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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 131: Transcript of Romanian
Party Politburo Meeting, June 17, 1988

At this Romanian Politburo meeting, Nicolae Ceaușescu and his colleagues discuss the draft revision of the 1980 war time statue (see Document No. 129), and find little diff- erence from the original. Having refused to sign the 1980 document, the Romanians conclude there is no reason to sign the revised one either. There follows a discussion of the kinds of data Romania will provide on the state of its armed forces. Ceaușescu insists that it go directly to the Warsaw Pact, not to the Soviet Union.

Report regarding the statute of the Unified Armed Forces of the Warsaw Treaty member-states:

"…"

Cde. Vasile Milea: The Unified Command sent us a draft of a new "Statute of the Unified Armed Forces of the States Participating in the Warsaw Treaty and of the Leading Command Organs of These Forces for War Time." This document comprises a number of modifications in comparison with the statute adopted in 1980 by the other states—without our country"'s vote"—and does not solve the essential issues with which the Romanian side did not agree at that time.

I also want to report that the statute has been discussed time and again for eight years, and now they have brought it here again for us to finalize. In fact, it is, by and large, the old statute but with a number of additions.

"…"

I report that after the signing, as I said before, of the statute in 1980 by the leaders of the other countries, the Ministry of National Defense, with your approval, also held discussions with the Unified Command relating to this document up to 1983, without reaching any agreement.

At the discussions to be resumed at the request of the Unified Command, the Ministry of National Defense proposes to use the following viewpoint, drawn up in compliance with your specifications, as a guideline:

"The Political Consultative Committee is to be the supreme organ empowered to decide on the state of war and on defense issues of the socialist states participating in the Warsaw Treaty; the working organ of the Political Consultative Committee should not be the General Staff of the Soviet Army, but the current Command of the Unified Armed Forces."

Cde. Nicolae Ceaușescu: First of all, the principle provided for in the Warsaw Pact is the rotation principle. There are commanders from each country, and each year there are "different" presidents. They cannot decide whether or not we go to war.

I think, however, that the Political Consultative Committee should decide on that score. But let us assume that the decision to take part in a war or not is made by the

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