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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 34: Polish proposals for Reform
of the Warsaw Pact, January 21 and 26, 1966

Much like their Hungarian colleagues (see Documents Nos. 33a and b), the Poles also prepared proposals for reorganizing the Warsaw Pact. The diversity of views evident in these documents was not apparent to the outside world during the Cold War. While not necessarily directed against the Soviet Union, these propositions by essentially loyal allies are at the same time explorations of how far they could go in defining room for independent action within the alliance. In the first example below, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki's sophisticated submission presents several arguments. He agrees that the Warsaw Pact needs reorganization. In military matters, he concedes that the Soviet Union should retain primary responsibility, but in the political arena the focus should be on consultation and working toward common positions on both prin- ciple and policy. Among his numerous proposals for action is the creation of separate decision-making and advisory bodies which would help institutionalize a more equal role for the allies in both areas of internal Pact activity.

The second proposal reproduced here, from the Polish Defense Ministry, is infor- mative at two levels: it not only presents views of the military but also provides consid- erable detail about Soviet goals, gleaned from informal consultations with Soviet offi- cers. While the unnamed authors of the document are just as intent on securing Poland's interests, their report lacks the forcefulness of Rapacki's submission. Naturally, their arguments center around aspects of the Warsaw Pact's military activities and command structure, including the question of whether nuclear weapons should remain under exclusive Soviet control—an idea the Polish military hopes to discourage.

a). Proposal by Foreign Minister Adam Rapacki January 21, 1966

"…"


III.

The Soviet initiative to improve the instruments of the Pact's operation is coming at the right time, when a greater need for strengthening the unity of action of the member-states is emerging. In the present circumstances the elaboration of a common political line for the Pact, which would take into account the positions of all interested parties, calls for systematic and frequent consultations and contacts.


IV.

The Warsaw Pact has created a Political Consultative Committee for consultations among member-states and for consideration of questions arising from the Pact's operation. According to the Pact's provisions, each state is to be represented in the

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