tv Detente U.S.- Soviet Relations 1969-85 CSPAN March 24, 2019 10:25pm-11:47pm EDT
a release of tensions, and is used to describe improved diplomatic relations between the u.s. and soviet union and the late 1960's through the 1970's. kienengern anger that talks about the role played by key diplomats. " thethe author of diplomacy of detente: cooperative security policies." this 80 minute event was hosted by the wilson center in washington, d.c. you onme also welcome behalf of the history and public policy program and the national history center to this washington history seminar. delighted as always to cochair this seminar. eric is usually here, and the thing kennedy, the president of the national history center.
this is a joint venture that is now in its ninth year, i think over the years, has featured some of the leading, as well as emerging cutting-edge historians in this country and from around the world. joined by a very informed and engaged audience. ambassador james goodby has just entered. he is a legendary participant in what we will be talking about today. let me also thank my staff for the logistics of this event. and acknowledge once again the support of the george washington university's history department
and the lepage center for history and the public interest for their support of this event, as well as a number of anonymous donors. i think several of them are among you. we hope you will continue to support this event. i am delighted today to introduce dr. stephan kieninger, a fellow german who is part of the wilson center family in many ways. he started out as an intern here a good number of years ago, then went on to get his phd from the university of mannheim. he works at the german federal archives, fellowships among others at the berlin center for cold war studies. he is currently a postdoctoral fellow with johns hopkins
university. the kissinger center there. he currently investigates the role of western financial aid for the soviet union and its impact on the emergence of a new global order. he has published two books, the diplomacy of detente cooperative security policies from helmut schmidt to george shultz, which is what he will be talking about today. just published last year, and "dynamic detente," published by roman and littlefield. a revised version of his dissertation. it is really rare to have a specialist of the whole complex history of arms control and
security. delighted to see him now come back to the wilson center as an accomplished, published scholar to talk about his second book. at a still relatively young age. it is wonderful to have you back. i should also mention that if you do not have the time to read his books, there are glimpses at his scholarship on our website, on our history of public policy blog. he just published a blog post entitled, "at the very heart of europe," as well as a host of other cold war projects and
nuclear history project, working papers. with that i will give you the floor for about 40 minutes to talk about your book and give us some sense of your findings and then we will open it up to your questions and comments. >> thank you so much for a very kind introduction. good afternoon. thanks for coming. i'm glad you're here. thank you so much, christian, for the opportunity to present my book here at the washington -- at the woodrow wilson center as part of the washington history seminar series. it is a pleasure for me to be here. a long time ago i spent three months as an intern at the international history project,
and that was when i started my archival research in washington. ever since, it is a great pleasure to come back. it is a special place. let me give you an overview of my presentation. i have a number of points. this is the structure of my presentation. first of all, i start my presentation with a synopsis of detente, they highlight of the legacy and i look into the reason for its longevity. second, i looking to george shultz's contribution. i will investigate his u.s. in i arguetions 1983. that 1983 was not the most dangerous year of the cold war, quite to the contrary. george shultz turned 1983 into a new stimulus for detente.
the third point, the benefits of detente. why do i go back and take a look at the 1960's and 1970's? because i highlight the benefits of detente. first of all, there was a tremendous human benefit. detente perforated the iron curtain. there was an enormous increase in the number of human contacts across the iron curtain. the annual number of western visits to east berlin and east germany was 8 million back in the 1970's. it was an enormous human benefit of detente and that made schmidt and other policy makers fight so long for its longevity in the 1980's. fourth, i did pick helmut schmidt's economic development. schmitz used trade with the russia pact countries to engage the detente process, despite the
missile crisis, the nuclear arms race, and schmidt used credits and economic means as a lever to buy human contacts, to buy the multiplication of contact. it is seen with freer movement, it was a hard-nosed approach and it worked because the eastern european countries were economically dependent on west german money. last but not least, i look at the summit diplomacy with brezhnev. if you think about the crisis of u.s.-soviet relations in the 1970's and 1980's, schmidt and brezhnev had three productive meetings in 1978, 1980, and 1981. all of these meetings relate to the expansion of natural gas in the soviet union. i take a look at these meetings.
first of all, let me start with a synopsis of detente. let's talk about schmidt and schulz. what is your image of both men? if you think about helmut schmidt you might think about , the soviet intervention in afghanistan, the declaration of martial law in poland. you may perceive schmidt primarily as a crisis manager. that is the ordinary image. if you think about george scholz you may think of reagan, , the cold warrior. think of reagan's evil empire speech. if you think of both men, you may think about the cold war and international crisis. and i tell you a different story. a completely different story. forget about the cold war and the crisis. think about the potential of
cooperative security. just in europe, and in its transatlantic framework. not elsewhere. we had proxy wars, conflict. if you think about europe, it is about cooperative security. my book follows a simple equation. schmidt plus schulz equals the long detente in europe. schmidt plus schulz eagles cooperative security policy. schmidt and schulz emphasized deterrence, but they were able to conceive the soviet union as a political and economic partner. i argue that there was no revival into the cold war tensions just in europe. why? there thinking process went on east-west, trade went on,
natural gas with the soviet union blossomed. the years between 1982 and 1984 saw the construction of the biggest pipeline for natural gas from the soviet union to western europe. the pipeline 4500 kilometers, , with an annual capacity of 40 million cubic meters of natural gas. it was sufficient for about 17 million households. that is not the cold war. that is detente. that is economic interdependence. furthermore, i argue that top went on until the demise of the soviet union. the demise of the so the cancer patient negotiation. it did not come from a crusade. that is important. detente was a win-win situation and reagan pursued detente and is detente policy had already been established by or to -- prior to gorbachev's arrival.
i'm coming to my second point, george schultz's contribution to the long detente in europe. you look into 1983 and you might be surprised because it is often referred to as one of us dangerous years of the cold war. think of reagan's evil empire speech. maintainn was eager to dialogue with the soviet union at this crucial time. back in february of 1983, george scholz brought an ambassador to the white house and they had a meeting that lasted for 2.5 hours. george schulz went into great detail in his memoir to describe it, and i quote from the record. this memorandum of conversation is from the reagan library. from richard clark's paper. he was the national security advisor and very much opposed to
schulz's approach. scholz said president reagan's backing. it is on the 15th of february, just three weeks before reagan's evil empire speech. he condemns the soviet union as an evil empire. working for the elimination of the soviet union. he was very much eager to have dialogue. a quote from the memo. the president expressed his readiness to see the problems we have with the soviet union dissolved so reasonable solutions can be arrived at. he was talking about genuine contact and not simply words of good feelings. and then george scholz. reports the reaction there is it seemed to me he was impressed with this development. he was surprised it happened.
he said it might have been a historic occasion and whether we are talking about two years or six years it was possible to get things accomplished and he would give him a full and detailed report on the entire conversation. this aspect is often overlooked. but it is a crucial aspect in 1983. . you have bold rhetoric and the condemnation of the soviet union as an evil empire. on the other hand you have readiness for dialogue and readiness to intensify dialogue. the reagan white house was reluctant to pursue this approach. it was very much a top-down approach. scholz was one of the few people
who understood reagan and helped him to implement this policy. again, starting in 1983. crucial point,a i think. meetings withkly the ambassador. because the approach "gardening." a quote from his memoirs. eca -- if you see a weed, get it out before becomes a problem. because his predecessor did not have these kind of meetings on a regular basis.
again, schulz argued in a memorandum from the third of five days before reagan's evil march, empire speech. he again argued in favor of dialogue. reagan,randum to ronald where do we want to go and how do we get there? we now need to decide whether to intensify this dialogue and if so, how. arousedinevitably concerns that we are returning to business as general -- is this as usual. i believe these problems are manageable because we will not relax and our insistence on balance as we proceed. continuing from the u.s. rather from the soviet agenda is a way to manage the problem.
again, march, 1983, this was scholz's approach and reagan very much share this approach and was eager to negotiate with the soviet and the soviet union. i think it's important for us to andyze the ambiguities contributions to reagan's for policy. they have done a great job here and analyzing these contradictions. on one hand reagan was eager to win the cold war. on the other hand he was a nuclear abolitionist. he wanted to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. evolutionar
presupposes cooperative negotiations in cooperation with the soviet union. reagan managed to combine both and reconcile the use in his policy, again with crucial help of george scholz. notionthought about the of security, right? he wanted to move from mutually assured destruction to mutually assured survival. few people understood reagan and scholz was one of them. at 1983 we have to look as a crucial year in another respect. -- georgeorge shorts scholz introduced a bold change to u.s. policy towards the soviet union. what he did was quite stunning, i think. he abandoned the linkage
they had used since the days of henry kissinger. backlashes with the two backlashes -- would lead to backlashes in other areas. this is a crucial point in history, i think. scholz believed strengthen dialogue were not the way to go about things. scholz'srom george interview it was also with us today. if you go to a negotiation and you do not have any strength,
you are going to get your head handed to you. if it is strength with the objective to be gained, it loses its meaning. these are not alternative ways of going about things. this is a crucial point for 1983. what scholz did is they put together an inventory of and theyet relations sought small steps to improve soviet relations. they discussed opening mutual consulates in new york and here and so forth. they intensified negotiations for the long-term agreement. it was all against the backdrop of reagan's evil empire speech.
it goes without saying that schulz's approach came under attack in 1983. i just want to give you one example of schulz's ability to prevail against the opponents of intensified dialogue. if you remember in september, 1983, the soviets sho down the korean airliner. 270 people died. reagan condemned this act as an act of barbarism and even played the tape of the soviet pilots for the press. the question was, would this incident cause a setback for u.s.-soviet relations? would it jeopardize the kind of progress that george shultz had been able to reach?
the hawks in the reagan administration wanted to stop the dialogue with the soviet union and back at that time in september, shultz was scheduled to meet the soviet foreign minister in madrid for the conclusion of the helsinki -- in up meeting imagery madrid just one week later. what schultz did is, he prevailed. he had reagan's backing. he wanted to avoid a punishment policy. there were u.s. measures against the soviet union, but they were limited. limited to civic aviation. not across the board. just limited to civic aviation. schulz managed and international reaction of what he called controlled fury. controlled fury is a good expression. schulz emphasized it quote to reagan.
we will want to avoid the repetition of the olympic boycott syndrome in which the u.s.'s role will overshadow. avoid the repetition of 1980. that was a crucial point. again, september, 1983. schulz wrote to reagan that he believed it was important to demonstrate international condemnation focusing on civil aviation is producing far more reactionsand lasting than a series of unilateral steps and soviet union's two bilateral lies the issue. scholz went there any met with him in september of 1983 in madrid and the nato allies , greatly appreciated schulz's approach, because they were scared that the hardliners at the pentagon and the white house were too late, but schulz went
there. he confronted and professed his horror at kl-007. what happened was they discussed to review the issue and stormed out of the meeting among 35 participating states. this is the advantage of dialogue. if you have this kind of a tough dialogue, if it is tough, schultz confronted and scored a bold diplomatic victory. so the lesson would be, don't , run away, confront your adversaries. and argue it out. i would say this is also detente. detente does not imply that you kiss and make friends with your adversaries.
and theis tough talk conflicts continue. detente is a contentious affair. the battle for the soul of mankind continues. all kinds of conflicts continue. the arms race continues. but there is still a potential for dialogue, even if it is tough. i think schulz did the right thing, and his diplomacy was crucial back at that time to keep nato together. because remember that is also 1983 the year of the crisis. this was essential to pursue a common policy within nato. the europeans, western europeans were delighted about schulz. if you take a look at the german or british archives, there are just happy that schulz managed to keep them together, because
the hague lacked this capability. it was just a mess. the debate over the construction of the gas pipeline nato was in bad shape and george , schulz managed to restore this plan of unity and also president reagan appreciated that. let me grab my glass. let me come to my third point, to the benefits of detente. i go back to the 1960's and 1970's. why is detente so important for the west europeans? why's it so important for the germans? it brought about the extension of human contact across the iron curtain.
the number of visitors from west germany to east germany was 8 million. that is an enormous number, and it was made possible through detente. helmut schmidt said, they brought practical humanitarian improvements so that detente can be felt immediately by the people of europe. people could visit their relatives and friends across the iron curtain in one direction. just from west to east. the extension of contact from east to west just came very late in the game. the second half of the 1980's. in 1987, that number rose to 2 million people.
it was a huge number for east germany. the east german population was 17 million. that is more than 10% of the population that went to west germany in the second half of the 1980's. what was it about? it was very much aimed at undermining communism over the long-term. it was aimed at the breakdown of communism. what was the means? the means was exposing people to western values via the media. at the same time, it was aimed cooperative security and stability, because you can only have the expansion of contact if the communist leaders have some sort of recognition of borders
and so far the economic benefits was an intricate affair. a foreign-policy advisor gave a lucid description of their objectives in 1969. he said, the aim is not consolidation of the bloc, but their removal from europe. we do not differ about soviet intentions. we hope to put this at an end, but the problem is, how to do it? he was talking to the british and u.s. policy planning colleagues in 1969. the is happening here after crushed down of the prague spring.
the british policy planners for conference -- were concerned that the germans would go too far with this kind of an offensive. i continue, the most promising way is to disengage the soviets from eastern europe step-by-step, by beginning project that link eastern and western europe in ways the soviets do not consider dangerous. if you do not put further -- soviet domination into question, this is a long procedure with its own contradictions, but it is the only way in less you give up the objective of liberating europe. this is quite stunning, officially. there was a rule not to take notes at these meetings, but the u.s. policy planners took a 20 -page record and the british policy planners as well. i can encourage you, go to the national archives. we a quote in the footnote.
it is a record of the policy planning staff and there are tons of records on these policy planning meetings. these sources are unique. go there and take a look. this is the rationale of ostpolitik and the helsinki negotiations provided a platform to multilateralize. i have a quote from west germany's foreign minister from nato's meeting in 1973, from nato's archives. with our detente policy, we have opened up a way to direct and counter and competition between the societies of east and west. we have wanted this because we believe in the power of conviction of our ideals and because we trust in the inner strength of our system, which is based on democratic liberties, human rights and social justice.
this is a very dynamic detente and this is for the benefit of the west, because there always competing visions of detente. you have this dynamic vision and you have the soviet union vision of detente, which was very much a static vision, just focusing on civility and on the status quote. -- status quo. so, as i said, the number of visitors increases, and everything goes fine, until 1983 -- 1973, 1974, when you have the backlash. the opening goes very far in the soviet leaders and the east german leaders are aware of it. what they do is that they decrease the pressure on west berlin and increase the minimum
currency requirement for visits from west germany to east germany and the number of westermann visitors is -- west german visitors is plummeting by half in 1973. then comes helmut schmidt in 1974, and schmidt uses economic incentives and money to work for an increase. the increase went to 8 million people. schmidt rewards the east german regime for this opening up. in 1975, he meets the east german leader for the first time and he gets a huge increase in the annual conversation, from 200 million to 400 million. in 1978, this continues with east germans getting a package of 6.5 billion deutsche mark for a construction of a motorway
from hamburg to berlin. this is economic incentives to have this kind of a detente, and again, i would say, this is no longer the cold war style conflict of the 1950's. if you go back to the 1950's, early 1960's, berlin is a trouble point. back in the 1970's and 1980's, you don't have these conflicts anymore. berlin is settled. western access is settled. it is completely different. the increase in communication also pertain said the annual number of telephone calls from west to east. 35 million telephone calls. you have new fiber cables and so forth. the number of parcels was 30 million. schmidt defended this approach in times of crisis. right? jimmy carter very much wanted
to intensify economic welfare toward the soviet union after that economic warfare -- economic warfare toward the soviet union after the intervention in afghanistan. schmidt defends his approach. here in the summer of 1980, at the world economic summit, he argues, from the british record of this world economic summit, and this was mainly addressed from schmitz remarks. the main objectives were to make it possible for as many germans as possible to come to germany and to build as good a human relationship as possible between east and west. the federal government for succeeding in getting 30,000 to 40,000 germans out of poland each year. the price paid within the helsinki framework in the framework of various bilateral agreements was to have economic exchanges with eastern european countries. these exchanges were far more than a mere matter of trade. they made it possible for the german government to get their own people out.
trade was not just a distance -- business affair. trade was a lever to get ethnic germans out of poland and to buy contacts with east germany. the next point on the agenda is helmut schmidt diplomacy with leonid brezhnev. let me talk about helmut schmidt's back channel negotiations. you're are all aware about the kissinger channel that lasted for 8 years. 1969 to 1976, and then it was over. jimmy carter did not want to continue the back channel. i went to the library of congress. harriman was an advisor and wanted to maintain the back
channel. he met him 12 times in late 1976, but carter did not endorse this meeting here there was no meaningful back channel communication and george schulz took until 1983 until they got that back channel going again. the germans had a continuous back channel conversation with soviet leadership for 30 years, from 1969 to 1982. -- 13 years, from 1969 to 1982. i went to helmut schmidt's archives, saw his papers, there are about 150 back channel meetings in 30 years between -- in 13 years between helmut schmidt and april bar on the german side and the soviet interlocutors. they were both kgb and they both worked for kgb chief.
they had these meetings at schmidt's home, at schmidt's office, even at schmidt's holiday resort. schmidt, of course, this was a lot of tough talk. schmidt said in 1979, i am not a hawk. i want to continue detente and reach mutual security. in october 1979, the u.s.s.r. would love to bury nato's dual track decision. schmidt said he will not succeed. you have not buried the ss-20 missiles. in times of crisis, the
communication in the back channel explodes. in 1980, they meet every two weeks. you have the crisis in u.s. -soviet relations and these guys , meet every two weeks. this is quite stunning. i found it quite stunning. i was quite surprised. it underlines the seriousness of schmidt and brezhnev's attempt to keep detente alive in europe. in 1978, at schmidt's home in hamburg, schmidt and brezhnev in 1978 at their summit, also at schmidt's home in hamburg, and schmidt's conception of trade,
he talked to the british prime minister james callahan in 1970 said. he thought it was important that the russians should be put into a position of fear of losing germany. this would result in more european influence on the policies. the soviet planning system was rigid and their planned for the next five to 10 years was equally so. if they could rely on a larger perspective of the kind he described, they would take it into account. that is what happened in 1978. they concluded and economic framework agreement for the duration of 25 years.
in 1978 was the summit that prepare for the construction of the pipeline. region andn this ukraine.oes through west and in further czechoslovakia. this was a multilateral project. the western european countries were marked in black. italy,for france, austria. it was a multilateral project. that is why it was so successful. if you take it today, it is a purely bilateral russian project. that is why it is raising a lot critics. this was a multilateral project
under the chairmanship of all of the other west european gas companies were involved. so, the 1978 summit was the starting point for the construction of this pipeline. eventually, the construction happened between 1982 and 1984. the crucial talks, commercial talks for the construction of the pipeline happened in 1980, february 1980. no into the archive of deutsche -- i went to the archives of deutsche bank in frankfurt. it was after the intervention in afghanistan, where the chairman of deutsche bank travel to moscow and had in-depth talks with soviet leadership on this project. in times of crisis, you have a
huge expansion of natural gas. this was the first pure export pipeline for soviet natural gas. schmidt and brezhnev signed the final deal in november 1982, on the occasion of brezhnev's last visit to the federal republic, and his heavy trucks from west germany for the construction of the pipeline, here is tons of japanese equipment and caterpillar lost half a billion dollars because they were not allowed to participate in the deal due to the sanctions from the reagan administration in 1981 and 1982. but komatsu was glad to jump in and construct this pipeline.
this is again in 1980, when the talks took place on the commercial side of the pipeline. again, schmidt went there despite a lot of opposition from the carter administration. they had a tough talk with brezhnev criticizing the soviet intervention. schmidt was either not to convey the public image. he did not participate in the signing of these commercial treaties in 1980. he did not want to provoke the carter white house. his policy was determined, but low key. that was crucial.
here we have two protagonists. helmut schmidt, and george shultz, and their meeting in san francisco. it is a bit sad because schmidt's chancellorship was coming to an end. he was forced to resign in october 1982, just three months after george schultz had assumed the job as secretary of state. but schmidt had one important advice for george schulz. his main advice was that george schulz wrote in his most recent book, schmitz said superpowers are not in touch with each other's reality. the soviets can't read you. the situation is dangerous. there is no human contact. this is the thrust of their
meeting in july, 1982. george schulz took this advice very seriously. as we can see in 1982 and 1983, he managed to reestablish the kind of dialogue with the soviet union that i have previously described. this is the point where the circle closes, where helmut schmidt and george schulz talk in 1982, and thank you for your attention and i'm looking forward to your questions. thank you so much. [applause] >> all right. thank you. for a very rich and stimulating
presentation. i think all sorts of questions and issues come to mind, i'm sure to many of you as well. from your description of president reagan and some of the popular perception has not always had the image of somebody who could handle complex , ambivalent, contradictory policies. how did he synchronize, workout these different aspects of his policy? other scholars too have written about this. you brought this out once again. the role of trade in the east-west relations and in the end of the cold war. the role of back channels and
the washington of 2019. the role of back channels with russia. you have made the case for the importance of these back channels. this unlikely dynamic duo of schulz and schmidt, i am not sure who else put these two together in this way. lots of questions. the role of american detente versus german ostpolitik. let me give the first word to ambassador could be -- ambassador goodby. please wait for the microphone and unless i name you, please also give your name and affiliation. ambassador. >> first, i wanted to thank you for this wonderful book. i have had a chance to look into
it. i was listening to him today. it tells me just how much research in the archives he has done, because he has uncovered a lot of evidence that i was not aware of, even though i spend a lot of time with schulz now and in the past. congratulations. i think it is a terrific book and it will shed a lot of light on that particular era, one of the key eras. my question has to do with -- these days, it is impossible to spend any time with george schulz without hearing the words "pershing moment," referring to the deployment of the pershing ballistic missile. i'm not quite sure what his view was then, but his view now, having also talked with 3 tired soviet union's -- soviet union leaders, he said that as the turning point of the cold war.
that was imperative for the negotiation on the inf missiles to take place, that the soviet union recognized that the nato alliance was holding together, despite their efforts to beat it down. they realized also they were within 10 minutes of a nuclear explosion in moscow from germany. this is what george schulz -- this is what we need today. putin does not recognize that is a problem and needs to be stopped. therefore he says, we need a pershing moment. i'm not quite sure his history is right. i'm not quite sure that the events are how he describes them. or that he saw them that way then. i had to say them quite frankly about my friend, george schulz. did you find in the archives in your research anything that suggested there was that
pershing moment in 1983? that that was the turning point as george schulz now perceives it? >> excellent question. thank you. >> so much for this question. i think there was a pershing moment in 1983, because the soviet union did not expect that nato would stick together. they were surprised by nato's unity and it was the soviets who ran away from the bargaining table in november 1983 after the first pershing missiles were deployed. i think we need a pershing moment today, but the problem is that the west and the united states is running away from the bargaining table.
it is very difficult to have a new kind of pershing moment in a new situation and pay -- and it new nato with 28 member states. it is more challenging to reach that kind of consensus, and it is of course more challenging to have this strategy at the time when the trump administration and the president runs away from the inf treaty. think that is a grave mistake. it goes without saying that there are russian violations of the treaty, but it should never be the united states who runs away from the bargaining table. i would be happy if we could have another pershing moment again, but in today's context, i doubt it.
currently, there is no new pershing moment in sight. back at that time, it was very important to maintain the kind of dialogue. it was the russians who ran away. in 1984 there were other negotiations and you participated in the stockholm negotiations. on confidence building measures? you had deterrence on the one hand and you deployed new missiles on the other hand the dialogue on confidence building measures was going on and was even intensified. that was a very important means of nato's policy. to have this dual track, this balanced approach. >> thank you. diana negroponte. . .old on microphone is coming. >> thank you very much.
from the wilson center. thank you for the clarity with which you have narrated. i would like to focus on the back channel. i have followed closely the have followed closely the december 1988 proposals to george h.w. bush to pursue back channel. the difficulty is finding a record of what was discussed in those back channels. i believe kissinger took the papers away with him up to the rockefeller estate. have you found any other source? [laughter] >> not on that particular meeting. not on that particular meeting, no. but i found, to come back to the schmidt back channel, i found tons of sources and papers on his back channel communications.
backhing is that the channel communication, the medic mitigation explodes in a time of -- the amount of communication explodes in a time of crisis. it is quite stunning, i think. it also shows schmidt -- the determination to pursue diplomacy with brezhnev. there is very important for that relationship. they had a common set of notions and experiences as soldiers in world war ii. they often referred to their common experience as soldiers and so forth. and remember initially, they had a huge confrontation in 1973 when brezhnev first visited the federal republic. he referred to german war crimes and to his horrific experience, and schmidt countered him in
1973, reported about his own miserable experiences as a soldier. he always referred to it as the great shit of war. that was the common memory that kept them together. the back channel was there for 13 years. i have westermann sources -- west german sources and i would love to see the soviet sources. -- nybody can get access [laughter] >> on the back channel, did schmidt keep the americans apprised of the back channel? what did washington know about the german-soviet back channels? he kept them appraised of the back channels. in 1978, he even -- schmidt even
tried to revive carter's and brezhnev's communications through his own channel. because carter and brezhnev were in touch. there was still an exchange of letters, but it was not meaningful. there was a pause of several months in 1978 after the failure of the belgrade follow-up meeting and schmidt offered his help to reestablish the back journal communications. >> let's take some more questions. over here. thank you for a fascinating presentation. i retired foreign service am a officer. on your second slide, you had a quote about reagan's changing disposition towards the soviets. i'm wondering if you look at the
role that suzanne maffei may have played in changing the view, and you mentioned the opposition in the white house. she had a lot of opposition to her presence. >> she was an important factor in 1984. she convinced reagan of the necessity to improve dialogue. i found several memoranda from reagan's advisors. they feared that she could get too much influence. they always want -- don't let her meet reagan alone. but she was quite influential, telling reagan about her own personal experience and giving reagan a description of the soviet union. that was in 1984. she was also a factor in his change of mind.
thank you. >> gentleman there. thank you for your insightful presentation. i am a retired foreign service officer as well. i was in the political section from 1982 to i arrived on the 1995. day they left the coalition with helmut schmidt and was there for the pershing moment. november 23, 1983. there were a couple names i did not hear in your presentation and wanted to maybe hear from you about them now. one is who eyewitness again and again talking about the ongoing negotiations, which seemed to me at the time enormously important as representing the united states, one of the only people the germans trust. i'm not leaving out schulz
deliberately, but he was the face in germany of america. ronald reagan, richard perle, tonberger, and they clung nitze with great desperation as someone who might be able to save them from the impending war they heard coming from reagan. that was one name, and the other name i did not hear, or actually three names, richard perle, freddie clay, and weinberger, caspar weinberger. all of those seemed to me, and i put it mostly on perle who understood that reagan was a nuclear abolitionist, but were much more devious and able to exploit his general ignorance about the dynamics here and to first of all come up with the zero zero solution, which was designed to prevent any arms
control accord and to use reagan's vision of strategic defenses to prevent a strategic arms limitation agreement. because reagan never understood the dynamics and how the soviets simply could not accept an uncontrolled strategic defense realm, because it would jeopardize their strategic weapons deterrent. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. yeah, the zero zero option emerged in november, 1981, and that was quite late in the game, because schmidt always wanted to -- what it reagan to bring up some sort of constructive proposal throughout 1981. he also asked reagan to come to europe and visit europe and to lay out some sort of detailed
arm control agenda. it took reagan so long, because there were these frictions within the reagan administration. the zero zero proposal was not people such as weinberger and perle. they did not mean it seriously. it was conceived as a nonstarter. nitze was one of the few trusted interlock or for the europeans. i went to work at the library of congress and am surprised that nitze had arms control seminars with the social democrats in germany. i was not aware of that. he felt it necessary to keep them on board and to keep them -- to include them in his deliberations.
that was quite a stunning thing back at that time. nitze had the trust of the germans as a negotiator and later he became ronald reagan's arms control czar. his role can hardly be overestimated. castor one burger -- caspar weinberger played a critical role in the internal fights with schulz over the missiles, over the construction of the pipeline. schulz was the one who lifted the sanctions and the embargo in 1982 and weinberger was very november much against that. he did not trust the germans in this regard. >> thank you. the gentleman. i am henry gaffney, i worked
14 years on nato nuclear weapons and basically set up the process and laid out the options which led to those missiles. the genius of that was we did not have a proposal because we remembered our experience with the germans on the multilateral force. we were surprised at what turned out. while i was doing that, i aware, -- i was barely aware, even know i was there for three years of , all of the efforts that were going on in the background of that created the softening of the whole situation. the way berlin receded, the harmel report itself, i am sure you have consulted on that. >> right. >> and then the helsinki final act. all of this was happening at once. which gives the background to
finally getting to this kind of, maybe it was the persian crisis, the -- and i forgot, the 1972 treaty which gave the ddr sovereignty which everyone knew was the end of the ddr as it were. how did you feature those as he worked out? as i read the german history journals, egon bahr was certainly very prominent to me in that process. does your book cover that background? >> thank you so much for your question. actually the book covers that background, as my presentation also covered it. this early phase of ospolitik and detente provided the background. because early on, the
architects, such as a egon bahr, they were aware that potential backlashes might occur. what counted for them was to turn off politic into an irreversible process early on. that was one of the most important things to them. that is what counted. it could only function if it was thought up and if it was implemented as an irreversible process. right? because this opening up and this sort of multiplying context, that would be a backlash. right? and the backlash came in 1973 and 1974, and the east germans also greatly increased the number of agents. they intensified internal surveillance to cope with the increasing number of western visitors. bahr and others were aware of these backlashes and they
conceived economic incentives as a means to cope with these potential backlashes. berlin is an important issue. schmidt also continued that in telephone conversations with east germany's leader. they also had a back channel and frequent telephone conversations. they would talk about technical issues such as, i don't know, traffic transit to west berlin, and also oil and gas deliveries via ships to west berlin. they wanted to avoid technical problems turning into political problems. they frequently discussed in detail of these talks on the phone. there was also a preventive diplomacy over the long-term. and egon bahr served as an
advisor to schmidt. they had different positions on the missiles, and the nato decision. when it comes to the back channel, bahr continued to be schmidt's confidant. and he had him operate the back channel. the stunning thing is i found in papers, only a few written evidence on his back channel context under brand chancellorship. they were very close. so bahr could do it without instructions. oral instructions here it few written reports. and then came schmidt. they did not have that kind of close personal relationship. schmidt wanted reports. he wanted written evidence. he wants to know what is happening in this back channel. and he sees the more frequently
than bryant did. he saw him only a couple of times and schmidt wants to be in charge. he is the chancellor. this is his back channel. and bahr follows his instructions. schmidt wants to make sure that the back channel is going into the right direction. this is a crucial point. i put schmidt and bahr closer and closer together than other historians did. i also see a lot of continuity from schmidt to have more coil. -- helmut kohl. because in 1982, i found a wonderful report. bahr is talking to the national security advisor, november 1982,
and bahr offers to transfer this back channel for the administration. and he accepts. later on, the back channel stops and does not have access to the evidence from the administration. for that, you have to go to have -- helmut kohl's private papers which is very difficult. it is telling that he was ready to continue the back channel. later on, it is activated again in 1987-1988. he was crucial as a back channel gorbachev'sith advisors. >> thank you. ross? ross johnson, wilson center.
thank you very much, very important research. i look forward to looking at your book. two questions. you talked about the economic dimension of german bondholders. there was some more instrumental part of that economic transaction, which was payments to get people out, buying freedom. i wonder if in your research you have come across more detail about that with the gdr with romania or wherever else? the more general question would of ofrom the beginning spolitik, german policy focused, in terms of stimulating change, focused on dealing with governments with regimes.
had the u.s. had more of a two track policy, also dealing with social things from below, and in the u.s.-german relationship, radio free europe, they became the lightning rod going back to the government. that is well documented. and it is documented in the schmidt and brzezinski memoirs. i am wondering -- and this tension was very evident to me, i worked in the german research institute. 1983 to 1985, these crucial years. i am wondering come in the archives whether you come across more about the tension between the two countries on this particular issue? yes, it went far beyond that in terms of other activities dealing with it. i'm wondering if there is more evidence you have come >> -- have come across? >> across?absolutely. yeah. thanks a lot.
yeah. let me start with the first question. buying freedom, right? freedom movement in return for cash. i found a lot of evidence in schmidt's papers and later on in other papers. i also have a section in the book in the call administration's approach when you think about the credit of 1983 and 1984. they were also a means to intensify human contacts. actually, the east german papers are more revealing than the west german papers. you have to take a look at the papers. role.e a piece on his
he was east germany's foreign currency fundraiser. but he was also the most important negotiator with the west germans. they negotiated all of the agreements that led to the intensification of context. the thing is, in these contexts, it was often the west germans who had to give first. the credits in 1983 and 1984 came first, and only then came the east german confessions with the reduction of the come par terry -- reduction of the treaty. it was always the west who had to give first. this was of course very annoying often to the u.s. administrations. to the carter administration.
that it was always westermann concessions that can first. and he referred to the competing human rights policies, the schmidt policy was what i call a collective human rights policy. the greatest number for the greatest happiness. of people. and the other approach was very much a moral policy, and schmidt criticized it as an abstract policy. he said, we cannot talk about abstraction. we have to get our people out and your approaches standing in the way of mine. these approaches collided, often in the helsinki talks. it took until the early 1980's
when max kimballman brought these two approaches together at the follow-up meeting. there was a lot of need for consensus on these approaches. campbellman said it is a strength if you have these approaches, he compared nato with an orchestra. you have different voices, different influences with an orchestra. the thing is to coordinate them in the right way. that is what later happened in the 1980's. >> final question. i'm sorry to those i can't call on. they goes to a gentleman who has been patiently waiting. then we will have to adjourn. final question. >> thank you. decades -- the spirit of >> introduce yourself, please. >> i currently teach a course. description ofg
the back channel to get tensions that otherwise might interrupted referenceflict, the was made by schmidt. off -- andropov, he left the scene in 1984. he seems to have been a kind of interim figure. thehat period there was crisis over the able archer exercise. what affected that have on the persistence of the back channels and soviet attitudes? >> thank you for your question. it did have a huge impact on reagan. able archer was in november of 1983. reagan gave a public speech in january of 1984 when he first
admitted in public he changed his approach. the reagan administration was quite concerned the soviets viewed able archer in such drastic terms. inound interesting evidence jack matlock's papers. after able archer, george schulz had a lot of saturday seminars at the state department. discussions on means to improve communications. linked to ablely archer in 1983. able archer did have an influence but it was not as dangerous as many historians maybe see it. andropov, heark on was the driving force in the
soviet union's policy towards the federal republic of germany. the back channel guys, they worked for him. memoirs.to read his he points out that andropov was the guiding force. you had also frictions between andopof and gramico. v, and he was gorbachev's mentor. >> thank you. fascinating context to today's events and developments. thank you so much for sharing your insights from the cold war. let me remind all of you next week we will have the art of
containment: britain, the united states and anti-communism in southeast asia on march 11. we have a terrific lineup of additional speakers through may. hersheter.e gaile jennifer miller on cold war democracy, united states and japan. we have one of the real big world, robert bob jervis on how statesmen bank on april 4. that's on a thursday. let's give a round of applause. thank you for joining us. to continue the conversation over a glass of wine next door. [captioning performed by the
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