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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 115: Minutes of the Political
Consultative Committee Party Secretaries' Meeting
in Budapest, June 11, 1986

This East German document records a revealing discussion among Warsaw Pact party secretaries on the question of disarmament. Taking place within weeks of the April 26 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, it shows how that accident influenced Soviet and East Eu- ropean perceptions of what a nuclear war in Europe might look like. As Polish leader Wojciech Jaruzelski put it, "No one should have the idea that in a nuclear war one could enjoy a cup of coffee in Paris five or six days later." The document also shows that the Soviet Union was pursuing across-the-board nuclear and conventional force reductions although the Warsaw Pact would remain better off than NATO. During this period, Gorbachev is still arguing for maintaining an advantage over the capitalist enemy with whom he sees no common interests other than in preventing war.

Comrade János Kádár opened the meeting. He welcomed the participants and expressed his satisfaction over the successful completion of the meeting of the PCC. The leading comrades of the fraternal parties had gathered to continue a practice already started in Sofia, namely to meet for comradely and casual discussion among leaders of delegations of the fraternal countries of the Warsaw Treaty. "…" These meetings proved to be a very useful form of collaboration. They will become an extremely important part of future concrete cooperation.

Meetings in this circle are rather recent, although they had occurred previously. "…" As had already been agreed in Sofia, each comrade can contribute the issues he is concerned about.

"…"

Comrade Mikhail Gorbachev expressed his deep satisfaction over the results of the meeting concerning the speech by Comrade Ceaușescu at the meeting of the PCC. "…" Comrade Gorbachev agreed with Comrades Ceaușescu and Kádár at the meeting of the PCC and highly valued the atmosphere at the meeting in the name of the Soviet delegation. "…" He also agreed that cooperation is going well.

"…"

Comrade Gorbachev stressed that the Soviet Union is currently witnessing serious problems.

"…"

Comrade Gorbachev informed extensively about the accident at the power plant in Chernobyl.

"…"

One should not pretend that nothing happened, that everything would be under control. Very serious problems are still to be faced, the majority of which are new to the Soviet Union.

-531-

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