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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 128: Speeches at the Foreign Ministers'
Meeting in Sofia, March 29–30, 1988

Two speeches from this meeting of the Committee of Foreign Ministers in Sofia are excerpted below. Both deal, from different perspectives, with the broader implications of disarmament for the Warsaw Pact. Eduard Shevardnadze's speech makes the point that the Warsaw Pact must prevent NATO from trying to compensate for the removal of missiles under the INF treaty by modernizing its conventional forces. He proposes that the East set an example by reducing Warsaw Pact military expenditures without fear of political consequences. East German Foreign Minister Oskar Fischer is skep- tical, implying that such a move would be very risky.

a) Speech by Eduard Shevardnadze

As we have already pointed out numerous times before, the dominant theme of our times is the unavoidable and highly developed process of the form of a unified, all-encompassing world marked by changing relationships.

The four fundamental dimensions of this policy—military–political, economic, humanitarian, and ecological—demand a truly global scale.

"…"

The concept of priorities in national development is changing. Seen from the perspective of policy, examining the question of the potential level of defense spending is probably of greatest interest. Perhaps only now, for the first time since World War II, is it possible for us to talk about the creation of a relatively clear tendency toward limiting military spending in most of the countries and at least toward stabilizing them.

"…"

If it is correct to conclude that the demands in the life of a nation set tight limits on military spending, and we genuinely enter a phase in which armament efforts are decreased, this can have extremely significant consequences for policies.

Completely different conditions develop from this for the struggle to end the arms race, the elimination of nuclear and chemical weapons, and the persistent development of a cooperation zone among nations.

"…"

The NATO Council session in Brussels offered the opposite picture: nevertheless, it clearly showed that, in the western world, they have begun an intensive search for answers to the new realities and the new policies of the socialist countries as well as answers to the changing social consciousness.

Central to the policies for the NATO countries are the questions of conventional arms and weapons and the problem of trust and openness in military matters. It is well known that they have special groups for preparing programs which they intend to place in opposition to our general initiatives in the area of European security.

-582-

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