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

By Vojtech Mastny; Malcolm Byrne | Go to book overview

Document No. 151: East German Summary of the
Ottawa Meeting of NATO and Warsaw Pact Foreign
Ministers, February 12–13, 1990
The Ottawa meeting of NATO and Warsaw Pact foreign ministers, originally convened to discuss President Bush's May 1989 "Open Skies" proposal for greater transparen- cy of the two alliances, was a landmark event in the process of diminishing mutual hos- tility between them. It may be surprising, given their historical antagonisms, that high- level officials on both sides were willing to go to such considerable lengths to preserve the two organizations, but by this time East and West generally saw them as contributing to international stability. Among the important particulars discussed in Ottawa was the status of Germany, one of the core issues of the Cold War since its inception. By mid-1989, most of the East European representatives agreed unification was inevitable, a stance in notable contrast to the views of Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze."…"1. In their opening remarks, all the foreign ministers welcomed this first opportunity for a meeting of states from both alliances to discuss the decisive changes in Europe."…"There was no consistent view on the developments in Europe in the assessments of the Warsaw Pact member-states. This illustrated an approach solely and directly oriented toward national interests. However, there was still some common interest in important issues such as:
joint efforts towards the breakdown of the bloc structure and the use of an effective CSCE framework to establish a new European security structure,
the convening of a CSCE summit in 1990 to sign an initial agreement on conventional disarmament in Europe,
including a solution to the German question in the CSCE process, and
the continuation of the CSCE process.

"…"

Almost all the NATO states saw the changes in Eastern Europe as a victory and as justification for NATO's policy for the past 40 years. It is very important that NATO continue to exist, allowing, however, for the possibility of modifications to the future activities of the Pact.

2. All of the speakers dealt with the German question. It was generally acknowledged that, based on the right to self-determination, both German states have the right to unify. At the same time, it was pointed out in numerous speeches and in bilateral talks between the foreign ministers of NATO and the Warsaw Pact that German

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