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Documents on Germany, 1944-1959 : background documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a chronology of political developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956

Address by Premier Khrushchev at ninth all-German workers conference at Leipzig, March 7, 1959 [extract],   pp. 389-399 PDF (5.1 MB)

Page 389

If the Government of the United States of America is not ready for
a meeting of Heads of Government, then the Soviet Government pro-
poses at the above-noted time and place to convene a conference of
Ministers of Foreign Affairs with the above-proposed composition.
The Soviet Government would like to express the hope that its pro-
posal will meet support on the part of the Government of the United
States of America, which, together with the Soviet Union and other
state participants of the anti-Hitler coalition in the period of the
Second World War, made its contribution to the cause of smashing
Hitlerite Germany and now with the conclusion of a peace treaty with
Germany would further the removal of a military danger on the part
of German militarism.
Address by Premier Khrushchev at Ninth All-German Workers
Conference at Leipzig, March 7, 19591
*       *        *       *        *       *       *
Comrades, confronting the international labor movement are fun-
damental questions and those of a different nature. The questions
of communism, the question of peaceful coexistence of countries with
different social-political systems, are cardinal, fundamental problems
of our time. The German problem, however important, is a partic-
ular issue. Some might say, how come Krushchev came here to
Germany and declares that the German problem is a particular issue?
I would like you to get me straight. The world population is about
2.5 billion, of which there are about 80 million Germans. The ques-
tion of society's movement to communism bears upon all peoples of
the world, whereas the German question bears mostly upon Germany.
Naturally, it is an acute, an important question. We stand for Ger-
man unity, and the German people need it. But can the peoples of
the world exist without the reunification of the two German states?
They can, and not badly. Can the Germans live without reunifica-
tion? They can and even well. Consequently this, though impor-
tant, is not a fundamental question.
Why then do we nevertheless attach such great significance to the
German problem? Because it is the focal point of the problem of
war and peace, one of the principal sources of international friction
and conflicts. Great armed forces of the countries of the West and
East are concentrated in Germany. And when two armies stand
ranged against each other, are in direct contact, any spark might
touch off the conflagration of war, all kinds of unexpected contin-
gencies may arise. This must be prevented. This is why we are
pressing, and will continue to press consistently, for the normalization
of the situation in Germany.
The most reasonable way out would be to sign a peace treaty with
the two German republics. In the present circumstances that would
be the most correct solution of the question. The signing of a peace
treaty, without altering anything that came into being after the war,
by finally determining the existing situation in Central Europe, would
represent a decisive step toward normalizing the international situa-
'Published March 27, 1959.

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