to our position. This point of view is also supported by other members of the Warsaw Pact. But if we have fundamental differences and cannot come to a common decision, then I do not know how the brotherly parties will view this. It is unlikely that the idea of assembling the PCC will be met with enthusiasm and support. I would not bring up this issue, but since we are having a meeting (and unfortunately we do not meet often), I decided to mention this. Consultations, in my opinion, should be mutual. During consultations the opinions of many parties, and not only the opinion and claims of one of the sides, have to be taken into account and respected. The opinion of our whole commonwealth is important.
Furthermore, yesterday we were talking here that there are not only revanchists in the FRG, but also other forces, the democratic, progressive forces, which need to be supported. We are also of the same opinion.
In our official statements we have stated this numerous times. We said that in the FRG there are not only reactionary forces but also forces that fight against the reaction. It follows from this, of course, that we have to support these forces. But we also have to take into account that the influence of these forces is currently insignificant, that the power is in the hands of the revanchist government, that the government policy of the FRG is a revanchist policy after all, that they support neo-Nazi parties and organizations, and that the communist party is banned. One cannot lose sight of the fact that Western Germany has acquired a certain military potential, and that its leaders relentlessly refuse to give up the claim that they represent “Germany as a whole”, and demand revision of the borders, etc.
Under these conditions joint efforts in Europe, and, in the first place, with respect to the FRG, specifically require amicable and comradely consultations. In this connection, since this issue has been brought up, I want to mention the following. As I understand, in your opinion, establishing diplomatic relations between Romania and the FRG will facilitate support of healthy forces in Western Germany. I would like (also in a comradely fashion, and please do not take offense) to say that the consultations on this fundamental issue would also be very appropriate, which, by the way, was reflected in the Bucharest Summit declaration. After all, it very emphatically stresses the necessity of acknowledging the existence of the two German states – the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as recognizing the existing borders and renouncing possession of nuclear weapons by both German states. There are a number of other key provisions in the text of the Declaration pertaining to this issue.
Romanian comrades established diplomatic relations with the FRG without having conducted consultations with anyone on this issue. But do you know, that, after these relations had been established, Kissinger delivered a speech in Bundestag full of threats and old revanchist claims, in essence confirming Bonn’s old course? We did not find it necessary to speak with you or write to you in connection with this issue, though, when you were negotiating with the FRG, you were already aware that there was an agreement that the ministers would get together and discuss the issue of the Warsaw Pact countries’ relations with the FRG. I have mentioned this only to stress the importance of respecting not just one’s own opinion on the issue of consultations, which, of course, one has to respect if one has his own opinion, but also the opinion of comrades with whom one considers himself connected through some principles and some ideas.
It appears that currently the opinions and views on the specific issue related to the draft non-proliferation treaty have been covered in detail. We are in no way trying to be pushy on this issue. We are just having a free exchange of opinions. We will do our best, if necessary, to additionally clarify the meaning of any of the draft’s provisions, and the political meaning of this document in general, the way we understand it. Maybe you could think a little more about this issue.
We believe that we should fight for the draft of the non-proliferation treaty. We are deeply convinced that it will give to the brotherly parties and progressive forces around the world a good weapon for the subsequent offensive on the US. We will benefit from this.
This is essentially what I wanted to say.
N. Ceaușescu. I do not wish to open the discussions here again. Yesterday in the course of the conversation, as well as this morning, we have formed an impression that you agree with introducing some improvements into this draft. Based on Cde. Brezhnev’s closing remarks, if I understood correctly, it follows that no improvements in this draft are allowed.
L.I. Brezhnev. No, you misunderstood us. We should not mix the question of improving the language of the treaty with the demands to include extensive and currently unsolvable issues in it, which will make it impossible to sign the treaty. Specifically, Cde. Ceaușescu, you are saying that the issue of control should be resolved. We are also of the same opinion, and we will make efforts to ensure that the IAEA exercises control from the very beginning. This is what we and other brotherly social countries want. But if we do not succeed in reaching an agreement at this stage about the IAEA having control from the inception, then we have to compromise. Therefore it appears that our positions coincide on this issue, and we have nothing to argue about.
Next, you are talking about using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We believe that the language included in the treaty provides member-states with freedom of action in this area. You cast doubt on this, you say that there are some hidden pitfalls, that the [current] wording ties your hands. If you were to propose specific amendments, then it would be easier to discuss this. But you are not proposing any amendments, you are just expressing your doubts. Under these circumstances it is difficult to discuss this issue.
N. Ceaușescu. Then I would suggest proceeding in the following way. Representatives of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs could come here and discuss with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union the issues and our specific proposals with respect to improving the draft. At this time we have not tasked ourselves with putting forward specific amendments and improvements to the text [of the treaty]. We just wanted to discuss this issue in principle, and we believe that we achieved that. We received interesting, and useful for us, clarifications, and we expressed our point of view. We have formed an impression that you are also in support of making certain improvements to the draft. So let us task our ministries of foreign affairs to see this through.
A.N. Kosygin. You should provide your proposals as to the amendments.
N. Ceaușescu. If you agree in principle, then we are going to send our representatives to you.
L.I. Brezhnev. The situation is as follows: our comrades who visited you for consultations, were not actually able to complete these consultations, since they did not receive the answer from the Romanian side. We decided to accommodate you, and agreed to meet with you in order to have preliminary discussions. We do not have either moral or legal right to decline to continue consultations with you. We have only discussed the essential aspects of the issue.
Consultations in principle and on specific issues in the treaty have been also conducted by us with other countries-members of the Warsaw Pact. Our foreign ministry personnel have traveled there. Taking this into account, I think at this time we have to simultaneously conduct consultations with other parties too.
N. Ceaușescu. Incidentally, this is what I want to talk about. We have agreed in principle that foreign ministry counterparts at an appropriate level should get together and discuss these specific issues.
L.I. Brezhnev. We agree.
N. Ceaușescu. As to the consultations with other parties, we are in no way of the opinion that we should not take other parties’ opinions into account. In our view it would be good if all socialist countries, not just member-states of the Warsaw Pact, familiarized themselves with the draft treaty.
Member-states of the Warsaw Pact are in receipt of this draft. We also believe that, as part of the [multilateral] consultations, it is necessary to forward our comments on the draftto these countries and obtain from them their comments about the edits that they deem necessary.
L.I. Brezhnev. Which countries do you mean?
N. Ceaușescu. Member-states of the Warsaw Pact.
L.I. Brezhnev. Except for Albania. They will not ratify, let us be honest about it.
N. Ceaușescu. Yes, of course. We agree to forward our suggestions and then, after receiving comments from these countries, we will review them. If some of these countries demand certain clarifications, we can provide those in any form they wish. If we need to get any clarifications, then we will reach out to everyone, and this, too, will be one of the forms of consultations. The other form [of consultations] would be a PCC session, where we could also hold discussions. What do you think would be more beneficial?
L.I. Brezhnev. I believe, since we have been exchanging opinions within the framework of bilateral meetings, let us task our ministries of foreign affairs with conducting consultations, because we have not finished our consultations with Romania yet. Let us task the ministers with determining the level at which consultations should be held and their time frame. Moreover, there has to be a strict deadline.
N. Ceaușescu. With this we can conclude the discussion of this issue.
A.N. Kosygin. What time frame do you believe to be realistic?
N. Ceaușescu. We will most probably need a few days to clean up the transcript back home. Let’s say, a week. And then we can have representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs meet somewhere, or come visit us, whatever we will agree on.
L.I. Brezhnev. Yes, let’s wrap up [the discussion of] this issue.
N. Ceaușescu. As to the key question about our relations with the FRG, I will talk about this later when I address the issue of European security.
L.I. Brezhnev. Moving to item number two?
N. Ceaușescu. Yes. I will try to be succinct, though this issue is very important. It concerns the conference of European communist parties on the issue of European security. We received a letter written on behalf of all members of the Drafting Commission working on the draft of the document, as well as the draft declaration. Cde. Klishko brought these documents to us, and he provided relevant explanations. The significance and the importance of the issue of European security are clear to all of us. All communist parties of the countries-members of the Warsaw Pact expressed their opinion on this issue in the Declaration adopted by the July 1966 session of the PCC in Bucharest. In the Bucharest statement we appealed to the governments and the people of European countries. Since then, in our opinion, the situation has been developing in the positive direction.
An issue was raised about the need for an intergovernmental conference of the European countries. This idea is also supported by many Western European countries. If I understand and remember correctly, Cde. Podgorny made this offer to the Italians. I do not remember whether Cde. Kosygin touched upon this during his visit to England. We also discussed this issue with a number of Western European countries, and we have their consent. Recently, the Bulgarian comrades supposedly discussed the same issue with the Swedes and the Danish, and they agreed to participate in such a conference. Other socialist countries also have been making efforts in this direction. In our opinion, this is a positive development.
I have to say that, in our opinion, everything we agreed on in Bucharest is still relevant. There are possibilities to successfully continue improving the cooperation between European countries. Of course for this [to happen] there has to be a lot of work done and it needs time. All of us who signed the Declaration have to work in this direction, including the communist parties and the democratic forces from all over Europe. It is in this context that the issue of the relations with the FRG is being brought up. It is an important issue of course. It is of interest to all European countries. Of greater interest to some, and of lesser interest to others. One needs to take into account that the Soviet Union, as an occupying power in Germany, has more rights. We understand that the rights and the responsibilities of the Soviet Union with respect to German politics are a different issue from the rights of Romania with respect to Germany.
A.N. Kosygin. Do you mean West Germany?
N. Ceaușescu. The whole Germany, pursuant to the Potsdam Agreement. In accordance with this agreement, the Soviet Union has the right and bears responsibility for what is going on in Germany as a whole.
L.I. Brezhnev. I just want to stress right away that we are not occupying the GDR. We have a contractual relationship with it.
N. Ceaușescu. I meant the Potsdam Agreement which gives you the right to act throughout Germany as a whole.
A.N. Kosygin. It defines zones.
N. Ceaușescu. Zones do exist but you also bear responsibility for what is going on in Western Germany. We, on the other hand, do not have a legal right to interfere in German affairs. From this standpoint, if you look at the German issue, then for one country it presents one way, and for another country it presents differently. You and we have common positions with respect to the resurgence of revanchism and Neo-Nazism in Germany, as well as with respect to ensuring the conditions under which militarism cannot resurge. You were in agreement with this position. This was also written down in our documents. But there exist different responsibilities and different possibilities for different countries with respect to the FRG. This was the way the issue was presented in the Declaration which we all jointly adopted at the Bucharest Summit. We support it and believe that we need to continue to support it.
Of course, in connection with this there are issues on which socialist countries need to hold consultations among themselves. Such consultations took place in Bucharest, including on the issue of establishing relations with Western Germany. The Declaration states: “The countries that have signed this Declaration, point out as a positive factor the existence in the Federal Republic of Germany of circles who stand against revanchism and militarism, and demand establishing normal relations both with the countries of the West and of the East, including normal relations between the two German states; they are working towards relaxing of international tensions and ensuring European security so that all Germans could enjoy the benefit of peace.”
During the discussions and negotiations which we held in Bucharest, the importance of normalizing the relations between the two German states has been stressed. As you know, we have normal relations with the GDR, and they have not started today but we have had them for a long time. So the question of improving relations with the GDR, and moreover of establishing relations with it, has not been brought up. The issue was to establish diplomatic relations with the FRG, with whom we did not have those at the time. And until very recently everyone has been saying that it is imperative to establish such relations with the FRG and that it will be an action against the Hallstein Doctrine. Subsequently we were acting in the spirit of what was agreed upon in Bucharest. I repeat, we believe that we have had consultations and acted in accordance with the joint agreement reached in Bucharest. When it concerns establishing diplomatic relations with each particular country, we believe that there is no necessity to get together and conduct consultations again. Every country has to make efforts to implement what has been agreed upon and what has been reflected in our joint Declaration. Therefore we do not consider that [your] statements that the consultations did not take place, are correct. These consultations did take place. This is a technical and legal side of the issue. As to the substance of the issue, we believe that establishing diplomatic relations between Romania and the FRG not only corresponds to the Bucharest Declaration, but is also in the interests of socialist countries and in the interest of the security in Europe. This action in no way infringes on the interests of the GDR, as some were trying to allege. (Not at the meetings here, I mean in general.) On the contrary, this is for the benefit of the GDR, since in essence, by establishing diplomatic relations, we dealt a blow to the Hallstein Doctrine.
It is true that the government of the FRG did not abandon some of their positions. But in practice these positions do not have any significance at this time. Additionally, in order to establish diplomatic relations with any country, there is no requirement to have an agreement with them on international issues. Otherwise we would not be able to establish diplomatic relations with any of the capitalist countries.
As to the claims of Western Germans that they speak for the whole Germany, we have [already] said that their claim to be a representative of the interests of the whole German nation, does not have any practical significance and will only serve as an obstacle to normalizing relations and life in Europe. We have said this publicly. You know about that. They were insisting on their opinion. But practically no one was taking their claims seriously. Adenauer made this statement even here, in Moscow, in 1955. So one cannot consider this issue an obstacle to the normalization of relations with Western Germany.
I would like to explain to you, as a friend, our approach to this issue. I believe that it was misunderstood. Possibly, if we discussed these issues, then we would not have difficulties and ambiguities. Quite recently an outer space agreement was signed. The US, the FRG and other countries declared that they would not recognize the German Democratic Republic’s signature under this agreement. Nevertheless, the agreement was signed. The fact that the US and the FRG do not recognize the GDR, and that they do not recognize the GDR’s signature under this document, did not have any effect. The agreement was signed.
So what will happen if we sign a nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and the Americans and the representatives of Western Germany declare that they will not recognize the signature of the GDR under this document? Would that mean that we would not be able to ratify the treaty? On the contrary, I believe that we will ratify it, because they have not yet gotten to the stage when they can abandon old beliefs, but life shows that their position has already lost any real, practical meaning. Why should it serve as an obstacle to establishing relations between the countries? On the contrary, in our opinion, by establishing diplomatic, political and economic relations with other European countries, including the FRG, we make our contribution to ensuring European security, which fully aligns with the Bucharest Declaration.
If you want to know our opinion, every country acts as it deems necessary. But the more socialist countries establish diplomatic relations with the FRG, the more assistance will be provided to progressive, realistic forces in Western Germany and the stronger their position will be. That way we will serve the cause of European security. In no way do we underestimate the threat of neo-Nazism in Germany, and we believe that specifically the existence of such a threat requires from us that we support those forces who advocate for realistic policy.
The government of Kissinger-Brandt which, in our opinion, is approaching the situation in the most realistic way and is taking certain steps to normalize relations with socialist countries, wants to find ways to solve some issues, especially with respect to the Soviet Union. In this manner they are trying to find a way out of the political dead-end of the past. Of course the policy of this government has its contradictions. There is a struggle between the progressive and the revanchist forces. And this struggle will continue.
But what would happen if the government of Kissinger-Brandt did not succeed in their steps to normalize the relations with socialist countries? In our opinion, this specifically would have caused the strengthening of neo-Nazi and revanchist reactionary forces in Western Germany. These forces would then declare: here, look at this, the attempts of the Kissinger-Brandt government have proven to be unrealistic, and there are no paths to cooperation with socialist countries in Europe. And, of course, these reactionary forces could then significantly increase their influence in Western Germany. This is how we have been viewing the order of things, and we are viewing them now the same way. It is possible that life will show that we have been mistaken.
A.N. Kosygin. It would have been more practical if we had this conversation with our comrades from the GDR prior to the agreement with Bonn.
N. Ceaușescu. I have brought up this topic here because you had brought it up [first]. On our part, we believe that the consultations within the framework of the Warsaw Pact have been held already.
Now, regarding the conference of the European communist parties. As you know, we believe that under current conditions such a conference will not be beneficial. We are trying to organize a Europe-wide meeting at the governmental level, and all of a sudden, this question about holding a conference of the European communist parties comes up. This, in our opinion, is not right. We would like to consult with you: wouldn’t it be better to find a solution (which I believe, based on the information we were provided, was [already] proposed in Warsaw) that would allow the conference to be held only for the communist parties of capitalist countries of Europe? We have already adopted our Declaration, we – the ruling parties of the socialist countries of Europe. We have a wider scope of work than the communist parties of capitalist countries who are not the ruling, but the opposition parties. If we participate in the meeting of communist parties, there will be a lot of questions brought up by the governments with which we wish to cooperate, about the positions of our parties, as ruling parties, and about the positions of our countries as well, and this will complicate our cause. Therefore, maybe we should find a different solution for this issue.
We have to also take into consideration that some communist parties will not take part in the conference, and instead of demonstrating the unity of communist parties of Europe, we would demonstrate that there is no such unity. The question is: does it benefit our cause?
Would it do us any good to be presented in this light? In our opinion, the current environment is not conducive for all the parties to participate in the conference. On the other hand, if the conference is held only with the participation of the communist parties of capitalist countries, then it will be of a completely different nature.
We, the communist parties of socialist countries, presented a united front on the issues of European security in the summer of last year. So why would we, 8 months later, present the situation in a different light?
We would like to ask the CPSU leadership to once again review this issue, and we would welcome a solution as a result of which the communist parties of Europe would not split into those who will participate and those who will not participate in the conference.
With this I will conclude.
(The meeting is adjourned for a lunch break)
(After the break)
L.I. Brezhnev (addressing Cde. Ceaușescu). You have concluded, am I correct?
What can be said on the second item [of the agenda]? First of all, let me say that the issue of establishing diplomatic relations with the FRG was unfortunately brought up after the fact. This is, in a way, a moot discussion. Based on all of our recent statements, you know our position on this issue, therefore it does not seem that continuing this discussion now makes sense. Reference to the Bucharest Summit is a reputable reference, but one can point to dozens of examples in the text of the Bucharest resolution which are not in favor of establishing such relations. This, too, you know perfectly well.
We value collective opinion. This opinion was quite recently put on the record again in Warsaw by ministers of foreign affairs who were consulting specifically on this issue.
Here a major accent was put on the fact that the healthy forces in the FRG need to be supported, and that you, so to say, concluded the agreement with these healthy forces and will support them. They of course do exist in the FRG, these healthy forces. But the problem is that they do not have any power. These are the forces with no power. And at this time the power is in the hands of the governments and the ruling parties who pursue the same revanchist line, which you and we have been talking about and which we are fighting against.
So all we can do now is let this issue be judged by history. The best that can be expected, and what we would like to hope for, considering that establishing relations between you and the FRG is an accomplished fact, is that you will not deviate from the principles. And as you know, the principles are outlined in the Bucharest Declaration. If the FRG, while maintaining diplomatic relations with you, attempts to, directly or indirectly, display its known tendencies, we hope that the RCP Central Committee and the government of the SRR will provide a proper push-back to that. I believe we can conclude the discussion on this issue at this point.
Even more surprising is the communist parties’ position of non-participation in the European conference. This position, to be honest, is just astonishing to us. The arguments and explanations for this are unconvincing, to say the least. You are aware of our position. We were in favor of participating in this conference from the very beginning. That being said, we proceed on the basis of, first of all, the general principle of the communist movement, set forth in 1957 and 1960, and in the subsequent exchange of opinions regarding the fact that various consultations, conferences, and exchanges of opinions between brotherly parties on a bilateral basis, on a multilateral basis, [as well as] all sorts of regional meetings of communist parties, are a beneficial thing. And we have not yet heard that anyone condemns this principle. Therefore we supported the regional conference of the Latin American communist parties in Havana. We supported such regional conferences of Western European communist parties in Brussels and Vienna. They also discussed the issues of unity in the struggle for peace and their domestic policies. Neither from the legal standpoint, nor based on the accepted international practices of the communist movement, we have any reason not to support such conferences. What is so bad if currently 24 communist parties have agreed to participate in discussing the issues of security in Europe? Yugoslavia is hesitating, some of the Scandinavian [countries] are hesitating, and some others.
Yu.V. Andropov. Albania, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Iceland.
L.I. Brezhnev. I do not know what the final decision of each of these parties will be. Neither do we know the final position of Romanians.
Yu.V. Andropov. 24 parties are in favor.
L.I. Brezhnev. Representatives of 19 parties were present at the session of the Drafting Commission. Due to financial reasons 4 parties did not take part, but they are “in favor”.
We believe that the preconditions are good for the upcoming conference to be a major event in the political life of Europe. We are convinced that neither the agenda, which has been finalized and already sent out, nor the content of the planned statement, or the exchange of opinions which will take place there… I am sure, they will not infringe upon the interests of any communist party individually, either in Europe or outside of the continent. Therefore we do not see any basis for saying that this could bring some sort of a polarization or discord into the international communist movement. Using this logic, one can come to the following conclusion: since we, the seven parties, convened in Bucharest (after all, in essence this was a meeting of the parties) and discussed the issues of European security, then we could have infringed on someone’s interests, the French, the Italian or some other communist party, and in so doing exacerbated the split. But nothing of the sort happened. The same is here: neither the agenda, nor anything else causes any doubt. After all, it is not an accident that 24 parties expressed their consent. Additionally, the drafts of the documents that have been prepared do not contradict the interests of any of the parties. Is this document really unacceptable for the UAR or any other progressive forces? It does not infringe on the interests of a single party. Therefore we do not see a reason for any doubts. It is surprising that the Romanian Communist Party does not believe that it is possible for it to take part in the meeting of brotherly parties, and on such a pressing issue as the European security at that. This is difficult to even try to explain.
Does this meeting really contradict or impede the conference of the governments? Based on the document that is envisioned as a result of it, this inference cannot be drawn at all. On the contrary, this will put in the hands of all leftist forces the material which will push the governments to take part in the conference. As for the parties and the working class, this will be a document which rallies and mobilizes. Even if only 24 parties get together. Let us take a look at who they are. These are the parties from the USSR, the GDR, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Great Britain and a whole number of other reputable parties. What are they going to discuss? They are going to discuss how it is better to avert the threat of war in Europe. What is so bad about this topic? Who can argue against this? What workers or progressive intelligentsia can be against this idea and against such a document? Of course it is the Romanian party’s prerogative to determine its position with respect to this issue, but if you were to decide to remain on the sidelines, this would be very difficult to explain, and would lead to a lot of speculations – direct and indirect.
People would start speculating about the reasons – after all, one cannot prevent anyone from doing that. All sorts of rhetoric and conjectures would commence.
It appears to me that one should feel uncomfortable to give such a motive, i.e. that supposedly it does not befit us, the ruling parties, to get together with the communist parties of capitalist countries. We would like that this argument of yours stays within these walls. There is no way we can support it. When, on what occasion and for what reason would the CPSU say that we do not feel comfortable having a joint meeting with the French, Italian or Spanish communist parties, because they are communist parties of capitalist countries? This is not a proper argument. We cannot say this to any party from any capitalist country. Then one can put forward the following argument against the general international meeting: that we are socialist and you are capitalist. In any case, Cde. Ceaușescu and Cde. Maurer, frankly speaking, one thing that is for sure is that in our minds we had no doubt that the RCP would take part in the European conference of communist parties. We were convinced that the Romanian Communist Party would participate. We have had doubts, and still have them, with respect to Yugoslavia. They still have complicated processes going on there. But even so, I have to tell you, after our conversation with Tito, they told us that they would discuss this issue internally and that they see a lot of useful elements [in the conference], and they will inform us about their decision at a later time. Now they are telling us (in our latest conversations) that, if they find the prepared draft of the document acceptable, then they will possibly take part [in the conference]. We do not want to pass this off as their decision, because there is still a long way until they reach it. But Yugoslavs definitely displayed interest in this. In any case, Tito agreed that he was incorrect when he initially made a televised statement saying that The League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) would not take part in the conference. During a recent discussion with us here, in Moscow, the Yugoslavs said that they would not oppose the conference any longer. And indeed they no longer do. And now there are even indicators that they will possibly take part in it. Specifically, they have requested their Bulgarian comrades to come over to discuss additional clarifications of this issue.
Therefore, Cde. Ceaușescu, we cannot accept your arguments as persuasive, and frankly speaking, there is no way we can justify the RCP’s point of view on this issue. I think that this position of yours may lead to all sorts of deliberations among other brotherly parties. I would not want you to misconstrue what I am trying to say. But [your actions] can be interpreted as if the RCP is acting contrary to the opinion of the overwhelming majority of brotherly parties of Europe, who without any hesitation agreed to participate in the meeting with the agenda that essentially flows out of the Bucharest Declaration. People may say that there is some sort of a deviation by the Romanian communist party from jointly agreed positions of brotherly parties on key issues. At this point we are far from categorizing the situation this way. Yet, it is hard to explain why the Romanian communist party does not want to participate in discussing such a crucial political issue which has a major practical and propagandist significance with respect to European security. This, strictly speaking, is our point of view.
We would like to ask you, in a brotherly fashion, to think about it and weigh everything again. I am confident that other brotherly parties, the Polish, the French and the Italian, would welcome the RCP’s participation in the meeting. Everyone would be happy if you, along with the whole family of communist parties of Europe, put your signature under the document produced at the meeting. It is not a bad document, though it might need to be reinforced. What do we have to argue about? Everything is clear.
N. Ceaușescu. I would like in a few words to respond to the issues raised by Cde. Brezhnev, especially the last one. Frankly speaking, I am surprised (and I think my comrades and the Central Committee will be surprised too) that Cde. Brezhnev formed such an opinion about the non-participation of the Romanian communist party in the conference.
L.I. Brezhnev. Maybe I am mistaken, but from your words I understood that you do not think that it is possible for you to participate in the conference.
N. Ceaușescu. I meant your statement that there may be questions about the Romanian position, that people may say that there is some sort of a deviation by the Romanian communist party from jointly agreed positions of brotherly parties. I have to be honest with you, there is absolutely no way I can accept this type of thinking and consider this an uncalled for insult towards our party. And when someone characterizes this or that party in such a manner, then there is no point to discuss anything. We came here to discuss this issue with you, so that we can find some sort of a solution. We raised the issue and expressed our opinion on it. We discussed it with the French, the Italians, the Bulgarians, the Czechs, with the parties of Scandinavian countries – in other words, with all of the communist parties of Europe, with a few exceptions. We did this after in May of last year the Austrian communist party sent us a decision to call a meeting. I have to say that all of these parties expressed a different view on our position, and neither one of them expressed an opinion that, should the Romanian communist party not take part in the meeting, it would deviate from the Marxist-Leninist principles and from the jointly agreed positions. We regret that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union formed such an opinion, since it would mean for us that we would have to come to a conclusion that you are not sufficiently familiar with either our leadership or our party in general, and that the CPSU is not coming from the knowledge of the actual policies of our party, but from the information that does not have any factual basis. Of course, if there are such assertions, then they in no way serve our common cause.
As to the issue of the conference. We raised the question of the benefits of such a conference. We already spoke about this with you previously. Today we told you right away that we wanted to find a solution that would not lead to the non-participation in this meeting of the seven communist parties, including the Romanian communist party.
L.I. Brezhnev. This is a completely different approach to the issue.
N. Ceaușescu. One of the solutions would boil down to proposing to convene a meeting for just the communist parties of capitalist countries, keeping in mind that the socialist countries already had a meeting on the issues of European security. This does not mean (and I am surprised at this assertion) that the Romanian communists do not wish to sit at the same table with the communists from capitalist countries.
In 1966 we had meetings with the representatives of all communist parties of Europe, and with some of them even two times. Our delegations visited Austria, Italy, Denmark, France and Finland. Numerous delegations from brotherly parties visited us. A Central Committee of one of the underground parties is located in our country, as well as two underground radio stations of two communist parties. And not a single one of these parties can complain that it does not receive comprehensive support on our part and that we interfere in their activities. On the contrary, all these parties expressed great gratitude towards the RCP and the leadership of our party for the assistance provided to them. So where does this assertion come from, that the Romanian communist party is striving to isolate itself from the communist parties of capitalist countries?
L.I. Brezhnev. I was meaning something completely different when I mentioned Cde. Ceaușescu’s words that some parties are ruling parties, and others are not, and that this will hinder the unity. This is specifically what I was basing my statements on, and not on your attitude towards communists.
N. Ceaușescu. But it is in fact true that there are ruling parties, in socialist countries, and parties which conduct their activities under conditions of a capitalist society. And they each approach their objectives differently.
We would like to avoid giving such assessments that would throw shadows on any individual party, which does not serve [the purpose] of strengthening unity.
A.N. Kosygin. But this is not what happened.
L.I. Brezhnev. Please do not misinterpret it. We met for a friendly conversation. Let us ask the stenographer to decipher what I have said and how you interpret it. I said that the attitude that you have towards this meeting may cause, may trigger (and you cannot stop anyone from thinking that) discussions that the RCP is deviating from jointly agreed positions of brotherly parties on key issues. And you are saying that I am insulting the party.
N. Ceaușescu. What would you say if I declared that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is doing or not doing this and that, and that it would be construed this way and that?
L.I. Brezhnev. If you told me that it would serve as grounds for thinking of us this way or that, I would calmly provide an explanation in this respect. And if you said that the Romanian communist party is convinced that the CPSU is deviating from the general line, then I would decisively argue against your opinion. There is a big difference, and please do not interpret what was said this way. We are not proponents of this.
N. Ceaușescu. We wish to clarify all these issues in an amicable manner.
L.I. Brezhnev. I was speaking of things that are not so pleasant, but the words that you expressed your grievance about, were not meant as the CPSU’s opinion, not as our opinion. All I did was point out that the position which the Romanian comrades took, may trigger different interpretations on the part of others. We, Cde. Ceaușescu, are discussing crucial issues, and we cannot say only pleasantries to each other.
N. Ceaușescu. As to the issue of the conference. I repeat again, we raised this issue out of the desire to find a solution which would allow for the participation of all parties in this conference, including the RCP. Obviously, the non-participation of the communist parties of socialist countries in the meeting on the issues of European security, would be a radical decision.
I think there is no need now to talk about how the preparations for the conference went. We were extensively informed on the progress of the preparations, and we received a draft Declaration. We have serious concerns about this draft.
In the first place, there is a question whether there is a need for the Declaration in principle. This question was raised by us and by a number of other parties.
L.I. Brezhnev. Not a declaration, but a statement.
P. Niculescu-Mizil. In Romanian language it is the same thing.
N. Ceaușescu. Maybe it would be better to hold this conference in the form of a meeting of representatives of communist parties in order to exchange opinions, present their positions and exchange information. This opinion will be shared by many parties, including those, who participated in the Drafting Commission. The meeting could adopt a short statement without evaluating the political situation in general, which would contain a call to all democratic movements, political groups, etc. to fight for ensuring security in Europe. This version is also acceptable to us. Why? Because in the proposed draft of the statement issues are being raised that are interesting to this or that communist party of the capitalist country, but which are not directly related to European security. Thus, for example, an issue is raised about strengthening the fight for overthrowing reactionary governments in some countries of Western Europe. Of course, it is a correct approach to the issue, if it goes about the policies of specific communist parties. However, we want to ensure European security by building our relationships not only with communist governments. Of course, it would be very good if we had working governments in all countries. Then the problem of security would have been solved. But we want to address this problem with capitalist governments, some of which are more democratically inclined and some of which are more reactionary. It is specifically with those countries, with those governments, we want to develop our relations striving to strengthen security in Europe. I just took this issue as an example, but there are a number of others. And if we come from the premise that the meeting has to be focused on ensuring security and peace in Europe, then (as it was already proposed by others) [we should] limit ourselves to a statement. This would be one of the solutions to the issue and would make it much easier for the RCP and other communist parties to participate in the conference.
Another issue which needs to be brought up in this connection, is the timing of the conference which absolutely does not work for us. It would be good to postpone the conference for some time. Several parties with whom we discussed this issue, expressed an opinion about the advisability of postponing the conference for several weeks. First of all, one has to take into account that there are seven parties which would like to prepare for the conference, so that they could take part in it, but there is not enough time for that. I do not want to complain about the organizers of the conference, but they did not send the draft of the document for review in a timely manner, before the Drafting Commission’s session.
We would like to discuss this with you. We also contacted the Polish and the French comrades, as they are the organizers of this conference, with a request to provide additional clarifications in connection with the documents which they sent us. This was on the same day we were leaving to come here. It would be very good, if, as a result of the exchange of opinions with you, we could align our opinions on a number of issues related to this conference. This would make it easier for us to agree on issues with the organizers of the conference, with the Polish and the French. If we achieve acceptable solutions, then we will also participate in the conference.
A.N. Kosygin. Why didn’t you come to Warsaw to the Drafting Commission’s meeting and raise these issues there? You could have come and said: comrades, let us postpone the conference for a few days.
N. Ceaușescu. It does not change anything. First of all, we were not provided a draft of the statement, and second of all, we were not invited there.
A.N. Kosygin. Everyone was invited there.
N. Ceaușescu. We were not. And they did not send us the draft that the Drafting Commission prepared!
There was a draft prepared by the Polish and the French comrades. This draft was sent out to a group of parties. Romanians were excluded from this group of parties. During the Drafting Commission’s session, some parties criticized the organizers for this.
Yu.V. Andropov. But the Polish comrades visited you specifically to inform you about the conference.
N. Ceaușescu. Yes, they did, but we told them that we did not consider this conference beneficial. This was a long time ago, and that was the end of it. This is a different issue.
A.N. Kosygin. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. I am not informed about this, which is why I cannot provide an exhaustive answer. We do not know the technical side of the preparations.
N. Ceaușescu. We would like to discuss the situation that currently exists. We do not want to discuss things that happened in the past.
A.N. Kosygin. 19 parties have discussed the document [already], but now, as it seems, we have to start the work from scratch.
N. Ceaușescu. But this is a draft of the statement, so if we want all parties to participate in the conference, then we need to take into account the opinion of our party and of other parties.
L.I. Brezhnev. Difficult situation.
A.N. Kosygin. We cannot speak for all parties.
L.I. Brezhnev. We also had edits to the draft, and our representatives who took part in the session of the Drafting Commission, put them for consideration by other participants. Some of them were adopted, some declined. Apparently, you will now have to address the organizers of the conference – the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) and the French Communist Party (PCF).
I.G. Maurer. Maybe together we will come to the conclusion that the proposal of our communist party is good. If we come to such a conclusion, this will mean a step forward. If, however, we cannot come to such an agreement now, then, apparently, we will have to continue consultations and discuss the issue with the organizers of the conference.
L.I. Brezhnev. We have to group the issues. The first group of issues concerns postponing the date of the conference so that [we can] use the remaining time to encourage other parties into taking part in the conference.
N. Ceaușescu. The meeting can be held approximately in May.
L.I. Brezhnev. The second issue is the substance of the prepared draft statement, and it needs to be discussed.
A.N. Kosygin. Cde. Ceaușescu has raised a crucial question here. He says: how can we, the socialist countries, where the parties are the ruling parties, discuss the issues of fighting against the reactionary governments in the West? This will complicate our intergovernmental relationships. However, any issue related to the communist movement in the West which we support in solidarity with the communist parties of capitalist countries, inevitably to some extent complicates our relations with the capitalists in power.
N. Ceaușescu. I think I was misunderstood. I stressed that there will be just one issue discussed at the conference – the issue of European security. On the other hand, if the agenda included the issue of seizing power and fighting against reactionary governments, then it would be a different story.
A.N. Kosygin. Isn’t European security affected by the existence of reactionary regime in Portugal, or by Kissinger’s admission that there is a possibility that neo-Nazis will come to power in the FRG? Doesn’t it all threaten European security?
N. Ceaușescu. So do we want to discuss the issues of European security or the issue of overthrowing Kissinger’s government or any other government?
A.N. Kosygin. This is not part of the statement.
N. Ceaușescu. I just gave you one example (but one can find a lot of them in the draft), and with the only purpose of showing you that there are issues that need to be resolved. We will need to put a lot of effort into this. We will have to work hard, and prepare a document that will ensure that all parties participate in the conference.
A.N. Kosygin. We are confident that the statement of the conference of communist parties will not thrill either Kissinger or anyone else. They are not going to applaud our conference, but will attack it instead. And this is what the class struggle is about.
N. Ceaușescu. We do not want to discuss this issue, i.e. the contents of the statement, in depth. We have proposed some things which, if they are accepted, may lead to all parties participating in this conference.
A.N. Kosygin. Not everyone can participate. For example, the Albanian Workers' Party (AWP) and Communist Party of Holland will not come, no matter what we do.
N. Ceaușescu. I meant the participation of the Romanian party.
A.N. Kosygin. You said “all parties”.
L.I. Brezhnev. We are discussing the participation of your party now. I believe that the Czechs took the initiative to invite the Albanians to Karlovy Vary.
A.N. Kosygin. They are probably not even going to adopt the document.
N. Ceaușescu. The Czechs have approached us. We want to discuss this issue. We do not have anything to add to this issue. We just wanted to express our opinion.
L.I. Brezhnev. You approached the Polish and the French - the organizers of the conference. In the course of the preparation for the conference we stayed in contact with them. We took part in the Drafting Commission. Now we are going to additionally review the prepared materials. If there is a need to introduce some sort of amendments and additions, we will be able to do it at the Drafting Commission’s session which will take place ahead of the opening of the conference.
A.N. Kosygin. Cde. Ceaușescu, why don’t you put together the language for your amendments, and then send your representatives to the Drafting Commission’s session ahead of the conference, and in a friendly manner present your opinion? If your proposals are good, you will find support. There will be representatives of 24 parties.
N. Ceaușescu. We cannot participate in the work of the conference on the dates it is scheduled. We have other events scheduled for this period, and we will not be able to postpone them. Additionally, it is impossible to submit amendments to the document two days before the start of the conference.
Therefore the solution should be the following: postpone the conference for several weeks. As far as I know, some other parties have similar thoughtsalso.
L.I. Brezhnev. For us it will be the most difficult - we have an anniversary year, there’s a lot to do…
A.N. Kosygin. When so many parties are planning to get together, it is difficult to change the calendar.
N. Ceaușescu. We are still going to discuss this with the organizers.
A.N. Kosygin. It certainly would be very desirable for you to participate in the conference. This would demonstrate unity. There are hardly any insurmountable obstacles for participation. Just imagine the current situation: people are prepared, the date is set, and all issues are discussed. There is more than a month left before the conference. It is enough time to prepare a speech.
L.I. Brezhnev. We would highly appreciate your participation in the conference.
A.N. Kosygin. Yes, it would be received very well by our party.
L.I. Brezhnev. When we were editing the document, we had debates, and a number of provisions, that were not quite acceptable by some parties, were removed. Standing on common principles, the parties made concessions to each other in specific details.
A.N. Kosygin. Otherwise unity would not be possible.
L.I. Brezhnev. There are various nuances in opinions, but everything should be subordinate to the main idea – the idea of strengthening the unity. And, I suppose, we should compromise with each other.
A.N. Kosygin. Everyone will come to the Drafting Commission session with their comments and amendments to the draft statement, and we will gladly accept those that will serve our common cause.
L.I. Brezhnev. Major, important documents are difficult to bring to life. Remember, during the Bucharest conference there were heated debates, but in the end they developed and adopted the main document which received a widespread response around the world.
N. Ceaușescu. We were expecting that you would accept some of our proposals. So how do we find a solution? I am still doubting that the conference will bring any benefits. But we would like to find some sort of a solution for this issue, which would allow us to participate in the conference and demonstrate our unity.
L.I. Brezhnev. It is possible that we failed to prove to you that the conference will be beneficial.
P. Niculescu-Mizil. Or maybe we failed to convince you that we are right.
I.G. Maurer. (jokingly). I have an impression that we are all collectively to blame.
A.N. Kosygin. (jokingly). We will just have to start our meeting from the beginning.
N. Ceaușescu. I want to stress that we are trying to find a solution to this issue together with the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This would produce a good impression on the leadership of our party.
L.I. Brezhnev. We have been looking for [the solution] for as long as the preparations to the conference have been going on.
Yu.V. Andropov. Since January of last year.
L.I. Brezhnev. These discussions have been going on for over a year now.
N. Ceaușescu. If we could postpone till May, then we would have an opportunity to discuss the contents of this draft, and then we would be able to participate in the conference.
A.N. Kosygin. Do you mean the conference at the same level as was the recent one in Warsaw, or the conference of the leaders of the delegations?
N. Ceaușescu. The organizers of the conference could take the initiative in discussing these issues and, in any case, the preparation commission could meet and discuss the materials.
A.N. Kosygin. Let’s say you put forward proposals which will be cardinally different from the provisions of the statement. It remains to be seen whether they will be accepted at all.
N. Ceaușescu. We will discuss these issues when the Drafting Commission is established. This discussion is envisioned anyway, but it will start three days before the start of the conference. It would be advisable to give time to the parties to think things over after this session, and then maybe call the conference in May.
L.I. Brezhnev. You see, the organizers invited everyone to take part in the Drafting Commission so that the opinions of the parties could be taken into account when preparing the main document. We are all bound by this document already. But the organizers are providing us one more opportunity: ahead of the conference, three or four days prior, we will get together and have an opportunity to improve or change a number of provisions.
A.N. Kosygin. Ultimately, maybe it would be a good idea to get together not four days in advance, but seven or ten days before, without changing the date of the conference. This way there will be [enough] time to discuss all of these issues.
L.I. Brezhnev. This document was prepared not at the highest level, and as far as I understand, we have the right to suggest edits and communicate them ahead of time. After all, redoing everything from scratch is very difficult, particularly because in a way it will have to be done behind the backs of other parties.
N. Ceaușescu. We are not suggesting making a decision that will be then forced on other parties. If you were to accept what we proposed, we would then approach other parties in order to discuss everything. We were trying to convince you, … so that we can then work on this with the organizers.
A.N. Kosygin. Cde. Ceaușescu, this issue is very easily solvable. As you understand, we cannot make a decision for 20 parties. Therefore there is another way – to call a second session of the Drafting Commission 10 days before the conference in order to discuss all issues. This way there would be enough time to discuss your proposals.
N. Ceaușescu. No.
L.I. Brezhnev.So, are we done? Are we going to release a communique? (Addressing Cde. Andropov). I do not know whether you already agreed on it?
Yu.V. Andropov. Yes, I delivered it to Cde. Niculescu-Mizil.
L.I. Brezhnev. Cde. Niculescu, do you agree with this communique?
P. Niculescu-Mizil. Yes.
L.I. Brezhnev. I have also read it.
A.N. Kosygin. I completely agree with it.
Yu.V. Andropov. Can we publish it in newspapers tomorrow?
L.I. Brezhnev. If you are leaving today, then tomorrow we will publish a news release in the papers about our meetings.
N. Ceaușescu. We are very grateful to you, Comrades, for the possibility to discuss the issues.
L.I. Brezhnev. We appreciate the friendly tone of our discussions. It appears that we have to draw the [following] conclusion: to meet more often and timely bring up the pressing issues for discussion. After all, the preparations to the conference have been going on for two years now. If you had formed some sort of a position early on, you could have discussed it at the initial stages with both the Polish and the French, and if you deemed it necessary, with us [too]. And now the opportunity has been missed – we have already agreed with 24 parties and have to honor this agreement. There is large and strenuous work ahead in order to prepare for and participate in the conference.
N. Ceaușescu. I agree with your conclusion that we should meet more often, but in order to prepare a better basis for this, let us agree on the solution to the issue at hand.
L.I. Brezhnev. You yourself understand how difficult this issue is at this time. I think that you would be better off taking part in the conference and introducing your proposals as to the amendments to the [main] document.
A.N. Kosygin. Maybe they will be the same as ours.
N. Ceaușescu. We do not have time. It will be impossible for me personally to attend the conference.
L.I. Brezhnev. For the sake of such a major conference, when 24 European parties decided to get together, you could postpone some things, push them to a later date.
A.N. Kosygin. After all, Cde. Ceaușescu, you will not be able to explain to the party that you did not have time to take part in such an important conference. People will not understand this. I am saying this not because I want to argue with you.
N. Ceaușescu. In the time that is left, it is impossible for us to prepare for the conference and take part in it. We want you to agree in principle to postpone this conference. The organizers will consult you, just like they will consult other parties. And it is important what your response to them will be. It is one thing, if you say that you do not have anything against postponing the conference until a later date, and it is another thing, if you say that you object. We want this so that the Drafting Commission could have the opportunity to work and create a document which would be acceptable for everyone. This is not a matter of principle, it is a matter of practicability. And if we cannot reach an agreement on this issue, then how are we going to be able to act [jointly] on matters of principle?
L.I. Brezhnev. I am thinking, Cde. Ceaușescu, what else we can add to what was already said on this issue. If you approach the Polish and the French, then I am certain that they, in turn, will definitely approach other parties on this issue, including us. When they do this, then we, depending on how they pose this question, will think about this again.
The discussion ended at this point.
The conversation was written down by:
 Translator’s note: “Political Consultative Committee”
Brezhnev and Ceausescu discuss draft versions of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty, arguing about the language used in the deal. They also discuss the creation of an intergovernmental conference of European countries and agree that they should meet more often in the future.
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