Positive suggestions for nuclear and general disarmament of the two rival blocs in Europe came with the inauguration of the de‐ Stalinization campaign within the Soviet Union. Characteristically, it was the imaginative young leaders in the supporting Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe who took the first courageous steps. Thus, Polish Foreign Minister Rapacki initiated the plan that bears his name in February 1958, with the call for a denuclearized zone in Central Europe, extending to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the two Germanies. The Rapacki Plan prohibited the manufacture and the stockpiling of nuclear arms in that zone, and also the employment of nuclear weapons against the zone. The support of the three Western powers (the us, Britain, and France) and the Soviet Union was vital to the success of the plan, which rested on a control authority composed of representatives of NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the non-aligned countries. After a first, negative reaction on the part of the Western powers, Foreign Minister Rapacki added, as a second phase of the plan, the reduction of classical military forces, but the plan foundered on the rock of the two-Germanies problem, as did the later and rather more modest Polish Government proposal, the Gomulka Plan, which envisaged a freezing at already existing levels of those nuclear weapons already in place in the Central European zone.
The first real breakthrough came, significantly enough, with a largely scientific agreement that was addressed only marginally to disarmament issues. The Antarctic Treaty of December 1959 was a direct product of East-West scientific and technical cooperation in the International Geophysical Year of 1958. In looking to a continuance of such scientific cooperation in the exploration and research in Antarctica, the treaty also prohib