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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

Memorandum from the Federal Republic of Germany to the Soviet Union, on German reunification and European security, September 2, 1956,   pp. 191-200 PDF (4.6 MB)

Page 193

lishment of Germany's unity. Thus it was, for instance, in explicit
recognition of this "common responsibility for the settlement of the
German question and the reunification of Germany" that the directive
from the four Heads of Government, addressed to their Foreign
Ministers on 23 July 1955, was drawn up.
4) In the opinion of the Federal Government, international de-
velopments during recent years can in no circumstances justify so
profound a change of opinion as seems evident from more recent
utterances on the part of the Soviet Government. The Federal
Government is aware that the Soviet Government substantiates its
present view of the question of the reunification of Germany, i.e., by
the fact that the Federal Republic has decided to set up her own
national forces and to join the defense system of NATO and the West-
ern European Union. The Federal Government nonetheless believe
that the Soviet evaluation of this policy is based on erroneous premises
and assumptions and is unable to give up the hope of convincing the
Soviet Government and the Soviet people of the fallacy of such
assumptions and premises.
5) It cannot be assumed that the setting up by the Federal Republic
of her own national forces calls forth apprehension on the part of
the Soviet Government in regard to its own security or the security
of Germany's eastern neighbors. It is one of the irrefutable pre-
rogatives of every sovereign state to exercise the right of individual
and collective self-defense, a right accorded to every state in article
51 of the charter of the United Nations, of which the Soviet Union
is a member. Furthermore, the Soviet Government itself proposed, in
its draft peace treaty for Germany on 10 March 1952, that a reunited
Germany should be allowed to have her own national forces (land, sea,
and air) necessary for the defense of the country. The strength of
the forces that the Federal Republic is planning to set up is, by com-
parison with the population of the Federal Republic, far below the
strength of armaments of most other states in Europe, and particu-
larly in Eastern Europe. The general compulsory military service
introduced by the Federal Republic is the same form of military serv-
ice which is usual in the Soviet Union. The Federal Republic is the
only country in the world solemnly to renounce the production not
only of all weapons of mass destruction (atomic armaments, bio-
logical and chemical weapons), but also of numerous heavy arma-
ments. This fact alone clearly reveals the defensive nature of her
military measures.
6) At the same time, it reveals the attitude taken by the Federal
Government to the question of disarmament. It takes an active in-
terest in a general disarmament agreement.
This interest derives first and foremost from general reasons of
securing peace. The German Federal Chancellor, Dr. Adenauer, said
in Moscow on 9 September 1955:
The most precious possession that every German is intent on safeguard-
ilg is peace. We know only too well how much the Soviet and German
peoples in particular suffered during the last war, and I therefore believe
that I shall find your understanding if I say that the horror of the destruc-
tion which would be wrought by a modern war, of the millions of human
sacrifices, of the razing of homes and factories, of the devastation of town
and countryside, has left its indelible mark on each and every one of us.

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