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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 39: Memorandum of the Conference
of Defense Ministers, May 27–28, 1966
After two earlier meetings of Warsaw Pact deputy defense ministers and deputy for- eign ministers had ended in deadlock (Document Nos. 36 and 37), Moscow commu- nicated informally with some of its allies, particularly the Poles, to make them come up with generally acceptable proposals for reorganizing the alliance. The main obsta- cle, of course, was the Romanians, who had previously raised a variety of challenges to the Soviet position. This document records a subsequent meeting of the Pact's defense ministers where the new proposals were discussed in an attempt to find a compromise. Among other points of interest, it gives a more detailed sense of the differing perspec- tives of the East European partners. The Poles had helped draft the proposals. The Hungarians for the most part agreed to them, while the East German, Bulgarian and Czechoslovak ministers had little of substance to add. However, the Romanians refused to budge. Although some progress was eventually made, the participants failed to come up with a final resolution. The dispute over reorganization of the alliance continued through the late 1960s."…"On May 27–28, 1966, a conference of army representatives from the memberstates of the Warsaw Treaty was held, at the level of Defense Ministers, in Moscow. It was dedicated to jurisdictional and organizational matters and enhancement of the work of military institutions of the Warsaw Treaty. "…""…"Basically all comments made by the Polish side during both the period preceding it and during the conference deserve emphasis, but especially:
currently accepting as fundamental the organizational structure of the main military institutions of the Unified Armed Forces with a reduced number of participants (about 200 people);
establishing an appropriate share for each country in the composition of the main military institutions of the Unified Armed Forces and their budget (with 13.5 percent of Polish contribution it will be approximately 500,000–600,000 rubles annually);
accepting the formulation which grants the General Staff of the Soviet Army the power, to present appropriate proposals for planning the operational use of forces instead of giving recommendations to defense ministers and general staffs;
from the decision about the deployment of national forces to the Unified Armed Forces, removing the formulation "which states" that it covers the entire force of every country.

"…"

-217-

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