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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

Note from the American Ambassador (Beam) to the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister (Winiewicz), on the Rapacki Plan, May 3, 1958,   pp. 266-267 PDF (821.2 KB)

Page 266

If this procedure is acceptable to the Soviet Government it is sug-
gested that diplomatic exchanges should start in Moscow in the second
half of April.
Note from the American Ambassador (Beam) to the Polish
Deputy Foreign Minister (Winiewicz), on the Rapacki Plan,
May 3, 1958 1
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Mr. Rapacki's note
of February 14, 1958, enclosing a memorandum elaborating on the
Polish Government's proposals concerning the establishment of a
denuclearized zone in Central Europe.
Recognizing that the initiative of the Polish Government stems
from a desire to contribute to the attainment of a stable and durable
peace, my Government has given these proposals serious and careful
consideration. On the basis of this study it has concluded that they
are too limited in scope to reduce the danger of nuclear war or provide
a dependable basis for the security of Europe. They neither deal with
the essential question of the continued production of nuclear weapons
by the present nuclear powers nor take into account the fact that
present scientific tchniques are not adequate to detect existing nuclear
weapons. The proposed plan does not affect the central sources of
power capable of launching a nuclear attack, and thus its effectiveness
would be dependent on the good intentions of countries outside the
area. The proposals overlook the central problems of European secur-
ity because they provide no method for balanced. and equitable limita-
tions of military capabilities and would perpetuate the basic cause of
tension in Europe by accepting the continuation of the division of
An agreement limited to the exclusion of nuclear weapons from the
territory indicated by your Government without other types of limi-
tation would, even if it were capable of being inspected, endanger the
security of the Western European countries in view of the large and
widely deployed military forces of the Soviet Union. Unless
equipped with nuclear weapons, Western forces in Germany would
find themselves under present circumstances at a great disadvantage
to the numerically greater mass of Soviet troops stationed within easy
distance of Western Europe which are, as the Soviet leaders made
clear, being equipped with the most modern and destructive weapons,
including missiles of all kinds.
The considerations outlined above have caused the United States in
association with other Western powers to propose that nations stop
producing material for nuclear weapons, cease testing such weapons
and begin to reduce present stockpiles. The United States has further
proposed broader areas of inspection against surprise attack, includ-
ing an area in Europe, roughly from the United Kingdom to the
Ural mountains. We remain willing to do this. You will recall,
moreover, that the Western nations offered at the London disarma-
ment negotiations to discuss a more limited zone in Europe. With
regard to missiles you will recall that over a year and a half ago the
United States proposed that we begin to study the inspection and
1 Department of State press release 242, May 4, i958.

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