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August 1, 1961

Summary of Comments by N. S. Khrushchev concerning the Question of the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty with the German Democratic Republic

This document was made possible with support from Blavatnik Family Foundation

Summary of comments by N. S. Khrushchev concerning the question of the conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic[1]


1 August 1961


American government leaders say that the conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic by the Soviet Union and other countries, the liquidation of the occupation regime in West Berlin, and consequently the termination of the use of the air corridor and access to West Berlin, which was provided for the Western powers by the surrender agreement, they say, the Soviet Union and the socialist countries want to humiliate America, France, and Britain in order for the representatives of America to ask the Germans for permission for the right of communication with West Berlin, that is, from the Germans who fought with the Russians and other peoples of the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, which is uncomradely and immoral.


What groundlessness of such reasoning! First, if one is speaking of morals and legal principles, then I would like to point to a fresh example which was taught to us by the US and the other allies with whom we fought against Japan, when they concluded a peace treaty and deprived us of all rights ensuing from the surrender and in the Committee in Tokyo and in Washington, and thus, we remained in a state of war with Japan. We did not sign the peace treaty, and the Americans deprived us of the right to take part in these committees which were created on the basis of the victory and the surrender of Japan. Thus, this was actually mockery of the Soviet Union and its representatives.


However, we endured all this because there was one choice: either we begin the war against Japan again or seek other means, and we chose another path. We survived, and now we have a treaty to end the state of war and think the time has come when the Japanese government will correctly and realistically take into consideration the conditions which have developed and we will sign the peace treaty about which we have already made a statement.


Therefore how can there be a one-sided opinion; on the one hand, the Americans, considered this legally and morally justified, without reckoning with their ally. Two morals, two approaches for themselves and for us, that is, for their ally.


We think we just have other conditions, because there now exist two Germanys, and one Germany is a NATO member and, in spite of the treaty and the Potsdam agreement that Germany not be armed, they are arming it…[2] (what I dictated earlier). But not only are they arming [it], but made it a NATO member, that is, an organization directed against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries.



We want to conclude a peace treaty together with the Americans, French, and British and with all the counties which fought against Germany, and the two Germanys in order to put an end to the state of war and clear the path for peaceful coexistence. But if you don’t want this then, of course, we will sign a treaty with the German Democratic Republic and then, the state of war on this territory, which is now the territory of the German Democratic Republic, will end. But West Berlin, it is clear to all commonsensical people, is a city on the territory of the German Democratic Republic and access to this city also passes through the territory of the GDR, and therefore all the rights of the three powers ensuing from the surrender for access to West Berlin cease to have effect with the signing of the peace treaty and the end of the occupation regime in West Berlin. And then a special agreement will be required, that is, one which has already been formed by the history of the relations between equal sovereign states, that is, a special agreement is required, and we are declaring this.


Accordingly, there is no prohibition and no cessation of access or especially a blockade, etc. This is only in the imagination of crazy people who want to inflame the atmosphere to prepare a war. But peoples will understand whose efforts are directed toward strengthening peace and whose efforts are directed at inflaming passions and preparing a Third World War.


If one again speaks about morals there is an agreement which directly says: “How can we come to agreement with Ulbricht, who represents the German Democratic Republic, this is a humiliation for us”. Gentlemen. Ulbricht is the head of state, of the German Democratic Republic, and he represents his people. And whoever does not want to deal with it, that is, with the government of the German Democratic Republic, that person will of course not have the ability to make use of the territory of the German Democratic Republic. This is completely normal and clear to everyone.


I can cite an example. How can we, the Soviet Union, which bore enormous losses during the War, in personnel and material, from the Germans – we have endured two wars - ensure the direct movement of the Moscow-Paris trains, for which it is necessary to come to agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany for the right of passage of our railcars to pass through the territory of this country – we made an arrangement and signed an agreement, and this rail link exists right now. That’s an example. We think, no matter how the War was, it ended, and it’s necessary to normalize relations and take account of what has developed.


The question of the right of this or that country is not a question of third countries, but of that people and the government which represents this people. Therefore we do not say who likes us and does not like us in foreign countries, but we deal with that government which represents this country.


In this case Ulbricht represents the German Democratic Republic, and Adenauer represents the German Federal Republic. This is a fact, this is history, this is law, and therefore we take it into consideration.


We have an air link between Moscow and London. We fly over Denmark. But it did not come into anyone’s head to ignore the government of Denmark because this is not our territory; international laws and practice exist, and therefore we have an agreement with the Danish government for overflight rights over their territory and the right to land at their airfields. If they did not give us this right we naturally could not provide air link between Moscow and London. This is already the law.


It is necessary to use the speech of some senator or congressman in America, and in London of some Conservative political leader (it is there where I am speaking, that they are frightened by the growth of the socialist economy, etc.) and say:


Some crazy people who are so frightened right now at the growth of the socialist countries raise the question that it is better for them – and they answer themselves – is death better than to live under Communism (take and cite their words).


Therefore the question is not in Berlin, but a question of fear of the growing might of the people, of the working class, the idea of socialism and its demonstration in practice of the possibilities…” etc.


It will be necessary to say [it] this way:


Right now in America they’re even conducting a poll of the population but, of course, such conditions are being created in the process – from a fear of Communism – to pull out the answers they need because the poll is being done about the choice which they want to examine: will America fight for Berlin? And they reply – they try to show – that [it] will86.


I cannot say affirmatively what will happen right now because the crazy people have not all disappeared. Once there is an imperialist camp, monopoly capital, then there might be such crazy people, especially right now when socialism has demonstrated its superiority over capitalism.


If one judges from the point of view of a healthy mind, then I say categorically this won’t be. Why do I assert this? Because no one is threatening West Berlin, no one is infringing on the freedom of the population of West Berlin, and no one is making it a task to stop access to West Berlin. Everything remains what is understood by the words free access to West Berlin and the preservation of the freedom of the population of West Berlin. Only all this is done not on the basis of the occupation regime as a result of signing a peace treaty, on the basis of normal relations between countries and a special agreement of each country with the German Democratic Republic.


Because of this there should be a battle when there is no basis for conflict, not just for a battle.


Therefore we are convinced that people of common sense on whom it depends whether there will be a war or not, that there will not be one. But it is impossible to make guarantees about crazy people. Therefore we proceed from this, that there are still crazy people and we will take steps so that if they decide to unleash a war we will be ready for this.


Right now clear material evidence is already coming into view, from year to year the socialist countries are displaying the superiority of the socialist system[3]. And therefore we always have said when capitalism was far ahead of the socialist countries, their economists, we then said – in the first years of the birth of the socialist state Lenin talked about competition, about coexistence.


What was this said about? That Lenin believed in the superiority of production on a socialist basis, on a Communist basis, and therefore they were always against wars, against resolving disputes between social systems – the socialist and the capitalist – through war to ensure the development of one or another system. We think that this should be left to history, it should judge which system the peoples of countries choose provides more material and cultural benefits. And not through wars between capitalist and socialist states, but each people will express their own opinion themselves and display their efforts to create that system which will better satisfy its material and spiritual aspirations.


Accordingly, the socialist countries not only are not interested in war, but they direct all their efforts against there being wars. We – the Soviet Union and all the countries of socialism – have always declared this. We declared this at a conference of representatives of all the fraternal countries which met last year, and there we said: [we are] for coexistence [and] against wars. But it was said there - and I told about it in my report on 6 January about the results of the conference of the Communist Parties, and this found a great response abroad – that we are against wars, we just recognize…[4] (repeat this formula) the right of peoples to a holy war against enslavers, colonizers, against imperialism, and for their national and social liberation. And this actually a noble fight, and an example of this is the war in Algeria, Tunisia, in Angola, and in other colonial countries. This fight, which spills over into armed conflict, can consequently be called a holy war of peoples against colonizers, against monopolists and colonial regimes, and against imperialism, because imperialism does not want to concede its positions and the colonial peoples can liberate themselves from them only in an armed struggle.



We want peace. We have submitted our proposals on disarmament to the UN, and consequently based on disarmament a solution of the question of prohibiting nuclear tests and the production of fissionable materials for weapons and a prohibition on their production.


But so many years have already passed. We have already been on the commission for 10 years and this question is not moving forward. Why? Because imperialism and monopoly capital have not abandoned the use of armed force in the fight against socialism and against the socialist countries.


What is this about? It says that capitalist ideologies recognize the failure of their system right now, that it is collapsing in the eyes of the whole world, that the socialist countries which have won their independence have developed their economies, and in a short period have demonstrated the possibilities of socialism and achieved such heights in such a short period which required dozens of years for capitalist countries but we have done in 40-odd years[5]. Of these 40-odd years almost 20 years were taken away, during which wars were waged or the rebuilding of the ruined economy was being done as a result of these wars.


But monopoly capital is not surrendering, it is not abandoning its system. And right now it is engaged in building up strength, speeding up weapons, and spending so much: for example, America, it spends so much from year to year, and other countries: West Germany, so much. After the defeat of Hitler it is now going along the same paths while headed by Adenauer and not achieved by the Nazis, who now occupy command posts in the army and other posts in the country.


Therefore we are taking steps directed at averting a possible military clash of the countries of socialism and the countries of imperialism.


Where we have preserved much “fuel” which might give rise to a clash, which might unleash a Third World War – but now a Third World War – it only can be, and if it happens, it will have to be a war of nuclear missiles, because giants are colliding – the Soviet Union and the United States of America, having powerful economies and a great number of thermonuclear weapons, then of course once they clash no one wants to accept their defeat without the use of all their resources which they have created as of today. Accordingly, this will be a terrible war, and this war will not only be local in the sense of some territory. No, it will be a world war.


And the United States of America, which already had so many years, 150 years, without a war on its territory (after the Civil War there were no wars if one doesn’t count the Mexican War [SIC], which was unequal; this was a war of imperialism against a country which fought for its independence, and the US had an enormous superiority over the Mexican army, in spite of the heroism displayed by the Mexican people, but it suffered defeat), but in this war, if it is unleashed, they Americans will not see foreign troops on their territory, but will feel the force of a thermonuclear weapon and destruction which a war would bring to the American people.


(It needs to be [said] here very calmly that this is not a threat, but an explanation; the way that speech was).


Why the tension right now and the US has actually presented us in the form of an ultimatum and for reinforcement they have actually declared a mobilization and an increase of the military budget; they have increased it by $3.5 billion in spite of the great strength, they have already made a decision to increase the armed forces by 250,000 men.


All this says that American imperialism, losing confidence in the superiority of the capitalist system, feels that it is losing, and therefore wants to throw out a “threat” of a socialist system attacking not through peaceful competition, but by military confrontation, not stopping at thermonuclear war, but threatens the socialist countries right now with this war.


What does this mean? I read the speech of President Kennedy of the United States of America, where he presents (choose the sentences), calls to do such and such, etc. He says that we, the Soviet Union and the countries of socialism, are supposedly threatening war.


This can be the only way to really distort our position in a “free” country of monopolistic capital, where everything is suppressed and everything is subordinated to capital. Under this condition one can name such “boldness” as a distortion of our peace-loving position.


They tell us that the Soviet Union is threatening. What are we threatening? We are really “threatening”, if you want to call this a threat, we are “threatening” and declaring that we will put this “threat” into effect with all your threats, that is, we call for the signing of a peace treaty and the elimination of the state of war with Germany which has lasted since the defeat of Nazi Germany and the signing of the surrender terms 16 years ago.


What are already proposing in the peace treaty, how are we “threatening”? To sign a peace treaty, to make a West Germany without weapons so that it does not have an army (present our terms), not have a thermonuclear weapon, and not have other means of destruction, so that it does not have the ability to unleash a Third World War, and to strengthen the borders which have formed as a result of the surrender and which were established by the Potsdam Agreement.


And another question which has developed, the most tangible, which gives rise to tensions and which can give a spark and thereby ignite the accumulated fuel which might cause a fire, and this fir might become a world conflagration – we are proposing a solution to the Berlin question in order that no one gain, no one lose, and neither side suffer moral damage to its prestige, that is, to conclude a peace treaty, to create the status of the free city of West Berlin, to ensure access to this city and stipulate it in the peace treaty so that this status of a free city is recorded in the UN. We are ready, if the allies say that they have given any promises, which they did not have the right to give, it is their business if they have already given [them], it is their business to reckon with this promise, we have not recognized such promises and do not recognize them; we proceed from the real conditions which have developed in West Berlin and therefore we want to find such a reasonable solution which would be acceptable to both sides and which would not infringe on the national and social conditions of the residents of West Berlin, that is, the question of the sociopolitical system. This is a domestic question of West Berlin.


We are saying that we will sign a peace treaty and call upon all countries which fought against Nazi Germany to sign this peace treaty. We gave our draft and distributed it to all countries which fought against Nazi Germany. But our former allies which fought against Nazi Germany, they have declared a refusal without submitting any of their own terms.


The last reply which was given to our memorandum which I presented to the President in Vienna…[6] And there the question is raised of solving the main problem – this is reunification and self-determination. We have already given an explanation about this question (repeat). This is a domestic question. Mr. President, this is not a question of third countries, but of the Germans themselves.


How can there be reunification and self-determination, an agreement reached on these questions, if Adenauer does not want to listen about entering into negotiations with the government of the German Democratic Republic. But he considers himself to be a legal government, but the GDR government is illegal. But we have a different understanding on this question. Therefore, if we proceed from these understandings then, of course, there might be no meetings and accordingly there won’t be a reunification.


Consequently, with his policy Chancellor Adenauer himself determines that he is altogether against reunification, against self-determination, but under the phrase of reunification and self-determination he wants to force the countries which fought against Nazi Germany and defeated Hitler as a result of this War, he wants them to liquidate the socialist system in the German Democratic Republic and to present the German Democratic Republic to West Germany on a platter, that is, to a revanchist government which right now is mobilizing the material and emotional forces in West Germany for a Third World War.


Only people can count on this who either understand nothing, I do not concede this, that they do not understand what they want, but you understand what we want, gentlemen…[7]Therefore we will never go for this. You might accept these conditions if you actually want to unleash a war as a result of our defeat[8].


But we are not in such a condition right now, this is not the time when Hitler began to make threats, attacked, and reached Stalingrad, and did not shake the peoples of the Soviet Union and they found in themselves the strength and defeated Nazi Germany. The correlation of forces is completely different right now and US President Kennedy himself – I respect his directness, openness, and realistic understanding – said that our forces are equal, and therefore it is necessary to do everything for these forces never to clash, because as a result of a clash (find what he said).


This is correct. But, Mr. President, it is necessary to only to make the correct deduction, but to also draw the correct conclusions.


We are proposing to conclude a peace treaty. We threaten no one and are ready to participate in guarantees on a four-power basis or [one the basis] of neutrals or of the United Nations (state [this]). Our Warsaw Pact allies completely agree with this; the government of the German Democratic Republic, on whose territory West Berlin is located, agrees and has made its own statement about this.


Accordingly, to say that they are calling for forces to be built up and for people and arms to be mobilized in order that West Berlin not be seized, is a lie, those are lying who say this and they are brazenly lying because we have talked about this more than once and declared - it is necessary to make assurances together. Consequently, they have simply lost faith in the principles of the capitalist economy, fear Communism, and therefore they want to get ahold of West Berlin and toss out socialism, as Dulles said.


But this does not depend on you, gentlemen, because we were not born under the blessings, so to speak, of the capitalist countries, we grew up and developed and became strong in the struggle against the imperialist countries. And right now you want us, like an old father threatens his young son with rods. The times have already passed, they are overdue, gentlemen! And not only overdue, you were not in a condition when we were just born, you landed assault parties, and organized a crusade of 14 countries, imposed a Civil War on us, and we fought for four years. Do you really not understand that if you impose this war [on us] that we will answer you with a war[?]


I don’t want to threaten, I would not like to threaten the imperialist countries, I only would like for them to actually understand the conditions which exist right now so that they do not take the imagined for the real.


In an election meeting Chancellor Adenauer showed the necessity of arming the Bundeswehr with atomic weapons, increasing [its] strength, and creating weapons until he was hoarse – for what? For peace? For war, for a war of revenge. Our former allies, and now the allies of West Germany should hesitate, and not only look today, but look ahead and glance back, because after the First World War with the efforts of the West the army of Germany was restored, which then turned its weapons against those who had helped Germany restore [its] industry and create the armed forces of Germany, and they unleashed a war of revenge, a war for world domination. Right now the same people and part of other peoples are doing the same thing, but with the same ideals of revenge, nationalism, etc.


The hatred of the imperialist countries for Communism now unites them against the countries of socialism, against a country building socialism, the Soviet Union. But when a war is unleashed then the question is raised not only of the preservation of the capitalist system, but the question is then of the existence of all people.


I would like to make reference to Strauss, the Minister of Defense of the Bonn government. Speaking on such-and-such a date (find [it]) at a rally, he made a statement that they accuse us of wanting war, that we are revanchists (repeat what he said), that they say this lie against us; we understand what war means right now; if there is one it will be thermonuclear, that if this war is unleashed nothing will remain of West Germany.


Correctly said, Mr. Minister of Defense. Only let him draw the conclusion from this himself and let Mr. Strauss say this to Mr. Chancellor Adenauer, but he is calling for namely atomic weapons and for war; he is gathering a mass meeting of people expelled from the eastern German states [zemli], and he is giving them a promise that they will go there to “their” states. Consequently, he speaks of this, of peace, and of the creation of the conditions of peaceful coexistence. This says that he is inflaming the Nazi psychosis, he is conducting a victimization against the socialist countries; accordingly, he is nourishing their hatred for what, for peace? For war.


I agree with the conclusions of Mr. Strauss, but with an amendment, that time is passing since his statement and it is changing everything, and is changing for the better, and it has created even greater opportunities in the socialist countries.


Actually, if there is a war unleashed and whatever pretext is chosen – because here the question is not the pretext, but the question is non-recognition of the coexistence of the two systems and a fear that socialism is conquering capitalism, therefore here, like one who has lost reason, the mind in fear throws itself in the water another time or shoots itself and seems to be showing some kind of heroism and self-control, but in essence losing restraining centers and self-control, and it goes on such a criminal path.


The launching of a war because of Berlin, which no one is threatening (repeat what I said; here the President is speaking, and here is our position).


Comrades, I would like to say about this that right now a real threat of a military attack on us has formed. Of course, we are doing everything to avert this. But this is not in our power. We said this when the Communist Parties met, and when I talked about the situation of this time. Evidently, right now such a moment has come when imperialism, having lost faith, might throw itself into the whirlpool of a Third World War.


I would like to cite an example. In the first days of the attack of Nazi Germany I was working in Ukraine as a Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine and was a member of the Military Council of the Kiev Special Military District, which was reformed into the Southwest Front when the War began. The Commanding General then was the late Kirponos, and there were two other members of the Military Council besides me; one member of the Military Council, it seems [was] Nikolayev (maybe name [him]). This was a general in the regular army, and was not in bad standing with either the Party or the military. And here on the 5th or 6th day of the War - the start of the War did not develop in our favor and our army fell into a serious situation – he came to me one evening (as members of the Military Council we had equal rights, but since I was a member of the CC Politburo, I then therefore held a special position as a political figure, and therefore he turned to me) with a suggestion to replace the commanding general of the Front. I asked him on what grounds; the War had just begun, but we are replacing the commanding general, what will this lead to, and how does this improve our situation? It would worsen [it]. I saw the merit of this person, he was doing everything that was in his power. I said, whom do you propose? He named General Purkayev, who was our chief of staff of the Front. I said: “I respect his knowledge and his work which he has contributed, but what is the difference – we are already making use of his mind and military knowledge, he is the Chief of Staff”. But Marshal of the Soviet Union Bagramyan was then the Chief of the Operations Department; then he was a colonel. I said, I am against [this].


The enemy attacked us continually, the Germans bombed, and our Army suffered huge losses, but it inflicted no fewer losses on the enemy. In the evening we sent this member of the Military Council to a tank corps which was commanded by General Ryabyshev so that he take in an order in which it was pointed out how to best use the tank corps, and repeated this verbally. Suddenly this member of the Military Council came to me and declared that he had decided to shoot himself. I asked, what’s happened to you? He said, I will shoot myself because I did not fulfill the order of yours and the Commanding General’s and gave the wrong instructions to the corps commander which you sent with me. I asked him, “Listen, what’s wrong with you[?] You delivered an order, so he will act as said in the order because the order was signed by the Commanding General and myself. But he will not do what you ordered, the Commanding General knows this, he is an experienced and old general. No, he said, I will shoot myself, everyone has died, everything is going like in France, it’s the end for everything”. I said, you’re crazy, come to your senses. He snatched away a pistol and in front of my eyes – we were standing face to face with one another – he shot himself in the back of the head, committing suicide.


What do you call this? Heroism? He was at [his] post, he wasn’t afraid to kill himself? No, comrades, this is cowardice, he lost faith in the victory of our people, he had already morally capitulated to Hitler, and he sought death, he was so demoralized that he did not have enough self-confidence to survive, to draw the correct conclusions, he choose suicide and killed himself.


But this is one person, when he did so, it’s a pity to lose a person, he could have been useful to our society, he was honest before our people, but inwardly he was a coward and lost faith in [his] ability to fight and achieve victory.


It is the same danger between the two systems, between the socialist and capitalist [systems]. And right now what the countries of monopoly capital are exhibiting is perhaps also to some degree like, and comparable to the situation of which I spoke, and the consequences to which it led, and to what fate it led this general.


And imperialism right now might throw itself into the whirlpool of a Third World War. Therefore we all should weigh this realistically and do everything for there to be no war, but to be ready to repel [an attack].


Therefore we have increased the budget, we have halted the reduction of the army which we had announced, and we have done something (list). But further, possibly we will have to further increase the strength for replacements at the expense of the divisions which we might transfer from other sectors of the Soviet Union where they are deployed. And maybe we will have to – we will study the situation – make a call-up of the reserve for our divisions to be replenished so that they have full strength and be ready for any surprises.


Why is this? Because America did something, other countries also confirmed firmness and support. The British government has declared that it will send so many battalions to West Germany, France is sending so many divisions from Algeria. So they are taking some measures.


We are thinking in the government… I would like to tell you that right now we are discussing… but I would like to make a statement and ask that Party organizations, youth organizations… because they have fought, they will have to fight for what has been entrusted to them by their fathers and grandfathers who fought against Nazi Germany, and many of them did not return… they will have to continue the cause of their fathers and grandfathers both in the struggle to defend the independence of their motherland as well as fight for the building of Communism… we call on them, the people… perhaps, until the crisis passes upon the conclusion of the peace treaty and the creation of the free city of West Berlin and some time after that (and we  are being threatened that if we do this this, then they will go to war against us, but we will do it anyway) we ought to now, for the time being, shift the work of the manual laborers and office workers from a seven-hour workday to an eight-hour workday, but in those industries which were shifted to a six-hour workday – to a seven-hour workday so that the people who will be called upon to replenish the army, their absence might be compensated for by a lengthened workday so that they do not reduce the output in the struggle to fulfill our plans.


We are still calculating right now and Gosplan is working, tasks are being given to councils of the national economy if there is won’t be such a need to shift all the manual laborers and office workers, perhaps, industrial sectors, especially the sectors which work for defense, [they] will have to temporarily be shifted and then when passions settle down and if the government leaders of the imperialist countries, on whom it depends on whether there will be a war or not, display prudence, and if they are inclined not to unleash a Third World War, then we will then shift again, since right now they are already working a six- or seven-hour workday.


Now I want to tell you, comrades, that of course we are going toward a dangerous line. Some might say that maybe [we] ought not conclude a peace treaty, why do we need this Berlin, we don’t actually need it – and thereby remove the danger. No, this is only the semblance, because the question is not in West Berlin, and not in a peace treaty, no one is encroaching on West Germany, no one is proposing a change of borders, and no one is setting the goal of seizing West Germany, and no one is setting the goal of imposing their own contentious questions.


The question is not this, but the problem is that they want to get ahold of this peace treaty, and if they do not manage to throw us out and put [us] on [our] knees then will then demand of us the liquidation of the socialist system in the German Democratic Republic; if they achieve this they will set the task of tearing away the territories which have been ceded to Poland and Czechoslovakia per the Potsdam Agreement, but these lands are Polish and Czechoslovak, and the return of other [land] which the Germans lost as a result of the War. And then if they manage that, they will demand – they are setting this task – the elimination of the socialist conditions in the countries of socialism, and then the same slogan will again appear which given up by Hitler and Mussolini – to hurl [us] back to the Urals. In brief, the question is not in Berlin but the question is in the struggle. Hitler, the one who frankly said that he was fighting against Communism, against Communist Parties, and the countries of socialism; he created the Anti-Comintern Pact, he created the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis. Right now, the US is actually raising the same banner as Hitler, only they have called it another name; in the words of Dulles they said it is a fight for rollback [otbrasyvanie] (that is what he said).


Therefore right now the question is not about Germany, not about West Berlin, but right now the question is of capitalism and socialism. And the imperialist camp, which has lost confidence in winning a peaceful competition, wants to roll back the countries in which the working class has triumphed and are building socialism, and deprive them of their gains and restore capitalism in these countries. That’s the question!


Therefore the question is whether our peoples, our countries are to be or not, and whether we are to build socialism…[9]


Therefore there is no choice. We will sign the peace treaty. We appeal, we threaten no one, etc. But we are turning to all the governments of the European counties, to all the governments of the world, and the peoples of the entire world to do everything to avert a war, to regard with understanding that if a war is unleashed, if they attack us, then the war will be thermonuclear, it will be a world war with all the ensuing consequences.


We are with the French, we respect France, the great French people, who fought worthily when the country was occupied by Hitler, together with us we remember the heroic efforts of the French pilots of the Normandy Squadron, they fought and died on the field of battle with the common enemy.


We regard with respect the American people, who fought and helped us in the difficult days of the fight, and other countries.


But these countries were also our allies in the common struggle against Hitler and now they are bound by the NATO military bloc, and the US has made its statement and referred to the fact that it is from them and the other countries. We very much regret that such a situation has developed. We would like to declare to the governments and peoples of these countries that they consider if they are actually interested in this war themselves – but we doubt this, because we are threatening no one - neither our close neighbors nor our far ones – we want only to live in peace, develop trade, and an exchange of cultural values. But if they, and they actually have military bases on their own territories, this is not a threat, understand, this is logic by way of our defense, unleash a war, these countries will also be subjected to that [same] fate as those countries which make the attack, because it will an attack of the NATO countries on us, and accordingly we will make a retaliatory strike on these countries, on these bases. This needs to presented realistically. This is not a threat, this is self-defense, and it is an honest warning.


But we want peace, we want something…[10] We don’t want to fight with America, but to trade; your country is rich and powerful, and we are rich and powerful. Why should our riches created by the labor of the peoples be burned up in war? We want to trade. An exhibition went well there – calculate (in brief, give a peaceful background).


Let’s sit at a “roundtable” honestly, let’s not create a war psychosis, but let’s create an atmosphere of negotiations, it is necessary to rely on reason and not force and the death of an atomic war.


We will survive in a war, although we understand that we will suffer colossal losses. But many of the countries, and especially the countries of Europe with small territory and high [population] density, would hardly be able to physically survive after this destructive war. The equivalent of so much TNT would be thrown on each country, and even what wasn’t destroyed would die as a result of [radioactive] contamination.


Who needs this? Because of Berlin, for freedom – so no one encroaches on freedom…[11](in such a spirit).


Therefore we call upon reason, sentiment, and common sense. If they don’t understand and threaten, we will give our reply to the threat, and we will answer force with force. We want to declare this. They tell us that we can miscalculate, so[12] we repeat, there might be a miscalculation. But, gentlemen, you are counting on intimidating and imposing a war on us in order to put [us] on [our] knees. You are miscalculating. We are against war, we are for peace, for peaceful coexistence, but we will not get on [our] knees and will answer war with war.


I would like to turn to the peoples of all countries, to the entire world, that a terrible hour is being created for us by the imperialist countries, and therefore right now not only should there be no countries, but also [no] peoples of neutral [countries], therefore each one should exhibit an understanding, courage, and their efforts in order to take away the hand of the imperialist forces to put a straightjacket on those on whom the unleashing of a Third World War depends, and thereby perform their human duty and with the conclusion of the peace treaty create the conditions for peaceful coexistence and for even greater employment of efforts in order to reach an agreement about disarmament, the destruction of weapons, etc. in order to actually create the conditions of peaceful coexistence and bring to light each system, its opportunities, and its capabilities, but from a victory of a particular system so that there be no war.


(That’s approximately the plan. Without insults or hints).

(Where it speaks of Strauss, verbally abuse Adenauer).


If there some people crazy in fear of Communism, in hatred for the socialist countries, or as a result of senile decrepitude want to draw peoples into a war; this is a crime against their own people because first of all the peoples of Western Europe and the countries where American military bases are located will be turned into a nuclear missile test range where these weapons will be exploded. This needs to be understood.


Therefore, gentlemen, don’t frighten us. If you were frightened by a peace offensive and competition yourselves, then don’t threaten us with war, let’s compete.


(The conversation with McCloy can be used).

(Make reassurances).


I assure you and call for labor, for determined labor. Rely on the Party, on the Central Committee, the government. Everything that is in our power, everything will be done so that there is no war, and we will do everything to prepare the country so that if they impose a war [on us] a proper retaliatory strike will be prepared.


Where I speak of NATO, say:


If one speaks this way, why does America [need] West Berlin[?] Why do Britain and France [need] West Berlin[?] Why do they keep their troops there when we offer guaranteeing, as they say, the “freedom” of the peoples of West Berlin; they do not agree and not only do not agree, they threaten war. Think, why do they do this? They are doing [it] in order to maintain the state of war, to keep West Berlin to choose a moment to unleash a war against us. Therefore we have no choice. Right now, they want to drag out the resolution of this question even more, as they say, for two or three years and more. For what? For even more divisions to be created in West Germany so West Germany accumulates even more weapons and lift its economy to put Germany as the main force in the unleashing of a war against us. Right now West Germany occupies a commanding position in NATO countries. Former fascist generals of the Nazi army and others are at the main command posts.


Therefore, comrades, one now needs to look into the embryo to cut off the possible choice of the time of an attack on us. If they actually want peace, this is the only way we achieve it[13], therefore we also propose concluding a peace treaty for peace. But those who oppose concluding a peace treaty, for maintaining the state of war which they are maintaining right now, it means that they are guided by ambitions not of peace, but of ambitions for unleashing a war. Therefore, we have no choice, we have to exhibit courage and go[14]…SIC



Where I speak of new budget appropriations


What we are studying right now is, what are the additional measures required to increase the necessary weaponry to have all the resources? Is it necessary for us to budget additional money to what we have already done?


A preliminary opinion is forming that [we] ought not do this; that which has been budgeted and those means of defense which have been created are sufficient. Let alone the treaty will be concluded evidently by the end of this year, as a corresponding statement was made about this. It will be hard to create anything additional by this time. Yes, we also think what we have created and was planned is entirely sufficient.


All the more if one closely studies the purpose of the money which was budgeted by the Western governments, they also do not withstand logical explanation and criticism because they plan to buy bombers, something[15] [to-to] already obsolete weapon. First, they will not be able to make one of these new bombers from these new orders by the end of this year. In addition, if they fulfill this entire program this would increase their combat ability insignificantly because right now the decisive weapon is not bombers which are obsolete in speed and altitude and other qualities, they are vulnerable, because are in the range [v sfere] of anti-aircraft and artillery fire, especially fighters and missile and surface-to-air missile fire. Therefore, this weapon, if they want to frighten us, this says that obviously the US is exhibiting a great lag in shifting to new types of weapons, and therefore right now they are mainly based on aircraft as atomic bomb platforms, even orienting toward them for the future.


Of course, we are not discarding this[16], and we are already taking this into account, which is the main danger from our enemy, it is threatening us with a war, this is bomber aviation.


With each day we have a increase of missile technology, both intercontinental ballistic [missiles] as well as strategic missiles of different ranges with atomic and hydrogen warheads. Therefore we hardly ought to budget still more money.


In addition, it is necessary to bear in mind that right now the US has ехperienced[17] a big economic depression. According to a recent statement of the President they have five million totally unemployed workers and one million part-time employed. These are presidential figures, they are always lower than the actual [ones], but we accept these figures. Therefore possibly the war hysteria is being fomented here in order to get more appropriations for military orders, in order to thereby raise an industrial boom, ensure more employment, and reduce the number of unemployed, on the one hand, and the main thing, of course, the President and his government – these are the representatives of monopoly capital and they represent their monopolies in the government. Therefore, when they raise such a war hysteria they get money, and this creates an opportunity to literally drive the people like a cattle breeder does, pushing a sheep into nightmares, and cuts the wool there, but these cut the wages of all strata of the population, the working class and farmers first of all in the form of taxes and other charges.


In addition, they have created a boom in the increase of stock [prices]. Whose stocks go up? [Those] of the military monopolies, concerns, etc. Just those who are represented in Kennedy’s government. They were in the government of Eisenhower, and now they have been replaced by other people, but they represent the same firms of the same monopolists and imperialists. They make money on this.


All this needs to be taken into account.


We have another system, here the government represents the people, its interests, and the interests of the people are united. Therefore we will not[18], because in all cases whether a war will be imposed [on us] or not, those who foment a war hysteria, they will make money because taxes go up, and if taxes do not rise, then the debt, etc.


If there is a war – and the US President has spoken in the name of their allies, referring to them and hoping for their support – this means that not only the US, but also the countries in NATO will be in a state of war with us. I think that everyone understands that if the Americans unleash a war this won’t be an artillery duel between the two great powers, the Soviet Union and the United States of America – by sending intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads or intercontinental bombers. But the US might fight against us only if the European countries, their allies, also want a war. Therefore, if we take this into consideration and accordingly direct attention that if the NATO allies actually want to take part, then they should accordingly know that this will force us to use means against those countries which will fight us and on whose territory the US bases directed against us are located. This calls for appropriate actions from our side which obviously will prompt people to the thought.


If at one time Mr. Macmillan, when they criticized him, he said that we needed to decide to either go to the Soviet Union or to go to the Queen and ask permission to take out the women and children from the islands of Great Britain to Canada. Evidently, an even more difficult situation is developing in this direction both for Great Britain and for others. In addition, taking the women and children to Canada is a very weak reason for leaving a war because if a war begins then Canada will also be dragged into the war and will be in the sphere of operation of the intercontinental missiles.


Therefore the most reasonable means is for no one go anywhere or to be taken anywhere, but it would be best if no one threatened anyone, but solved all questions like history decides in order for there be no [need] for tension to accumulate and to remove that which exists. We are proposing this, the signing of a peace treaty.


We hope and believe that this common sense will be found by those on whom it will depend on whether a war against us is begun or not. We will do everything…[19] etc.


It is necessary to look, since much has been dictated; take part [of this] for a speech and part for a statement at a rally.


Notes: Supplement to the 31 July dictation[20]: “Written down by N. Pavlova and N. Gavrilova 31 July 1961”


RGANI F. 52. Op. 1. D. 323. L. 12-51. Original. Typescript.


[1] The title of the document was used partially.

[2] three dots in the text of the document.

[3] SIC

[4] three dots in the text of the document.

[5] SIC

[6] three dots in the text of the document.

[7] three dots in the text of the document.

[8] SIC

[9] three dots in the text of the document.

[10] three dots in the text of the document.

[11] three dots in the text of the document.

[12] In the text “there”.

[13] SIC

[14] SIC

[15] SIC

[16] SIC

[17] SIC

[18] SIC

[19] Three dots in the text of the document.

[20] For the text of N. S. Khrushchev’s speech on radio and television see: RGANI. F. 52. Op. 1. D. 323. L. 1-11.

Khrushchev remembers the signing of peace agreement with Japan and the exclusion of the Soviet Union from it. He criticizes the politics of Adenauer and warns about the destructive effects of potential world war. Khrushchev suggests signing the peace agreement to avoid the possibility of a nuclear war against the US and its allies

Document Information


RGANI, f. 52, op. 1, d. 323, ll. 12-51. Translated by Gary Goldberg.


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