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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 114: East German Ideas concerning a Nuclear
Weapons-Free Zone in Central Europe, May 21, 1986
The following two East German documents exemplify the range of proposals that emerged in the mid-1980s to reduce the confrontation along the East–West fault line. They also reflect the prominence of the GDR which, though the most conservative and anti-Western Warsaw Pact member-state, took the lead role in trying to demilitarize the confrontation in Central Europe. One proposal was to create there a zone free of tac- tical nuclear weapons. This was a variation of the Rapacki Plan46but under entirely new circumstances. Formally it was a proposal by the East German SED and the West German Social Democratic Party rather than the respective governments, thus empha- sizing the ideological affinity of two parties that had previously considered each other wholly incompatible. Their joint draft proposal for a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe is interesting for its invocation of the late Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme, who had been assassinated in February 1986 and whom both parties regarded as an inspiration.a) Memorandum on Negotiations with the West German Social Democratic Party, May 21, 1986In preparation for the next meeting with the SPD47 on May 29 and 30, 1986 in Bonn, a revised draft of the "Proposal for the Creation of a Central European NuclearFree Zone" "…" was presented.This new draft takes account of the results of the third meeting with the SPD. It contains the following important new elements:
the call for negotiations about the creation of a nuclear-free zone, i.e. tactical nuclear weapons intermediate-range nuclear weapons and strategic weapons.
This demand corresponds with the goal set in the Declaration by the MemberStates of the Warsaw Treaty on October 23, 1985 in Sofia.According to the Soviet plan, the creation of a nuclear-free zone would proceed in two stages:
The first stage would be the creation of a zone measuring about 150 km on either side of the dividing line between the two military–political alliances in central Europe.
In the second stage, the zone could be expanded to about 300 km on either side

46 The Rapacki Plan of October 2, 1957, called for a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe, consisting of the two German states, Poland and Czechoslovakia, which was to be guaranteed by the superpowers.

47 Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Social Democratic Party of "West" Germany).

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