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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 196

This state of affairs was again quite correctly described by the
British Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, in his statement to the
House of Commons on 23 July 1956.
9) If the Soviet Government should continue to believe itself unable
to agree to the reunification of Germany because the forces and mili-
tary installations of NATO would be advanced a few hundred kilo-
meters eastward if a united Germany were to decide to join NATO
this concern could be removed by appropriate arrangements. After
British Prime Minister Eden had, on the basis of such considerations,
already proposed for discussion on the 18th day of July 1955, in
Geneva the creation of a demilitarized zone between East and West,
for the same considerations it was stated in point 3 of the joint draft
proposal of France, the United Kingdom, and the United States,
dated 28 October 1955, for a treaty with special guaranties for the
event of the reunification of Germany:
In parts of the zone which lies closest to the line of demarcation, there
might be special measures relating to the disposition of military forces
The Federal Government deeply regrets that there has so far been no
detailed discussion of this significant proposal, based on the general
idea that it is not intended to improve, by the reunification of Ger-
many, the military situation of any one group of powers.
10) In any case, the Federal Government earnesttly desires to take
into account the security considerations of the Soviet Union as far as
humanly possible, even if it cannot admit that, seen through objective
eyes, the security of the Soviet Union could in any way be prejudiced
by the policy of the Federal Republic. The Federal Government was
therefore appreciative when the problem of the reunification of Ger--
many was closely linked, at the two Geneva conferences in 1955, with
the problem of a European security system. Despite the final re-
sults of the Geneva negotiations, disappointing to the German peo-
ple, it is of the opinion that the discussion of the security and re-
unification problems has led to a certain amount of progress and that
a number of proposals were submitted whose further discussion would
be fruitful.
The Federal Government is in favor of a European security system
based on a solemn renunciation by all members of the use of force
in solving political disputes in their mutual relations. In a security
system of this kind, each member state should commit itself to refuse
an aggressor any support whatsoever. The Federal Government
adopts fundamentally a positive attitude to these ideas. It also does
not exclude other suitable proposals for elements of a security sys-
tem. Therefore it is also in favor of a mutual assistance obligation of
all members of a European security treaty for the event of an armed
attack in Europe by a NATO member against a state not belonging to
NATO and vice versa. As far as it is fear for her own security that
causes the Soviet Union to withhold her consent to the reunification of
Germany, there is nothing to prevent the considerations expressed
hitherto from being reexamined with a view to ascertaining their
11) The Soviet Government, for its part, submitted to the Geneva
Conference on 28 October 1955, the draft of a general treaty on col-
lective security containing a number of similar proposals. A funda-

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