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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 foreign minister of the Federal Republic of Germany (von Brentano) to the Soviet Ambassador (Smirnov), regarding nuclear weapons in Germany, May 23, 1957 [extracts],   pp. 205-206 PDF (822.5 KB)

Page 206

206           DOCUMENTS ON GERMANY, 1944-59
The note of the Soviet Government is based on the supposition that
the Federal Government intends to arm the German forces with
atomic weapons. With regard to this, the Federal Government calls
attention to the binding statements by which the Federal Chancellor,
in the course of his conversation with the Soviet Ambassador, Mr.
Smirnov, on April 25, 1957, made it clear that the Federal Republic
neither possesses any type of atomic weapon nor has requested any
supplies of such weapons.
Both the Soviet note of April 27 and the letter written by Ambas-
sador Smirnov on May 4, mention the dangers which would be en-
tailed by setting up nuclear weapons belonging to the Western Powers
in the territory of the Federal Republic. These apprehensions are
without foundation. It is generally known that the Western forces
stationed in the territory of the Federal Republic within the frame-
work of the North Atlantic Treaty, a purely defensive pact, are there
merely for defence purposes. The Atlantic Community is built up
on the principle of mutual aid in case the Community or one of its
members should be attacked. Only those who would irresponsibly
risk attacking that Community have any reason to fear it or the
weapons in its possession. It is therefore erroneous to see any danger
-to other peoples in the stationing of atomic weapons in any territory
covered by the North Atlantic Treaty. * * *
The accusation raised in the Soviet note that the Federal Govern-
ment- will by its policy unleash a race in atomic armaments must be
emphatically repudiated by the Federal Government. Its part in
the unfortunately already proceeding atomic armaments race is that
of an apprehensive and jeopardized onlooker. The Federal Republic
is the only country in the world voluntarily to have renounced the
manufacture of atomic, biological and chemical weapons, and thus
already to have made an effective contribution to atomic disarma-
ment. If, therefore, this Government is accused by one of the strong-
-est atomic Powers in the world of indulging in an atomic armaments
race, the only sentiment it is capable of expressing is one of consider-
able surprise. * * *
The Federal Government shares the view of the Soviet Government
that everything possible must be done to ease international tension.
But the Federal Government also holds the view that the Soviet
Union herself has it in her power, by consenting to a comprehensive
disarmament agreement, guaranteed by effective controls, to make a
decisive contribution to securing the peace. The Federal Govern-
ment is determined, for its part, to devote all the energy at its com-
mand to bringing about agreements capable of liberating humanity
as quickly and effectively as possible from the fear of the threat of
-force and, in particular, from the fear of atomic war.

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