Nato Agreement Not To Expand East

Well informed by the US Secretary of State, the West German Chancellor understood an important Soviet quintessence and, on February 10, 1990, assured Gorbachev: „We believe that NATO should not expand the scope of its activities.” (See document 9) After this meeting, Kohl could hardly hold back his enthusiasm for Gorbachev`s adherence in principle to German unification and within the framework of the Helsinki formula where states choose their own alliances, which allowed Germany to choose NATO. Kohl described in his memoirs how he walked around Moscow all night – but he always understood that there was another price to pay. The document, prepared for discussion on nato`s future by a subgroup made up of representatives of the NSC, the Foreign Ministry, Joint Chiefs and other agencies, postulates that „[a] potential Soviet threat remains and constitutes a fundamental justification for NATO`s sustainability.” At the same time, the discussion in the debate on a possible accession of Eastern Europe to NATO suggests that „in the current context, it is not in the best interests of NATO or the United States that these countries benefit from full NATO membership and their security guarantees”. The United States „does not want to organize an anti-Soviet coalition whose border is the Soviet border,” notably because of the negative impact this could have on reforms in the USSR. NATO`s liaison offices would do so for now, the group concluded, but relations will develop in the future. Without confrontation during the Cold War, NATO`s out-of-area functions must be redefined. Historical analysis of the alleged promise not to expand NATO drew attention to the 1990 meetings, largely because the quotes seem so clear (e.g. B not „one inch to the East”). But the main actors of the time were quick to disappear from the scene. Mikhail Gorbachev announced on Christmas Day 1991 the end of the Soviet Union and thus its presidency, and US President George H.W. Bush lost his re-election less than a year later. The agreement to start the two-plus-four talks will be presented to the press by the six foreign ministers at the „Open Skies” conference to be held in Ottawa on February 13, 1990.

From left to right: Eduard Shevardnadze (USSR), James A. Baker (USA), Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FRG), Roland Dumas (France), Douglas Hurd (UK), Oskar Fischer (GDR). Photo: Federal Office of Images / Press and Information Office of the Federal Government. On the second day of the Ottawa conference, Stepanov-Mamaladze described difficult negotiations on the exact wording of the joint declaration on Germany and the two plus four process. Shevardnadze and Genscher argued for two hours over the terms „unity” versus „union,” when Shevardnadze tried to slow things down in Germany and get the other ministers to focus on open skis.


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