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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 85: Minutes of the Romanian
Politburo Meeting, November 24, 1978

These Romanian Politburo minutes deal largely with a recent PCC meeting where the USSR had pressed for affirmation of the rights and prerogatives of the Warsaw Pact supreme commander in war time. In 1969, the alliance had approved a similar statute for peace time (Document No. 62b), but the war time equivalent had been postponed for several years because of ongoing objections by member-states.

As this record shows, the Romanians continued to oppose the idea. They argued that there was no trend toward war, as the Soviets were insisting, and demanded cuts in military spending instead. They specifically criticized "Soviet militarist circles" and objected to the member-states' obligation to bear the costs of Moscow's "adventurous" policy. Finally, Ceaușescu remarked that the difference between the two alliances' deter- mination to pursue the current arms race was that "NATO's decision is public, and ours is secret." Romania's objections continued to delay final adoption of the statute until March 1980 (see Document No. 86).

An interesting fact that emerged from this episode was that the PCC by this time had evolved into a venue where military matters were increasingly being discussed— a different situation from the early 1970s when it was a forum mainly for political mat- ters such as the CSCE.

Cde. Manea Mănescu: "…" I want to refer to the intervention—firm, principled, bearing special patriotic and revolutionary responsibility for the present and the future of our country, and, I would say, for the other socialist countries as well— which Cde. Nicolae Ceaușescu made at the Conference of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty states regarding the Report on the military situation, and the decision related to this report.

"…" After Marshal "Viktor" Kulikov presented the report, Cde. Nicolae Ceaușescu took the floor and criticized the working procedures, and the technique of drawing up materials of special significance, which commit the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty on crucial issues of peace and war, the arms race, disarmament, and international détente.

Cde. Nicolae Ceaușescu pointed out from the very beginning that the report and the decision did not result in a comradely collaboration of the states participating in the Warsaw Treaty, and that a decision can only be made on the basis of common agreement, in accordance with the provisions of the acts and norms that guide the activity of the Political Consultative Committee. Cde. Nicolae Ceaușescu also pointed out that the estimates of the ratio of forces are made on the basis of erroneous, even false data, that issues are raised as if a world war were imminent, which is in total contradiction with the first document and the debates that took place on it.

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