Speech of the General Secretary of the CPSU (Gorbachev) at the Sofia Political Consultative Committee Meeting, 22.10.85 


Dear comrades!

Twice this year have we had the opportunity to conduct multilateral discussions on the international situation — in Moscow and in Warsaw. Life itself has confirmed our evaluations and conclusions. [...]

Mankind is facing a historic transitional period, during which either the arms race and military threat will be stopped or the forces pushing humanity towards nuclear catastrophe will prevail. The present world situation remains tense and perilous.


There have been no serious moves in the disarmament sphere.  Preparations for war continue. The U.S. is carrying out its gigantic space weapons program and constantly designs and manufactures new weapons.  The military potential of the other members of NATO is increasing as well.  American first-strike missiles are being placed in Western Europe. It is a reason for special concern that the arms race is a basis on which the USA and its closest allies build their adventuristic strategic policy concepts. They are planning to win over socialism through war or military blackmail. [...]

Exactly this was on Reagan's mind when, in a speech held at the British Parliament, he proclaimed an "Anti-Communist crusade". [...]

In the end of 70s-beginning of 80s US top echelons started hoping that they would be able to use their considerable technical and technological advantage against the socialist economies. Washington's conclusion regarding problems with economic development of our countries has also played its role.


 Nowadays, only our community [of socialist states] can prevent a nuclear war. [...] Our community has done much to keep Europe peaceful, to prevent the nuclear catastrophe. But the complexity of today's situation suggests the necessity of finding new steps, new solutions which could lead to the end of the arms race. And the Soviet Union is making and proposing such steps.

The Soviet Union has voluntarily taken the obligation not to be the first country to send arms into space. Unilaterally, we have declared a moratorium on nuclear explosions and on the deployment of medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe. Moreover, we have cut the number of our nuclear weapons.


Due to common effort, we have managed to raise such questions as nonuse of power, creation of nuclear-free zones, removal from Europe of chemical weapons, and creation of corridors where such weapons would not be placed.


[…] The states of the socialist community, acting individually and collectivelly, have proposed a program of integrated measures, the realization of which would create a breakthrough in international affairs, and make them turn toward détente.

[...] The first two rounds of the Soviet-American talks in Geneva […] have shown that the USA did not seriously consider preventing the arms race either in space or on Earth. The talks were used by the US to cover up their actions, aimed at gaining military superiority. [...]

Now we have proposed a new set of initiatives — almost entirely on disarmament questions.  We have stated that we are ready to cut in half the number of Soviet and American nuclear weapons which could reach another country's territory, if space weapons are prohibited. [...]  

The USSR also proposes that a distinction be made between medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe and strategic weapons in space.  [...] We have also suggested that talks on this be held with France and Great Britain. [...]

Obviously, our proposals were unexpected by the Americans. [...] Washington lacks the real will to make important decisions. Apparently, the US counted on the propagandistic effect of the fact of the Geneva meeting having taken place, and did not plan for any compromise regarding the issues which are now vital for the whole world. [...]

We were decisively against the attempt to devalue the content of the meeting, and have involved the Americans in a discussion about a broader range of questions. [...]

We have informed the leaders of the fraternal parties about the main stages of preparation for the meeting in Geneva.  Our Minister of Foreign Affairs [Eduard Shevardnadze] is flying from Sofia to New York for a meeting with [George] Shultz.  In the beginning of November, Shultz may come to Moscow.  In time before our meeting with Reagan and at the meeting itself, we will do our best to secure a constructive outcome.

On the other hand, we do not have illusions about meeting a different Reagan in Geneva, about his readiness for serious and concrete decisions. The question is: what shall we do, if this time Washington will once again oppose the end of the arms race? [...]

The Soviet Union has already shown its good will [...] But we cannot neglect our security and the security of the [socialist] community. And if the Americans insist on their militaristic line, we would have to do everything to show the world who is responsible for a new turn of the arms race, and who is trying to stop it.

The ruling circles of the USA and imperialism as a whole cannot ignore the military-strategic parity between the USSR and the USA, the Warsaw Treaty [Organization] and NATO [...] But we do not consider this an optimal situation. [...] We need to force imperialism to undertake concrete steps toward disarmament and normalization of the situation in the world.

The military course of the US is causing growing concerns in Western Europe. [...] In these circumstances, an active and coordinated policy of our community toward western Europe is growing in importance. [...]

The main way [toward reaching our goals] is the struggle for the reduction of the scale of the military deployments, most importantly in the nuclear field. [...]

We have informed you in detail about the outcome of our talks with [French President François] Mitterrand. [...] I would like to note that in private conversation the French President was trying to demonstrate his congenial attitude, even trust [toward us], reiterating his skepticism toward American policy and Reagan.


[Thanks to the success of these talks] the stereotype of "Soviet military threat" is being seriously undermined. It is now important to [...] be more active in other fields of the struggle for the reduction of military danger in Europe – the elimination of chemical weapons, creation of nuclear-free zones, [fulfillment] of the Stockholm agreements on confidence-building measures.

The political course of such a major European power as the FRG is of considerable importance for all our countries. [...]

Not long ago we informed you about [West German chancellor Helmut] Kohl's letter, in which stated the interest of the ruling coalition in developing relations with the socialist countries.


We have started a dialogue with the "Common Market", but, obviously, it is developing too slowly. [...] Its political importance is evident: for the first time there is the prospect of a dialogue with the leading West European states without the participation of the USA.


Speaking about other reserves in the foreign policy field, [...] one should mention the anti-militarism and anti-nuclear movements. [...] We should help those who participate in the struggle against militarism to evaluate the situation realistically. [...] Even the best speeches or the most polite talks cannot replace practical actions.


Comrades! As we agreed earlier, today we shall also discuss the question of the scientific and technical development, which has acquired prime importance.

In the first place, about our evaluation of Reagan's "Strategic Defense Initiative". Its militaristic nature is obvious. But the idea of the SDI is broader. Its purpose is to secure the permanent technological superiority of the West, not only over the socialist community, but over [the US] allies as well.

[...] We understand the dangerous outcome that may follow [the implementation] of the SDI. Certainly, we will take measures to neutralize it. [...] Yet the Americans are already  running tests of the major components of  fragmentation space weapons. Apparently they want to put their military-industrial complex [...] into a situation which no American administration would be able to reverse. If this were to happen, we would have to make our own military-technological decisions, although this would be the last thing we would want to do.

As for "Eureka", not everything is yet clear; the project is on the implementation stage. [...] We hardly need to doubt that "Eureka"s concept goes along the general Western line of a "programmed technological lag" of the socialist community.[...]

What, to our mind, should be the position of the socialist states in such circumstances?

We are against a "technological war" in principle, and we welcome concrete collaboration in this field. [...]

We cannot exclude the possibility that there will be a possibility of cooperation with the "Eureka" project.


The Warsaw Treaty, as we all agree, provides us with good opportunities for the coordination of our foreign policies. At the same time, we should not spare attempts to improve [the coordination of] our policy mechanisms. [...]

[...] It would be useful to create a working group on current mutual information within the Warsaw Treaty. If this is acceptable for our friends, we would propose that such group be established in Moscow. Our representative will be a Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs. It should be possible to settle this question at the next session of the Committee of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

I would also like to mention an issue which is now a subject of much political speculation—the issue of human rights. It is quite undeservedly conceded to our opponents. [...] It is important to reveal the "vulnerable points" of the West, and most importantly, to assert our basic principles on approaching this question.


The Soviet delegation expresses satisfaction at our gathering here on the eve of the Soviet-American high-level talks.

After this exchange of ideas among the leaders of our fraternal states and after ascertaining their support, I will speak with the U.S. president on behalf of the entire socialist community.


[Source: Bulgarian Central State Archives, Sofia, Fond 1b, Opis 35, a.e. 1025-85, p. 1-17. Translation by Vania Petkova and Anya Jouravel]

previously on the Internet at : http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php/documents/collection_2/docs/851022.htm