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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 40: Memorandum of the Conference
of Foreign Ministers, June 14–15, 1966

Because of the lack of consensus on how to improve the functioning of the Warsaw Pact, the Soviets decided to shelve the issue temporarily in order to focus on other pressing matters at the important foreign ministers' conference recorded here. One priority was the question of a conference on European security. The Soviets had prepared a dec- laration on the subject but had not been able to build a consensus among the partners. At this meeting, the issue became intermingled with reform of the Warsaw Pact when Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko submitted a draft declaration on European securi- ty and the Romanians responded with the demand to add several paragraphs on con- tentious matters such as the withdrawal of foreign troops. A related dispute arose over Romania's insistence that any statement avoid strong condemnation of West Germany, with which Bucharest was about to establish diplomatic relations. This predictably angered the East Germans, who only backed down after the Soviets warned them not to press the issue. Moscow wanted to ensure at least a modicum of agreement among the partners. Other sharp differences surfaced, for example, between the Romanians and the Poles, and according to different accounts the Soviets, though firm at first, later went to considerable lengths in trying to forge a compromise. In the end, Romanian intransigence once again determined the outcome, and a final resolution on substan- tive issues was put off until the meeting of the PCC in early July.

a) Session of June 14

"…" Many specific proposals for the improvement of the Warsaw Treaty organization could not be discussed in detail since the Romanians took a negative stance towards the institutionalization of the Treaty, which the six remaining delegations saw as a way to increase its effectiveness.

"…" Romanian delegate Cde. "Corneliu" Mănescu: "…" We have carefully studied the proposals of our German comrades. We have also concluded that the GDR intends to renegotiate the issues that had already been dealt with in Berlin. The views of individual delegations are already well known after the exchange of opinions that took place in Berlin. Therefore, I do not intend to go into detail on our standpoint here. I only wish to mention some principal considerations.

The GDR proposal no longer mentions the Political Consultative Committee (PCC) Statute; instead, it states the necessity of creating fundamental norms for PCC activity. Cde. "Mircea" Maliţa's arguments against adoption of the Statute as presented in Berlin correspond in full with those against the so-called fundamental norms. The term is not important; what is important is the proposal to modify PCC activities. We do not consider it an effective or necessary step. The institutional framework formed by means of these fundamental norms would not comply with the

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