Khrushchev makes the opening statement to the secretaries of the CC's of Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries at a conference in Moscow. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the preparation and conclusion of a German peace treaty.
August 3, 1961
Walter Ulbricht's Speech at the Moscow Conference, 3-5 August 1961
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
The government of the Soviet Union in two aide-memoires, of which one was give to the Bonn government on February 17, 1961, and the second was delivered by the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, Comrade Khrushchev, to the President of the USA, John Kennedy during the Vienna summit, minutely and persuasively substantiated why the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany and the settlement of the West Berlin problem can no longer be postponed. At the same time in both documents it was stated that either a peace treaty with be concluded with both German states, or a peace treaty will be concluded with the GDR by the states who are ready to do this. This corresponded with the declaration of the 81 communist and workers' parties.
Already on returning from the 15th session of the UN General Assembly, Comrade Khrushchev stated on October 20, 1960, that the most important issue of concluding a peace treaty with Germany must be resolved in 1961. In both aide-memoires the Soviet Union pointed out that the resolution of the issue of a peace treaty with Germany has already dragged out too long and that there can be no basis at all for any further postponement. Finally, Comrade Khrushchev in his television appearance about the Vienna meeting with Kennedy stated with all decisiveness that "we can not postpone any more the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany, we must achieve a peaceful settlement in Europe this year."
This position of the Soviet government corresponds with the agreement reached during the meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the member states of the Warsaw Pact on March 28-29 of this year. It was noted in the communique of this meeting that in the interests of ensuring peace, it is extremely necessary to eliminate the remnants of the second World War by concluding a peace treaty with both German states and, in connection with this, to neutralize the seat of danger in West Berlin, transforming it into a demilitarized free city. The representatives of the communist and workers' parties of the socialist countries came to the agreement that the conclusion of a peace treaty is necessary in this year. In the spirit of the agreement of our conference in March, the political leaderships of the member-states of the Warsaw Pact agreed on the coordination at the present conference of concrete political, economic, diplomatic and practical measures for the conclusion of a peace treaty and the resolution of the West Berlin problem.
I want to dwell on the question of why the resolution of precisely these two key problems of international politics has now become unavoidable. I cannot say anything principally new. All essential ideas have already been set forth by Comrade Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev during the Vienna talks with Kennedy, and also in the aide-memoires of the Soviet government. In his television appearance (and speech on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Great Fatherland War, Comrade Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev already put forward the Soviet point of view on all important contemporary international problems. I want to emphasize that we fully share this point of view and that we especially welcome the carefully-thought-out and resolute defense of the interests of the socialist camp and of peace for the whole world by Comrade Khrushchev at Vienna, and we thank him for this. In connection with the Vienna summit I want to dwell on several questions which are characteristic of the development of the situation in Germany.
From the Vienna meeting it became clear, that Kennedy and his advisers realized the huge changes which have taken place in the international correlation of forces. Corresponding to this is Kennedy's thesis about the equilibrium of forces and his fear that any further changes, whether in Laos or in West Berlin, will disturb this equilibrium and could lead gradually to the superiority of the socialist camp. From here comes the demand to keep everything as it has been in Germany or to allow changes only in favor of the imperialist camp, that is to include all of Germany, hence also the German Democratic Republic, in the Western military bloc of NATO. It is obvious that West German imperialists, primarily those aggressive militarists, such as Defense Minister Strauss, are trying to use Kennedy's fear of future changes in the correlation of forces so as to further strengthen the West German Wehrmacht and to equip it with atomic weapons. Thus, Adenauer's government is exerting strong pressure on the Western powers and so far has even frustrated the efforts of Kennedy and Macmillan to secure the imperialist positions by means of negotiations. But this simultaneously clearly shows how dangerous it is to allow the further unhindered arming of West Germany. Carrying out such a policy, which has been dictated by fear of the further strengthening of the socialist camp, the USA, Great Britain and France only expose themselves to the danger of being pulled into military escapades by German militarists. The Bonn government is not only a vehement enemy of any agreement between both German governments, it is also the main leader of the so-called hard-line course of the Western powers. Both before and after the Vienna summit of Comrade Khrushchev with Kennedy, it tried to slander such a meeting between the ruling figures of the leading powers of the two main world camps. By means of the systematic disclosure of secret information and the dissemination of clearly false reports, the Bonn government is trying to stop or wreck all efforts to reach an agreement on a peace treaty and the West Berlin problem through negotiations.
What basic point of view lies at the base of this orientation of the Bonn government? In general statements on questions of foreign policy in 1961, the CDU [Christian Democratic Union] and CSU [Christian Social Union] as the ruling parties stated that the Bonn government supports the Paris Agreements, that all of Germany must be integrated into the European community, i.e. NATO. In such a way they want to extend the dominion of West German finance capital also to the German Democratic Republic. The first peace-loving state in the history of Germany must find itself under the boots of Hitlerite generals, and they want to establish a military-clerical state power in the German Democratic Republic. In the same way, the military base of NATO would be advanced to the Oder and Neisse.
When appointing the military criminal [F.] Fortsh to the post of the general inspector of the Bundeswehr, Defense Minister Strauss stated that it is necessary to arm the German army with an aviation and naval fleet exactly as the British, American, Belgian and Dutch forces were armed and equipped. In his demand for full economic armament Strauss found support in the NATO document MC-70. On another occasion Strauss remarked that NATO already armed about 50% of the West German Wehrmacht with atomic weapons and that the goal--complete atomic armament--will be achieved in approximately two years. The Bonn government, however, is achieving not only the complete atomic arming of the West German Wehrmacht, but also its expansion into a mass army. At the beginning of the pre-election campaign, Strauss demanded raising the number of divisions from 12 to 18. In addition, Strauss demands increasing the so- called territorial defenses, which he says "should not under any circumstances be a shadow national army." Strauss said: "NATO obliges us to guarantee the freedom of operation of all of its formations on the territory of the Federal Republic." On this pretext a draft is instituted for the whole male population regarding which it cannot be forgotten that Strauss's Wehrmacht can use not only its own resources, but also the millions of soldiers from the Hitlerite army, who are still fit for military service, who keep ready for new military escapades in various traditional associations.
These facts clearly reveal the lies asserted in the notes of the Western powers to the Soviet government that the Federal Governments allegedly is not striving to obtain its own atomic forces and its own mass army. Behind the efforts undertaken in the notes of the Western powers to justify and minimize the seriousness of the establishment of the Wehrmacht and its arming with atomic weapons is hidden the old imperialist intention of using a militaristic Germany as a shock force against the Soviet Union and the whole socialist camp. It is obvious that several Western governmental offices still have not understood the lessons of the second World War.
The militaristic-clerical rulers of West Germany are trying to use this effort of the Western powers, at first under the slogan of the right to self-determination, for this aggressive policy against the German Democratic Republic. The West German imperialists want to annex the human and economic potential of the German Democratic Republic so as thereby to be supported by increased military and economic power, to display even stronger their hegemony in NATO, the European Economic Community and the West European Union.
The armament which continues and strengthens the position of West German power in NATO is accompanied by constantly growing revanchism. After the so-called eastern conference in the foreign policy committee of Bonn's Bundestag, the Baltic Baron [Georg] von Manteuffel- Szoege [CSU] stated:
"A people which has lost a huge part of its territory achieves internal calm only when it is able to live again on its historic land."
This is nothing other than a demand to reestablish the great German empire of Hitler. The false slogan of self-determination is used not only to carry out an aggressive policy against the GDR, but also against all other European states of the socialist camp. The official "Bulletin" of the Bonn government wrote absolutely openly at the beginning of April of this year:
"We are talking not only about the splitting up of Germany. We are talking about the entire eastern part of Central Europe, about all states whose people have been forced into the status of satellites, about almost 100 million people . . ."
We are dealing here with the notorious "Drang nach Osten" [Urge to the East] under the flag of which German imperialism from time immemorial carried out their aggression against the peoples of eastern and south-eastern Europe. We must take into account that revanchist propaganda will grow even stronger, since the right-wing leaders of the West German Social Democrats moved over to the imperialist position. The main force of revanchist propaganda is directed now against the German Democratic Republic. Both Adenauer and Brandt said in meetings with ruling political figures of the USA that they must and can find the means to organize from within uprisings in the German Democratic Republic with the aim of overthrowing the workers-peasants state. We must, however, note that this was said before the USA suffered the infamous failure with the intervention organized and lead by it against the revolutionary people's state in Cuba. We cannot forget that the West German extremists gave birth to the idea of unleashing civil war in Germany and involving the Western powers in a military escapade against the socialist camp.
Considering this development of events in West Germany, our party and the GDR government approved of the Soviet aide-memoire of February 17 of this year, which gives the Bonn government the opportunity to change its die-hard and aggressive policy of refusing any negotiations on a peace treaty and refusing any negotiations between both German states. In this spirit at the 11th plenum of the Central Committee we appealed to the West German bourgeoisie with the urgent proposal to seek the possibility for agreement on the question of a peace treaty and a compromise with the German Democratic Republic. This political line was developed by us further at the 13th plenum of the Central Committee of our party, at which the initial point of discussion of these questions by us was the results of the meeting of Comrade Khrushchev with President Kennedy in Vienna, and also the conclusion of a peace treaty, its preconditions and consequences.
All party and democratic mass organizations of our Republic unanimously welcome the great chance which the Soviet proposal to the Western powers gives us, i.e., the proposal to appeal to the German governments with the call to reach agreement in any form acceptable to them on questions concerning a peace settlement with Germany and the reunification of the country. As you know, the Soviet government further proposed that the four powers would state earlier their readiness to recognize any agreement which would be reached as a result of the negotiations between the Germans. But this historic chance really can be used only in the event that the Germans themselves act. Therefore, the Volkskammer of the German Democratic Republic unanimously approved the "Peace Plan of the German People" put forward by our party. This plan proposes that the governments of both German states quickly agree on the creation of a German peace commission from the representatives of the parliament and government of the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. The peace commission must be ruled by the principle that neither side will force its will upon the other side. It must prepare German proposals on the peace treaty and an agreement of good will.
An agreement of good will could be directed towards the rapid improvement of relations between both German governments. It should provide for a refusal of the atomic arming of military forces and the speedy cessation of arming, achievement of agreement on the numbers, arms and distribution of military forces, and also the cessation of military and revanchist propaganda on its territory. Both German states must assume the responsibility of not interfering in the problems of the social system of each other. In addition, it recommends the conclusion of a treaty of non-aggression between the member-states of the Warsaw pact and the member-states of NATO and the creation of a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe.
German proposals on the peace treaty set forth in the "Peace Plan of the German People" are directed towards making a decisive contribution to the preservation of a lasting peace on the basis of the UN Charter. In agreement with our proposals, a peace treaty must put an end to any opportunities for unleashing a new war by Germany and, on the other hand, it must safeguard forever for the German people a life under conditions of peace and full equality in the family of nations.
On this basis a peace treaty will also create the preconditions for German reunification through the creation of a German confederation. It aim will be the cooperation of both German states on the basis of peaceful coexistence for the preparation of their reunification in a peace- loving and neutral government.
The proposals for creating a German confederation also envisage an agreement on military neutrality of both German states as the basis for the future united and militarily neutral Germany. In his speeches in West Berlin and Cologne, Adenauer answered with unparalleled rage and insolence the proposal for the military neutralization of Germany, in which he went so far as [making] direct insults to the peoples of neutral states. This is clear proof that the idea of renouncing atomic armament and striving to secure peace by military neutralization has very many adversaries in the broad circles of West Germany.
To all the peace efforts among the West German population, the Bonn governments answer with the extreme force of the cold war against the German Democratic Republic. The campaigns of lies and slander against the German Democratic Republic and the massive recruitment of people from the GDR, which has turned into a real trade in people, pursues not only the goal of spreading alarm and uncertainty in the German Democratic Republic, but also serves to terrorize and suppress the forces of peace in West Germany. The intensification of the cold war by the Bonn "Office for the Carrying out of Psychological War" is a kind of accompaniment to the sharp rejection by the Bonn government of both the Soviet memorandum of February 17 and the "Peace Plan of the German People."
In his pre-election speeches Adenauer compared West German social democracy with a dragon which changes its skin. This comparison, however, better applies to aggressive and predatory German imperialism. Regardless of in which skin it appears, whether in the brown skin of the Nazi regime or in the black skin of the militarist- clerical regime, it remains the same brute which threatens the peace of the peoples of Europe and the whole world.
In the face of such developments in Germany, it is necessary to further strengthen the universal campaign for a peace treaty with Germany. In its last memorandum, the Soviet government proposed convening without delay a peace conference, concluding a peace treaty and resolving on this basis the question of West Berlin as a free city. In the event that the governments of the Western powers are still not ready for this, we looked at the possibility of an interim solution. It consists of the already mentioned appeal of the four powers to both German governments to agree between themselves within six months on the questions of a peace settlement with Germany and its reunification.
In their notes of response to the Soviet government, the Western powers refused to conclude a peace treaty with both German governments, and at the same time passed over in absolute silence the Soviet proposal for an interim agreement for achieving one German peace treaty. Adenauer's government flatly rejected any idea, even such an agreement.
In light of this situation, the conclusion of a peace treaty between the German Democratic Republic and those countries of the anti-Hitler coalition which are ready for this comes to the fore. In connection with this, the question again arises of what the peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic will bring to the German people and what it could do for the preservation and securing of peace?
The conclusion of a peace treaty with the GDR would give the West German revanchists the sole argument which has a certain resonance in the international public, and refers precisely to the fact that the Potsdam Agreement provided for the final establishment of the German borders in a peace treaty. A peace treaty will yield an international-legal consolidation of the existing and established borders between the German Democratic Republic and the Polish People's Republic, between the German Democratic Republic and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and also the borders between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany.
On the basis of the peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic there must also follow a new settlement of the West Berlin question, since it goes without saying that a peace treaty on all GDR territory, which also includes West Berlin, would end the operation of all occupation rights and the West Berlin occupation status. It would also end the operation of the purported "ordinary rights" to which the Western powers pretend, for want of an existing international-legal basis in favor of the preservation by them of the occupation regime in West Berlin. Under the new settlement, we mean further that the corresponding agreements must establish normal relations between West Berlin and those governments with which West Berlin as a free city wants to maintain relations.
After the conclusion of a peace treaty, the German Democratic Republic will fully exercise all sovereign rights on all of its territory, including also those rights, the exercise of which was temporarily given to the Soviet Union in 1955. These are control over the movement of human and cargo transport through GDR territory for the supply of the garrisons of the Western powers in West Berlin.
Essentially, the peace will bring, therefore, an international-legal consolidation of the existing conditions, and it will liquidate all remnants of the second World War on the territory of the German Democratic Republic, including also the occupation regime. In such a way, the peace treaty will strengthen the international-legal position of the German Democratic Republic and will create an important precondition for the establishment by the German Democratic Republic of normal relations with those governments with whom it has not yet had diplomatic relations. Apart from the international-legal side of the matter, the conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic will have great political and educational significance for the German people. All the proposals which were made with the goal of achieving agreements, and also the proposal made in 1952 for carrying out free all-German elections, were refused by Adenauer, who justified his refusal saying that he first he had to make the Federal Republic stronger and fully integrate it into NATO. The conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic will be a complete failure of Adenauer's policy of "negotiating from a position of strength."
After the conclusion of a peace treaty it will be necessary after the whole period of tension to achieve normal political, economic and cultural relations between both German governments. If the borders between both German governments are consolidated in a peace treaty in an international-legal framework, then the absorption of the GDR by the current Bonn recipe will be impossible. This will significantly promote a diminishing of the danger of war in the center of Europe.
Peace will also be more sound also by virtue of the fact that the West German militarists will have much less opportunity to use West Berlin as a "front city" and as the advance forepost for the preparation of revanchist war. The plunder of the German Democratic Republic which has been carried out until now with the help of West Berlin will then stop. This also will lead to a weakening of Bonn's aggressive policy. Of course, the conclusion of a peace treaty with the GDR in many ways will contribute to the safe-guarding of peace in Europe and will not remain without influence on the structure of NATO. The conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic will answer, therefore, the interests of all peoples. In connection with this I ask the first secretaries of the fraternal parties that their diplomats will act in this way in all countries in which they are accredited.
In their notes of response to the Soviet government, the Western powers challenge the legality of concluding a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic, referring in particular to their occupation rights in West Berlin which they want to preserve for all time. With this goal, they again refer to the protocols of the European Consultative Commission, and especially to the protocol of the September 12, 1944. On this question I must say that all of these protocols are only executive directives for the preparation by the Soviet Union, the USA and Great Britain of a program for the eradication of German militarism and nazism. In this regard, the US Ambassador [John G.] Winant expressed the following opinion in a telegram of January 10, 1945 to the President of the USA:
"Agreement over control will create the necessary machinery for the implementation of the conditions of capitulation, but in no way will pre-determine the policy which must be carried out in regard to Germany. It will create only thenecessary mechanism for the fulfillment of the program, which must be determinedby those who carry responsibility for policy."
The program about which this responsible American diplomat spoke then in the European Consultative Commission was formulated one month later at Yalta. It demanded the destruction of German militarism and nazism and was concerned that Germany would never again be in a position to disturb the peace of the whole world. The Yalta Declaration says:
"We will disarm and disband with full resolve all German armed forces, once and forever will abolish the German general staff, which repeatedly promoted the rebirth of German militarism . . . We will eliminate all nazi and militaristic influences from social institutions, from the cultural and economic life of the German people and we will jointly take such other measures regarding Germany which could prove necessary for future peace and the security of the whole world."
In both the Yalta Declaration and the Potsdam Agreement it was established clearly that the occupation of Germany must help the German people liquidate militarism and nazism. The Yalta and Potsdam Agreements were and are the basis of all other protocols, proclamations, order and directives. The Western powers violated all the principles which were agreed to at Yalta and Potsdam for the occupation of Germany. The agreement concluded at the end of 1946 about the unification of two occupation zones was the beginning of the division of Germany and the restoration to power of the militarists and revanchists in West Germany. With the creation of a separate West German state, with the conclusion of the Paris Agreements and with the inclusion of West Germany in NATO, the Western powers finally unilaterally broke the Potsdam Agreement, this sole valid document in international law for Germany in the postwar period. It is not coincidental that in connection with this a special occupation status of the three powers was established in West Berlin. By this three-sided occupation status, the Western powers themselves confirmed that they violated the international-legal basis of their occupation regime in West Berlin and that this regime was based only on undisguised military force.
The abnormal situation in Germany, and especially in West Berlin, is a result of the one- sided violation of the Potsdam Agreement by the Western powers, the rebirth of militarism and the acquisition of atomic armaments, the penetration by the pernicious nazi spirit of the whole governmental, economic and cultural life of West Germany, the fascist oppression of anti-fascist and peace-loving forces by special laws and other measures of coercion, and an increasingly aggressive revanchist policy. In spite of this abnormal situation, the Soviet government kept trying anew to achieve through negotiations the normalization of the situation in Germany and in West Berlin. The German Democratic republic, putting forward the "Peace Plan of the German People" also demonstrated its readiness for the solution of all disputed questions through negotiations. But all these proposals were rejected by the Western powers and the Bonn government, at the same time that atomic armament and revanchist policy in West Germany pose an ever greater threat to peace. Thus, we are faced with the question of what to do. We propose that the Soviet government appeal to the Western powers with the proposal of beginning a joint discussion of the questions of preparing a peace conference, a peace treaty and the transformation of West Berlin into a demilitarized free city. Judging by their notes of response to the Soviet government, the Western powers will refuse a peace conference and negotiations on concluding a peace treaty with both German governments. But in this connection the matter will still probably go as far as negotiations on a diplomatic level. If the matter goes as far as the convening of a conference of the foreign ministers, then we believe it will be necessary that the foreign ministers of both German states take part, as they did in 1959 in Geneva.
We cannot trust the words of assurance about unity and resolve used in the notes of the Western powers. Although on basic questions of relations to the socialist camp they have some common views, on the paths to the achievement of their goals, there are obvious differences of opinion, and also contradictory imperialist interests. In addition, the pressure of public opinion is increasing, especially from the working class who demand the start of negotiations before the beginning of a possible crisis. Even in the notes themselves the possibility of negotiations is openly abandoned. So what could be the contents of negotiations among the four powers at the diplomatic level?
1. The contents of a peace treaty with both German states. In connection with they could also discuss the establishment of normal relations between both German states, especially as the proposal of an interim solution, i.e., appealing to the German governments with the call to agree on a joint position on the questions of a peace treaty and the reunification of Germany, completely avoided in the notes of the Western powers.
2. The abolition of the occupation status of the three powers in West Berlin and the conclusion of an agreement on the transformation of West Berlin into a neutral demilitarized free city. Also concerning this is the conclusion of corresponding agreements between the German Democratic Republic and the West Berlin senate and also between the German Democratic Republic and all states interested in the use of the links of West Berlin with the outside world, which pass through GDR territory.
3. The conclusion of an agreement on guarantees which would safe-guard the free decision of the West Berlin population of all issues of their internal social and political system in the free city and connections of the free city with the outside world.
The Soviet government, as is known, stated in its memorandum that it believes it would be possible to keep a symbolic military contingent of the Western powers or armies of neutral countries under the aegis of the UN in West Berlin. If the Western powers really are concerned about the freedom and independence of West Berlin and not about preserving the "front city" in the Cold War against the socialist camp, then they must recognize that this Soviet proposal goes far towards meeting them half-way. We persistently declare our support for this proposal.
In connection with such an agreement on guarantees it may prove useful to publish the statute for the free city. In our opinion it must provide for West Berlin to stand independently in the governmental-legal sense as a unit, having its base on the democratic principles of a constitution, with popular representation formed as a result of general, equal, direct and secret elections, which would then vote on a senate or government accountable to it. It would have the right to maintain a police for the preservation of calm and order.
The free city would have the opportunity to participate in international agreements and organizations, and it could appoint and receive consuls for the development of economic, cultural and other ties with the external world and for the defense of the interests of its citizens abroad. Participation in international agreements, for the fulfillment of which the free city must use the territory or fixed rights of the GDR, would be possible in accordance with agreement with the GDR. West Berlin, however will not have the right to turn over the conduct of its external relations to another government without the agreement of the governments who signed the agreement on guarantees.
Equal democratic rights and freedoms will be guaranteed to all citizens of the free city. Until the reunification of Germany, citizenship of the free city of West Berlin will be provided for. Citizens of both German states can become citizens of West Berlin only with the agreement of their government.
The statute of the free city will not affect the economic system or property relations in West Berlin. West Berlin will have the right to maintain foreign economic trade with all states without discrimination. The states participating in the agreement on guarantees can assume in the statute the obligation to give aid to the free city in the supply of food-stuffs and raw materials and also through the placing of orders for industries so as thus to guarantee the well-being of the economy and the prosperity of the citizens of West Berlin.
The GDR will provide to the free city, which must respect the sovereignty and laws of the GDR, the right of unhindered ties with the outside world, free movement of human and freight transport, free post, telegraph and telephone connections and other rights. The statute would obligate the free city to demilitarization and neutralization. It will not be able to participate in any agreements or alliances of military or military-political character. Service in the armed forces or other military formations of the existing German states will be forbidden for the citizens of the free city. All activity of military character in the free city will be prohibited, including both the production of arms and equipment. In the same way, the activity of fascist and anti-democratic organizations and military propaganda will be prohibited.
There is no doubt that the proposed agreements on guarantees and the status of the free city of West Berlin would normalize the situation in West Berlin and would provide freedom and independence for its population in the best way. These proposals would also respond to the slander campaign displayed by the imperialists around West Berlin.
In listing those things possible for diplomatic negotiations, the question, of course, arises of what other possibilities might be found for compromise.
In the notes from the Western powers, the return to an all-Berlin decision is recommended, which was proposed by the Western powers on May 26, 1959, at the Geneva conference of ministers of foreign affairs. It boils down to the German Democratic Republic being deprived of its capital--Democratic Berlin--and all of Berlin being made into an occupation regime. With the help of other so-called "resolutions of the Berlin problem" the Western powers also want to achieve through the so-called commission of four powers control over the German Democratic Republic, i.e. the establishment of an occupation regime in the sovereign German state of workers and peasants.
It goes without saying that we do not view such proposals as possible compromises, but only as an unacceptable effort at the gradual absorption of the German Democratic Republic into the aggressive military bloc of NATO.
If we speak of the possibilities of compromise, we have in mind two basic questions for the settlement of the West Berlin problem:
a) the liquidation of espionage and sabotage centers in West Berlin and the cessation by West Berlin of all subversive work against the German Democratic Republic and other socialist countries;
b) the creation of a system of treaties for the use of the links connecting West Berlin with the outside world, which pass through territory of the German Democratic Republic.
I must add several explanations on these two points.
The enemy is trying with all means to use the open border between the German Democratic Republic and West Berlin to undermine our government and its economy, primarily by means of recruiting and trading people. I must say openly: the aggressive forces of West Germany and the Western powers have already succeeded by these means in causing serious harm to the German Democratic Republic. As long as West Germany surpasses the German Democratic Republic in its economic strength and its standard of living of the population, during this time we cannot reduce the organizational and financial enticement by great means of people from our republic. It is precisely these economic facts which give such dangerous subversive work of the espionage and diversionary centers in West Berlin. But the preservation of the state of the market in West Germany and the economic development in the socialist camp does not allow us to expect that the German Democratic Republic in the near future will catch up with West Germany in the standard of living of the population. In the interests of the existence and development of the German Democratic Republic, therefore, active measures for ending the recruitment of people from our Republic are necessary. Related to this primarily is the liquidation of the espionage and subversive centers in West Berlin and full control over the transit routes. The following situation will arise with regard to the links of West Berlin with the outside world through the territory of the German Democratic Republic. With the exception of military transports for the garrisons of the Western powers in West Berlin all links by land are controlled already by organs of the German Democratic Republic. After the conclusion of a peace treaty, control over the transit of military personnel and cargo transports of the garrisons of the three Western powers in West Berlin must, of course, be transferred to the organs of the German Democratic Republic. Regarding the waterways, the situation will be about the same, except that only after the conclusion of a peace treaty, control should be carried out more carefully than it is now.
The most difficult [issue] will be the matter of control over the air routes into and out of West Berlin. All air traffic into West Berlin, where West German planes are not allowed, at the present time takes place in three air corridors, namely Berlin-Hamburg, Berlin-Bückeburg and Berlin-Frankfurt-on-Main. It is regulated by Air Security Center of the four powers located in West Berlin. We propose that with the conclusion of a peace treaty the Soviet representatives in the center of flight security would declare this institution disbanded. Its functions would be transferred to the GDR Air Security Center. After this, all states who wanted to have regular flights through the air space of the German Democratic Republic would have to conclude corresponding treaties with the German Democratic Republic.
The two West Berlin airports at Tempelhof and Tegel are not in keeping with the regulations on air communications, and their use by planes flying at the same time creates a constant danger to the population in regions close by in both Democratic and West Berlin. The most rational decision would be the concentration of all air communication with Berlin to the GDR airport in Schönefeld. Construction of the airport is being completed in such a way that it will answer all the demands of current international air travel. In spite of Schönefeld being located outside of Berlin, there are convenient connections from it with both Democratic Berlin and West Berlin.
If an agreement on the concentration of all air traffic in Schönefeld proves impossible, then it still will be necessary that some planes in West Berlin use the Schönefeld airport. Other planes taking off or landing at Tegel or Tempelhof, of course, must also be supervised by organs of the German Democratic Republic.
An aggravation of revanchist policy, general statements by the Adenauer government which plan for all Germany to be included in NATO and to spread the internal system in West Germany also to the GDR, and measures for the preparation of civil war would create a new situation. The Bonn government has resorted, with the support of the SPD leadership, to severing ties between social organizations, to organizing by various means the enticement of GDR citizens and the payment of a poll tax, and causing annoyances and arresting GDR citizens who are visiting West Germany. This situation makes a settlement necessary such that at a given time the state border of the German Democratic Republic (going through Berlin) could be crossed by citizens of the German Democratic Republic only with the corresponding permission for exit or, in so far as it concerns the visitation of the capital of the GDR, with a special pass. Visiting of the capital of the GDR by West Berliners would be possible on the basis of the West Berlin identity card (but not on the basis of the West German passport).
The grounds for this measure: In view of the aggressive policy of the Bonn government, expressed in revanchist demands and in militaristic and subversive activity, measures are required for the defense of the German Democratic Republic and the governments of the socialist camp.
The West German revanchists and militarists are using the peace-loving position of the USSR and the member-states of the Warsaw Pact on the resolution of German question, so as to inflict harm on the German Democratic Republic through subversive activity and the illegal recruitment of citizens of the German Democratic Republic. For this, they primarily use the open border in Berlin. In the interests of the peaceful work and construction by the citizens of the German Democratic Republic and of the member-states of the Warsaw Pact, it is necessary to stop the illegal recruitment and other hostile measures. Therefore, we propose that the member- states of the Warsaw Pact agree, in the interests of the cessation of the subversive activity, to implement control along the borders of the German Democratic Republic, including the borders in Berlin, comparable to the control along the state borders of the Western powers.
If it seems that the Western powers will not support a peace conference for the conclusion of a peace treaty with both German governments, but only want to reach agreement on the preservation of their occupation status in West Berlin, then the necessity will arise for the Sovietgovernment to appeal to the governments of those states who participated with their armed forcesin the war against Hitler's Germany, with the proposal for the convocation of a peace conferenceaimed towards concluding a peace treaty with the GDR. We can propose that only those states of the anti-Hitler coalition who are ready to conclude a peace treaty with the GDR participate in this conference.
Where could this conference for the conclusion of a peace treaty with the GDR take place? We think it is possible that it could take place in Potsdam so as to emphasize by choice of the venue that the conclusion of the peace treaty is based on principles which were worked out jointly by the Allies during the struggle with Hitler and which were set down in the Potsdam Agreement as obligatory for the postwar system in Germany. If this proposal does not meet with approval, then we propose to convene the peace conference in Moscow.
Of course, we must ask ourselves at this conference what conflicts could arise from theconclusion of a peace treaty with the GDR? In spite of the rattling of weapons in several statements of the Western powers, we find it hard to believe that they will use military means. The slogan "die for West Berlin" is not popular among the people. But it is very probable that the Bonn government could unilaterally denounce the trade agreement between the German Democratic Republic and the West German Federal Republic and that NATO could enact an economic embargo against the German Democratic Republic. Proceeding from this expectation, we must use intensively and thoroughly the time necessary for the Soviet negotiations with the Western powers so that we can achieve significant economic independence of the German Democratic Republic from West Germany. In the event of the conclusion of a peace treaty, all measures of an economic blockade will certainly be directed primarily against the German Democratic Republic. With regard to the volume of production, our Republic is the second industrial state in the socialist camp. Safe-guarding its industrial production from all interference is therefore in the interests of the whole socialist camp.
The difficulty is that the German Democratic Republic does not have sufficient opportunity for the broad development of its own production of basic materials and production of high quality special steel. GDR exports to the Soviet Union and the people's democracies to a significant degree were connected to a significant degree to supplies from West Germany and several other Western capitalist countries. The clients also in part directly demanded the use of certain units from Western countries. As a result of this, with the growth of exports to countries of the socialist camp, GDR dependence on West Germany also grew. We repeatedly pointed out this danger and proposed changing the scientific-technical cooperation of the socialist countries fundamentally so as to decrease dependence on the capitalist countries. We hope that measures for reorganization carried out in relation to the work of the Committee of the Coordination of Scientific Research Work in the Soviet Union, will exert a favorable influence also on scientific- technical cooperation. The Council of Mutual Economic Aid cannot [both] concentrate on basic issues and organize cooperation.
The difficulty of the task at the present time, therefore, is the following: the economy of the German Democratic Republic is significantly tied to the West German economy; we must make it independent from West Germany. This demands a change in the industrial profile of the German Democratic Republic. Since we don't have industrial and raw material reserves and the national economic plan is not balanced, this task will be very difficult to resolve. By the resolution of the CPSU CC Presidium and the Soviet government, essential industrial help and significant credit was granted to the GDR government. I want to heartily thank the CPSU CC Presidium and Comrade Khrushchev and also the employees of Gosplan USSR for the great aid which they are giving us so as to protect the GDR economy to a significant degree from subversive activity.
But since some of the special steel, chemical products and raw materials are not mass produced in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union cannot give use help in all areas. It is necessary, therefore, to quickly reach concrete agreements with the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the Polish People's Republic and other socialist governments regarding the additional supplies. We must keep in mind that the peculiarity of the GDR economy, which earlier was dependent on significant supplies of spare parts from West Germany, now needs the reconstruction of part of its industry so that we ourselves can produce these spare parts.
It is clear to all comrades that our adversaries are carrying out a campaign aimed at the acute shortages and needs in the GDR. This forces us to secure regular provisions for the population. The situation existing until now in which the export of goods of mass consumption had priority before the provision of things to our own people cannot be maintained any longer. It will be necessary to cancel a significant part of the planned export of goods of mass consumption to the socialist countries in the period before the establishment of normal economic relations after the conclusion of the peace treaty.
The open border with West Berlin has brought enormous damages to the GDR economy for many years. To a significant degree the burden of the consequences of the struggle between the two systems lies on our shoulders. This is expressed in the economic subversion and diversionary activity against the GDR, in large-scale sabotage, and in the enticement to the West of the work force with the help of large bribes. The Bonn government is using the state of the market in West Berlin to buy GDR citizens; they are using the exchange rate of West Berlin hard currency at a rate of 1:4 German marks so as to attract citizens of the capital of the GDR to work in West Berlin. As a result, we have serious losses in the work force which of course puts in question the fulfillment of our national economic plan and even the fulfillment of export orders.
The one way for overcoming this difficulties is speedy mechanization and automation. Therefore, the GDR government appeals to the governments of the USSR and of the people's democracies with the request to grant us machines, assemblies and licenses with the goal of rationalization, mechanization and automation.
The most important step which we must take now is an agreement on supplies from the Soviet Union and the people's democracies with the goal of making the GDR economy independent from West Germany. On our side we propose our efforts to change our industrial profile so that the raw materials which the socialist camp has can find clients. The GDR Gosplan will report to the Gosplan of the USSR and other socialist countries and also to the Council of Mutual Economic Aid its proposals on the gradual specialization of industry in the GDR. We are speaking primarily about products which demand a large amount of raw materials or which are produced in an insufficient amount. Only if on the basis of an agreement, specialization will be achieved gradually and we can produce larger parts, which will give us the opportunity to produce industrial wares of a high scientific-technical level, will we advance faster in the competition with the capitalist countries.
Without such measures of economic self-defense by our Republic, about which I have been speaking until now, the question will arise again of what can be done to avert the severing ofeconomic ties or to paralyze its effect. We see three possibilities:
First, the damage which would be suffered by the German Democratic Republic due to the unilateral severing of economic relations by the West German side could be compensated for, if only partly, by the sharp raising of taxes on the movement of West German transport vehicles on the highways, streets and shipping lanes of the GDR.
Second, if economic relations are severed unilaterally by West Germany, the German Democratic Republic cannot guarantee regular passenger and freight movement between West Germany and West Berlin. I already reminded you at our meeting in March that even the fee for the railroad transport of the garrisons of the Western powers in West Berlin is calculated through the trade agreement between both German states. By severing economic relations, West Germany also would be deprived of the basis of its railroad passenger and freight transport into
and out of West Berlin and would make it impossible. But not one capitalist can demand from us that we carry his carriages around on our railways for free.
Third, the GDR, the Soviet Union, and the people's democracies should be prepared to make a break-through of the embargo possible. We must achieve a reduction in the effectiveness of the measures of the blockade by the Bonn government, for example by favorable agreements on the continuation of supplies by Western capitalist firms in a round-about way.
Together with the economic measures, our imperialist adversaries will also take political measures in West Berlin. We can assume with certainty that a referendum will be carried out against the conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic and for membership in the Federal Republic and for an appeal to the Western powers to maintain their garrisons in West Berlin.
On this question we must assert: West Berlin is located on the territory of a state--the German Democratic Republic, in an international-legal position in which citizens of West Berlin essentially cannot make any decision at all. Such a referendum, it is true, would only confirm that the occupation statute in West Berlin no longer has any international-legal basis, but nothing would change in the international-legal illegal continuation of the occupation regime. Such a referendum has nothing at all in common with self-determination, which under the conditions of an occupation regime it is impossible to have. It could be characterized only as a transparent maneuver in the cold war.
In the course of diplomatic or other negotiations of the Soviet Union with the Western powers, which would occur before the conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic, it could, however, be made clear that in various areas or on individual issues there could be agreement after international-legal facts are created on the basis of the peace treaty. We will search for such opportunities for agreement. This will make it harder for the more aggressive imperialist forces to respond to the conclusion of a peace treaty with military provocations. Therefore, we should think about whether we should not at the very beginning include in the planned peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic an article in which the agreeing sides declare that the German Democratic Republic imposes on itself the duty of carrying out negotiations with other states on the transit routes into and out of Berlin, and also on agreements aimed at guaranteeing the freedom and independence of the West Berlin population. In this spirit, the German Democratic Republic expresses its readiness to enter into negotiations with the West Berlin Senate, and also with the Western powers and West Germany on questions which the participating sides are interested in settling. This includes all issues of links with the German Democratic Republic and through the territory of the German Democratic Republic, including not only normal passenger and freight transit, but also the conveyance of troops, employees and cargo of the Western powers in the event that they still maintain garrisons in West Berlin. We of course are not talking about endless negotiations, with the help of which they want only to maintain the occupation regime for an unlimited time in West Berlin with all the consequences which flow from this. We will have to agree on a limited time period for these negotiations, during which they must lead to acceptable results for those participating.
With the conclusion of a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic, of course, all remnants of the war and the occupation regime must be liquidated. I would like to name several of these which still exist.
The three Western powers maintain military missions at the Main Command of the Soviet Military Forces which are temporarily located in the GDR. The conclusion of the peace treaty will eliminate the basis for their existence and activity. Therefore, it is necessary to take measures for the cessation of activity of these missions.
In West Berlin military missions still exist which are accredited to the former Allied Control Council. It seems essential that all states which conclude a peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic liquidate these missions or convert them into consulates which must be accredited to the Senate in West Berlin.
In West Berlin the so-called Bureau of Travel and Communications of the Western occupation forces still exists, which confers on itself the right to issue temporary documents for travel by citizens of the German Democratic Republic. At the NATO meeting in 1958 a decision was made that the member-states of NATO were obliged not to recognize the German Democratic Republic passport. Of course, they treat citizens of the German Democratic Republic as they do inhabitants of colonial countries, for whom any foreign occupation officer will give a passport. By the way, it is a funny thing that this foreign occupation officer is not even located in the state for whose citizens he issues passports. The struggle for the recognition of German Democratic Republic passports, therefore, has great significance. We ask our comrades from fraternal parties to give their diplomatic and consular representatives the order to help us achieve the recognition of GDR passports in all countries where they are not now recognized.
With regard to the remnants of the war and the occupation regime is also the fact that military transport of the three Western powers into and out of West Berlin until now has occurred on our railways with an extremely low military tariff which had its origin already in Hitler's time. If the garrisons of the Western powers will still remain for a time in West Berlin after the conclusion of the peace treaty, it will be necessary to come to an agreement with them on transport on German Democratic Republic railroads, which will preserve the normal payment for transport.
After setting forth this whole series of problems that arise in connection with the conclusion of a peace treaty and the settlement of the West Berlin problem, we would like to propose to the meeting the following practical measures:
1. Appointing under the leadership of representatives of the Soviet government a working group which will work out a draft peace treaty with the German Democratic Republic and will publish it after agreeing with those governments represented here. The working group will also prepare agreed drafts on the declaration of guarantee for a neutral, demilitarized free city of West Berlin and the statute of the free city.
2. Forming under the leadership of representatives of the Soviet government a commission which will prepare the convocation and carrying out of a peace conference with the task of concluding a peace treaty with the GDR.
3. Concluding agreements between the German Democratic Republic and other socialist countries, for example, the USSR, for safeguarding the economic independence of the German Democratic Republic from West Germany.
4. Agreeing on measures between the German Democratic Republic and other socialist states which will ensure that the difficulties connected with the heavier loads of transport can be systematically overcome by means of additional supplies to the GDR. This concerns primarily the links between the USSR and the GDR through the territory of the Polish People's Republic.
5. Instructing the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance to provide for uninterrupted delivery to the GDR population in the 4th quarter of 1961 and in 1962 by concluding corresponding agreements between the GDR and other socialist states and corresponding changes in existing treaties and agreements.
6. We must organize an international information center under the leadership of representatives of the CPSU Central Committee in cooperation with SED representatives, the Czech communist party and the Polish united workers' party. It task will be the direction of international propaganda in connection with the conclusion of the peace treaty with Germany and the settlement of the West Berlin problem. From time to time we should have meetings with representatives of all socialist countries.
The conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany and the settlement of the West Berlin problem are the key questions of international politics. We are speaking about extremely important matters--about the safeguarding of peace, about the restraint of German militarism, above all in its revanchist efforts it could bring the world to atomic war. We carry great responsibility for the preservation of peace and the security of the states of the socialist camp. It would be wrong to close our eyes to the fact that in the resolution of the decisive tasks which stand before us, it is possible that there will be military conflicts. Therefore, the present meeting was called to discuss all these problems.
In the struggle to conclude a peace treaty with Germany a new international correlation of forces in the world will be brought to the consciousness of the masses. Public statements by governmental figures of the Western powers and their notes and other official publications are dictated by the effort to keep the masses in ignorance regarding the real international correlation of forces which is determined by political, economic, and military factors.
The peaceful policy of the states of the socialist camp is far superior to the policy of the imperialists. Precisely because of this they spasmodically try to transform the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany into a threat to peace.
In the military area, the socialist camp, primarily thanks to the enormous scientific and technical achievements of the Soviet Union, as clearly superior to the imperialist warmongers.
The fundamental difficulty we have is in the economic sphere. It is true that all socialist countries are superior in their rate of economic growth to the capitalist states, but the initial level of almost all socialist countries was very low in comparison with the imperialist camp, such that they had to overcome huge difficulties so as to compensate for the historic lag. A special situation exists between the two German states. In West Germany there is not only a continuing effective performance of the market and a high standard of living, but at the present time the growth in production is higher than in the German Democratic Republic. Having a highly developed industry at its disposal, the German Democratic Republic had an absolutely insufficient raw material base, and in several areas it was not enough at all. The fact that West Germany has at its disposal the Ruhr area with its coal and metallurgical base as well as a highly developed chemical industry, at the same time that the German Democratic Republic needs supplies from West Germany for its own industry, worked to the detriment of the economic development of the first socialist state in Germany. We must say clearly that this detriment succeeds in confirming that the industrial capacity of the German Democratic Republic will be able to be used fully in the interests of the whole socialist camp only in the event that economic cooperation of the German Democratic Republic with the Soviet Union and close economic and technical cooperation with the other socialist countries is created. The resolution of this task will give us the guarantee that the great political tasks for safeguarding the peaceful development of all socialist countries will be settled quickly.
Ulbricht speaks at the Moscow Conference of Secretaries of the Central Committees of the Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries for the Exchange of Opinions on Questions Concerning the Preparation and Conclusion of a German Peace Treaty.
Associated People & Organizations
- Germany (West)--Foreign relations
- Germany (East)--Foreign relations--Soviet Union
- Berlin (Germany)--International status
- Berlin Wall
- Nuclear proliferation
- United Nations
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization--Germany (West)
- Arms race
- Nuclear weapons--Germany (West)
- Soviet Union--Foreign relations--United States
- Nuclear-weapon-free zones--Europe
- Border security--Germany
- Berlin Crisis, 1961
- Moscow Conference (1961)
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].