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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 133: Romanian Proposal for
Reform of the Warsaw Pact, July 4–8, 1988

Despite Romania's history of carping at the Soviets over the organization and structure of the Warsaw Pact, Bucharest eventually produced a serious proposal for improving the alliance, described in the letter below to the party central committees of the mem- ber-states. Along with promoting "democratization" through such steps as separating the PCC from the alliance's other institutions and establishing a rotating presidency that would include non-Soviet representatives, the Romanians wanted to make membership open to any European communist country. This was an attempt to keep the door open to new members, such as Yugoslavia and Albania, who could all be expected to back up Romania's position within the alliance. The Soviets, as indicated in the second doc- ument below, did not reject the proposal out of hand. For reasons of their own—name- ly, the belief that the Warsaw Pact indeed needed an overhaul—they regarded it as a basis for discussion. The proposal nevertheless made no progress for more than a year, until Bulgaria presented a counter-proposal (see Document No. 144).

a) Letter by the Romanian Party Central Committee to Central Committees of the Warsaw Pact Member-States, July 4, 1988

Esteemed Comrades!

The Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party puts before you a few suggestions for improving the organization, and for democratizing the work of the executive body of the Warsaw Treaty.

These recommendations take into consideration current global changes and the special attention that socialist countries give to the questions of disarmament, and the easing of tensions and cooperation in Europe and the entire world, including the establishment of conditions for achieving the simultaneous dissolution of NATO and the Warsaw Pact as quickly as possible.

We believe it is important during the upcoming meeting of the Political Consultative Committee to discuss and decide on a series of measures concerning the reorganization and improvement of the leadership of the Warsaw Treaty Organization.

The Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party believes that the current function of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty member-states is too focused on military questions, which gives the impression that the party and national leadership are primarily concerned with these questions and have a military character.

Therefore, the Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party would like to consult with you regarding the following suggestions that it intends to put before the upcoming meeting in Warsaw:

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