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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 36: Statement by the Romanian Chief of Staff
on Reform of the Warsaw Pact, February 4–9, 1966

The controversies over Warsaw Pact reorganization, revealed in the previous several documents, were the most fundamental the alliance faced in the latter 1960s. Of the var- ious forums for hammering out these issues, perhaps the most important were the meet- ings at the deputy level of the defense and foreign ministries. This record from a meet- ing of Warsaw Pact chiefs of staff—who simultaneously served as deputy ministers of defense—is representative of the kinds of working-level sessions that focused primarily on military affairs. (See Document No. 37 for an analogous record of discussions in the political sphere.) Of particular interest is the detailed exposition of the Romanian view- point, which shows that Bucharest's aim was its complete independence in deciding its own military issues, and simultaneously reducing the powers of any Warsaw Pact agen- cies to the minimum. Even in case of an attack on the alliance, Romania reserved the right to decide whether and under what conditions its forces should enter the conflict. The Romanians also insisted that their armed forces should not be subject to inspection by the Warsaw Pact, and furthermore that no permanent representatives of the supreme commander should be installed on Romanian territory. To further complicate matters for Moscow, by insisting on the principle of unanimity the Romanians claimed the right to veto any Warsaw Pact decisions. Each of these rights they claimed not only for them- selves but for all member-states. Not surprisingly, a sharp discussion ensued, and the meeting finally ended without an agreement—much to the consternation of the Soviets.

"…"

The principles of the statute "of the Unified Command" are obviously contradictory to the principles of cooperation and mutual assistance, based on sovereignty, national independence, and nonintervention in internal affairs. "These principles" are embodied in the treaty and concern substantial rights held by our governments. All these regulations, as well as their application, would make the supreme commander superior to the governments and transform the Supreme Command into a supranational body. "…"

"…"

Several examples to follow should demonstrate to what extent existing regulations contradict the provisions of the treaty. In 1961, during the Berlin events, the Supreme Commander, without consulting us, ordered that certain measures be adopted to increase the combat readiness of our country. These included, for example: mobilization of certain units and corps, which resulted in a temporary increase in force levels of 12,000 troops; exercises by armed forces and staffs; the redeployment of some units from their garrisons to other areas; etc.

Similar measures were applied during the Cuban crisis, too. Without any preliminary consultation with the defense minister, without any consent by the national governments of the Warsaw Treaty signatories with respect to Art. 4 of the treaty,

-210-

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