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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

Letter from Premier Bulganin to President Eisenhower, on European security, the Rapacki Plan, and disarmament, December 10, 1957,   pp. 220-226 PDF (3.2 MB)

Page 224

future, and primarily by the great powers, will to a considerable ex-
tent determine the answer to the main question which so deeply con-
cerns all mankind, namely:
Will the movement in the direction of a war catastrophe continue,
and with ever-increasing velocity, or will those who are responsible for
the policy of states enter upon the only sensible path of peaceful
coexistence and cooperation between all states ?
After all, for this it is necessary only to cast a sober look at the pres-
ent situation; to recognize in fact that every country has the right to
choose its own form of government and its own economic system; to
renounce any attempt to settle international questions by force; to
renounce war once and for all as a means of solving international
disputes; and to build relations between states on the basis of equality,
respect for the independence of each state, and noninterference in the
internal affairs of one another, on the basis of mutual benefit.
If one proceeds from the premise of insuring universal peace, it
is necessary, in our opinion, to recognize quite definitely the situation
that has developed in the world where capitalist and socialist states
exist. None of us can fail to take into account the fact that any
attempts to change this situation by external force, and to upset the
status quo, or any attempts to impose any territorial changes, would
lead to catastrophic consequences.
I am well aware, Mr. President, that in your statements you have
repeatedly expressed the thought that no durable peace can be based
on an armaments race and that you strongly desire peace and co-
operation with other countries, including the Soviet Union. This was
also stated in your conversation with N. S. Khrushchev and myself
during the Geneva Conference of the Heads of Government of the
Four Powers in the summer of 1955. Unfortunately, however, it must
be said that in practice all the steps taken by the Soviet Government to
improve relations with the United States have not up to now met with
a positive response on the part of the Government of the United States
of America.
Meanwhile, the present state of Soviet-American relations cannot
give any satisfaction either to the Soviet people or, it seems to us,
to the American people. The tense and even almost hostile character
which these relations very often assume cannot be justified from a
political, economic, or moral viewpoint. It is an inherently absurd
situation when two gigantic countries which have at their disposal
everything that is necessary for their economic development, which
have repeatedly and successfully cooperated in the past, and which,
we are convinced, even now have no irreconcilable conflicts of interest,
have been as yet unable to normalize their mutual relations.
This problem is all the more significant because the fate of universal
peace depends to a high-probably even decisive-degree on the state
of mutual relations between our countries under present conditions.
For this very reason, it is especially important that our two countries
display initiative and take the step which peoples have already been
awaiting for a long time, namely, breaking the ice of the "cold war."
For this the necessary prerequisites exist. I have no doubt that
the American people do not want a new war any more than the Soviet
people do. Our countries, in close cooperation, achieved victory in
the struggle against Hitlerite aggression. Is it possible that now,

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