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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 150: Czechoslovak Report on a Meeting
at the Soviet General Staff, January 29, 1990

After their transition to non-communist rule, some Warsaw Pact member-states imme- diately sought talks with Moscow about withdrawing Soviet troops from their terri- tory. At this January 1990 meeting, Soviet officials lay out their plans for keeping 275,000 troops in Central Europe, specifically in the GDR and Poland. Mikhail Gor- bachev had already accepted Hungarian and Czechoslovak demands for a swift pull- out, but at this meeting, the Polish delegate confirms that Warsaw has made no simi- lar request. The Poles were worried about obtaining final recognition of their Western border from united Germany and believed—wrongly—that they might need leverage.

"…"

The meeting dealt with preparations for a new initiative at the Vienna negotiations.

"…"

Since Soviet estimates and calculations indicate that North Atlantic alliance forces already enjoy superiority over those of the Warsaw Treaty (2.956 million vs. 1.965 million) and, as far as Central Europe is concerned, the United States and Soviet Union propose that NATO and the Warsaw Treaty should have 982.000 and 570.000 troops, respectively, in the Central European theater, the Soviet side believes that the reduction referred to above, where there is no agreement to downsize both blocs' forces in Europe to 1.350 million, is unilaterally disadvantageous for the Warsaw Treaty, and submits the following proposal:

The issue of overall levels of NATO and Warsaw Treaty armed forces in Europe (1.350 million) should be dealt with in the next round of negotiations (to accommodate the U.S. requirement.)

Troop levels in the armed forces of the United States and Soviet Union on the territories of their respective allies in Central Europe should be set at 275,000 in both cases (or even lower); to accede to the U.S. requirement (the USSR had proposed a ceiling of 300,000 troops).

As far as Central Europe is concerned, the ceiling should be somewhere between 600,000 and 750,000 troops (the North Atlantic Alliance's current proposal is 982,000— which means no reduction; the Warsaw Treaty proposes 570,000).

"…"

All participants at the meeting, including our delegation, concluded that there had not been enough time for preparations, supporting documents had been incomplete, and they thus did not have the appropriate mandate. Consequently, the meeting was of an informative nature only.

-666-

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