A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 33: Hungarian Proposals for Reform
of the Warsaw Pact, January 18–19, 1966

The next several documents (Documents Nos. 33–35) are proposals from key East European countries relating to reform of the Warsaw Pact. In January 1966, the Soviets had sent their own ideas on the subject to the other member-states, but in part because Moscow's conception amounted to reform from above, a number of them were unre- ceptive and decided to present counter-proposals. The first document reproduced here was written by Lajos Czinege, the Hungarian defense minister, and sent to the Hungarian Politburo for consideration before being submitted to an upcoming meeting of Warsaw Pact defense ministers. This particular version is a draft and so it is not clear whether the Soviets received the proposal in this exact form. Nonetheless, it is interesting as a reflection of the views of Hungarian military leaders. In brief, the proposal urges a unified system of military preparedness and standardized regulations in peace time. It calls for a unified command, but only in war time and in a form that would ensure real participation by member countries in command matters. It also appeals for the cre- ation of a collective military body that would be subordinate to the PCC. In effect, Czinege's idea mirrors the NATO Military Committee. Other East European states expressed similar concerns about being drawn into a war, especially a nuclear one, without the ability to influence the policies that might lead to it.

Written one day after Czinege's proposal, the second document below, by Hungarian Foreign Minister János Péter, also proposes reorganization of the Warsaw Pact, and was intended for an upcoming foreign ministers' meeting. It seems clear that Hungary's leaders, along with those of other East European countries, solicited opinions from the relevant ministries. Péter's conception envisages the PCC as the highest body of the Warsaw Pact concerned with both political and military matters—following the model of the NATO Council. He argues that it should meet annually but also hold special sessions if any members so desire. The Pact should also create a council of for- eign ministers and a permanent secretariat, both of which would be subordinated to the PCC—again as in NATO. The Hungarians' particular interest in a council of for- eign ministers stems from their desire to provide input into the Soviet bloc's foreign policy decisions. The Eastern alliance never established a permanent secretariat, which was always an important brain center for NATO.

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