by the George Washington University’s National Security Archive, December 12, 2017
Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner
U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s famous “not one inch eastward” assurance about NATO expansion in his meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on February 9, 1990, was part of a cascade of assurances about Soviet security given by Western leaders to Gorbachev and other Soviet officials throughout the process of German unification in 1990 and on into 1991, according to declassified U.S., Soviet, German, British and French documents posted today [December 12, 2017] by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (http://nsarchive.gwu.edu).
The documents show that multiple national leaders were considering and rejecting Central and Eastern European membership in NATO as of early 1990 and through 1991, that discussions of NATO in the context of German unification negotiations in 1990 were not at all narrowly limited to the status of East German territory, and that subsequent Soviet and Russian complaints about being misled about NATO expansion were founded in written contemporaneous memcons and telcons at the highest levels.
The documents reinforce former CIA Director Robert Gates’s criticism of “pressing ahead with expansion of NATO eastward [in the 1990s], when Gorbachev and others were led to believe that wouldn’t happen.” The key phrase, buttressed by the documents, is “led to believe.”
President George H.W. Bush had assured Gorbachev during the Malta summit in December 1989 that the U.S. would not take advantage (“I have not jumped up and down on the Berlin Wall”) of the revolutions in Eastern Europe to harm Soviet interests; but neither Bush nor Gorbachev at that point (or for that matter, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl) expected so soon the collapse of East Germany or the speed of German unification.
The first concrete assurances by Western leaders on NATO began on January 31, 1990, when West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher opened the bidding with a major public speech at Tutzing, in Bavaria, on German unification. The U.S. Embassy in Bonn (see Document 1) informed Washington that Genscher made clear “that the changes in Eastern Europe and the German unification process must not lead to an ‘impairment of Soviet security interests.’ Therefore, NATO should rule out an ‘expansion of its territory towards the east, i.e. moving it closer to the Soviet borders.’” The Bonn cable also noted Genscher’s proposal to leave the East German territory out of NATO military structures even in a unified Germany in NATO.
Page from Stepanov-Mamaladze’s notes from February 12, 1990, reflecting Baker’s assurance to Shevardnadze during the Ottawa Open Skies conference: “And if U[nited] G[ermany] stays in NATO, we should take care about non-expansion of its jurisdiction to the east.”
This latter idea of special status for the GDR territory was codified in the final German unification treaty signed on September 12, 1990, by the Two-Plus-Four foreign ministers (see Document 25). The former idea about “closer to the Soviet borders” is written down not in treaties but in multiple memoranda of conversation between the Soviets and the highest-level Western interlocutors (Genscher, Kohl, Baker, Gates, Bush, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Major, Woerner, and others) offering assurances throughout 1990 and into 1991 about protecting Soviet security interests and including the USSR in new European security structures. The two issues were related but not the same. Subsequent analysis sometimes conflated the two and argued that the discussion did not involve all of Europe. The documents published below show clearly that it did.
The “Tutzing formula” immediately became the center of a flurry of important diplomatic discussions over the next 10 days in 1990, leading to the crucial February 10, 1990, meeting in Moscow between Kohl and Gorbachev when the West German leader achieved Soviet assent in principle to German unification in NATO, as long as NATO did not expand to the east. The Soviets would need much more time to work with their domestic opinion (and financial aid from the West Germans) before formally signing the deal in September 1990.
The conversations before Kohl’s assurance involved explicit discussion of NATO expansion, the Central and East European countries, and how to convince the Soviets to accept unification. For example, on February 6, 1990, when Genscher met with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, the British record showed Genscher saying, “The Russians must have some assurance that if, for example, the Polish Government left the Warsaw Pact one day, they would not join NATO the next.” (See Document 2)
Having met with Genscher on his way into discussions with the Soviets, Baker repeated exactly the Genscher formulation in his meeting with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on February 9, 1990, (see Document 4); and even more importantly, face to face with Gorbachev.
Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the “not one inch eastward” formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev’s statement in response to the assurances that “NATO expansion is unacceptable.” Baker assured Gorbachev that “neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place,” and that the Americans understood that
not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction. (See Document 6)
Afterwards, Baker wrote to Helmut Kohl who would meet with the Soviet leader on the next day, with much of the very same language. Baker reported: “And then I put the following question to him [Gorbachev]. Would you prefer to see a united Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position? He answered that the Soviet leadership was giving real thought to all such options [….] He then added, ‘Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.’” Baker added in parentheses, for Kohl’s benefit, “By implication, NATO in its current zone might be acceptable.” (See Document 8)
Well-briefed by the American secretary of state, the West German chancellor understood a key Soviet bottom line, and assured Gorbachev on February 10, 1990: “We believe that NATO should not expand the sphere of its activity.” (See Document 9) After this meeting, Kohl could hardly contain his excitement at Gorbachev’s agreement in principle for German unification and, as part of the Helsinki formula that states choose their own alliances, so Germany could choose NATO. Kohl described in his memoirs walking all night around Moscow – but still understanding there was a price still to pay.
All the Western foreign ministers were on board with Genscher, Kohl, and Baker. Next came the British foreign minister, Douglas Hurd, on April 11, 1990. At this point, the East Germans had voted overwhelmingly for the deutschmark and for rapid unification, in the March 18 elections in which Kohl had surprised almost all observers with a real victory. Kohl’s analyses (first explained to Bush on December 3, 1989) that the GDR’s collapse would open all possibilities, that he had to run to get to the head of the train, that he needed U.S. backing, that unification could happen faster than anyone thought possible – all turned out to be correct. Monetary union would proceed as early as July and the assurances about security kept coming. Hurd reinforced the Baker-Genscher-Kohl message in his meeting with Gorbachev in Moscow, April 11, 1990, saying that Britain clearly “recognized the importance of doing nothing to prejudice Soviet interests and dignity.” (See Document 15)
The Baker conversation with Shevardnadze on May 4, 1990, as Baker described it in his own report to President Bush, most eloquently described what Western leaders were telling Gorbachev exactly at the moment: “I used your speech and our recognition of the need to adapt NATO, politically and militarily, and to develop CSCE to reassure Shevardnadze that the process would not yield winners and losers. Instead, it would produce a new legitimate European structure – one that would be inclusive, not exclusive.” (See Document 17)
Baker said it again, directly to Gorbachev on May 18, 1990 in Moscow, giving Gorbachev his “nine points,” which included the transformation of NATO, strengthening European structures, keeping Germany non-nuclear, and taking Soviet security interests into account. Baker started off his remarks,
Before saying a few words about the German issue, I wanted to emphasize that our policies are not aimed at separating Eastern Europe from the Soviet Union. We had that policy before. But today we are interested in building a stable Europe, and doing it together with you. (See Document 18)
The French leader François Mitterrand was not in a mind-meld with the Americans, quite the contrary, as evidenced by his telling Gorbachev in Moscow on May 25, 1990, that he was “personally in favor of gradually dismantling the military blocs”; but Mitterrand continued the cascade of assurances by saying the West must “create security conditions for you, as well as European security as a whole.” (See Document 19) Mitterrand immediately wrote Bush in a “cher George” letter about his conversation with the Soviet leader, that “we would certainly not refuse to detail the guarantees that he would have a right to expect for his country’s security.” (See Document 20)
At the Washington summit on May 31, 1990, Bush went out of his way to assure Gorbachev that Germany in NATO would never be directed at the USSR: “Believe me, we are not pushing Germany towards unification, and it is not us who determines the pace of this process. And of course, we have no intention, even in our thoughts, to harm the Soviet Union in any fashion. That is why we are speaking in favor of German unification in NATO without ignoring the wider context of the CSCE, taking the traditional economic ties between the two German states into consideration. Such a model, in our view, corresponds to the Soviet interests as well.” (See Document 21)
The “Iron Lady” also pitched in, after the Washington summit, in her meeting with Gorbachev in London on June 8, 1990. Thatcher anticipated the moves the Americans (with her support) would take in the early July NATO conference to support Gorbachev with descriptions of the transformation of NATO towards a more political, less militarily threatening, alliance. She said to Gorbachev: “We must find ways to give the Soviet Union confidence that its security would be assured…. CSCE could be an umbrella for all this, as well as being the forum which brought the Soviet Union fully into discussion about the future of Europe.” (See Document 22)
The NATO London Declaration on July 5, 1990 had quite a positive effect on deliberations in Moscow, according to most accounts, giving Gorbachev significant ammunition to counter his hardliners at the Party Congress which was taking place at that moment. Some versions of this history assert that an advance copy was provided to Shevardnadze’s aides, while others describe just an alert that allowed those aides to take the wire service copy and produce a Soviet positive assessment before the military or hardliners could call it propaganda.
As Kohl said to Gorbachev in Moscow on July 15, 1990, as they worked out the final deal on German unification: “We know what awaits NATO in the future, and I think you are now in the know as well,” referring to the NATO London Declaration. (See Document 23)
In his phone call to Gorbachev on July 17, Bush meant to reinforce the success of the Kohl-Gorbachev talks and the message of the London Declaration. Bush explained: “So what we tried to do was to take account of your concerns expressed to me and others, and we did it in the following ways: by our joint declaration on non-aggression; in our invitation to you to come to NATO; in our agreement to open NATO to regular diplomatic contact with your government and those of the Eastern European countries; and our offer on assurances on the future size of the armed forces of a united Germany – an issue I know you discussed with Helmut Kohl. We also fundamentally changed our military approach on conventional and nuclear forces. We conveyed the idea of an expanded, stronger CSCE with new institutions in which the USSR can share and be part of the new Europe.” (See Document 24)
The documents show that Gorbachev agreed to German unification in NATO as the result of this cascade of assurances, and on the basis of his own analysis that the future of the Soviet Union depended on its integration into Europe, for which Germany would be the decisive actor. He and most of his allies believed that some version of the common European home was still possible and would develop alongside the transformation of NATO to lead to a more inclusive and integrated European space, that the post-Cold War settlement would take account of the Soviet security interests. The alliance with Germany would not only overcome the Cold War but also turn on its head the legacy of the Great Patriotic War.
But inside the U.S. government, a different discussion continued, a debate about relations between NATO and Eastern Europe. Opinions differed, but the suggestion from the Defense Department as of October 25, 1990 was to leave “the door ajar” for East European membership in NATO. (See Document 27) The view of the State Department was that NATO expansion was not on the agenda, because it was not in the interest of the U.S. to organize “an anti-Soviet coalition” that extended to the Soviet borders, not least because it might reverse the positive trends in the Soviet Union. (See Document 26) The Bush administration took the latter view. And that’s what the Soviets heard.
As late as March 1991, according to the diary of the British ambassador to Moscow, British Prime Minister John Major personally assured Gorbachev, “We are not talking about the strengthening of NATO.” Subsequently, when Soviet defense minister Marshal Dmitri Yazov asked Major about East European leaders’ interest in NATO membership, the British leader responded, “Nothing of the sort will happen.” (See Document 28)
When Russian Supreme Soviet deputies came to Brussels to see NATO and meet with NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner in July 1991, Woerner told the Russians that “We should not allow […] the isolation of the USSR from the European community.” According to the Russian memorandum of conversation, “Woerner stressed that the NATO Council and he are against the expansion of NATO (13 of 16 NATO members support this point of view).” (See Document 30)
Thus, Gorbachev went to the end of the Soviet Union assured that the West was not threatening his security and was not expanding NATO. Instead, the dissolution of the USSR was brought about by Russians (Boris Yeltsin and his leading advisory Gennady Burbulis) in concert with the former party bosses of the Soviet republics, especially Ukraine, in December 1991. The Cold War was long over by then. The Americans had tried to keep the Soviet Union together (see the Bush “Chicken Kiev” speech on August 1, 1991). NATO’s expansion was years in the future, when these disputes would erupt again, and more assurances would come to Russian leader Boris Yeltsin.
The Archive compiled these declassified documents for a panel discussion on November 10, 2017 at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in Chicago under the title “Who Promised What to Whom on NATO Expansion?” The panel included:
- Mark Kramer from the Davis Center at Harvard, editor of the Journal of Cold War Studies, whose 2009 Washington Quarterly article argued that the “no-NATO-enlargement pledge” was a “myth”;
- Joshua R. Itkowitz Shifrinson from the Bush School at Texas A&M, whose 2016 International Security article argued the U.S. was playing a double game in 1990, leading Gorbachev to believe NATO would be subsumed in a new European security structure, while working to ensure hegemony in Europe and the maintenance of NATO;
- James Goldgeier from American University, who wrote the authoritative book on the Clinton decision on NATO expansion, Not Whether But When, and described the misleading U.S. assurances to Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in a 2016 WarOnTheRocks article;
- Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton from the National Security Archive, whose most recent book, The Last Superpower Summits: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush: Conversations That Ended the Cold War (CEU Press, 2016) analyzes and publishes the declassified transcripts and related documents from all of Gorbachev’s summits with U.S. presidents, including dozens of assurances about protecting the USSR’s security interests.
All of the source documents referred to in this article can be consulted HERE.
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Declassified documents show security assurances
Same kind of treachery happened to India after it won the war with Pakistan in 1971: verbal promises documented only in some secret papers and quickly broken. Same mistake: believing that others are as trustworthy as you. Better way : immediately publishing signed negotiation result internationally, will delay dark forces more – it won’t stop them.
Who is the least bit surprised the US conducted negotiations with Russia in bad faith?
When they are not dropping atom bombs or carpet bombing weaker nations they pursue a rapacious economic and military model with scant regard for the way it destroys partnerships or the kind of mutually beneficial relations that become possible between more mature states.
As the Soviet era closed a golden opportunity arose of a kind that seldom occurs between East & West when new, cordial relations could have been nurtured instead of simply regarding the Russian economy as a plump turkey about to be carved up by kleptocrats on either side of the iron curtain.
Putin of course understood all of this and set about a rebuilding program that would have been quite impossible if the neocons and international banks had made further in-roads into the country’s fragile political system.
Any country doing business with America should always keep the parable of the scorpion in mind.
As you say Harry, Putin understood all of this…. and has a long memory after spending 19 years in the Intelligence Service.., that is why he is always one step ahead. Not least than because he speaks fluently and understands four languages… So all the talking behind their hands and nuanced phrases.. he is totally aware of.
I don’t know how many people are aware that after entering Politics in 1991, Putin became Prime Minister of five different departments. That is why he is so knowledgeable and confidently opens himself up to the annual four hour question and answer sessions, with the world’s press …. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKpzJaACiSY
Note no stuttering and waiting for prompts through his ear piece.
Just open and honest… and amusing.
harry stotle – “Who is the least bit surprised the US conducted negotiations with Russia in bad faith?” Who indeed?
Here in the U.S. we routinely hear our politicians, pundits, MSM and military leaders explain how we simply “can’t trust” (take your pick): either “the Russians,” “the Iranians,” “the North Koreans,” “Assad,” – simply identify who the official “enemies of the month” are and our leaders will explain that you simply “can’t trust them.” Something perhaps “biological,” you know “in the genes or character” of our “enemies.” This bit of surreal theatre is an example of the psychological mechanism known as “projection.” We are completely untrustworthy, so we accuse everyone else of essentially “being like us.” Not surprising from a nation that has violated EVERY treaty it has EVER SIGNED with the indigenous Native American tribes – who by the way are considered “sovereign nations” under U.S. law.
Good article.Thanks.But as far as I remember neither East nor West Germany held a referendum on the reunification.The Germans were not asked as per usual.Many in people in the East wanted to get rid of the communist dictatorship and establish a democracy but keep their own sovereign country.For them the reunification was an annexation.What it really was.Nor was every West German citizen too enthusiastic about reunification.
lol, you think the Germans would have said no to reunification? What planet are you on?
All the Germans I spoke to in the 1990s said they would never have pulled the wall down if they had known the cost. They would have built it up twice as high. They used to say, “In Britain you’ve got the poll tax, we’ve got the Kohl tax,” a general tax increase of 7% to pay for unification. The cost was put at $1,500 billion in 1990s money, but the true figure was probably many times higher. The German economy was visibly buckling under the strain at the time. People in the East faced immediate mass unemployment, de industrialisation, dismantling of child care and the welfare state, and much else besides. That’s the planet the Germans were on in the 1990s.
I don’t want to start a fan club for the GDR, but it wasn’t all negative by any means. Was it any more repressive and authoritarian, any more subject to censorship and mass surveillance, than the current USA/ UK? How does its human rights record compare with ours today? How does the level of inequality and welfare provision in the GDR compare with what we have today? I’m not a fan of centrally planned economies, but the leadership of the GDR didn’t do that bad with the hand they were dealt, a small country cut off from its previous markets and sources of energy and raw materials. They suffered from losing Silesia and the major port of Stettin to Poland, for example. And they had to devote a lot of resources to the military and security as a front line Cold War state. That’s not to excuse all the failings of the regime – but you have to put things in context.
The East Germans were generally used to doing Sweet Fanny Adams, Nearly all of them were gagging for West Germany to take over and rescue them. When that happened, the expected, and almost got, a massive bailout, yet they whinged about a tax increase? Well the tax was the same as in West Germany!
Revisionist Marxist claptrap!
No, sorry, FS, maybe I didn’t make that clear. It was the Wessis who were whingeing about the massive tax increases. They were told everything would be sorted out in a couple of weeks with no extra expense. What the Ossis were whingeing about was mass unemployment, collapse of their society and welfare state, end of child care, all the positive aspects of their system, which did exist.
Idiot. [email protected]
The epitome of the reunification was what to do with East German scientists. Hopelessly out of date, technically backwards, raised in a culture of non-productivity, yet needing jobs for which they were simply incompetent for. Yet they were assimilated, amazingly, but painfully and at great cost.
I’ve lived in Germany for 12 years and had all kinds of conversations with Germans from both the west and east. You’d be surprised at the number who now regret reunification.
Germany as a single country is a relatively recent invention, its really Prussia absorbing the other states post 1871. Not all of the states were enthusiastic about being dominated by Prussia; they were happy with the economic union and shared language and culture but preferred their own government. So its not inconceivable that the states comprising East Germany could co-exist with West Germany without one half or the other dominating. Post 1990 the issue was that the richer West would have to pay significant money to absorb the East; meanwhile the East had some parts of their society that they would have liked to keep.
Europeans are fond of history but seem oblivious to early American history. As for their word being ur bondage, all European students should become familiar with Yale’s Avalon project and spend an hour or two perusing nearly any Indian treaty. Invariably broken within a few years. “White man speak with forked tongue, and kill all our women and rape all our Buffalo.” The Oneida call it “trick or treaty”.
“How could you believe me when I said I loved you /
When you know I’ve been a Liar all my Life?”
How could Gorby believe them? As one of his great admirers, I still do not know: Was Gorbachev a Mark or a Mole?
I get the impression he was just a gullible fool who was taken for a complete ride. Not to get a proper treaty preventing NATO expansion was inexcusable. It could have gone a long way to preventing the situation we face today. Georgia and the Ukraine would probably never have happened. Everything he touched went to rat s**t. All you can say in his favour is that the shambling drunk of a western puppet who succeeded him, Yeltsin, was even worse.
I know people who lived in Moscow at that time. The economy contracted by 60%. There was mass unemployment, destitution, plummeting life expectancy, rampant corruption, drugs, crime, prostitution, grinding Dickensian Third World poverty, a complete collapse of society, all helpfully presided over by the Chicago Boys.. A bottle of vodka cost $3, which was a month’s wages. The health service collapsed and literally millions of people died from basic illnesses, like TB and diptheria. There were over 2,000 large organised Mafia gangs with an estimated 3 million members. At one stage, before Putin finally began to bring things under some sort of control, just 7 Jewish oligarchs, Khordokovsky, Berezovsky, Fridman, Abramovich and a few others, owned 70% of the wealth of Russia.
At the end of the day that is all down to our old mate Gorby.
Only the deeply stupid can admire the twit Gorbachev.
By his actions, let him be judged. Since the dimemberment of the FSU, collapsed by Gorby, he has run the charity climate change arm of the NWO. Kinda puts in perspective what he chose to hear about NATO expansion?
@BigB. From Green Cross International (GCI):
“During his keynote address to the Club of Rome General Assembly in Amsterdam on 26 October, _GCI Founding President Mikhail Gorbachev announced his Climate Change Task Force blueprint_ for a global emergency response to the climate crisis. GCI president Alexander Likhotal read the statement to an audience that included Queen Beatrix of Netherlands, Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen and other officials.”
Sounds good to me. But so did Gorbachev’s Glasnost & Peristroika blueprint.
“By their fruits shall ye know them”.
‘My word is your bondage’ should be Diplomacy 101 for all Russian would-be diplomats.
I am sure Russia sees little difference in there being one day, one year or five years between Poland leaving the Soviet Bloc and joining NATO. The semantics of language do not hide geopolitical intent.
The universal US-UK-NATO attitude is that the word of Westerners is NOT their bond and the sole aim of diplomacy is to screw the Russians.
We see 30 years on that US bases sit everywhere in old Soviet Socialist Republics surrounding Russia. No American cares that their word is worth nothing, will not be seen as worth anything in the 21st century either.
The ICC is worth nothing because Americans are extra-judicial nowadays. So are Israelis. Russia should use that as leverage…
USAID is a classic NGO front to implement US meddling and mischief. Russia should spy on it unceasingly, exposing the dark underbelly of activities carried out under its cover.
Nordstream II is a classic ‘Trade is only allowed according to US rules’ gambit. All US oil and gas interests should be vigorously opposed even when win-win deals can be struck. Israel should be required to back Nordstream II or face diplomatic sanctions….or worse.
Why on earth should Russia trust anything the West says or does when history proves only that the West will neither conclude nor uphold treaties with integrity where geopolitical relations with Russia are concerned?
”USAID is a classic NGO front to implement US meddling and mischief. Russia should spy on it unceasingly, exposing the dark underbelly of activities carried out under its cover.”
The same could be said for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The only difference being lies in the fact that it is a GO not an NGO, funded purely by the US Government.
These are GONGOs, Government Orchestrated Non Government Organisations.
I think you’re being too negative. The US concluded 330 treaties with the Red Indian tribes and they all worked out very well for all concerned. And the ABM Treaty, and the Iran JCPOA, the Intermediate Missiles, the NATO expansion agreements, the Paris Climate agreements, TPP, NAFTA. Some of these agreements and treaties lasted for as long as a few months.
@Mark. I presume you know of the recent US regime’s(2017)land grab from the native Indians of their tribal table top mountain lands despite those lands being signed over to the tribes many years ago. You forgot to mention it(probably because the treaties lasted many years until the lands were found to be good for exploitation).England is referred to as Perfidious Albion, with good reason, but the US never really had a good standing for keeping it’s word in the first place, so oft has it backtracked.Every US POTUS agreement should come with an exclusionary warning – ie. Liar, liar, pants on fire.
You mean they don’t always keep their promises??
There are promises within that they keep in the realms of spying, exploitation, stealing, and subverting democracy, i.e. they promise to continue to do these. None of these are for the general good. And they continue to be number one…. In the gap between self-perception and reality and in polls on who is the greatest threat to world peace.
Slightly OT, but good to see the NSA get a mention. If anyone is willing, it has a fantastic section on the Cuban Missile Crisis. A visit should put any Bobby-bulshit “Thirteen Days” romantic fiction to bed. We survived by luck, not the agency or diplomacy of force of RFK and his brother.
I took away from that Archive, not to be confused with the NSAgency, the clear evidence that Khrushchev offered to remove the Cuban missiles, if the Americans promised not to invade Cuba and as an afterthought would remove Jupiter from Turkey. It was the latter that had provoked the whole crisis in the first place, but despite the documentation, seems largely unknown or forgotten in the US.
Had the US not stationed missiles in Turkey all amed at Russia, the Cuban Missile crisis would probably never have been implemented n the first place. Castro had the right idea regarding announcing the intent and the deal of removing the missiles from Turkey would and could have been a negotiating point from the get go. The only problem of course, is that the US would have simply destroyed all ships carrying the Russian missile cargo, despite any deals the US might have agreed to, because their “word is my bondage” was a worthless and meaningless meme. Glad you posted your observation, which was an important one.
The reason I am so anti the Americanised “Camelot” version, is that, by and large, it has led to the world sleepwalking into it happening again. Pompous Pompeo starts the process of the beginning of the withdrawal from the INF (brokered by Reagan and Gorby ) in February. Russia cannot comply if it has not broken the Treaty. VVP’s rejoinder to expand the Treaty, to China, India, etc will doubtless be ignored. Within 18 o 24 months, the US/NATO will be deploying IRBMs in Turkey, Italy, the Baltics …perhaps? It’s a slow motion repeat carcrash: from which we will not be so lucky to escape again.
I don’t want to draw too many direct parallels, but I’d like it if there was no disillusionment about just how close we came. With such heightened tensions, deliberately created by the political classes: the sustained EU/NATO propaganda and media vilification of VVP …sticking IRBMs in Europe (if that is what transpires) will be suicide.
Best dust off the CND caps and badges …we’ll be needing them!
[BTW: the ships the dumb Yanks thought had the warheads did not. The warheads, 163 of them, were already in Cuba. They included tactical nukes and cruise missiles that could have been used against the invasion force. The dumb Yanks thought the Soviets had around 8,000 men in Cuba. They had 43,000. When RFK went to Dobrynin he told him “Remove the missiles, or we’ll remove them for you” as they were set to invade. Krushchev, who had already recalled the ships, saved the world from Americanised egomaniacs …can VVP do the same? Not unless we learn the lessons of history and either get rid of nukes …or get rid of leaders …psychopaths and nuclear toys don’t mix!]