Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was given a host of assurances that the NATO alliance would not expand past what was then the East German border in 1990 according to new declassified documents.
Russian leaders often complain that the NATO extended an invitation to Hungary, Poland and what was then Czechoslovakia to joint the alliance in 1997 at the Madrid Summit in contravention of assurances offered to the Soviet Union before its 1991 collapse. The alliance has dismissed the notion that such assurances were offered, however, scholars have continued to debate the issue for years. Now, however, newly declassified documents show that Gorbachev did in fact receive assurances that NATO would not expand past East Germany.
“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,” George Washington University National Security Archives researchers Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton wrote. “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.”
Indeed, Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin have complained bitterly about the expansion of NATO towards their borders despite what they had believed were assurances to the contrary. “What happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today?” Putin said at the Munich Conference on Security Policy in 2007.“No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said. I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: ‘the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee.’ Where are these guarantees?”
As the newly declassified documents show, the Russians might have had a point. While it was previously understood that Secretary of State James Baker’s assurance to Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “not one inch eastward” during a February 9, 1990, meeting was only in the context of German reunification, the new documents show that this was not the case.
Gorbachev only accepted German reunification—over which the Soviet Union had a legal right to veto under treaty—because he received assurances that NATO would not expand after he withdrew his forces from Eastern Europe from James Baker, President George H.W. Bush, West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the CIA Director Robert Gates, French President Francois Mitterrand, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, British foreign minister Douglas Hurd, British Prime Minister John Major, and NATO secretary-general Manfred Woerner.
Indeed, as late as March 1991, the British were reassuring Gorbachev that they could not foresee circumstances under which NATO might expand into Eastern and Central Europe. As former British Ambassador to the Soviet Union recounted in March 5, 1991, Rodric Braithwaite, both British foreign minister Douglas Hurd and British Prime Minister John Major told the Soviet that NATO would not expand eastwards.
“I believe that your thoughts about the role of NATO in the current situation are the result of misunderstanding,” Major had told Gorbachev. We are not talking about strengthening of NATO. We are talking about the coordination of efforts that is already happening in Europe between NATO and the West European Union, which, as it is envisioned, would allow all members of the European Community to contribute to enhance [our] security.”
Of course, later, in 1994, Bill Clinton decided to expand NATO eastward despite the various assurances that the previous administration had offered Gorbachev—and despite legendary diplomat George F. Kennan’s repeated warnings.
Svetlana Savranskaya and Tom Blanton’s full report along with 30 of these documents can be found here.
Originally published on 2017-12-12
About the author: Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.
Source: The National Interest
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
Seventy-five years ago Adolf Hitler launched the biggest and most destructive military campaign in history when three million German and allied troops invaded the Soviet Union along a 1,000-mile front.Operation Barbarossa – the codename for the German invasion of Russia - was no ordinary military campaign: it was an ideological and racist war, a war of destruction and extermination that aimed to kill Jews, enslave the Slavic peoples and destroy communism. The result was a war in which 25 million Soviet citizens died, including a million Jews, executed by the SS in 1941-1942 – an action which became the template ...
Their anxiety about the future of NATO, recently on full display again when the American president was in Europe, could not be bettered as a measure of the incapacity of Europe’s top politicians to guide their continent and represent its populations. Through its provocations of Moscow, NATO systematically helps increase the risk of a military confrontation. By thus sabotaging its declared purpose of preserving collective security for the countries on either side of the Atlantic, it erases its fundamental reason for being and right to exist.
Grasping these facts ought be enough to fuel moves aimed at quickly doing away with ...
In an interview for the German news magazine Zuerst! (April 2015) Srdja Trifkovic considers the significance of Otto von Bismarck’s legacy, 200 years after his birth.Dr. Trifkovic, how would Bismarck react if he could see today’s map of Europe?Trifkovic: He would be initially shocked that the German eastern border now runs along the Oder and Neisse rivers. Otto von Bismarck was a true Prussian. In his view, cities such as Königsberg, Danzig or Breslau were more properly “German” than those in the Rhineland. His first impression therefore would be that Germany has “shifted” to the West, and that an important social and ...
Recently expressed by Turkey’s President R. T. Erdoğan a possibility to organize a national referendum on Turkish membership to the European Union (the EU) opened many questions of different nature followed by old and new problems.
A current European political concern is reflected in many controversial issues and one of those the most important is facing the EU about whether or not to accept Turkey as a full member state (being a candidate state since 1999). Turkey is, on one hand, governed as a secular democracy by moderate Islamic political leaders, seeking to play a role of the bridge between the ...
Arrest and detention of three days for Joanikije, Bishop of Budimlye and Niksic, and eight priests of the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Basil of Ostrog in Nikšić has sparked tensions in Montenegro again. Namely, after the prayer procession that had been held in Nikšić on May 12th, on the feast-day of St. Basil of Ostrog, a 72-hour detention was ordered for Bishop Jonikije, Fr. Slobodan Jokic, Fr. Danilo Zirojevic, Fr. Zeljko Rojevic, Fr. Ostoja Knezevic, Fr. Mirko Vukotic, Fr. Vasilije Brboric, Fr. Dragan Krusic and Fr. Nikola Marojevic.Protests in support of those arrested have taken place in several cities across ...
Atrocities and war crimes are subjectively defined as acts of violence that exceed military necessity. All war includes atrocities. The stress of combat includes a build up of emotion during action that leads to vicious attacks on the enemy when the opportunity arises. American military units are trained and indoctrinated to avoid inhuman treatment of enemy combatants. Soldiers who violate the norms are prosecuted. This reduces but does not eliminate the problem.
Photo of Vietnamese civilians killed by an American unit
Atrocities During the Vietnam War
The actions of armies in war have seldom been as humane as the modern American military -- ...
Since the political change in Iraq took place in 2003 with the US-led invasion to change Saddam's regime, the Iraqi political and judicial system are unstable and very weak, even though the new regime has provided freedom and democracy to the state.
The new political system is suffering from corruption and from the highest levels in the state. This led to looting the wealth of this very rich state. It also aggravated the woes of the Iraqis. There are no basic services provided by the government to the citizens. The electricity does not reach most of the citizens except for very ...
Warring hotspots all over the world are flaring up in 2016 in what amounts to preparation for World War III between the military forces of the US led Western Empire against the forces of the Eastern axis led by Russia and China joined by Iran and North Korea. Let’s be clear – the globalists are the puppet masters behind the Western forces intentionally provoking catastrophic world war. We live in a time when the earth’s ruling elite has willfully created this foreboding, seemingly suicidal endgame scenario, using US Empire to prod, orchestrate, and push the world into two enemy camps in a West ...
Long live the European court, the most humane court in the world!
That is why seven times as many Croat and more than ten times as many (Kosovar) Albanian war crimes suspects, in percentage terms relative to Serbs, were acquitted by the Hague Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, with Radovan Karadzic being just its latest victim. (Source via this recent infographic from Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda).
No matter that well before Srebrenica you had Sisak, where 595 Serb civilians of which 120 were women were disappeared by Croatian paramilitaries in 1991-1992. Everyone has heard of Srebrenica; almost nobody has heard heard of Sisak. The largest ethnic cleansing ...
War is evil; permanent war is permanent evil. It is evil to humans but also to other species and the planet; the weapons used destroy us but also contaminate and destroy nature.Despite a general knowledge of the evils of war and acceptance of peace and the rule of law, war has become a permanent feature of the 21st century -destructive, cruel, dehumanizing and vindictive. Its message: those who can kill and destroy the most have the upper hand. Major General Smedley Butler said it in a speech in 1933: “war is a racket.” Butler, who had joined the Marine Corps ...
For the approximately 200 Canadian military trainers currently deployed to Ukraine, it is likely that on the first of January they would have witnessed a torch lit procession. Throughout Kiev and numerous other towns in Western Ukraine, thousands of civilians took to the streets – not to usher in the New Year – but to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birth of a man named Stepan Bandera.This was not the first time Ukrainian nationalists marched with torches to celebrate Bandera’s birthday, but it was the first time such a spectacle was an officially sanctioned affair.On December 28, 2018, Ukrainian ...
The United States is killing entire families in Raqqa, Syria, and enabling Saudi Arabia to do the same in Yemen.In June of this year, the U.S. led a campaign to retake the city of Raqqa from ISIS fighters while the Russian and Syrian militaries were also attempting to do the same thing. In the first week of fighting, U.N. war crimes investigators warned that the U.S. had already killed 300 civilians from air strikes alone in that seven day period.Rather than heed that warning, the U.S. has continued the same strategy of pounding Raqqa into the ground despite the likelihood of civilian casualties. Pentagon ...
"We are a peaceful nation," claimed Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson in an interview with Katie Couric late last year.Carson voiced a view that is held by many in our society. Like most people around the world, we naturally like to think of ourselves as a peace loving country.Unfortunately, the record does not bear this out. It, in fact, indicates something quite opposite: The United States has had a long and bloody history of aggression and war making.A survey of history shows that America has either been involved in armed conflict or conducted some form of military operations during 223 ...
Peace TV, an enterprise directed from India, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai by a fundamentalist Islamist preacher, Zakir Naik, has established a 12-hour daily program in Kosovo, a country 90% Muslim.
The entry into Kosovo of Naik’s Peace TV, broadcasting each day in Albanian from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., appears to be an element in a novel campaign by South Asian Islamists to establish a foothold among Europe’s indigenous Balkan Muslims. Peace TV’s message is hard-line Wahhabism, which insults, in aggressive terms, spiritual Sufis, Shia Muslims, non-fundamentalist Sunnis, Jews, Christians, and Hindus, among others. Radical Islamist interlopers and their financiers, mainly ...
We must be clear on the meaning of Albanian autochthony, anthroponymy and ethnogenesis. Actually, the question is: have the Albanians lived without interruption in the present-day “ethnic” territories of the Albanians (Albania, the Eastern Montenegro, Kosovo and Metohija, the Southern Central Serbia, the Western Macedonia and the Northern Epirus in Greece) since the ancient Greek and Roman times? In the other words, are the Albanians really the indigenous people of the Balkans as they claim or just newcomers to their present-day ethnic territories? It is true, however, that the question of the Illyrian ethnic and cultural background of present-day Albanians ...
The incoming Ukrainian president will have to turn some attention to history, because the outgoing one has just made a hero of a long-dead Ukrainian fascist. By conferring the highest state honor of “Hero of Ukraine” upon Stepan Bandera (1909-1959) on January 22, Viktor Yushchenko provoked protests from the chief rabbi of Ukraine, the president of Poland, and many of his own citizens. It is no wonder. Bandera aimed to make of Ukraine a one-party fascist dictatorship without national minorities. During World War II, his followers killed many Poles and Jews. Why would President Yushchenko, the leader of the democratic ...
Genocide accusations are, it would seem, the latest fashion spreading out of the Balkans. On December 5, a former minister in the “government” of NATO occupied and administered Kosovo, Ivan Todosijević, who happens to be an otherwise occupation friendly and cooperative ethnic Serb, was sentenced to a two-year prison term. The court found him guilty of making what it considered the outrageous claim that the so-called genocidal “Račak massacre,” which in 1999 triggered NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, was an imposture. Since the trial began just two days before, by Balkan standards the swiftly reached verdict was remarkably expeditious, suggesting the ...
Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part VA follow-up of Professor Vladimir Kozin’s comments on NATO’s Fact Sheet about relations with Russia published in December 2014. The topics to be covered in this part:NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failure;The NATO-led mission in Afghanistan failed to stop the Afghan drugs trade;NATO’s operation over Libya was illegitimate;NATO’s operation over Kosovo was illegitimate;The cases of Kosovo and Crimea are identical;Russia’s annexation of Crimea was justified;The Ukrainian authorities are illegitimate.NATO’s operation in Afghanistan was a failureNATO claim: NATO took over the command of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan ...
The image of Srebrenica tells us more about the reality of the majority of the media and of course the “Muslim victim card” is being used in order to cleanse the Bosniak Muslims. After all, from enslaving Orthodox Christians during their brotherly love with the Turkish slave masters of the Ottoman Empire to having Muslim SS units who supported Adolf Hitler; then “victimhood” is needed in order to justify their history and culture.Of course the wishy-washy brigade will tell us that the Ottoman period was enlightened and that the system of taking the eldest Christian boy (devshirme system) in the ...
Exclusive: U.S. mainstream media sees itself as the definer of what’s true and what’s “propaganda,” but has gotten lost in a fog of self-delusion and is now the principal purveyor of “post-truth” news, writes Nicolas J S Davies.
For several months, Western officials and media outlets repeated thousands of times that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 civilians trapped under Syrian and Russian bombardment in East Aleppo. Western reports rarely mentioned the Syrian government’s estimate that there were only one-third that number of civilians in the rebel-controlled enclave – nor that its estimates were solidly based on what it had found in Homs and other ...
Operation Barbarossa: The 75th Anniversary of the Nazi Invasion of the Soviet Union
Ending NATO, a Monstrous Institution
Bismarck’s System of Continental Alliances
Turkey and the European Union: The Question of Cultural Minorities and Their Religious Identities
Milo Djukanovic and Montenegrin Serbs
Vietnam War Atrocities Committed by the US Army
The IRAQ’s Political Woes Won’t end Without Comprehensive Judicial Reform
Nightmarish Global Military Agenda
The Hague Tribunal: Only the Serbs are Prosecuted
Permanent War against Humans and the Planet
Ukraine Re-Writes History by Celebrating Nazi Collaborator
U.S. Airstrikes are Wiping Out Entire Families in Yemen and Syria
America’s Myth of a Peaceful Nation
Islamic Extremists Establish Foothold in Kosovo and the Balkans
The Albanian Origin: The Main Challenges of Research
A Fascist Hero in “Democratic” Kiev
Balkan ‘Genocides’ are not to be Questioned
Countering NATO Propaganda on Russia: NATO Intervention in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, Ukraine
Srebrenica: Bosnian Muslim Jihad Killings of 3,500 Christian Serbs
The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media