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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 116: Report to the Bulgarian
Politburo on Romanian Arms Reduction Proposals,
September 22, 1986

In this report to the Bulgarian Politburo, Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov describes the state of recent Romanian efforts to get the Warsaw Pact to initiate unilateral arms cuts. Despite Gorbachev's more open attitude on such questions, the rest of the alliance, including the Soviets, balk at the idea once more. Mladenov suggests that the issue be tabled temporarily.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs 01–05–10 To: Politburo of CC of BCP

Comrades,

In his statements at Warsaw Pact forums, RCP "Romanian Communist Party" General Secretary and President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu proposed several times that Warsaw Pact countries should unilaterally freeze and reduce their force levels and military expenditures.

At the PCC Sofia meeting (1985), the Romanian party laid out this proposal as a condition for signing the closing documents. As a result, at the Warsaw meeting (March 19–20, 1986) it was decided that the CMFA had to create an Expert Group for examining this possibility.

At the Third Congress of the Working People "trade unions" of Romania, held in the beginning of September 1986, Ceaușescu called on all European states to reduce their armaments by at least 5 percent. Following a referendum, the Congress adopted a decision to reduce Romanian armaments, forces and military expenses by 5 percent till the end of the year.

On September 11 and 12, 1986, the allied countries' Working Group held a meeting in Bucharest. The Warsaw Pact delegations succeeded in avoiding the discussion put forward by Romania regarding the reduction mentioned above. They stated that it was not possible to take unilateral actions because these would harm their ecurety, having in mind the fragile equality existing between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The Soviet Army General Staff representative proved on the basis of facts that U.S. and NATO military programs aim at achieving military superiority over the Warsaw Pact. The coordinated position for adhering strictly to the equality principle as the only possible basis for disarmament agreements was confirmed.

As a result of the efforts of the six allied countries, the Romanian proposal was neutralized to a great extent. That's why the Romanian representatives insisted on a second session of the Group before the CMFA meeting in Bucharest, set for October 16 and 17, 1986.

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