Shaping the Policies of the Alliance –The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Warsaw Pact,
by Anna Locher
- Forerunners and Functions
1959-1976 CMFA Functions and Activities
- Faltering Détente and the CSCE Process
Détente The CSCE Process Afghanistan, Poland and Other Non-Issues
- Euromissiles and SDI – Relations with the West during the Second Cold War
Second Cold War Differentiation Policy towards the West
- Small States Agency and Compromise – Bloc Management in a Polycentric Environment
Romanian Dissent Attempts at Institutionalization
- Openness in the CMFA – Gorbachev's 'New Thinking' and the End of the Warsaw Pact
- Selective Bibliography
When the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Warsaw Pact (CMFA) was set up in 1976, the Cold War had already passed through many stages. Stalin's death and the creation of the Warsaw Pact had taken place more than twenty years earlier. Two of the Cold War's hottest moments, the second Berlin crisis and the Cuban missile crisis, were history. Not only the first timid attempts toward a relaxation of tensions were past, but also détente's heyday from 1968 to 1975 that had culminated in the signing of the Helsinki Final Act.
Why, then, was a new political body built into the Warsaw Pact structure at this point in time? Its creation amounted to the second major reform in the history of the alliance. Signed in 1955, the Warsaw Treaty provided initially for the Political Consultative Committee (PCC), which met for the first time in 1956. After several failed attempts at reforming the Warsaw Pact structure, the next stage was reached with the Budapest reforms of 1969, which resulted in the creation of additional agencies, particularly the Committee of Ministers of Defense (CMD). What was the role of the 1976 committee of foreign ministers, and what were its relations to other bodies of the Warsaw Pact, above all the PCC? How did the CMFA shape the policies of the alliance and the larger course of the Cold War in Europe?
The following introduction addresses the scope, evolution and significance of the Committee of Foreign Ministers from 1976 to 1990. It discusses the forerunners of the committee and the CMFA’s functions, the influence of détente, the CSCE process, the Afghanistan and the Polish crises, the relations with the West during the "Second Cold War", questions of alliance management, and the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms on the committee. The introduction draws from documents in the Czech Foreign Ministry Archives in Prague, collected by PHP affiliate Dr. Petr Lunák, and additional records from the Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR in Berlin, selected by Christian Nünlist, Zurich, and Prof. Vojtech Mastny, Washington.
The records from the Prague Foreign Ministry Archives that are published here include information reports by the Czechoslovak foreign minister on CMFA meetings, speeches by the Soviet and Czechoslovak (rarely other) foreign ministers, and in a few cases the communiqués and brief minutes. The reports were written from the Czechoslovak point of view and their author was during the entire period from 1976 to 1989 the same foreign minister, Bohuslav Chňoupek. They therefore present a national as well as individual viewpoint although Chňoupek undoubtedly had an incentive to reproduce the contents of the meetings as accurately as possible for the benefit of his country’s leadership. The available speeches and communiqués present authentic texts. These records will be supplemented by the forthcoming publication on the PHP website of documents on the meetings of the deputy foreign ministers, which often reflected the policymaking process more closely than the discussions of their superiors.
At the creation of the Warsaw Pact, no provisions were made for meetings of foreign ministers. The foreign ministers got together for the first time in 1959, and after 1966, they met almost annually  under different conditions to carry out practical work of the alliance. Their meetings were to follow "directives of a political nature" by which the governments of the Treaty member states and their organs should be guided.  The first meeting of the foreign ministers in 1959 examined questions in relation with the Geneva negotiations, Germany, the signing of a peace treaty with Germany, and the elimination of the occupation regime in West Berlin - an agenda revealing both the ad hoc nature of the meeting and the need to delegate foreign policy discussion from the PCC. 
In 1964, Soviet party leader Nikita S. Khrushchev proposed the establishment of a committee of foreign ministers in order "to enlarge the practice of consultations" in foreign policy questions.  These plans were set back after Leonid I. Brezhnev's coming to power. Nevertheless, in 1967, Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko at a meeting of the Warsaw Pact foreign ministers expressed his satisfaction at their periodical meetings and the debates on international affairs becoming "a good tradition". (Gromyko Speech 2/67: 1)
At the heart of the foreign ministers' meetings between 1966 and 1976 was the campaign for an all-European security conference, going back to the PCC's Bucharest Declaration of 1966. This campaign revealed the need for teamwork between the PCC and the foreign ministers, as active diplomacy was carried out in the meetings of the foreign ministers who spoke for their governments rather than for the PCC. In their meetings, the foreign ministers regularly invoked West Germany's "militaristic and revanchist" as well as nuclear ambitions that they considered as a threat. Romania's recognition of the Federal Republic in 1967 perturbed the foreign ministers. They all the more urged for inviolability of state borders in Europe, international recognition of East Germany, and prevention of a nuclear West Germany. (Report 2/67) With regard to the agenda of the planned security conference, the foreign ministers at a meeting in 1969 proposed to include economic as well as scientific East-West relations.  In view of an increasingly positive Western response to the call for the conference in March 1969, the foreign ministers in 1970 started to discuss specific organizational questions related to the conference. (Report 6/70; Report 2/71)
At the PCC meeting in Budapest in 1969, several new Warsaw Pact bodies were set up, among them the Committee of the Defense Ministers. It was at this stage that the Warsaw Pact was transformed into a proper military alliance.  For reasons of political controversy, namely, Romanian opposition, the creation of a committee of foreign ministers designed to coordinate non-military policy dimensions was shelved.  The foreign ministers, however, continued to meet almost annually.
The Bucharest session of the PCC, held on 25-26 November 1976, resulted in another round of structural developments. Together with the Joint Secretariat – that never really took off –, the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (CMFA) was created as a subsidiary of the PCC for "the further improvement of the machinery of political co-operation within the framework of the Warsaw Treaty". 
Given the almost regular foreign ministers' meetings prior to 1976, the PCC decision hardly was a radical innovation. Rather, the formalization of the meetings can be interpreted as the obvious consequence of the foreign ministers' role in the CSCE process: The Soviet Union initiated the committee of foreign ministers because of their successful multilateral meetings prior to the Final Act and the role of the East European states in the Helsinki process. 
With the more complex situation in Europe evolving from the Final Act, the Soviet Union recognized the danger of its allies "resenting under-consultation and of small grievances snowballing into major crises, and created new institutions so that its allies felt they had, and perhaps did have, increased political weight." The committee was thus designed to deal with the possible dangers of increased autonomy resulting from the increasingly independent posture of the Eastern European states since the mid-1960s. Their enhanced status within the CSCE process added further political complexity, necessitating a more careful alliance management. The establishment of the CMFA reflected the Soviet realization that regular consultations were desirable on their own merit. As a new formal structure requiring participation of all alliance members, the CMFA also symbolically supported the work against disintegration.
A further rationale for the creation of the CMFA may be sought in the state of East-West relations. The attainment of perceived military parity between the two power blocs accentuated their political competition. In view of the West's gains in the non-military competition in the latter half of the 1970s, it seemed reassuring to the Soviet Union to reinforce the Warsaw Pact by providing it with a political component in the form of the CMFA.
The CMFA documents offer only indirect further reasons as to why the committee was set up. Soviet foreign minister Andrei A. Gromyko at the first CMFA meeting in May 1977 barely touched on the background of the CMFA formation at all, and the Czechoslovak foreign minister Chňoupek in his information report on this meeting concluded that "all participants welcomed the creation of the Committee as a broad platform for effective coordination of the foreign policy of the socialist community, for a wide exchange of experiences and information, and for the discussion of a wide range of foreign policy questions" (Report 5/77: 6). In his address to the participants of the same CMFA meeting in Moscow, Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev declared that the committee was to improve co-operation "in international affairs, to the successful fulfillment of the foreign policy tasks of the fraternal parties".
The CMFA carried out the decisions of the PCC. It coordinated the foreign policy activities of the member states based on foreign policy resolutions and recommendations of the PCC. It proposed the agendas, schedules, and working documents for the international meetings outlined by the PCC, and carried out the decisions. The CMFA records regularly refer to PCC meetings and decisions. The PCC decisions of November 1976 fed into both the May 1977 and the April 1978 CMFA meetings. The analysis set forth in the so-called Bucharest declaration, entitled "For New Goals in the Solution of International Tension, Consolidation of Security, and the Development of Cooperation in Europe" was seen as confirmed by the current developments (Report 4/78: 1). The May 1979 CMFA meeting "was a significant step to the realization of the proposals, which were formulated in the Moscow declaration" of the November 1979 PCC meeting (Report 5/79: 8), and the October 1982 meeting was a stage in the joint collective preparation of the next PCC meeting (Report 10/82: 11). The January 1983 CMFA meeting was determined by the political declaration of the January PCC meeting; its main task was to discuss further steps towards the realization of the mutual non-aggression pledge proposed by the PCC (Report 4/83: 1-3).
Apart from gaining its legitimacy from the PCC, the CMFA meetings in turn provided the PCC decisions with the alliance's blessing. The gatherings often seemed to be as much about national positions and common denominators as about the realization of decisions taken by the PCC. Defining the "joint course of the socialist countries at multilateral and bilateral meetings" was equally important (see e.g. Report 10/82: 11). The fact that the CMFA met more regularly and more often than the PCC hints in this direction as well. The CMFA did not just apply PCC positions but was actually the place where debate took place as to what the position should be.
Similar to NATO ministerial meetings, the sessions of the committee took place in a predetermined manner. Important elements were the speech by the Soviet foreign minister—mostly a tour d'horizon on European and world affairs and on the state of disarmament talks—which set the tone of the meeting, followed by lengthy discussions centering on the previously prepared communiqué and minutes, and the all but inevitable exception taken by the Romanian representative. The contributions by the other foreign ministers also showed different accents, but not as bluntly because they at least attempted to stay in tune with the Soviet line. The discussion of the communiqué often spoiled the atmosphere, and its final text could frequently be hammered out only thanks to preparatory work by ad hoc expert groups.
After the short and fragile period of reduced international tension, "détente" started to falter since the mid-1970s. Step by step, a new confrontation between the two superpowers mounted again. After the signing of the Final Act in Helsinki, the relationship between the two superpowers started to deteriorate significantly. Reasons for this evolution lay in differences in the basic conceptions of détente, the failure to use collaborative measures and to define a code of conduct, the continuing arms race, and the failure to relate détente to internal politics. Perceptions and interpretations of intentions of the 'other side' were crucial in this process. A major single factor for the decline of détente on the US side was the Soviet engagement in the Third World.
The Soviet Union and its allies endorsed a different notion of détente than did the United States and retained it longer. This is very well reflected in the in the deliberations of the Committee of Foreign Ministers, where détente was a major theme. At the first CMFA meeting in May 1977, Gromyko asserted that
The two years that have passed since Helsinki have proved that the fraternal socialist states in their joint effort have succeeded in reaching a political level which makes it difficult for the imperialistic aggressive circles to redirect the development of the international situation into the times of the cold or "semi-cold" war. (…) There is no reasonable alternative to détente. (Report 5/1977: 1-2; Gromyko Speech 5/1977: 1)
Czechoslovak foreign minister Bohuslav Chňoupek, at the second CMFA meeting in April 1978, accused the West of turning away from détente, its "tiredness of détente":
Nobody has ever given anybody a guarantee that the process of reducing tensions would be a period of romantic idyll, or of an illusory harmony of any thought and deed. Every realistically thinking politician had to expect – and did expect – a difficult and long-term, though positive, process of the creation of peace. (…) Therefore (…), we can announce, with all due respect, that the policy of reducing tensions has reached in a relatively short historical time totally clear and indisputable successes. (Chňoupek Speech 4/1978: 3)
The Soviet interest in détente persisted well into the 1980s. As late as October 1982, Gromyko denounced the new US administration of President Ronald Reagan as "undermining the process of détente" (Report 10/82: 2). The term 'détente' had become a synonym for the Soviet claim of retaining the spirit of reduced tension despite the American "imperialist" behavior that was blamed as responsible for the deterioration of East-West relations.
In Europe, détente had a life of its own, and it lasted longer than on the bilateral level. The Western European states were more interested in extending their economic and cultural relations with the Soviet Union and Central Europe than in a renewed confrontation (and vice versa). The Soviet Union was very aware of this fact:
The European continent continues on the road to détente. Détente has put down roots deeper than the reactionary circles in certain states would wish. (Report 4/78: 5)
At a reception of the foreign ministers in Moscow more than four years later, the Soviet party leader made a similar point: "I know", Brezhnev said, "that the European states, in spite of pressure of the USA, have a continual interest in the loosening of tension, and often are not afraid to say so openly." (Report 10/82: 2)
One major declared goal of the Warsaw Pact was supplementing political détente with military détente, i.e., disarmament measures. As the Czechoslovak foreign minister reasoned in 1978, "détente could get lost in a dead end, if the feverish armament was not stopped and if passable roads to disarmament were not found." (Chňoupek Speech 4/78: 3-5) But arms control negotiations proved to be difficult as their success depended on other issues that had been deliberately linked to them. In the December 1981 CMFA meeting, Gromyko underscored that the USA were to blame for the fact that disarmament talks had been "interrupted, frozen or led into a dead-end-street" (Report 12/81: 4) The fate of the SALT II agreement – ultimately withdrawn from Senate consideration by US President Jimmy Carter in January 1980 – and the negotiations on strategic arms in Geneva, broken off by the Soviet Union in 1983, illustrated the deadlock resulting from deteriorating Soviet-American relations.
Apart from the disarmament negotiations, the Warsaw Pact saw the CSCE follow-up conferences as conducive to military détente. The relationship between détente and the Helsinki process was complex. The CSCE process, rooted in détente and set in motion after the Final Act, reflected both the rise and the decline of détente, the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the USA, and finally the management and overcoming of the tensions.
The CSCE Process
The CSCE process was fundamental for the foreign ministers' meetings. Not only was the committee the product of the situation that evolved after agreement had been reached on the Final Act, but the CSCE conferences were also counterparts of the CMFA meetings. Not a single CMFA meeting took place without the (declared) preparation of an upcoming or a follow-up of a recent CSCE meeting. The Final Act  was regularly invoked as reference point, and the follow-up meetings of Belgrade (October 1977-March 1978), Madrid (November 1980-September 1983), and Vienna (November 1986-January 1989) as well as the Stockholm Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe (January 1984-November 1986) were major items on CMFA agenda. In fact, according to Gromyko, the only reason for the convening of the first meeting of the committee of foreign ministers was the need to discuss questions related to the forthcoming Belgrade conference. (Gromyko Speech 5/77: 1)
Regarding the Belgrade CSCE conference, the Soviet Union originally intended to only briefly address the implementation of the provisions of the Final Act. The major focus was to be on the announcement of a series of new initiatives, especially in the realm of military détente. Emphasized were the prohibition of the first use of nuclear weapons and the non-enlargement of the existing military alliances in terms of membership (Report 5/77: 2).
The foreign ministers feared the character the Belgrade conference might take: Would it end up as a human rights trial? Although the Czechoslovak foreign minister was convinced that "the truth is on our side", he feared that the West's "ideological campaign" would isolate Prague for its repression of the "Charta 77" civil rights movement. (Chňoupek Speech 5/1977: 4-8) The conference's meager final document mirrored the stalemate between the confrontational US rhetoric and Soviet efforts to counter it in order to prevent unpleasant domestic consequences. As Gromyko remarked, the Belgrade conference reflected the international complications that stemmed from the "turns and indecision of the new American government." (Report 4/78: 5) However, the East's relief at the fact that the conference had not interrupted the process started in Helsinki led to a rather positive assessment of the Belgrade conference in the short run. In retrospect, Belgrade was nevertheless seen as a low point in the CSCE process. (Chňoupek Speech 4/1978: 10 and Report 5/1979: 1, 5)
The Belgrade experience made it clear for the Warsaw Pact that the follow-up conference in Madrid (1980-1983) would have to produce tangible results if the CSCE were not to become a failure. The signs were not too promising, as the conference took place soon after the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, while the Polish crisis resulted in the imposition of martial law, and as NATO's "Euromissile" deployment was about to be realized after the Reagan administration had succeeded the Carter administration.
The main Soviet aim at Madrid was to lay down a conference on military détente and disarmament (Report 5/1979: 3). During the negotiations, however, the Warsaw Pact states had to keep fighting against a policy of confrontation as promoted by the US delegation. The Warsaw Pact's foreign ministers were thus critical whether a positive result was at all reachable. (Report 12/1981: 6) When the CMFA met in April 1983, a tangible result was finally emerging, and the foreign ministers were optimistic about the outcome of the Madrid negotiations. First of all, this was due to the differences in the CSCE notions of the United States and its allies. Persistent Western European delegations were able at last to convince their American ally to continue the CSCE process. Gromyko readily interpreted the outcome as a result of the successful cooperation among the Warsaw Pact states: The socialist states had succeeded in "hitting the bull's eye" by recognizing and acting upon the differences of opinion between the USA and its allies. (Report 10/83: 8)
At the Madrid meeting, the participants defined the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe as an ongoing process and planned a series of additional topical expert meetings besides the next subsequent meeting in Vienna (1986-1989). The Soviet Union ultimately succeeded in having a disarmament conference accepted—the Stockholm negotiations on security- and confidence building measures that took place between 1984 and 1986. They were a major extension of the CSCE process that was up until then focusing on non-military dimensions of security. In fact, by 1984 the Stockholm conference remained the only forum where military negotiations were conducted (see e.g. Report 3/86: 5).
Afghanistan, Poland and Other Non-Issues
Besides the Helsinki process and disarmament questions, issues for potential deliberation in the CMFA included Soviet involvement in the Third World in the second half of the 1970s, most prominently in Afghanistan, and the Polish crisis of 1980-81. The Soviet engagement in Angola and Ethiopia and eventually the Soviet invasion into Afghanistan in December 1979 were highly prominent issues in the Western world. For policymakers in the West, the invasion into Afghanistan was the last evidence for the Soviet aggressiveness that had developed under the disguise of détente, and therefore the single event that brought détente to fall. However, none of these issues was debated at the CMFA meetings. The Soviet invasion into Afghanistan is only mentioned indirectly, namely with regard to the US position at the Madrid CSCE conference. Soviet foreign minister Gromyko put it this way:
It will be necessary to reach an atmosphere of matter-of-fact negotiations and resist the verbal exercises in the spirit of psychological war, as the West had endeavored in Belgrade. This is what the USA will attempt in its efforts to drag the socialist countries into a confrontation by using the myth of the so-called Soviet threat, the Afghanistan issue, and the demagogy of human rights. (Report 10/80: 3)
It was only in the Gorbachev era – at the CMFA meeting in March 1986 – that the issue of Afghanistan came up again. The new Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze informed his colleagues about the state of affairs regarding Afghanistan, the withdrawal of the Soviet troops and the cooperation with the UN.  (Report 3/86: 5)
The Polish crisis that resulted from the rise of the independent trade union Solidarnosc was not subject of any official debate among the foreign ministers, although the economic and social situation deteriorated significantly since summer 1980 and threatened to affect the GDR. In October 1980, the CMFA met in Warsaw. The Polish foreign minister was anxious to give his colleagues and the Polish public an impression of the regime being in control:
The Polish People's Republic paid every attention to the preparation and the good course of the meeting. Resolutely and for domestic reasons it was interested that at the end of the negotiations, a document would be adopted, confirming a normal and regular meeting dealing with a subject defined in advance, i.e. the Madrid meeting and the conference on military détente and disarmament. All delegations stuck with this approach, so that the Polish incidents did not emerge in the preparation of the final document nor in the course of the actual negotiations. (Report 10/80: 1)
The committee served the Polish leaders to demonstrate that everything was fine and normal. A debate among the foreign ministers on the situation in Poland and potential measures to be taken did not take place. The only further mention of the situation in Poland was at the CMFA meeting of 1-2 December 1981, only days before the imposition of martial law. According to the Czechoslovak information report, the Polish foreign minister Józef Czyrek informed his colleagues "in general terms on the current situation in the Polish People's Republic." (Report 12/81: 8)
Furthermore and contrary to what might be expected in view of the strong CSCE focus of the committee, the records hardly reveal anything on issues such as economic cooperation, transportation, energy or environmental questions although the latter were integral part of the CSCE negotiations (the so called "Basket II"). This is all the more surprising as it was primarily the Soviet Union that had promoted the inclusion of economic questions into the Helsinki negotiations. Apart from a short mention at the first CMFA meeting, these issues did not come up again until the Gorbachev era. Economic problems and their affecting the foreign policy of the Warsaw Pact states were only touched upon with regard to US economic pressure and sanctions.
It seems that up to the mid-1980s and in spite of the CMFA's major task being the formulation of common foreign policies, the foreign ministers did not debate foreign policies related to the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact. In the Polish case, other channels were used (party, military). With regard to Afghanistan, the Soviet Union evidently preferred not to initiate its allies into the decisions and the course of the invasion. Moreover, the CMFA meetings seem to have focused on the classical or "hard" security issues.
While delicate intra-bloc foreign and security issues were avoided at least in the official part of the CMFA discussions, Western, especially NATO foreign and security policy permeated the foreign ministers' debates. The double standard applied to their own actions and those of the other bloc was a typical element of the policies of both the United States and the Soviet Union.
Second Cold War
Twenty years after the creation of the Warsaw Pact, the relations with and projections of the West were still an important factor of the Pact's initiatives and its self-image. An essential element in the definition of the Warsaw Pact was the rejection of Western political initiatives. President Jimmy Carter's human rights policy, NATO's "dual-track decision" and the ensuing Euromissile deployment, and Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative caused a genuine Soviet fear and became elements of the CMFA meetings. The latter Western initiatives were the core of what became known as the "Second Cold War".
The deployment of Soviet intermediate-range SS-20 missiles in Europe after 1977 – considered by the Soviets as modernization measure – led Western policy makers to fear a perturbation of the military parity and increased Soviet readiness for aggression. A counteraction was designed and, after a period of agitation, the NATO Council adopted in December 1979 the so-called "dual-track decision" – the decision to deploy in Europe 572 US Pershing II missiles and ground-launched Cruise missiles, all with single warheads, and to launch a broad set of initiatives to further the course of arms control and confidence-building.
In the CMFA, these developments were closely followed. The ministers issued their December 1979 meeting communiqué even one day earlier than planned in the vain hope to exert influence on the NATO Council decision due the next day (Report 12/79: 1). The foreign ministers in a collective Warsaw Pact position addressed the NATO member states as follows:
Supposing the elementary interests of the European nations and the interests of peace on the European continent, the ministers in the name of their states turn to the governments of the states-participants of the North-Atlantic pact with the appeal that they again, in the light of the constructive and peace-loving steps of the Warsaw Treaty states, discuss the emerging situation in Europe and do not undertake actions that would complicate this situation on the continent. (...) The participants in this context proclaimed that the decision to manufacture and deploy new types of American nuclear intermediate-range missiles in Western Europe and the implementation of such a decision would defeat the basis for negotiations. It would be an attempt by NATO to conduct negotiations from a position of strength, which is principally unacceptable to the Warsaw Treaty states. The governments of the NATO states have to be aware of this. (Communiqué 12/79: 3)
"NATO's missile adventure" (Report 4/84: 5) was a recurrent issue in the CMFA meetings between NATO's dual-track decision and the deployment of Pershing II and cruise missiles in West Germany, Italy and the UK starting in 1983. The April 1983 CMFA meeting emphasized the Soviet proposals of December 1982 that were meant to avert the actual missile deployment. (Communiqué 4/83: 3) But when the foreign ministers got together in October 1983, they were aware of the deployment preparations and "the incrementally deteriorating international situation"; they expressed their discontent at the lack of an echo to the Soviet proposals (Report 10/83: 1, 5). Gromyko condemned the violation of the strategic stability through the deployment. (Gromyko Speech 10/83: 2) In April 1984, the foreign ministers met for the first time after the deployment of the Pershing II, which was at the heart of their discussions:
The situation, already very tense, was still aggravated after the beginning of the deployment of American nuclear intermediate-range missiles in certain NATO states. This initiated a new and particularly dangerous stage of reckless nuclear armament on the European continent. The Soviet Union was thus forced to undertake a number of retaliatory measures. The discussions on the nuclear weapons in Europe were stopped. (Communiqué 4/84: 1)
The "countermeasures" included the installation of combat-ready missiles on Czechoslovak and East German territory – an issue that divided the Soviet Union and its allies. While the Czechoslovak foreign minister explained to his colleagues that the deployment was "the necessary counterweight to the progressing deployment of nuclear US and NATO means" (Chňoupek 4/84: 1-2), the East German foreign minister, according to Chňoupek, did not even say a word about the missiles in the German Democratic Republic (Report 4/84: 10). The scarce information on this prominent issue and particularly the fact that it was barely considered by the CMFA can possibly be explained with the fear of the Eastern and Central European allies of the deployment of nuclear weapons on their territory. It was in fact a major damage to East-West relations and endangered the fragile economic ties with the West. 
The Warsaw Pact foreign ministers discussed but perfunctorily President Reagan's March 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative for research and development of a space-based system of defense against strategic ballistic missiles. The program caused a war scare in the Soviet Union. The foreign ministers branded it as another step in the increasingly feverish US armament. At the CMFA meeting of December 1984, the prevention of a "militarization of outer space" was a major point of discussion. (Communiqué 12/84:3f.) The assessment of the SDI was to change radically only after Mikhail Gorbachev's coming to power. (Report 10/86: 9)
A painful thorn in the Warsaw Pact's side was the West's linkage policy – the USA demanding domestic measures, especially in regard to human rights, in return for disarmament concessions, The so-called "Basket III" of the Helsinki Final Act, concerning humanitarian cooperation and the protection of human rights, made the way a sovereign state treated its citizens a legitimate concern of other states. This understanding, however, was denied as "false" by Eastern European governments (Chňoupek Speech 12/79: 8). The Belgrade and Madrid CSCE conferences were moments of heightened attention to the human rights situation in Eastern Europe. In retrospect, the Czechoslovak foreign minister labeled the Western objections as "pseudo-problems": "Crude violations of the Final Act of the Helsinki conference, especially of the so called Basket III, failure to comply with human rights, hackneyed questions regarding so-called dissidents, emigration requests, bringing together of families", and others (Chňoupek Speech 11(12/84): 4). After the human rights question somewhat decreased in urgency, "interference in domestic affairs" remained a concern regularly articulated by the Polish and other foreign ministers (see e.g. Report 10/83:10; Report 12/84: 8).
Differentiation Policy towards the West
The Warsaw Pact continued to brand Western human rights policies as demagogic and symptomatic for US imperialism and its attempts to turn the wheel of history back to confrontation. These policies were responsible for bringing "humanity closer to nuclear war" (Report 12/81: 4). However prominent these initiatives and their respective rejection, the records also reveal a constant and maybe increasing perception of the West as a non-monolithic bloc.
At the CMFA meeting in October 1980, Gromyko singled out differences among Western states:
The USA gets full support from the UK and another one or two NATO states. Further allies such as the FRG, Italy, Belgium, and others are evidently not interested in confrontation, but rather in the continuation of the European process of strengthening security and co-operation. We cannot, however, rely on this. France, which seems positively inclined towards Madrid, needs to be encouraged and her position is to be exploited (…). (Report 10/80: 4; Gromyko Speech 10/1980: 3)
Even at the height of Soviet indignation at the deployment of Pershing II missiles, Gromyko argued:
More and more often we hear prudent voices of many politicians – in Denmark and the Netherlands the majority in the parliaments, in Greece and Sweden even the governments, in the FRG a large segment of the Social Democratic Party. (Report 10/83: 6f.; Gromyko Speech 10/1983: 2f.)
In 1984, after the "Euromissile" episode, Gromyko stated that although the relations with Western Europe had become more difficult, it was not in the interest of the Warsaw Pact to totally interrupt them (Report 4/84: 6). As with regard to the European détente, the Soviet Union was aware of the interest of certain European states in good economic relations with the Warsaw Pact states. (Report 12/81: 5; Gromyko Speech 12/1981: 3-4)
The Warsaw Pact foreign ministers emphasized the importance of supporting the anti-war-movement in Western Europe. The East German foreign minister Oskar Fischer was most prominent in his emphasis of the peace movement that gained momentum especially with the "dual-track decision" debate and the deployment of the Pershing II missiles (see e.g. Report 4/84: 9). It was also recognized as important to propitiate and work on the Western media. The Czechoslovak minister seldom missed mentioning favorable reception of PCC and CMFA proposals in Western media such as Reuters. Such attempts to drive wedges within the West were reminiscent of Western attempts to do the same in regard to the Soviet bloc.
If the raison d'être of the WTO political organs was their providing fora for reaching agreement within a predetermined set of assumptions, the handling of intra-bloc disagreements had to be dealt with by compromise. This seemed to apply especially for the relations within the Warsaw Pact during and after détente. The Soviet Union had to worry about the unity of the socialist countries and the obtaining of consensus. In 1983, according to the Soviet foreign minister, the success of the political work of the socialist countries vis-à-vis the American nuclear policy in Europe depended on joint determination:
They must realize in Washington and other NATO capitals that we speak with one voice, and understand that our countries are motivated by the same intention, and are acting coordinately, with firmness and in a decisive way. (Gromyko Speech 10/83: 4)
Many CMFA procedures and practices were reminiscent of the semi-annual ministerial NATO meetings, where the foreign (and defense) ministers came together to discuss current world affairs and their implications for the alliance as well as intra-alliance questions. Reaching a consensus on the communiqué was similarly central in both alliances. At the CMFA meetings, bargaining on the communiqué – as the result to be publicized – required long hours. The search for mutually acceptable formulations made the term "compromise" a key word in the CMFA records. Watered-down communiqués omitting controversial topics were the rule rather than the exception. The concluding formula of "the confirmation of the unity of the socialist countries, states of the Warsaw Pact" often fell victim to the Romanian veto. (see e.g. Report 4/84: 2)
The Romanian delegation often made discussion arduous. Since the late 1950s and early 1960s, Romania frequently followed an independent course and seldom got in line with the other Warsaw Pact states. Its denunciation of Soviet policies and alignment with the West were endured by the Soviet Union because Romania was strategically the least important member of the alliance, surrounded by communist countries. Moreover, it always fell short of defying the most important Soviet policies.  The Romanian opposition in the CMFA concerned almost all agenda items, from the date of issuing the communiqué to the further institutionalization of CMFA structures, from blaming the USA for the deterioration of the international situation to participation in arms control talks.
Romanian proposals aimed at blocking initiatives promoted by the Soviet or other foreign ministers. Such "obstructionist points of view" (Report 12/79: 9) motivated, for example, the Romanian position on the date of the PCC meeting that was to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Warsaw Treaty in 1980 (Report 12/79: 6) or the legalistic attitude towards the preparation of the 30-year celebration of the alliance, with Romania insisting that only the PCC was in a position to discuss the issue (Report 12/84: 3). The Romanian delegate also kept advancing publicly appealing proposals, calculated to embarrass the Soviet Union, such as the call for a freezing of military expenditures, to be followed by 10-15% cuts, the freezing and reduction of troops and armaments, ban on the creation of new military bases in foreign territory, the establishment of nuclear-free zones, the avoidance of military exercises in border areas. Another Romanian idea was the creation of an all-European body to deal with all questions relating to security and cooperation – a proposal going far beyond the CSCE framework. (see e.g. Report 4/78:10; Report 5/79:7; Report 12/81: 9f.; Report 12/84:11f.) Before the Gorbachev era, only Romania advocated unilateral troop and armament reductions by the Warsaw Pact states, and was firmly rebuffed (Report 12/79: 3). The one Romanian postulate that was to be partly realized, even prematurely, was the demand for the simultaneous dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and NATO by 2000 . . . (Report 3/86:11)
The Romanian minister was the only one to openly criticize Soviet political initiatives or the lack of them. He charged that the arms control negotiations on intermediate-range missiles in Geneva were not conducted with the firm intention to succeed (Report 12/81: 9f.) and balked at attributing responsibility for the deterioration of the international situation solely on the United States (Report 10/83: 2). In contrast to the Soviet Union, Romania took the view that the French and British missiles should be exempted from the Geneva totals (Report 10/83: 12f.). The Romanian position sometimes foreshadowed that of the other Warsaw Pact members. Thus, for example, Romania judged the CSCE Belgrade conference a failure immediately after the event, whereas the other foreign ministers, though tired of the confrontations in Belgrade, tried to read positive contents into its results (Report 4/78: 9). By May 1979, however, they joined Romania in their highly negative evaluation (Report 5/79: 1).
The contrast between Romanian and majority views was palpable. As Chňoupek observed,
Even if it is known that in regard to some international problems, certain nuances exist in the points of view of particular states, it has to be said that in many questions the positions of the RSR have departed so far from the common line of the states of the Warsaw Treaty that practically nobody could support them and that the basic points of view of the USSR, BPR, ·SSR, HPR, GDR and the PPR were in agreement. (Report 4/84: 2)
There were usually but two positions – one being the norm, the other the deviation. A symptomatic May 1979 assessment by the Czechoslovak foreign minister illustrates this attitude: Chňoupek was bemused that the Romanian foreign minister dared to arrogate the call of a UN conference on the Middle East in Geneva, "although a day and a half before comrade Gromyko had clearly declared that these proposals are inspired by the USA, Israel and Egypt." (Report 5/79: 8) Indignant, the Czechoslovak foreign minister described the Romanian proposals as a hodgepodge of some Warsaw Pact ideas and maximum demands by developing countries meant to make an impression of "originality" (Report 4/78: 10). In December 1984, the Romanian proposal to bring to a halt not only the deployment of US missiles in Europe, but also the Soviet retaliatory measures made the Romanian foreign minister appear in Chňoupek’s eyes as dangerously close to Reagan and his zero option of demanding the removal of all SS-20 missiles from Europe and Asia (Report 12/84: 2f.).
In fact, Romania never totally dissociated itself from its allies, and in the end signed all CMFA communiqués. But the Romanian dissidence tended to minimize the differences among other members of the alliance. Still, other alliance members introduced independent topics and priorities related to their domestic priorities. For the Czechoslovak foreign minister, the "so called human rights question" was paramount (see e.g. Chňoupek Speech 5/77: 4-8 or Chňoupek Speech 10/82: 7). Otherwise, he toed the Soviet line with special diligence, as befit a representative of the “normalized” post-1968 Czechoslovak regime. The foreign minister of the GDR belabored the threat inherent in West Germany’s alleged desire for nuclear weapons, demanding strong support for the anti-war movement in Western Europe (see e.g. Report 12/81: 9 or Report 12/84: 9-10). The Hungarians often promoted multilateral European cooperation in preparation for CSCE meetings. In regard to the Madrid conference, the Hungarian foreign minister urged "greater flexibility of the socialist countries" and "a truthful exchange of information" among the Warsaw Pact allies. (Report 12/81: 8) Bulgaria supported efforts for cooperation in the Balkans (see e.g. Report 12/81:9) The Polish foreign minister regularly harped on two themes: West German "revanchism" and US pressure. He portrayed Bonn’s policy as being aimed at reversing the territorial results of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences, thus endangering Poland's possession of its formerly German northern and western territories. (see e.g. Olszowski Speech 10/82: 4 or Report 10/83: 11) US interference in Poland’s "domestic affairs" and economic sanctions against Poland became the main targets after the declaration of martial law in December 1981. Foreign minister Stefan Olszowski told his colleagues:
Currently, we are, apart from the Soviet Union, the main target of US assault. Constant political assaults, the breaking of agreements and commitments, a far-reaching system of economic sanctions, and constant propagandistic aggression are examples of US blackmail. (Olszowski Speech 10/82: 2)
Attempts at Institutionalization
Attempts at reforming the CMFA structure revealed different facets of interdependence of the Warsaw Pact member states, their quest for national policies, as well as Romanian obstructionism. The attempts at further institutionalization originated not only with the Soviet Union, but also Czechoslovakia and Poland. Already two years after the establishment of the committee, the Czechoslovak foreign minister Chňoupek in May 1979 spoke about "the need for expanded activities." Similar views were advanced specifically by the Polish and East German ministers, as well as in more general terms by other ministers, with the usual exception of Romania. (Report 5/79: 4) At a reception for the CMFA in Moscow in October 1982, Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev expressed his satisfaction about the "solid place" that the committee had made for itself within the framework of the Warsaw Pact and beyond. (Report 10/82: 2). The continued attempts to improve the functioning of the CMFA, however, belied his satisfaction. At their April 1983 meeting, the ministers agreed that it was
necessary to improve and institutionalize the mechanisms of the Warsaw Treaty first of all through regular meetings of its bodies – the PCC and the committee of foreign ministers (…) –, through more frequent meetings of the deputy foreign ministers, and through the establishment of expert working groups for the more detailed negotiation and preparation of professional-political foundations for the discussion in the committee of ministers. (Report 4/83: 9)
The April 1983 meeting (Minutes 4/83: 2f.) decided to set up three Warsaw Pact working groups. Two of them would deal with the preparation of talks with NATO states on the reduction of military expenditures and prohibition of chemical weapons in Europe. The third group was to address the activities of the joint secretariat and the mechanisms of cooperation inside the Warsaw Pact. (Report 4/83: 4)
Half a year later, several decisions concerning the development of cooperation mechanisms were adopted. However, Romanian opposition thwarted the planned creation in Moscow of a permanent group for information exchange. The Romanian foreign minister, for his part, proposed the creation of a working group in Bucharest that would deal with disarmament and another to address the question of nuclear-free zones in Europe. His colleagues successfully opposed both proposals, launching instead a further working group, designed to prepare for talks with NATO on banning the use of military force. (Report 10/83: 1, 6)
In April 1984, the Polish foreign minister Stefan Olszowski proposed to create a working group to prepare an agreement on the extension of the period of validity of the Warsaw Treaty, a proposal that found support by all member states, except Romania. Even though the Polish delegation produced two compromise proposals, the Romanian side rejected them on grounds that the question had to be discussed and settled on the highest political level, namely, the PCC. No mention of the debate was included in the minutes. (Report 4/84: 4) At the December meeting of the same year, the subgroup that prepared the minutes produced a compromise formulation that postponed further consideration of the issue. (Report 12/84: 3) It seems that the discussion about the renewal of the alliance was subsequently drawn from the CMFA – in any case, the Warsaw Pat was renewed.
By seeking to define further alliance activities and promoting Warsaw Pact identity, Poland sought to be instrumental in shaping the alliance according to its priorities. What applied in the 1960s, namely that "[s]ome of the allies wanted the pact to be looser, others more effective", remained true also for the day to day business of the alliance in later years.
Parallel with the development of the CMFA and other Warsaw Pact bodies, the role of the deputy foreign ministers was increasing. Besides preparing the minutes and the communiqués of the foreign minister meetings, the deputies began to play a seminal role by 1980, when the foreign ministers assigned to them additional tasks in relation with the CSCE meetings. For example, not only the preparation of common policy, procedure and tactics for the Madrid conference but also the hammering out of its final document took place in meetings of the deputy foreign ministers (Report 10/80: 3; Report 4/83: 9f.) Preparation of the Stockholm CSCE conference was also entrusted to the deputies. Although the deputies never acted as a formal agency, their meetings were assessed as being part of the Warsaw Pact structure. (Report 10/83: 6)
The deputy foreign ministers tended to engage in more candid discussion than their superiors did in the more formalized CMFA. Together with the increased use of expert working groups, this development reflected the need to prepare the foreign ministers' debates and decisions in order to effectively coordinate the national positions and control the consequences of polycentrism.
The March 1986 CMFA meeting took place in a radically changed atmosphere. Having been in office since March 1985, the new Soviet party General Secretary Mikhail S. Gorbachev adopted within a year a novel foreign and security policy. It aimed at finishing the arms race, reactivating arms control and disarmament issues, making military doctrine more defensive, and establishing a lasting détente with the West. Together with the Gorbachev's policy of openness (glasnost), the changes introduced by the 27th party congress affected the foreign ministers' meetings in direct and manifold ways. The CMFA meeting of March (Report 3/86:1) not only put on its agenda such previously taboo subjects as the war in Afghanistan, but also began to introduce changes in the CMFA meetings, including genuine debates and closed ministerial sessions.
Gromyko's successor Eduard Shevardnadze began to inform his colleagues candidly about the goals and problems of Soviet foreign and security policy while encouraging genuine exchange of opinion about it. At the March 1986 meeting of the CMFA, he critically assessed the work of the committee:
We all have a feeling of great satisfaction at having achieved last year a new level of political cooperation among the Warsaw Treaty member states. (…) The coordination of work among our ministries is getting better and more flexible. Our cooperation has always rested on vital comradely foundations. Nevertheless, we need to recognize that we still have considerable reserves in this regard. Let's agree that we have no forbidden and secret issues at our consultations, and this on all levels. Let's lay down as a rule: less formalism, more direct comradely contacts. (Shevardnadze Speech 3/86: 18f.)
Shevardnadze's Czechoslovak colleague admitted the persistence of “much formalism and irregularity" (Report 3/86: 14). At the following meeting, the Soviet foreign minister elaborated that
Our alliance originated as a military defensive alliance and it still works as such. But in the current situation, its political function – and I emphasize this – has been growing, and will certainly grow even more, namely, its task as a generator of major peace initiatives, as a mechanism for the realization of the peace-loving foreign policy of the fraternal parties and states. (Shevardnadze Speech 10/86: 18)
To reduce "formalism," in March 1986 the CMFA decided to hold informal closed sessions of the ministers immediately before or after their regular meetings. Even the Romanians welcomed this innovation while Chňoupek extolled the advent of "open and comradely atmosphere." The informal session focused on the creation of the alliance’s permanent working mechanism, possibly in the form of a secretariat, improvement in the quality of the adopted documents adopted by the committee (less verbiage, more substance), and simplification of the minutes kept. (Report 3/86: 12-14)
Under Gorbachev, the CMFA changed not only in form but also in substance. In his speech at the October 1986 meeting, Shevardnadze provided his colleagues with details of the Reykjavik summit between Gorbachev and Reagan that had taken place only days before. He argued that despite the lack of concluding documents, Reagan and Gorbachev had agreed in principle on a number of questions. He insisted that
We must realistically evaluate two alternatives: 1) Insist on our positions and react with the same boosting of armament. This is possible, but undesirable from any point of view. 2) Propose a compromise, delaying and limiting the work on the Strategic Defense Initiative. This is a realistic and productive approach. (Shevardnadze Speech 10/86: 9)
Arms control was the major issue at the CMFA meetings after the Soviet Union's unconditional return to the Geneva INF (intermediate-range nuclear forces) negotiations. In June, the PCC meeting urged the cessation of nuclear tests and complete removal of US and Soviet intermediate-range missiles. The participants of a meeting of the deputy foreign ministers and representatives of the respective Central Committees in Moscow in August took note of Gorbachev's preceding exposition on the test stop issue. On 2 September, the deputy foreign ministers met to prepare the CSCE conference in Vienna, and on October 14, the foreign ministers listened to Shevardnadze's report on the summit meeting in Reykjavik. These open briefings reflected the new Soviet conviction that progress was only attainable by taking into account the interests of all parties, including the different alliance members. The revision of Soviet security policy aimed at fostering the Warsaw Pact through greater flexibility – not at weakening or dismissing it. The foreign ministers approved of the new Soviet methods and the novel agenda. However, the affirmative reception of the changed Soviet analysis of the international situation by the foreign ministers reminded strongly of the previous toeing of Soviet policy.
As the foreign ministers readily adopted the new Soviet line, the CMFA meetings of the late 1980s performed according to this fresh wind. Contrary to the Warsaw Pact defense ministers, the foreign ministers, with the exception of the Romanian representative, followed the new Soviet line faithfully. A rationale for this may be sought in their larger international experience in European political praxis and in the tangible benefits they expected the new line to offer. In March 1987, the ministers professed a new willingness to engage in international dialogue, for the first time not reluctant to adopt Western measuring of their countries’ human rights performance. At the 16th CMFA meeting in March 1988, Shevardnadze again urged improvement of the political mechanisms of the Warsaw Pact. The perfection of the cooperation mechanisms of the Warsaw Treaty remained a continual task of the CMFA up to the dissolution of the alliance, as constructive instructions for the foreign ministers by their government were lacking as late as April 1989. At the same time, Mikhail Gorbachev voiced his satisfaction at the disappearance of formalistic elements in the agency's work.
In this end phase of the Warsaw Pact, the CSCE process was as important as ever for the work of the foreign ministers. The Soviet Union kept emphasizing the need for joint Warsaw Pact performance at the CSCE conference in Vienna, especially with regard to the reduction of conventional troops and armaments. By the CMFA meeting of April 1989, however, the foreign ministers pursued different national paths and were no longer prepared to homogenize their policies in every respect. With regard to the human rights question, Hungary and Poland voiced their readiness to accept Western claims. While Poland depicted the CSCE Vienna document as "guaranteeing the irreversibility of the inner reform process", East Germany depicted the current state of the CSCE process as prompting no euphoria whatsoever.
In October 1989, Shevardnadze called for a transformation of the Warsaw Pact from a military-political to a political-military structure, free from ideological content. He characterized the Warsaw Pact under the new conditions as amounting to a "real balance of national and security interests of the participating states". Poland that had no communist government anymore affirmed its alliance obligations, but opposed any obligations that would affect the internal order of the member states. Hungary clung to its right as a sovereign state to shape its internal order in accordance with the Helsinki principles. The foreign ministers thus disagreed in their perception and assessment of the most important alliance questions. At the Malta summit in December 1989, Gorbachev still sought to align the Warsaw Pact to NATO patterns as a means of political dialogue. But by then, the meaning of security had changed radically, and with regard to the Warsaw Pact foreign ministers, questions on the state and society transformation by far outweighed the interest to coordinate foreign policy in the framework of the alliance. The unification of Germany to come made the preservation of the Warsaw Pact (and NATO) in its existing form impossible. – At their meeting of 25 February 1991, the Warsaw Pact's foreign and defense ministers terminated the military functions of the alliance effective March 31. On July 1, 1991, the Warsaw Pact was ended with the dissolution of its political remnants.
In their late 1980s meetings, the Warsaw Pact foreign ministers displayed old and new habits. Romania acted as it did before: It kept opposing the Soviet line also in the Gorbachev era. While the other foreign ministers in the early Gorbachev period entirely concurred with the new Soviet views, they increasingly began to emphasize national preferences in the late 1980s. In the Polish and Hungarian cases, these preferences approached Western views – in the human rights question often concurring with the new Soviet line –, whereas East Germany and Czechoslovakia retained attitudes and views attached to the previous socialist line. Benefiting from (and promoting) lesser cohesion of the system under Gorbachev, the foreign ministers became what they in fact were: national representatives.
The records of the Warsaw Pact's Committee of Foreign Ministers reveal greater diversity of opinion than projected by the painstakingly maintained façade of unanimity. Even apart from the maverick Romania, which used the CMFA meetings to oppose Soviet initiatives and advance its own, other members of the alliance tried to pursue their special preferences and priorities together with rather than in opposition to Moscow. Domestic considerations often determined the focus of foreign policy. Poland targeted West German "revanchism" as a threat to the country’s territorial integrity and, after 1981, US sanction policy as an obstacle to its economic recovery. Invoking Bonn’s alleged nuclear ambitions, East Germany feared above all the political preponderance of the Federal Republic. Hungary championed regional cooperation across ideological boundaries to increase in own freedom of action. Bulgaria similarly sought to enhance its regional status by promoting Balkan cooperation. Because of the growing importance of national interests at the expense of ideological uniformity, many decisions could only be reached by compromise. Not merely an instrument of Moscow’s control over its allies, the CMFA was increasingly a means to create and maintain alliance consensus.
Still, there were limits to diversity. Open critique to Soviet policy was a delicate matter, as several Warsaw Pact states repeatedly learned. Conformity was the rule, while opposition was the Romanian exception, made possible by the country’s relative strategic insignificance. Unlike at NATO’s ministerial meetings, where the Vietnam War and other controversial actions of the alliance’s leading member often heated up debate, Soviet conduct seldom figured in the CMFA discussions. Foreign policy concerned almost exclusively relations between the blocs.
"Détente" (as a reality and a reference point) and the CSCE process were formative for the CMFA. Unlike the Warsaw Pact’s defense ministers, its foreign ministers were inclined toward détente even at times when it was no more real. Verbal commitment to détente and the CSCE process served to legitimize their joint work. The remarkably consistent language of their texts conveyed a system of values and beliefs within which they lived and worked. Only under Gorbachev did the cohesion of the system begin to break down.
The Gorbachev era in many regards radically changed the work of the CMFA. Substantive information and even consultation by the Soviet Union substituted for crude setting of the agenda by the Soviet foreign minister. The CMFA was complemented by an array of subcommittees and working groups. Ad hoc meetings and informal sessions were introduced. The meetings of the deputy foreign ministers, though never institutionalized, gradually gained in importance and eventually outgrew the CMFA.
To sum up, the CMFA was an important additional channel through which the Soviet Union maintained alliance consensus on the main issues of foreign policy. Even if the committee was "just one small part of the overall foreign policy relationships of the wider socialist community," its communiqués were interpreted as documents of high political significance. Analogous to PCC declarations, they were understood as conveying authoritative evaluation of the international situation and formulation of policy goals. The committee served the Soviet Union well in legitimizing its foreign policy. With the exception of Romania, the foreign ministers habitually concurred with the Soviet analysis and the Soviet proposals. This did not change in the Gorbachev era, either; they agreed with the changed Soviet views as they had always done. When the decisive moment came, the CMFA therefore did not change but simply fell by the wayside.
ANNA LOCHER is research assistant at the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, Switzerland, working on NATO's international history in 1955-67 and the Parallel History Project. She is writing a Ph.D. dissertation on the mid-1960s bargaining over NATO’s purpose and future in view of changing threat perceptions and a renewed European strength. For the Parallel History Project, she has worked on and annotated the CMFA records from the Prague Foreign Ministry Archives and from SAPMO Berlin published in this collection.
Neil Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization: A Political and Organizational Analysis (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1990)
Raymond Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1994)
Raymond Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1994)
Gerard Holden, The Warsaw Pact: Soviet Security and Bloc Politics (Oxford and New York: Basil Blackwell, 1989)
Wilfried Loth. Helsinki, 1. August 1975: Entspannung und Abrüstung (München: dtv, 1998)
Vojtech Mastny, The Helsinki Process and the Reintegration of Europe, 1986-1991 (London: Pinter, 1992)
Vojtech Mastny, Reassuring NATO: Eastern Europe, Russia, and the Western Alliance (Oslo: IFS, 1997)
Vojtech Mastny, Learning from the Enemy: NATO as a Model for the Warsaw Pact (Zurich: Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research, 2001)
Peter Schlotter, Die KSZE im Ost-West-Konflikt (Frankfurt/Main: Campus, 1998)
Odd Arne Westad (ed.), The Fall of Détente: Soviet-American Relations during the Carter Years (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1997).
 The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe included all European states with the exception of Albania. It followed negotiations in the first half of the 1970s that produced the Final Act, the so-called Helsinki Agreement, signed in 1975 in the Finnish Capital.
 Meetings took place in 1959, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, and 1975.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 63f.
 Memorandum from the Deputy Foreign Minister, Otto Winzer, to Walter Ulbricht, 23 April 1959; Draft of Communiqué of Meeting (27-28 April 1959), both in Stiftung der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR (SAPMO, Berlin) DY/30, 3392. See also Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 80.
 Letter from Khrushchev to Ulbricht, 2 January 1964, SAPMO Berlin, DY/30, 3387.
 Speech by Andrei A. Gromyko, 30 October 1969, SAPMO Berlin, DY/30, 3399, 2a-23b, 5. See also Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 81.
 See in this regard the PHP online collection on the CMD with an analytical introduction by Christian Nünlist (www.isn.ethz.ch/php).
 Mastny, Learning from the Enemy, 34.
 PCC communiqué, Pravda, 27 November 1976, quot. in Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 63; similarly in Holden, The Warsaw Pact, 16-17. The status of the Joint Secretariat that was established after a secretariat was supposed to have been created in 1956 already, is obscure – for an account of the diverse classifications see Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 47, 65.
 Holden, The Warsaw Pact, 25; Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 82.
 Holden, The Warsaw Pact, 24.
 Mastny, Reassuring, 28-35.
 Holden, The Warsaw Pact, 24f. (quot. from 24); Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 139.
 Mastny, Learning from the Enemy, 35.
 Pravda 27 May 1977, quot. in Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 64 and 82.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 82 and 64.
 In 1977, 1978, and 1980-1982, the CMFA met once a year, in 1979 and 1983-1989, twice a year. In 1985, there was no CMFA meeting.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 64.
 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, 1125-1146; Westad, The Fall of Détente, 18-25; Loth, 1. August 1975, 164, 170f.
 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, 1125-1129, 1137; Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 3
 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, 1141; Loth, 1. August 1975, 185; Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 3; Hanhimäki, Détente in Perspective, 333.
 Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 5; Schlotter, Die KSZE, 75.
 Schlotter, Die KSZE, 74; Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 1-5.
 The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), designed to foster improved East-West dialogue, was launched in 1972. The CSCE process resulted in the adoption of the Helsinki Final Act. In this document, the 35 participating states of the CSCE agreed to recognize their mutual interest in improving security through confidence building measures. The agreement laid down principles for the conduct of relations between states, including among others: Respect for sovereignty; renunciation of the use of force for settling disputes; peaceful settlement of disputes; non-intervention in internal affairs; respect for human rights; territorial integrity of states; the inviolability of frontiers. Or, in other words, the Soviet Union succeeded to lay down the existing political division in Europe and economic inter-bloc cooperation, whereas the West was able to incorporate the respect of human rights. Loth, 1. August 1975; Mastny, The Helsinki Process.
 Schlotter, Die KSZE, 75; Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 1-5.
 Schlotter, Die KSZE, 75f.
 Schlotter, Die KSZE, 76-79. Major arguments among the Western allies were focussed on what détente entailed. Whereas the European position favoured an unconditioned détente that was not instrumental to the goal of a liberalization in Eastern Europe, the USA wanted to tie détente to domestic changes in the socialist camp.
 Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 1-5.
 Westad, The Fall of Détente, 18-25.
 Lundestad, 'Imperial Overstretch', 10.
 For an overview over the Polish crisis, see Loth, Overcoming, 109-115; Loth, 1. August 1975, 217-226.
 Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, 1137.
 Holden, The Warsaw Pact, 36ff.
 Mastny, The Helsinki Process, 2.
 Holden, The Warsaw Pact, 25.
 Regarding Romania's position in the alliance, see Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 193-196; Garthoff, When and Why Romania distanced itself from the Warsaw Pact, Cold War International History Project Bulletin 5 (Spring 1995). For early Romanian dissidence already at the second PCC meeting in 1958, see Vojtech Mastny's preface to the PHP collection on the PCC's 1958 meeting at http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php.
 Mastny, Reassuring NATO, 30.
 Garthoff, The Great Transition, 203-220.
 For an overview over the foreign policy changes introduced by Gorbachev, see Lundestad, 'Imperial Overstretch', 8-15; Loth, 1. August 1975, 232-272.
 Eberhard Schulz. Einheit in der Vielfalt – das neue Motto der sowjetischen Osteuropapolitik? In: Sowjetunion 1986/87: Ereignisse, Probleme, Perspektiven. Hg. BIOst. Köln 1987, 272-274.
 Mastny, Reassuring NATO, 40.
 Bericht über die 14. turnusmässige Tagung des Komitees der Minister für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages am 24. und 25. März 1987 in Moskau, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2453, 214-222.
 Bericht über die 16. turnusmässige Tagung des Komitees der Minister für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages am 29. und 30. März 1988 in Sofia, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2640, 45-57, 52f.
 Bericht über die 18. Tagung des Komitees der Minister für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages am 11. und 12. April 1989 in Berlin, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2863, 29-35.
 Shevardnadze's speech at the March 1988 CMFA meeting in Sofia, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2640, 64-67.
 Bericht über die 17. turnusmässige Tagung des Komitees der Minister für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten der Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages am 28. und 29. Oktober 1988 in Budapest, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2739.
 Bericht über die 18. Tagung des Komitees der Aussenminister der Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages am 11. und 12. April 1989 in Berlin, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2800, 183-190, 185.
 Bericht über die 19. Tagung des Komitees der Aussenminister der Teilnehmerstaaten des Warschauer Vertrages am 26. und 27. Oktober 1989 in Warschau, SAPMO Berlin, DC/20/I/3, 2863, 29-35, 35. See also Mastny, Reassuring NATO, 42.
 Mastny, Reassuring NATO, 43-49.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 64, 82.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 138. Anatolii Gribkov, the Warsaw Pact Chief of Staff in an article in Izvestiya in 1985 classified the CMFA as but one important link in the co-ordination and co-operation of the activities on international affairs. Ib: 64.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, 64.