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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 101: Summary of the Committee of Ministers of
Foreign Affairs Meeting in Sofia, October 20, 1983

One aim of this meeting of the Warsaw Pact's Committee of Foreign Ministers held on October 13–14, 1983, was to decide on ways to warn NATO against another round of the arms race. Most of the treatment of that subject focuses on a speech by Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko who emphasizes the desirability of exploring "a conver- gence of interests between European socialist and capitalist countries" in order to in- fluence U.S. policy. But this summary also devotes extensive attention to the problems Romania's persistent opposition to Warsaw Pact proposals poses for the Eastern alli- ance's own attempts to present a unified front to the West.

Work on the documents adopted by the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs was affected by the fact that the Romanian delegation rejected the proposed texts prepared by the delegation of the People's Republic of Bulgaria following discussions with the USSR. "The Romanians" even submitted a virtually new alternative counterproposal. They persistently refused to accept the final text, which included both direct and indirect accusations that the USA and their allies are responsible for the current deterioration of the international state of affairs. They objected to wording, which implied that the Socialist Republic of Romania (SRR) was approaching international affairs in concert with other member-states of the Warsaw Treaty. It "Romania" refused to express support for the USSR's peace initiatives and suggestions for dealing with the issue of intermediate-range missiles in Europe. They even refused to positively affirm certain positions contained in the Prague Political declaration of the Political Consultative Committee,29 in the communiqué from the April meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs,30 and in the Joint Declaration from June 28 in Moscow.31 On the other hand, they backed language to the effect that the Warsaw Treaty affirms proposals for solving particular international issues that were submitted by collectives or individuals in the past. Approving this language would mean that the Warsaw Treaty as a whole accepts and supports various proposals submitted by the SRR on several occasions.

Romania advocated several times a text that could be interpreted as saying both the USA and USSR bear responsibility for the current state of affairs. It went furthest when demanding that the communiqué include a passage stating that the problem of intermediate-range missiles in Europe can only be solved by cutting the number of and destroying existing missiles (which would mean disposing of Soviet

29 Declaration of January 5, 1983. See http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php/documents/collection_3/PCC_docs/1983/1983_4.pdf.

30 Communiqué of April 7, 1983, http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php/documents/collection_3/CMFA_docs/CMFA_1983_I/1983_I_8.pdf.

31 See document no. 100.

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