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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 195

tions are based on erroneous premises concerning their nature. Both
NATO and the Western European Union are alliances which exclu-
sively serve the purpose of individual and collective self-defense. It
is an example of what can be accomplished in the area of limiting
armaments and armament control when peoples work together for
the purpose of conciliation and relaxation of tension.
The members of the Atlantic and Westen European defense or-
ganizations are in complete agreement with regard to their defensive
goals. Each of them has the greatest interest in insuring that no
member country in pursuing her national political aims takes any
steps which might lead to hostilities. Membership in these organ-
izations must therefore have a moderating effect on the policy of every
member state. A member state may count on the help of its allies
only if it is the victim of aggression.
At this juncture, it must be repeated that, after the wars and catas-
trophes of recent decades, the longing of every people, and in partic-
ular of the two peoples of Germany and the Soviet Union, so much
afflicted in two world wars, for an international order offering security
and peace to all is very understandable. The Federal Government is
determined to achieve the reunification of the two separate parts of
Germany exclusively by peaceful means. It is ready at any time to
repeat this renunciation of force, which has already been given to
the Western peoples and which is valid for its relationship with all
peoples, to the Soviet Union, and to the eastern neighboring coun-
tries in binding form.
8) Furthermore, it is a regrettable misunderstanding if the Soviet
Government assumes that the Western Powers will demand that the
whole of Germany belong to NATO and the Western European
Union after reunification. The Governments of France, the United
Kingdom, and the United States have never imposed any such con-
dition. On the contrary, it was stated clearly, even at the Berlin
Four Power Conference in 1954, that the policy of the three Western
Powers was to accord to a reunited Germany absolute freedom to
decide her own foreign policy. The Federal Government has also
consistently championed the principle that a future all-German Gov-
ernment must be free to decide whether it wishes to seek security in
an alliance with the West, with the East, or without any alliance at
all. The Federal Government has made this principle of freedom
of decision for a reunited Germany a cornerstone of its policy.
This attitude is confirmed by the fact that the Governments of
France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in their Geneva
proposal of 28 October 1955, on "Reunification of Germany and
[European] Security" offered the Soviet Union, for the contingency
of German reunification's being achieved, a considerable number of
security guaranties which were to become effective even if the all-
German Government declined to accept membership in the Western
defense system. Additional security guaranties were also to be pro-
vided according to this proposal for the event that a united Germany
should decide for membership in NATO. These included the mutual
assistance with both sides should promise each other contractually for
the event of an armed attack in Europe by a NATO member against
a state not belonging to NATO and vice versa.

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