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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 130: Summary of Statement by
Marshal Akhromeev on Exchange of Data between
NATO and the Warsaw Pact, May 17, 1988

Ever since the beginning of the MBFR negotiations in 1973, NATO and the Warsaw Pact had been unable to agree on data about each other's military strength. This meet- ing, held at the invitation of the Soviet General Staff and Foreign Ministry, shows how the Pact prepared for the exchange of data and what difficulties and problems this posed for the Soviet military. Marshal Sergei Akhromeev provides some of the back- ground, noting that the Americans had opposed swapping data with the Soviet Union, having insisted instead on an exchange between the two alliances, which would com- pare their overall strength. Although this was the kind of collaboration both sides agreed was needed in order to build mutual trust, this document and others show how the Warsaw Pact tried repeatedly to avoid revealing accurate and relevant data. The fact that the Soviet Foreign Ministry was a co-organizer of this meeting indicates that pressure for compliance was coming from political quarters.

"…" In March 1988, the Soviet side made a proposal for the exchange of data about the armed forces and conventional armaments of NATO and Warsaw Treaty in Europe.

Currently the U.S. is rejecting bilateral talks on the exchange of data between the USSR and the U.S. It only considers them possible after negotiations within the framework of alliances.

Based on agreements between the Soviet Union and "other" Warsaw Treaty member-states in 1986, the Soviet comrades are now prepared for a possible exchange of data between NATO and Warsaw Treaty.

Accordingly, Marshal of the Soviet Union "Sergei" Akhromeev proposed a "Zone of Reduction of Forces and Conventional Armaments" that would permit an assessment of the two military alliances "…" as a whole, according to regions (Northern Europe, Central Europe and Southern Europe), as well as according to individual countries.

"…"

For the prospective negotiations, the following initial figures on the most important categories of armed forces and conventional armaments of NATO and Warsaw Treaty in Europe were provided:

1. Taking into account the components proposed for reductions, the personnel numbers of land forces and air force (tactical air force) are:

– in NATO– 2.4 million men
– in the Warsaw Treaty– 2.3 million men

-592-

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