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normalization of the situation. I must emphasize that normalization is possible not only on technical issues (connections, transport, etc.) but also in political relations. The normalization of life in the city is the basis of our proposals on Berlin. Thus we must obtain such a normalization more persistently and as soon as possible, since this will be understood by the whole population.

Khrushchev: I think that the comments made by Comrade Ebert are correct and they must be taken into account in preparing the communiqué.

Bach: We were very surprised that the last proposal of the Soviet Union in Genevalo was seen as an ultimatum by the Western powers. What Comrade Khrushchev said regarding the answer to Eisenhower is a question of diplomatic tactics. We all agree with these tactics. Comrade Khrushchev emphasized that even if we don't speak of time periods, the main issues remain in force.

Khrushchev: Yes.

Bach: We take this into account in our communiqué. If I understood correctly, we should write (in the communiqué) that, in case at Geneva there is no agreement in principle reached regarding the signing of a peace treaty with Germany, the USSR is ready to sign a separate peace treaty with the GDR.

Khrushchev: We will not call that treaty separate. We must show that not only the USSR, but all countries which are ready for it can sign a peace treaty with the GDR. A number of countries have already declared their agreement to sign such a treaty with the German Democratic Republic.

Homann: On the question of the methods of the realization of our principles, we are ready to compromise, but on the main issues we must remain unbending. The main thing is that what we have said here must be reflected in the communiqué, since this will strengthen the certainty of those who are fighting for peace in Germany.

It is important to write this down, since we evaluated here developments in Germany and the progress of the conference in Geneva. And a basis would be established for further movement forward on the German question.

Scholz: I would like to emphasize that a peace treaty with the GDR is not only a means of pressure on the Western powers, but it also has great significance for the domestic political situation in the GDR. For a long time, we have mobilized the people of the Republic under this slogan. We made a series of concessions, but we must now emphasize that our position remains unchanged on basic issues.

However, it is necessary to emphasize this in the communiqué, but without naming a concrete time period. We already have experience with the date May 27 (the deadline for Khrushchev's 27 November 1958 ultimatum). As is wellknown, on that day everyone in the GDR expected that something would happen. Therefore, it is better not to decree a concrete date, but to preserve freedom of movement for oneself. It will alleviate our political work, although it may also seem that we are not consistent.

Mikoian: I would like to respond to Comrade Grotewohl regarding the analogy between the peace treaty with Germany and the peace treaty with Japan. Of course, there is a difference between a peace treaty with Germany and a peace treaty with Japan. But in this case, the issue is different. The analogy with Japan helps us. The Western powers fought against Japan together with us and signed an act on its capitulation. And we all should have signed a peace treaty with Japan together. But they themselves violated that principle. It is a very serious argument in our hands against them.

They think that so long as there isn't a peace treaty, all conditions connected with the capitulation are still active, and the occupation rights remain in force. When we proposed concluding a peace treaty with Germany, it was a correct and strong approach from our side. This proposal cut the ground out from under their feet. Before they didn't want to talk about Berlin at all, but now they are forced to carry out negotiations with us on it.

We would like to sign a peace treaty with a united Germany. We propose to give a certain time period for achieving agreement on this issue between the German states. If such an agreement is not reached, then we are ready to conclude a peace treaty with two German states. If the Western powers won't agree to this either, then we will sign a treaty with the GDR.

But they don't want the signing of a peace treaty at all. Therefore, if they will be afraid that there will be a peace treaty signed with the GDR, which would deprive them of their occupation rights, then they will be forced to find a new path for agreement. The threat of signing a peace treaty will force them to carry out negotiations with us.

I think that Comrade Scholz was right when he talked about the great significance of a peace treaty also for the GDR. It is important for the GDR, because it would raise its significance in the eyes of world public opinion.

Khrushchev: We could take examples from history. When, for example, the revolution occurred in Russia and the Soviet representatives carried out negotiations with Germany in Brest in early 1918, the German government signed a peace treaty with (Simon) Petliura and turned their troops on Ukraine, and not only on Ukraine, but all the way to Rostov. And Russia waged war with Germany being a united state.

Or take the example of Vietnam. In Geneva in 1954 the great powers agreed on the carrying out of free elections in Vietnam (after) a two year period. Were there elections? There weren't. Who fought against holding these elections? Mainly, the USA fought against this. It wasn't advantageous to them, and so they didn't even think about elections.

It appears that capitalistic morals go like the wind blows—they do what is advantageous for them. When it is advantageous to them, they find the necessary arguments.

Now about proportional representation. They say, for example, that the GDR is one-third of Germany, and the

FRG is two-thirds. But if we take China, 600 million people live in the PRC (People's Republic of China), and 10 million people live on Taiwan. And who do the Americans recognize, whose representative sits in the UN?

Such are the morals of a blockhead.

Or Guatemala. With the help of crude forces, the USA expelled the democratic government [of Jacobo Arbenz in 1954) which they didn't like, because it was advantageous to them (to do so].

Furthermore, the Americans maintain, for example, that Franco's Spain is a free country, and they want to accept it in NATO.

Therefore we must always understand with whom we are dealing. They are bandits. If we were weak, they would long ago have resolved the German question to their advantage.

Adenauer decided to remain chancellor in order to carry out a "policy of strength" better than Dulles himself did.

So we must not forget that if we let down our guard, they will swallow us up.

However, we have the means to scratch them slightly on the throat.

Our cause is just. They will not start a war, and we all the more (won't).

Developments are going in our favor. This is true not only for the USSR, but for all the socialist countries, including also the GDR. The GDR must exert socialist influence on the entire West. We have everything we need to do this.

Look at how the situation changed in 1956. They didn't want to shake hands with us. And now Macmillan himself came to us. And soon (U.S. Vice President R.) Nixon and (Averell] Harriman will come travel around our country. And it is because a difficult situation has been created for them, and it will become more difficult.

If they accused us earlier of resolving social problems by force, now everyone can be convinced that we decide these issues by the force of the example of socialist organization.

Thus our communiqué will have great significance. It will also reflect our peace-loving firmness.

Ulbricht: Thank you very much for your explanation.

Khrushchev: We are very glad that our points of views coincide. This is especially important for such a pointed issue as the German one. Speaking of our united views, I have in mind the representatives of all the parties of the National Front of Democratic Germany.

Ulbricht: Comrade Khrushchev emphasized that the most decisive issue for us is the issue of the fulfillment of the main economic tasks. We, on our side, are doing all to realize these tasks. Therefore we have set ourselves the goal of surpassing the FRG. This will have great significance also for the resolution of the Berlin issue. It isn't accidental therefore that (West Berlin Mayor Willy] Brandt recently said that the question of the struggle for Berlin is a question of the struggle of two systems.

However, for realizing the tasks before us, we ask you to give us help. Comrade Leuschner informed us about the talks which took place on this issue. We thank you for giving us help.

Khrushchev: Are we finished with the question of the communiqué? Let the responsible officials definitively edit the text of the communiqué keeping in mind also the comments of Comrade Ebert about how we are ready to eliminate in parts the phenomena which are interfering with the reduction of tensions, although it can't be done immediately. This would be a good beginning on the matter of the reduction of tensions, [and] it would lay the way for reaching agreement on the German question.

If there aren't other comments, let us move to economic issues.

Maybe the comrades who carried out negotiations on economic issues could inform us of the results.

Ulbricht: Maybe we could listen to Comrade Leuschner.

Leuschner: We conducted the negotiations on the basis of the lists which were presented by the German side. During the negotiations, Comrade [N.) Patolichev [Minister of Foreign Trade) noted that the Soviet Union acquires a series of goods for us which we need from the capitalist market.

We understood Comrade Patolichev such that the Soviet Union is prepared to grant us credit in 1960 in the amount of 250 million rubles, for which will be acquired wool, cocoa, coffee, southern fruits, leather, etc. (we asked for 400 million rubles); 200 million rubles in 1961 for the same goods (we asked for 400 million rubles); and in 1962 120 million rubles (we asked for 300 million rubles).

Regarding the payment for this, Comrade Patolichev suggested to fix that in the annual talks. We agreed with this proposal.

Now we can return to working on the seven-year plan. In September, Comrade Ulbricht submitted the draft seven-year plan to the Volkskammer [the GDR parliament), and we will have the opportunity to work with a clear perspective. Now all issues which were open for us have been resolved.

It is true that we didn't completely reach the level of demand in the FRG in certain goods. But that isn't the main thing. Our plan is strained, but we will apply all our forces to fulfill it.

Khrushchev: We already have some experience with talks with the union republics on the composition of plans. Usually they always ask for two-three times more.

Leuschner: We didn't have in mind giving lists for negotiations, and we haven't raised too high demands.

Khrushchev: I had in mind here our workers. Aside from this, you must bear in mind that developments sometimes go better than we plan. Thus you must keep in mind that as for us, you can open additional possibilities which will facilitate the resolution of the problems before us.

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Mikoian: The comrades pointed here to the necessity of buying southern fruits. These products could be acquired for the GDR from the lesser developed states of the East in exchange for their products, all the more since these countries are experiencing difficulties in selling fruits. This would also improve the political weight of the GDR in these countries.

Khrushchev: The GDR must study these markets and adapt to them.

Mikoian: From our side, we can help you with your foreign trade apparat, and Yugoslavia can also give you this help.

I would like to make another proposal, if there aren't objections from your side, namely: to prepare in the next one-two months a plan of foreign trade exchange for seven years between our countries.

Ulbricht: That is a very good proposal. It would be desirable to sign an agreement on it before the meeting of the Volkskammer, that is, in August. Maybe Leuschner and Patolichev could agree on the basic conditions of this treaty still before the departure of the delegation?

Khrushchev: Good.

Ulbricht: In the name of the delegation, I would like to express great satisfaction with the results of the talks which have shown complete agreement on all questions. The business discussion during the negotiations showed that cooperation between our countries deepens more and more. We heartily thank you.

Khrushchev: And we would like to thank you and also express the hope that our meeting will serve the deepening friendship not only between our governments, but also with the entire German people. On the issue of how relations are turning out between the USSR and the GDR, not only are our countries interested, but all peaceloving peoples are also.

the real political head of the delegation), and Heinrich von Brentano (Brentano refused to sit in same room as Bolz, so Wilhelm Grewe, the West German Ambassador to the U.S., sat there representing West Germany). On Brentano and Grewe, see Ann Tusa, The Last Division: A History of Berlin, 1945-1989 (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997), p. 168.

2 For detailed U.S. documentation on the Geneva CFM, see U.S. Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Vol. VIII, Berlin Crisis, 1958-1959 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1993); and for useful summaries of the CFM from the Western perspective, see Jack Schick, The Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1971), pp. 71-96; and Tusa, The Last Division, pp. 163-177. From the Soviet perspective, see Oleg Grinevskij, Tauwetter (Berlin: Siedler Verlag, 1996), pp. 157-168.

For the text of the ultimatum and other related documents, see U.S. Department of State, ed., Documents on Germany, 19441985 (Washington, D.C.: Department of State Publication 9446, n.d.), pp. 552-559. For background information on the ultimatum and Khrushchev’s personal role therein, see Hope M. Harrison, “New Evidence on Khrushchev's 1958 Berlin Ultimatum,” Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) Bulletin, Issue 4 (Fall 1994), pp. 35-39. On the Berlin Crisis of 1958-61 more generally, see Hope M. Harrison, “Ulbricht and the Concrete ‘Rose': New Archival Evidence on the Dynamics of Soviet-East German Relations and the Berlin Crisis, 1958-1961,"CWIHP Working Paper No. 5 (May 1993), and Vladislav Zubok, “Khrushchev and the Berlin Crisis (1958-1962),” CWIHP Working Paper No. 6 (May 1993).

* Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Deputy Chairman of the Democratic Farmer's Party of Germany.

s Michael Lemke, Die Berlinkrise 1958 bis 1963 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995), p. 130. Pravda, 20 June 1959, p. 1.

Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR - Bundesarchiv, ZPA, NL 90/472.

8 Pravda, 20 June 1959, p. 1.

? For Eisenhower's letter to Khrushchev dated 15 June 1959 and Khrushchev's response of June 17, see Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Vol. VIII, pp. 901-903 and 913917, respectively.

At which time the Soviet Union gave the all-German commission 18 months to work things out.

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The End of the Berlin Crisis, 1961-62:
New Evidence from the Polish and East German Archives

Introduction, translation, and annotation by Douglas Selvage!

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hy did Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev not keep his promise to sign a separate peace treaty

with the German Democratic Republic (GDR) after the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961? Most scholars agree that after the construction of the wall, he was concerned in part that a transfer of Soviet control functions in and around Berlin to the GDR might spark a military conflict with the West.? Hope Harrison's work points to a second factor: a desire on Khrushchev's part to free himself from the leverage that the East Germans had achieved during the crisis by threatening to collapse. He saw the Berlin Wall, she writes, “not only as a way to save the GDR by stemming the refugee exodus, but also as a way to wall in Ulbricht in East Berlin so that he could not grab West Berlin by gradually usurping the Soviet border control functions.”3

A third factor in Khrushchev's decision not to sign a separate peace treaty, I will argue, was his fear of a Western economic embargo against the GDR and the Soviet bloc in general. All scholars agree that Khrushchev approved the construction of the Berlin Wall first and foremost to stem the flow of refugees and prevent the immediate economic collapse of the GDR. Recentlydeclassified documents from the Polish and East German archives suggest that his decision not to sign a separate peace treaty with the GDR arose in part from a similar fear. A peace treaty with the GDR, he declared in private meetings after the construction of the wall, would most likely spark a Western economic embargo against the socialist bloc. Such an embargo, he worried, would undermine the stability not only of the GDR, but also of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and other Soviet-bloc countries. This group of states, dependent on trade with the West, had already demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to provide the GDR with the level of economic support that East Berlin had been demanding. In the wake of a Western embargo, they would have had difficulty providing for their own needs, let alone the GDR's. Even Soviet officials complained about the undue burden placed upon the Soviet economy by the GDR's endless demands. In February 1962, Khruschev effectively ordered Ulbricht to end the GDR's campaign for a separate peace treaty and to focus instead on the GDR's economic difficulties, especially in agriculture. Ulbricht became the target of growing criticism in Moscow for his seeming inability to improve the GDR's economic situation.

stark contrast to his optimism of 1958-60 regarding the ability of the GDR and the Soviet bloc to withstand a Western embargo. On 10 November 1958, he had predicted in talks with Poland's communist leader, Władysław Gomułka, that the West might respond to his Berlin gambit with an economic blockade. This did not matter, he then contended, because the Soviet bloc had sufficient foodstuffs to supply both the GDR and West Berlin. Even in November 1960, after a flood of refugees had left the GDR for West Berlin, Khrushchev reassured Ulbricht that if the West responded to a separate peace treaty with an embargo against the GDR, the Soviet Union and the other socialist states would give the GDR the necessary support to survive. The Soviet leader overestimated not only the economic capabilities of the Soviet bloc, but also the willingness of the other socialist states to provide additional economic assistance to the GDR.

Khrushchev's miscalculations originated in a certain romanticism about the economic prospects of socialisma complement to his "nuclear-missile romanticism" in the military field. According to Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, “Khrushchev's belief that the Communist system would prevail over capitalism made him reluctant to acknowledge the obvious: that economically the GDR was lagging behind prosperous West Germany and depended on the Soviet Union's subsidies." The same Khrushchev who declared that the Soviet Union would catch up and surpass the United States in the economic field within ten years seemed to believe Ulbricht's claim in 1958 that with the economic support of the socialist camp, the GDR could meet or even exceed the FRG's standard of living within several years. By the time of his meeting with Ulbricht in November 1960, it was clear that this would not be the case. In fact, the GDR's economy, it turned out, was dependent upon West Germany for steel and other essential goods. On September 30, Bonn had announced its plans to terminate the inter-German trade agreement at the end of the year. Bonn was retaliating against the GDR's growing restrictions on travel to and from West Berlin-restrictions that had not been cleared by the Soviets. Nevertheless, Khrushchev reassured Ulbricht that the Soviet Union and the other socialist states could and would provide the GDR with the necessary economic aid to survive an embargo, “East German needs are our needs.” On that note, Ulbricht agreed to a renewal of Moscow's offer to conclude a separate peace treaty with the GDR—this time, by the end of 1961.8

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Khrushchev's “Economic Romanticism”

Khrushchev's economic fears in 1961-62 stood in

Poland, the Soviet Bloc and the Berlin Crisis

Khrushchev had clearly not consulted in advance with the other socialist states about his offer of increased economic assistance. Even while Ulbricht and Khrushchev discussed economic preparations for a peace treaty in July 1961, Poland rejected an East German request for additional aid. It would not grant the GDR an additional 150,000 tons of coal in 1961 unless it received raw materials in return. It also refused to lower the price of coal or to forego an increase in transit costs between the GDR and the Soviet Union. Not only Poland, but also Czechoslovakia and Romania were apparently resisting the GDR's economic demands. The growing opposition to the GDR's beggar-thy-neighbor economic policies most likely played a role in the somewhat cryptic report to Ulbricht on July 15 that despite his ongoing talks with Khrushchev, he should be prepared to discuss “politicaleconomic" and military issues at the Warsaw Pact meeting in Moscow from 3-5 August 1961."

Hope Harrison's analysis suggests that Khrushchev, under pressure from Ulbricht, agreed to the construction of the Berlin Wall by early July 1961.12 New evidence from the Polish archives confirms that Ulbricht was pushing for a wall and Khrushchev was hesitating. Also pushing for the construction of a wall was Poland's Communist leader, Władysław Gomułka. The Polish leader later complained on at least two different occasions about Khrushchev’s failure to act quickly. The flood of refugees through Berlin was creating a drain not only on the East German economy, but also on the economies of its allies, which felt compelled to assist the GDR (see Document # 1). In a speech before the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP) on 22 November 1961, Gomułka justified the Soviet bloc's Berlin policy and the construction of the Wall: “Looking at things realistically, what was decisive for us in putting forth the matter of a peace treaty and Berlin, what was the deciding factor? Decisive was the fact was that they (the West] have been continually creating diversions in the German Democratic Republic for years, that they were continually drawing people out of Berlin and doing whatever they wanted to do. By the way, we were saying among ourselves here long before the Moscow meeting (of the Warsaw Pact in August) ... why not put an end to it? Close off, wall off Berlin. And later we made such a decision in Moscow."! Gomułka's call for speed in establishing "border controls" in Berlin at the August meeting of the Warsaw Pact in Moscow was thus not part of an orchestrated campaign of support for the GDR." Rather, it was an expression of concern that Khrushchev might continue to hesitate on constructing a wall.

The same economic concerns that made Gomułka into an early supporter of the Berlin Wall also led him to oppose the idea of increased assistance for the GDR at the Moscow meeting. He agreed that the other socialist states needed to support the GDR's campaign to free itself from dependence on West Germany (Störfreimachung), but the

GDR, he warned, should achieve its goal through closer economic cooperation with its allies, rather than through demands for increased assistance. If the West decided to institute an embargo, Gomułka argued, it would be an embargo against the entire socialist bloc, not just the GDR. (Indeed, representatives of the Western powers and the FRG had agreed only one day before the Warsaw Pact meeting to institute an economic embargo against the entire Eastern Bloc if the Soviets or East Germans cut off Western Berlin.'s) The other socialist states, he concluded, could assist the GDR, but not at the expense of their own economic development. Antonín Novotný of Czechoslovakia and Janos Kádar of Hungary supported Gomulka's arguments. Thirty percent of Hungary's trade, Kádar pointed out, was with the West; and of that trade, 25% was with West Germany. In general, the other socialist states were willing to sign a separate peace treaty, but were opposed to bankrupting themselves in order to assist the GDR.16

Khrushchev was taken aback by the attitudes of Gomułka and the other leaders. He criticized the socialist states for having so many economic contacts with the West. All socialist states, he declared, had a responsibility to support the GDR. If the GDR did not receive additional assistance, he warned, it would be overrun by West Germany; then, the Bundeswehr would be sitting on the borders of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Unless the GDR's standard of living were stabilized, he said, Ulbricht would fall from power.!?

Despite Khrushchev's admonitions, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania continued to refuse the GDR the level of assistance that it was demanding. On 12 September 1961, the SED Politburo complained somewhat hypocritically—that the GDR could “no longer accept the one-sided character of its economic relations” with Poland. 18

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Khrushchev's Flip-Flop on a Separate Peace Treaty

After the construction of the Berlin Wall, Khrushchev—despite his earlier criticisms—increasingly adopted the arguments of Gomułka and the other socialist leaders. At the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in Moscow in October 1961, he retracted the December 31 deadline for concluding a separate peace treaty, contingent upon progress in negotiations with the West on the German question. Although Ulbricht was visibly disappointed—his applause at the party congress died down after Khrushchev's announcement' —he had apparently been informed of Khrushchev's decision a month before. On September 23, Ulbricht had written a letter to Gomułka inviting him to attend the GDR's 12th anniversary celebrations at the beginning of October. "The participation of representative party and state delegations from the socialist states," the East German leader wrote, “will underline their determination to conclude a German peace treaty sometime yet in this century (my emphasis]."20

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