SPEECH OF GENERAL SECRETARY COMRADE YU. V. ANDROPOV OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
Sessions of the Political Consultative Committee [PCC] always become prominent events, not only in the life of our alliance, but in the European and global politics overall. Most significant foreign policy initiatives in pursuit of peace and détente, which represent fruit of the collective thinking of the leaders of the fraternal socialist states, are associated with the PCC work.
Leonid Ilich Brezhnev, to whom we just paid the tribute, highly valued the practice of cooperative drafting of strategic directives for our actions. The CPSU, the Soviet State will remain loyal to this tradition. We will continue to do everything in order to keep the trust and the accord between our countries deep and solid.
This session of the PCC convened in a difficult, and I would say disturbing, atmosphere, and it is especially important to consult with each other now.
Each of us, of course, is wondering what has caused the sharp turn in the US and NATO policies that brought about the current increase in international tensions, and how long such deterioration of our relations might continue.
The main cause, in our opinion, lies first of all in the unfavorable for the imperialism changes in the world.
The 1970s were the years of further growth of power and influence of the socialist commonwealth. We were able to achieve the military-strategic parity with the West. This gave us an opportunity to deal with them on an equal basis. Our dynamic policy of détente led to substantial positive shifts in international relations.
The imperialism suffered significant loses in the extensive zone of the so-called "Third World", while the well-being of the West still depends on the control over its resources. The revolutionary changes in Angola, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and other countries, which were caused by objective factors, were seen by Washington, and not without reason, as a defeat of the American policy.
The phenomenon of Reagan and his policy, however, was produced not only by external, but also by internal causes. Profound features of crisis—-decline in production, inflation, mass joblessness—affected practically all capitalist countries. The bourgeoisie, as a rule, looks for a solution to such a situation in foreign policy adventures.
But this, as we believe, is only one side of the problem. The other side is that the United States and NATO saw an opportunity in the difficulties, which all of us encountered in our economic development to some extent. I am referring to the growing hard currency debts, the food situation, the technological lagging behind in some sectors of the economy, and a number of other difficult issues. They assess the internal political difficulties in some socialist countries in a similar fashion. We are not going to close our eyes on that--as long as these problems exist, the class enemies will make efforts to turn them to their favor; that it is why they are the class enemies.
The course of Reagan and those who stand behind him represents nothing else than an effort to fight the laws of historic development, to set a limit to further losses of the capitalist system by any means. The spearhead of this course is directed against the Soviet Union, against the entire socialist commonwealth. Washington's approach of so-called differentiation toward the socialist countries has a tactical purpose and does not change anything in essence. The struggle is unfolding practically on all directions.
What strikes one is the shameless fashion in which the Untied States is trying to make the economic situation in the socialist countries more difficult. Take, for example, their actions in respect to Poland, or the well-known incident with the "gas for pipes" contract, when the United States were willing to sacrifice the interests of even their closest allies. The Americans, according to everything we know, want to further use trade relations as a means of political pressure. They are talking about sharply restricting our access to new technologies, decreasing the amounts and making the conditions for loans less flexible, and about the measures to reduce hard currency profits from the exports of the socialist countries and other measures.
We all feel the increased activity of the ideological centers of the imperialism. Moreover, it is not just the renewal of the propaganda war, with which we are very familiar from our own past. They have a big stake in creating political opposition in our countries and in manipulating it in order to shake and undermine the socialist regime.
The challenge that has been presented to us in the military sphere is especially dangerous. By setting itself a goal to break the equilibrium in this sphere, Washington encourages--and as the December session of the NATO Council have shown, not without results-accelerating the militarization of the entire NATO bloc, of all its members.
The new round of the arms race, which is being imposed by the United States, has principal qualitative features that distinguish it from the previous ones. If in the past the Americans, when speaking about their nuclear weapons, preferred to emphasize the fact that those were, first of all, means of "deterrence," now, by creating the improved missile systems, they are not trying to conceal the fact that those are realistically designed for a future war. This is where the doctrines of a "rational" or "limited" nuclear war come from, this is the source of the arguments about the possibility to survive and to win in a protracted nuclear conflict.
It is difficult to say which part of it is nuclear blackmail, and which part represents readiness for a fatal step. In any case, we cannot allow US military superiority, and we will not allow it. The equilibrium will not be broken. However, we have to take into account the possibility that the escalation of the arms race could make the military-political situation unstable and unclear. New kinds of weapons are being produced, which could be difficult or even impossible to control by national means.
In general, it would not be an exaggeration to say that we are faced with one of the most massive efforts of the imperialism to slow down the process of social change in the world, to stop the progress of socialism or even to roll it back, at least in some areas.
Of course, we should take the current turn in the US policy with all seriousness. However, we have to realize that they have not succeeded in everything. Weaknesses and miscalculations in their course are becoming more and more obvious. By trying to scare us, the Washington politicians have sown fear in their own country and among their own allies, and have caused the feeling of irritation among them. The concerns are growing in the West that the people who are capable of bringing about a nuclear catastrophe came to power in America.
Isn't it characteristic that, independently of the World Peace Council, the mass anti-nuclear movement, which is already affecting the political climate, has emerged and is becoming more powerful in Western Europe and in the United States itself. The idea of freezing the nuclear arsenals enjoys a wide support in the Democratic Party of the United States. Labor party supports nuclear disarmament of Great Britain. These are not just little things.
Of course, the NATO countries took the cue from the United States and to a different degree support attacks on our policy. But the American position of harsh confrontation with the socialist commonwealth is far from completely shared by their European allies and Canada, as well as Japan. Arguments and confrontations on various issues, not only the economic ones, but also the political ones, are not disappearing in the Western camp. Reagan's assertiveness does not remove the inter-imperialist contradictions; to the contrary it sharpens them.
Considerable difficulties emerged in US relations with many of the countries of the "Third World." And how could it be otherwise in the light of the developments in the South Atlantic region, in Lebanon, in the region of Central America, and the Caribbean basin, in South Africa? By providing support for terrorist regimes, by rejecting just demands for establishing a new international economic order, Americans set themselves off against the Non-Aligned Movement on many pressing issues.
Or let us take, for example, the recent statement of the US President regarding his intention to create an American military command for the large part of the Indian Ocean located thousands of miles away from the United States. This is nothing less then an assault against the independence of the states of the Southwest Asia located in that area. And there are almost 20 states there. It is natural that such a typically colonizing gendarme policy can not but cause suspicion and anxiety in the "Third World."
Therefore, the two years of the Reagan administration have brought significant political losses for the United States. Regardless of what the ideologues of imperialism claim, the picture of today's world, with all its contradictory features, is not at all favorable to imperialism. Socialism has successfully resisted the attack of the class enemy, and it is completely within our capability to limit its aggressiveness and, therefore, to return international relations to their more normal state in the future.
I would like to address a number of the key moments of our foreign policy in detail.
First of all, about our relations with the United States. Because of the current administration, the fertile soil of Soviet-American relations has eroded, figuratively speaking. When Reagan came to the White House, he expressed himself in such a fashion that apparently there was nothing that he would discuss with the Soviet Union before the United States has achieved military superiority.
How did we respond to that? We could have always said that we had no desire to talk with the political boor, even if he stood at the helm of the most powerful capitalist country. But the Soviet leadership had chosen a different approach. It confirmed its readiness for a serious extensive dialog with the United States, but, of course, a dialog between equals.
Now, in Washington, we hear talk about the benefits of more constructive relations with the Soviet Union. But so far we still do not have any grounds to talk about a change to the better in the American policy. Most recent contacts, including my conversation in Moscow with Vice President of the United States Bush and Secretary of State Shultz, were marked by a change of tone, but nothing more.
The absence of progress at the Soviet-American negotiations in Geneva on nuclear weapons issues does not give grounds for hope either.
I can confirm with full responsibility for my words that the overall power of the US and the USSR weapons is approximately equal. As many times as our specialists made the necessary comparisons, they invariably came to the conclusion: more or less stable parity does exist. By the way, many serious people in the United States do not believe Reagan and his team when they speak to the contrary.
What is different is the structure of the strategic weapons of the United States and the Soviet Union. The Americans are trying to speculate exactly on this now.
The main core of our strategic forces is land-based inter-continental ballistic missiles. They, we can say, represent the core of security for the entire socialist commonwealth. The Americans, however, possess a significant superiority in strategic bombers. In addition, they made a significant emphasis on submarine-based nuclear weapons. Such a disproportion is to a large extend determined by the differences in the geographical situation of the two countries. One case is the United States, located between the two oceans, and another case is our country. We have permanent ice on the North, and in the West and the East, our access to the world ocean lies through narrow, easily controlled straits.
You would think that to confuse, to take advantage of somebody at the negotiations on such sensitive problems as defense problems is an unthinkable plan. However, so far the Americans have been trying to do exactly that.
What are they proposing? To limit and to reduce the basic missile systems, referring primarily to our land-based inter-continental missiles. Formally, the submarine-based delivery vehicles would also be subject to the reductions. However, they would do it in such a way, as not to involve the work on creating a fleet of new submarines armed with more powerful and better targetable missiles "Trident -2", which is undertaken now by the Americans. And at the same time such strategic weapons as long-range cruise missiles, the number of which the United States plans to increase to many thousand, are intended to be left aside or not to be discussed at all. The Americans wish to keep superiority in the strategic aviation as well by all honest and dishonest means available.
Our point of view is this: limitations and reductions of the strategic weapons should be carried out in a comprehensive fashion, embracing the land-based, sea-based and air-based weapons without any exclusion. It is absolutely necessary that the principle of equality and equal security be adhered to at every stage of reductions, so as not to allow imbalances on either side.
Let us suppose for a moment that we have accepted the American proposals. We would have to immediately start taking apart our land-based missiles, i.e. the main part of our strategic potential, which, as you know, has been developed over decades. At the same time, the United States would have the flexibility to implement all military programs announced by Reagan.
The intention of the US administration to deploy 100 strategic MX- missiles," armed with ten warheads each, seriously complicates the situation. As you understand, it is impossible for us not to react to the appearance of the new generation of missiles. We consider it necessary to openly state that we would have to deploy an analogous system of our own.
Being confronted with the explicitly destructive position of the United States we, however, do not intend to slam the door, we are going to try to find ways to encourage the Americans to change their approach. During the negotiations and outside the negotiations we are proposing a realistic alternative to arms race: to immediately freeze strategic weapons and to agree on their significant reduction. Here we could go very far. However, it is important that the number of delivery vehicles for strategic weapons be equal for both states, so that this equality is not undermined by other nuclear weapons, for example, by the forward-based systems.
The question of these systems is ever present during the negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe. Unfortunately, here we have not achieved any progress either. It is hard to avoid the impression that the Americans are using these negotiations as a screen in order to present us with a fait accompli of deployment of their new missiles in Western Europe. Already today, the construction of bases for these missiles is going full speed.
It seems that the American administration expects that the seeming attractiveness of the "zero option" will confuse the public even further. However, after a year of negotiations in Geneva, the real meaning of both sides' positions is becoming more and more apparent. We present reasonable balanced proposals to the US line. We stated them publicly during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the USSR. Our readiness to cut intermediate-range nuclear weapons and after that having not one missile, not one airplane more than the countries of the North Atlantic alliance resulted in different opinions in the West. The variation in positions of the official circles is very large: from the ice-cold, very negative position of the United States and Britain, to more or less rational positions of other NATO members.
I think there are grounds to believe that the new Soviet proposals became a strong factor of pressure on Washington.
During the negotiations we will have to continue to appeal to the statesmen and public opinion of Western Europe, so that they have no illusions about the real position of the United States.
There are no doubts that as the scheduled timetable for deployment of the American missiles draws closer, anxiety and protests in the NATO countries will grow. If, however, in spite of all of this, the Americans still begin to deploy their missiles in Western Europe, the Soviet Union will find a way how to respond to it. Obviously, we will have to return to this question later.
Other negotiations, in Vienna, where we discuss reducing military forces and armaments in Central Europe, are also stalemated. Here too, the United States is the primary cause of this situation. We are seriously thinking how we could move the negotiations away from the fruitless discussions about troop numbers, how we could force our partners to do business. It is possible that it would help us to move forward not only in Vienna, but in Geneva also.
It is in our common interest to influence the American administration, to prevent it from excesses. The time will show whether we will see any corrections in its course. The Soviet Union is for constructive relations with the United States, but it is not going to beg for them. It is only possible to build such relations from both sides simultaneously.
This is where our relations with America stand today.
One of the new and undoubtedly important moments is a certain progress in our relations with China. The CPSU and its congresses repeatedly made principal statements on the Chinese problem. We always left the doors for rebuilding the friendship between the Soviet and the Chinese peoples open. On our initiative, as you know, we began Soviet-Chinese political consultations.
The first conversations in Beijing showed that the Chinese leadership, while speaking for normalization of the relations, at the same time puts forward a number of conditions that involve interests of third countries - Vietnam, Afghanistan and Mongolia. During our consultations, and after the meetings, we explained the unacceptability of such an approach to our Chinese comrades.
The line of the CPSU is dictated not by tactical calculations, but by the core interests of the socialist commonwealth, by the principles of the Leninist policy. We can not pay for the normalization by concessions that hurt our friends; nor are we going to demand any price from China. This, of course, does not include some steps showing the good will of the Soviet Union.
The Chinese representatives constantly refer to the issue of troops in the border areas. During the next round of consultations, which will take place in Moscow, we plan to let them know that some steps in this direction are possible. If we move toward a genuine normalization, to establishing at least a minimum of trust, then the perspective of mutual reductions of troops in the border areas will become more realistic. I would note, however, that the Soviet troops are also deployed in the Far East because of the increasing military preparations of the United States and Japan near our Pacific maritime borders.
Comrades! Some time ago, when we were dealing with the task of overcoming the "cold war," we started from developing our relations with Western Europe. The current situation is somewhat similar to that. An extensive substantive dialog with West European countries, a strengthening of cooperation with them could give a second life to détente. Certain objective grounds for that do exist.
All of our countries enjoy traditionally extensive ties with France. Obviously, we should be more active in developing them, especially because this encourages and strengthens the elements of independence in French policy. Of course, Mitterrand acts unevenly, does frequent curtsies toward the Americans. But in the recent past, we noted the interest of the French to revitalize contacts with us, and not only in the economic, but also in the political sphere. Several French ministers have already visited the Soviet Union. Cheysson's visit is planned for the nearest future.
Also, we do not see the position of the new government of the FRG as completely negative. Of course, they link their actions with Washington much closer, and obviously, we will have to find significant political skill and well thought-through diplomatic propaganda, and other actions in order to preserve the maximum positive elements from what we have accumulated in relations with this country in the last decade, to prevent its complete shift to the position of the Reagan administration. As always, much will depend on the coordination of our efforts.
Generally, we were able to embark on a correct tone in our relations with the Kohl government. This is represented in a balanced support of the realistic elements in Bonn's course, and at the same time in a principled and argumentative criticism of everything that leads to the abandoning of post-war European realities and violation of treaty commitments.
In general, here too we preserve the possibility for active work. We started from that assumption when we made a decision for comrade A. A. Gromyko to visit the FRG.
We see the victories of Socialists in Spain and Sweden as significant events in European life. They increased the number of states where parties of the Socialist International are in power. Of course, we have very specific relations with them. However, as a rule, it is preferable to deal with Social Democrats, especially on the issues of peace movement, for almost in all of these countries Communists either give parliamentary support to the ruling party or are directly included in the government.
We think it would be useful to give more attention to such European countries as Finland, Austria and Greece. Their positions on a number of issues are close to ours and we can agree with them on many questions.
This was shown in particular during our meeting in Madrid. By acting in accord and together, we were able to direct the work of that conference into a more business-like fashion. The United States obviously wanted to turn Madrid into a forum of so to say pure confrontation. That did not work. Nonetheless, it would be very, very difficult to achieve positive decisions, which would deepen the all-European process begun in Helsinki, especially on the issue of convening a conference on measures of trust and disarmament in Europe. However, we set this goal all together and we will try to achieve it.
The Afghan question is being actively used in the struggle against détente. The Afghan revolution needed assistance, and it has received it. However, the situation in Afghanistan and around it still remains unstable. There are some possibilities that opened up with the beginning of the negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. During the meeting in November with President Zia ul-Haq I tried to make him understand that the political settlement of the Afghan problem, and subsequently the possibility of Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, depends on the position of Pakistan to a decisive degree. The Pakistani President expressed understanding of the Afghan problem in his rhetoric, and even assured me that they were already half way to its solution. However, many signs show that the Americans have tied Islamabad's hands quite well.
These are our considerations on some of the pressing issues of our work in the international arena, which we considered necessary to share with you. However, along with these we have come to conclusions of a more general order.
It is obvious that in the situation of deterioration of international relations there is no need to change the strategic direction of our policy. The course for peace, for getting rid of the nuclear threat is the biggest political capital of socialism. We need to stay this course further, consistently and purposefully. We do not want confrontations. Peaceful co-existence, disarmament, mutually beneficial cooperation - these are not propaganda slogans, but the living essence of our policy.
We will not be short on efforts to mobilize the peoples, to resist the arms race, to expose the ideology of militarism itself, to remove any grounds for beliefs in the fatality of nuclear catastrophe, to persuade that the future belongs to détente. We need to accumulate our initiatives on key issues of war and peace. This is already a big task, because such initiatives force people to compare the two lines-one of NATO and one of the Warsaw Treaty--to make conclusions. As a rule, those conclusions are in our favor. A persuasive example of that is the pledge of the Soviet Union not to be the first to use nuclear weapons. The Western public together with serious politicians spoke highly of its importance. The impact of this decision was strong and profound. Development of our struggle against the militarization of space, for use of space only for peaceful causes, could bring us a significant political victory. This is a task of a genuine global importance. The socialist countries decisively insist on banning deployment of any weapon systems in space. Obviously, we need to develop these efforts and think of new ideas that would support our efforts, including those in the sphere of control.
Recently some people have made efforts to speak of our defensive military-political alliance and the aggressive bloc of NATO as two of the kind. It is a strange view, especially in the current conditions. It would be sufficient to compare how the Warsaw Treaty and NATO acted in various situations in order to conclude that our alliance was always a reliable counter-balance to the forces of aggression and expansion. It has already played a progressive role in the European and world affairs and it will play it in the future. And if NATO could claim any achievements, it would only be in its ability to raise tensions. In undertaking our peaceful efforts, we always believed and believe now that it is absolutely necessary not to allow any shifts in the balance of forces of both military groups. It would be a mistake if we did not respond with appropriate concern about our common defense capability in response to the strengthening of NATO, and the growth of its military preparations.
We are not proponents of constant confrontation and competition between the two military groups. Our countries repeatedly expressed their readiness to dissolve its organization simultaneously with the North Atlantic Alliance. In our opinion, there could not be a question about a unilateral dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty. To seriously insist on unilateral liquidation of our defensive alliance would mean to intentionally put the socialist countries in the difficult situation when they would have to act alone, confronting a well-organized and fully armed enemy. There is no doubt that the imperialists would see it as a sign of weakness, and that they would respond by even bigger pressure on the socialist countries.
Probably, the Soviet Union feels the burden of arms race into which we are being pulled, more than anybody else does. It is not an easy task for anybody to appropriate additional resources, to strengthen their military forces. It is not a big problem for Reagan to shift tens of billions of dollars of appropriations for social needs to the military industrial complex. Meanwhile, we cannot stop thinking about the well being of the workers.
But unfortunately, today we do not have any other alternatives, except to respond to NATO's challenges with our counter-measures, which would be persuasive for the present American politicians. Our peoples would not understand it, if we showed carelessness regarding the threats from NATO.
Being highly alert would not be useless in the present difficult time. Our common defensive efforts are necessary for security of each of our countries. Obviously, we will have to undertake certain measures in the framework of our alliance, and by each member individually. What concrete measures would be involved -- we will be able to decide after hearing Marshal V. G. Kulikov's report.
I think, everyone would agree with the statement that today, as well as in the past, our unity and mutual support will have the decisive influence. It is especially important now for our Polish comrades. Any actions of the Polish leadership in defense of the socialist regime are received with irritation in Washington. The Americans are not letting up their pressure on Poland in the hope to give new power to the forces of counter-revolution. Other Western countries, even though without as much effort, support the same line.
The Soviet Union considers it its international obligation to provide comprehensive and consistent support to the fraternal Poland. I am convinced that we all have a unanimous opinion in this issue here. We need to warn the West again and again that the Polish People's Republic has reliable friends and allies, and that any interference in its internal affairs will complicate the situation in Europe, and would be met with a decisive common response of all members of the Warsaw Treaty.
Every socialist country deals with its internal affairs independently, and has its own face in foreign policy. This is the most important feature of our alliance. The collective power of our union is a sum of active steps of all the members of the alliance, and it is in our common interest not to give the enemy any possibilities for political intrigues, directed toward breaking the socialist commonwealth apart, and toward introducing discord in our actions.
There are many problems that require collective consideration. The Soviet delegation always proposes that the work of the PCC should be both active and systematic. We should probably meet more often. In any case, no less than once a year. I would like to touch upon one organizational issue. Do we think that the time has come to implement the decision already taken at the conference in Bucharest about creating a United Secretariat of the Warsaw Treaty, to think about its purposes and responsibilities? Probably, other proposals regarding the working mechanism of our alliance could also come up. If we all agree on this, we could give appropriate authority to our Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
Next. The US line on strengthening the confrontation brings with it the threat not only to the states of the Warsaw Treaty; it also threatens the vital interests of other socialist countries. Relations with Cuba, Mongolia, Vietnam, and Laos have taken an important place in our policy. Notwithstanding the well-known specifics of the positions of Yugoslavia and the Korean People's Democratic Republic, we pay the necessary attention to the development of relations with these countries. I believe that in the coming period we should work even more actively in the interest of improving our cooperation with socialist states who are not members of our treaty. Already now we work along parallel courses when crisis situations emerge, like the Israeli aggression in Lebanon.
Probably, it would be justified if our dear Czechoslovak hosts could inform the countries of the World Socialist system, including China, about the work of the present conference in a general form, to begin with. This would contribute to a better understanding with them in some measure. In the future, we could think of other steps in this direction.
The course of events again and again shows us how vitally important it is to strengthen our ability to resist the imperialist policy of economic pressure. Of course, we will try to use the gaps that exist between the positions of the United States and the countries of the "Common Market." However, if we do not want to find ourselves in a dangerous dependency from the West, then we should be more decisive in developing our socialist economic integration, in studying each other's experience, in accelerating our shift to the course of intensive development. We will have to talk about it substantively at the conference on economic issues at the highest level. Secretaries of the Central Committees of our parties will soon meet and finalize the agreements on materials and the concrete date of the conference.
Comrades! In the process of preparation for our conference, we developed and coordinated drafts of its final document--the Political Declaration and the Communiqué. Our delegation believes that these are good documents. We believe that they will play their role in the struggle for peace and international security. We give special importance to the proposal to conclude a treaty about refraining from the mutual use of military force and promoting relations of peace between member states of the Warsaw Treaty and the members of the North Atlantic Alliance. As we understand it, work on this proposal will take a prominent place in our common foreign policy efforts in the nearest future. In conclusion of my remarks, I would like to express confidence that our brave union will further successfully carry out its historic mission as a reliable cornerstone of peace and security of the peoples. Let me cordially thank our Czechoslovak comrades for their hospitality and excellent organization of the conference. Thank you for your attention.
[Speech by Andropov, 4 January 1983, VA-01/40473, Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv, Freiburg; translated by Svetlana Savranskaya]