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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 111: Summary of the Meeting of Ministers
of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw, March 19–20, 1986

Eduard Shevardnadze's presentation at this foreign ministers' meeting aimed at de- monstrating to the other Warsaw Pact members that Gorbachev was serious about encouraging input from the allies in negotiations on common security policy toward the West. After providing background to the Soviet leader's recent proclamation on eliminating nuclear weapons, Shevardnadze made recommendations for expanding cooperation within the alliance. The following remarks by other ministers are rather wide-ranging and free-flowing, ending with detailed proposals on disarmament by the Romanian representative.

"…" The meeting was based on documents drafted by Poland in cooperation with the Soviet Union. The discussion was tough, primarily because of the attitude and position of the Romanian delegation, which disagreed with the structure of the draft and furnished a number of comments about its contents. Until the very last moment, Romania refused to mention new initiatives resulting from the XXVIIth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, including a proposal to build up a comprehensive international security system, and to support them. Romania disagreed with a proclamation supporting the Soviet approach to the Geneva negotiations with the United States42, and refused to condemn plans to build up a "European Defense Initiative,"43 and to point out the responsibility of both those who had initiated the introduction of arms into space and those who intend to join in it. The non-classbased approach of the Romanian delegation was manifested in its assessments of the international situation.

"…" Romania proposed deferring the decision to the subsequent meeting of the Committee of Foreign Ministers in Bucharest, the agenda of which will be prepared by an ad hoc team of experts.

The meeting proper of the Committee of Foreign Ministers took place on March 19, 1986.

The first to speak and deliver a lengthy address was "Soviet Foreign Minister" E.A. Shevardnadze.

He dealt with the proclamation of M.S. Gorbachev of January 15, 1986, (liquidation of nuclear weapons) and the creation of a comprehensive international security system. He emphasized that the belief in the viability of the no-nuclear-weapons

42 Negotiations on limitations of intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe (INF).

43 In 1985, the U.S. government invited European companies to take part in the Strategic Defense Initiative, a project which seemed to threaten European technological independence. In response, 18 European nations at French initiative inaugurated in April 1985 the European Research Agency (later known as EUREKA) to promote European high-technology industries. The agency, with a secretariat in Brussels, was formally established in 1986.

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