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Document No. 32: Summary of Conversations between Karóly Grósz, Janós Berecz, Miklós Németh, Mátyás Szűrös and Aleksandr Yakovlev, November 10-11, 1988

Traduction de Anna Melyakova

Texte intégral

1This extensive document is one of a series of important records from the personal files of Aleksandr Yakovlev which provide extraordinary detail on the relationship between Gorbachev’s regime and the East Europeans—in this case, Hungary. In May 1988, the reformer Karóly Grósz had replaced the aged and ailing Janós Kádár as general secretary of the Hungarian party; here, Grósz is meeting one-on-one with Yakovlev, the Politburo’s second-ranking member and a leading new thinker. Subsequently, the talks would include other members of the Hungarian party delegation (the economic planner and future Prime Minister, Miklós Németh, former ambassador to Moscow Mátyás Szűrös, and ideology secretary Janós Berecz).

2The Big Brother dynamics in these talks are striking; the East Europeans are supplicants, looking to the Soviets for approval—a revealing insight into how the top levels of the socialist commonwealth actually interacted. Grósz tells Yakovlev all the details of the Hungarians’ internal political discussions and provides candid assessments of individual personalities in the party. He warns that the party might split apart even before the next congress. He also goes so far as to suggest cutting Soviet troop levels in Hungary by 20 percent, a move which “could be used very well in a political sense, in the domestic and in the international spheres.” Grósz comments that at two recent sessions of the CMEA he was shocked by the “flow of prayers and mutual entreaties … We need to seriously change our collaboration.” Yet he restates the Hungarian need to keep Soviet oil coming at the usual rate at least through 1995. He further describes a meeting of the bloc’s general secretaries where there was a “dialogue of the deaf with leaders such as Ceauşescu claiming that “history has confirmed the correctness of his course.” For his own part, Grósz says, “I know that nothing is in order in Hungary, everything needs to be changed, and history has made our mistakes visible.”

_________________

3The talks took place one-on-one. At the start, K. Grósz, who had agreed to the general meeting the day before, emphasized that he would like to add to what he said at that meeting several questions which he would like M.S. Gorbachev to consider.

4Regarding leadership. We are not very united on this. It is not a matter of different political views, although there is some of that as well. The main issue is with the difference in human qualities.

5It is becoming clearer that the personnel decisions that had to be accepted at the conference in May were hasty, not thought-through and justified. If we can overcome these differences by the XIV Congress of 1991, then they will become just an episode of the past. But if we cannot, they could lead us a very long way, up to and including the possibility of the Party splitting into several parts during the Congress or before.

6We are all one generation—we grew up together, have been working together for many years, and know each other well. This is one side of the issue. But there is another side. Some of our colleagues have too many ambitions, which are often not tied to the work and its substance, but to securing posts.

7Where is the way out? In November I intend to reject the post of chairman of the HPR Council of Ministers. Many of my colleagues are against such a step, but I physically cannot work more than I am working now, and I feel that continuing to labor at two posts will be detrimental to the quality of work.

8I would like, K. Grósz continues, for Nyers to be appointed to the post of prime minister. It is true that he has a social-democratic bias, and that he keeps old and close ties with the Western European social democrats. But Nyers is an honest man and he does not have personal ambitions.

9Why would I like to see him in particular in this position? People say there are two or three younger candidates who are capable and talented. This is true. But we are worried that today and especially in the forthcoming situation they might not be able to withstand the pressure of problems and might ruin their life as a result. Nyers is 66 right now, he could work for two or three years, while the younger colleagues could build up more power during this time.

10Other than Nyers, Németh is being promoted as a possible candidate for this post. But I am worried that an appointment to the post of chairman of the Council of Ministers might be harmful for him right now. He should wait for two to three more years.

11Pál Ivani, the current chairman of the Budapest City Council, is also being named as a possible candidate. But at 45, he is also relatively young. Németh has experience primarily in executive work, Ivani in political work.

12Kádár is strongly against Nyers’ candidacy. The issue is that the current Parliament chairman is not nonpartisan, and Kádár is worried that if a person with a social-democratic bias becomes chairman of the Council of Ministers then on the whole it could give rise to incorrect perceptions of the real situation.

13Besides the comrades named, we also have two self-appointed candidates. They are Pozsgay and Szűrös. The difficulties with them are not on political issues. We anticipate that when the economy enters a pre-crisis condition they might not have the firmness, steadfastness and resolve. The world is difficult right now, the situation inside and outside the country is not simple, and problems cannot be solved with pretty words.

14Why do I myself reject this position? Because I hold the party and the situation within the party to be the most critical element in the developing situation. Right now the party is not strong in spirit, is beginning to weaken in terms of organization, and is showing indecisiveness in the labor movement.

15I think it would be good if we could hold elections before 1990. The head of the government will be 76 in two years, and he promised me he would retire; I have already spoken with him about this. If Pozsgay’s actions until that time show him to possess enough maturity, then his candidacy may be advanced for the post of president. And by 1990 I will have to find candidates to succeed Nyers and myself.

16I, K. Grósz said, feel uncomfortable and personally responsible before Szűrös. He is talented, but he is too full of ambition.

17Twenty years of friendship connect me with Berecz, K. Grósz went on, but there are also problems here. He considers himself to have been passed over for the posts of general secretary and Council of Ministers chairman.

18It is unpleasant for me to speak about all of this. But I would like you to understand that in the next two-to-three years these human factors, which are not very serious from the point of view of major goals, may play a very big role in all of domestic policy life in determining the progression of our affairs and in our party.

19Further, K. Grósz stopped at the question of the Soviet troop presence in Hungary. He said that when E.A. Shevardnadze was here some time ago, he asked a question about this, saying that the Soviet leadership was troubled by the public protests on this issue. I said to him then and I want to repeat it now: do not worry. But in the course of time this question could become political

20I said this to Comrade E.A. Shevardnadze: if in the purely military sense you do not see any obstacle to reducing the number of troops even by 20 percent, then this step, if it were taken, could be used very well in a political sense, in the domestic and in the international spheres.

21Regarding supplies of special equipment. I already raised this question during the discussions in Moscow. In this area we have built good factories and created large capacities. Our products are going to the Soviet Union and other countries in the socialist community, including 94 percent of the export going to the USSR. In the past five-year period the total shipment of special equipment to the Soviet Union amounted to 1.56 billion rubles, for an average of 350 million rubles per year. The reciprocal imports of special equipment over the same period of time amounted to 1.7 billion rubles.

22We would like to reduce those imports right now by about 360 million rubles, including imports for the remaining two years of the five-year-plan period. The corresponding Soviet organizations agree to this, but with the same reduction in supplies of Hungarian special equipment to the USSR. Meanwhile, your military says that they need Hungarian special equipment.

23At the same time, the balance of trade in consumer goods favors Hungary. But we cannot transfer this to the sphere of trade in special equipment. I do not understand, continued K. Grósz, what is the logic? Why is such a situation created that would force us to re-profile part of our military facilities? Of course, we can scale down these facilities; we can switch them to production of television sets and household electronics or some other civilian manufacture. But then they will be lost for military production.

24Should we do this now, only in order to find some short-term, immediate way out of a temporary situation? Or is it more rational to find a way to hold out for two or three years and work out temporary solutions? We could lose world-class factories, workers of the highest qualifications, and smoothly-running production. And if we need it again in a couple of years, we will have to start from nothing.

25Our countries’ Gosplans cannot come to an agreement, saying that such a pattern of mutual supplies of special equipment was established a long time ago and must remain unchanged. But perhaps it would be appropriate to reconsider this pattern, think about whether it is right and justified? In other words, it would be beneficial to study the mechanism of mutual relations in this sphere in general, to re-check and re-think all of its sides under current conditions.

26Regarding bilateral economic relations. We had a good discussion of these problems with N.I. Ryzhkov in April of this year, K. Grósz continued. A mutual understanding was reached then that we will not be able to increase the level of production output, but we will work to preserve what has been achieved so far. We agreed that for the period up to 1995 the USSR will continue to supply Hungary with energy products at the current level. But as of now, it cannot confirm such a commitment after 1995.

27I respect this position, said K. Grósz further. It is clear, frank, and it gives us six years to prepare for new conditions. But after the discussion, practical matters developed in such a way that this year we expect about a 20 percent fall in output. And the reductions will not be for export, but for import.

28The USSR’s Gosplan proposes to reduce the import of products of the machine-building group, but to maintain the current level of supplies of agricultural and consumer industry products. I understand your needs related to the necessity of saturating the domestic market with goods. But a unit of export in machine-building is cheaper for us because in the production of agricultural and especially consumer industry goods the fraction of initial Hungarian imports from the West is relatively high, making the production of goods for export possible.

29If we are forced to reduce output, if there is no other solution, then let us do it proportionally to the structure that has developed. We consider such an approach to be correct and fair, and we do not think that we are taking advantage of anybody when we propose such an approach.

30Also we cannot understand where the Soviet leadership stands on this and where the collaboration mechanism and the apparatus are having an impact. But this is a crucial question for us, and it should be decided on the basis of reciprocity.

31Further, K. Grósz raised some questions unrelated to each other, dealing with the collaboration between fraternal parties and different international problems.

32Regarding multilateral meetings of general and first secretaries.

33I first took part in such a meeting in Warsaw, he said, and I was struck by the depth of differences in approach and position of the leaders of the fraternal parties and countries.

34M.S. Gorbachev opened his soul, and what took place afterwards? One of the leaders stood and said that he had been building socialism for 40 years, he has solved all the problems, and history has confirmed the correctness of his course. The person speaking after him says that he too “stood at the cradle of the revolution” and everything is in order in his country. But I know that nothing is in order in Hungary, everything needs to be changed, and history has made our mistakes visible. That is why I essentially did not speak.

35Is this a criterion for renewal? For how many years has a leader stood at the wheel of the party?! It was a dialogue of the deaf. People spoke at different “frequencies” and could not understand each other. The current approaches of a number of socialist country leaders make it impossible for one to really count on the renewal of our collaboration.

36About the Iranian leadership’s request. The chairman of Iran’s administration and the chairman of Iran’s parliament have addressed us with a request, K. Grósz said, to let you know that they would like to see an improvement in USSR-Iranian relations. While blaming the USSR for offering military help to Iraq in the course of the Iran-Iraq war, they pose the following question:

37For Iran, one of the consequences of the end of the war is the necessity to carry out a re-equipment of the country’s armed forces. Iran stands before a decision: should it carry out a post-war rearmament of its army orienting itself toward the FRG’s help in this, or counting on the USSR’s help? They would prefer to rely on the help of the Soviet Union.

38Iran understands, they said, the reasons why the USSR most likely will not be able to provide this kind of aid directly. However, if they are in principle willing it could be organized through intermediaries.

39If, K. Grósz added on his part, the Soviet Union makes a positive decision in this matter, we would appreciate it if you would send us a preliminary notification about this. This question troubles me, he continued, because we have already raised it in Moscow. The Iranians assert that they already have agreements with the USSR about this, reached through Y.M. Vorontsov and K.F. Katushev. We would be thankful to the Soviet side for information on this question, because we are expecting the president of Iran to visit Hungary in the near future.

40Regarding Israel—sooner or later we will have to restore diplomatic relations with Israel. We must acknowledge that the decision made 20 years ago cannot be considered normal; history has not justified us in this. We supported the decision at the time; but we have always thought that it is impossible to play the game while off the field. The paradox is also in the fact that at the time we broke relations with Israel because of Egypt, as a sign of support. But today Israel and Egypt have been developing mutual relations for a long time.

41Relations with Israel for us are not a matter of money; reciprocal trade amounts to about 20 million dollars per year for both sides. But about 160,000 Jews live in Budapest right now, and about 250 Hungarian Jews live in Israel. Of course family and human contacts exist between them, but broad intergovernmental relations do not. I do not see any point in such a situation; we need to resolve this problem. I would like, K. Grósz emphasized, for our Soviet colleagues to understand our reasoning here.

42In conclusion, K. Grósz said, [there] is the personal question about S. Gaspar, the current chairman of the World Federation of Trade Unions. In May of this year at the party conference he was not elected to be a Politburo member, not even a CC HSWP member. An uncomfortable situation has resulted. In the leadership of a world organization stands a person who has lost the national political ground from under his feet.

43A.N. Yakovlev thanks K. Grósz for his straightforward and frank presentation of questions, and emphasizes that he will make everything known to the CC CPSU Politburo. I think for both our parties, he says, it is important to concentrate on political matters. The human factor in politics is extremely important and the role of the party here is key. He briefly comments on some of the questions brought up by K. Grósz.

***

44The day before, on November 10, 1988, the first talk between HSWP General Secretary and Chairman of the HPR Council of Ministers K. Grósz took place in a larger group in the CC HSWP. Also present from the Hungarian side were Politburo member and CC HSWP Secretary J. Berecz and CC HSWP Secretary M. Szűrös.

45K. Grósz emphasized at the beginning of the conversation that the Hungarian leadership views the present visit as a show of support from the CPSU, which has special significance during this period. The opportunity to consult with the Soviet colleagues and learn about their opinion of the situation in Hungary is important to the HSWP leadership; perhaps it is possible to judge the situation more objectively from Moscow.

46Speaking of the internal situation in Hungary, K. Grósz noted that the country is going through a very difficult moment of crisis. The cause for this lies in the long decades during which the HSWP fell behind reality and soothed itself with illusions. The XIII Party Congress resolutions (1985) turned out to be political improvisation; life quickly proved their inadequacy. Problems that we had been trying for a long time to “sweep under the rug” came to the surface.

47The last years’ quantitative changes led to a negative qualitative outburst and this does not concern the economy alone. The entire system of the country’s political institutions turned out to be lagging behind real life. We will have to pay a heavy price today for the fact that the party dealt with surface phenomena without trying to examine their causes, the roots of the problems. There were pseudo-actions, which were presented, and accepted by many, as real action. We, K. Grósz stressed, somehow believed in the idea that we have enormous potential for renewal, but when this idea was tested it turned out to be self-delusion.

48Subjectivism seriously damaged the work of the staff. During the last 30 years the country was led by a big personality—we grew up under his leadership, we are his students, we are personally much indebted to him. But with all due respect, we must clearly say that the big tree cast a big shadow. We are all guilty that our deep respect for this person prevented us from holding him back from subjectivism in deciding questions of personnel.

49We, the leaders, ourselves proved to be unready either politically or spiritually for such a rapid change of circumstances as took place at the conference. We still have to work at achieving harmony on matters of political approach, as well as work style. The people who are now in the leadership have known each other for a very long time, but now they find themselves together in different capacities, and we will have to adjust to this psychological factor.

50It is clear that right now the HSWP needs a long-term program for the next 20 years. But we have to prepare it under conditions in which everyday life makes demands, and when everyday problems are extremely difficult. That is why it was decided to make an inventory of the most relevant problems and to work out a plan of concrete actions for the next three-four years, so that during this period we could elaborate our long-term goals.

51In this context, right now we have the greatest clarity on economic issues: we have a stabilization program until the year 1990. Concepts are forming as to how and in which direction to rebuild the political structures. A plan for legislative work has been developed; it aims at filling the substantial gaps from past decades and at creating the basis for a socialist legal state.

52A question arises: will we be able to maintain control of the processes of change that have begun? The answer is yes; in general we have the power to do this. But undesired moments arise which are difficult to neutralize. Tensions arose between the party and the youth (including the working youth), who do not see promising prospects for themselves; there were tensions as well with the humanitarian intelligentsia.

53However, the worker and peasant masses’ trust in the party in general still remains. They believe that the HSWP will be able to deal with the situation, but they would like to understand its essence; they would like the leadership to act with more confidence in its power and more decisiveness, to define its plans more clearly.

54What have we been able to achieve lately? The first reassuring tendencies have appeared in the economy. They signify the presence of solid reserves, since the results were reached not through serious changes but through superficial measures. But these results are not sufficient from the point of view of social needs, of solving the problem of debt. Net indebtedness is 13.7 billion dollars; interest for 1988 alone totaled 1.3 billion dollars. For the normal functioning of the Hungarian national economy, imports must reach 5-5.5 billion dollars per year; exports barely exceed this sum, so the debt problem cannot be solved through the assets of foreign trade.

55According to the stabilization program mechanism, we plan to halt the growth of the debt by the year 1990. Of course, with a very large effort, we could meet this goal in the given timeframe. But wouldn’t this strain lead to a crash of the Hungarian economy after a certain period? After careful consideration, we decided to “stretch” this period somewhat, during which time the increase in the debt can grow, in order to avoid unnecessary turmoil.

56In order to maintain Hungary’s solvency, we need to receive 3-3.5 billion dollars of new credits per year. It is not difficult to “obtain” them on the exchange market. But a further escalation of debt would mean a burden for future generations, which they will not be able to manage.

57There is only one way out: to increase the economy’s export potential in both directions—in the dollar and ruble markets. We need to save ourselves from crisis, but by running forward, not backward.

58Regrettably, a large proportion of economic executives proved incapable of managing the economic processes. Before it seemed that this happened because they were not paid enough. Now they are paid much more, but the effect is the opposite. It seems the problems are deeper than that: in the mindsets, in the understanding of ethics and morals. The incentive system is not sufficiently developed; people do not feel they are masters of the workplace; egoism is the ideal.

59Unusual trends have appeared against this background. A wave of mass demands for wage hikes has come up. Strikes have become a widespread phenomenon. Some strata of the population feel the leadership’s uncertainty and are subjecting the leadership to straight-out blackmail in order to snatch some more material benefits for themselves. The leadership is under enormous pressure right now. Much, if not everything, depends on the leadership’s ability to win over support of the rational forces to its side, and turn them into allies for the next three or four years in the struggle against extremist material demands.

60The party is the key in this situation. While the danger in society comes from the Right, both deviations have appeared in the party. For some in the HSWP the current changes are too radical, for others they are half-measures and insufficient. Some think that a state of great chaos has developed in the country, and the reason for it is the rejection of the previous work methods which had proven their value before. The leadership in these situations must hold firmly to the initial conception; it must withstand the pressure and mobilize party members to bring the policy into life consistently, to fight and agitate for it.

61Issues that have existed in latent form but were never the subject of broad discussions have come to the surface. First among them is the question of a multiparty system. It seems we can no longer avoid the emergence of new parties, but we are not interested in forcing this process. It will be necessary to rethink the substance of the party’s leading role, so that it stops being paternalistic toward other organizations, and does not answer for “all” and “everything,” but only for the key issues. Otherwise it will not be able to be at the forefront of society.

62The most difficult situation right now is with youth organizations. The Hungarian Komsomol has lost its influence on the youth. It must be created anew, but with a new foundation. In the trade unions it seems the party will be able to maintain its influence for a long time. There is no real danger of repeating the Polish syndrome, but we must have a realistic view of the emergence of a multi-faceted, pluralistic trade union structure.

63Switching to bilateral relations, K. Grósz emphasized the HPR’s enormous interest and sympathy for the changes in the USSR. A paradoxical situation has developed, where the Soviet example is cited by both the HSWP’s friends and the opposition. But this is much better than the time when people were not interested in the affairs of the USSR.

64Hungary is interested in closer and more effective cooperation with the USSR, with not only economic affairs in mind, but also political, ideological, cultural, and other relations. We are not satisfied with the effectiveness of our cooperation, but we understand that it is not due to a lack of good intentions. It seems the deficiencies are related to the two countries’ structural differences, to routine problems, and to the fact that, objectively, our possibilities are not limitless.

65As the head of the Hungarian government I took part in two sessions of the CMEA, and was shocked by the flow of prayers and mutual supplications. People with experience reassured me: it has always been like this, and it will go on like this. But I could not be reassured. We badly need to change our [means of] collaboration.

66Despite our efforts, it seems that next year a reduction in the volume of Soviet-Hungarian trade will be inevitable. We can accept this as a temporary solution, but this cannot be the long-term prospect.

  • 1 A major oil field in western Kazakhstan.

67There is one way out—to transfer the focal point of cooperation from the intergovernmental level to the level of enterprises. Intergovernmental regulation should extend only to the largest projects, which fit into the general set of interests of the socialist countries. Tengiz1 cannot be subject to enterprise collaboration due to the scale of the transaction, but determining who will supply whom with what kind of tires should not be the prerogative of Gosplan.

68We need once again to reconsider many aspects of our relations, and to overcome the formalism we still face sometimes. It is necessary for the secretaries and CC department heads one day to take inventory and decide what we need in our relations and what should be thrown out as incidental and obsolete.

69K. Grósz expressed his gratitude for the USSR’s policy towards Hungarians in the Transcarpathian region. This was a big boost for the HSWP as it faced the difficult problem of the Transcarpathian region.

70There were also talks with J. Berecz, M. Németh, and M. Szűrös.

71J. Berecz noted as he characterized the situation in the party and the country that it cannot be regarded as normal, that difficulties are growing. Elements of crisis are present, negative attitudes predominate in the population. But the process of change has started in the country. At the same time, the party is late in responding to the new questions of social development. It does not explain to the people that the country is going through a period of permanent reforms, that there is no going back to the past.

72There are radical attitudes in the party itself, which have primarily been expressed through the change of leadership at the pan-Hungarian Party Conference, and keep manifesting themselves in the demands to speed up the fulfillment of adopted resolutions. A segment of the party membership does not understand the new developments; a certain confusion is present. The process of switching to political methods of work is going painfully. Discussions in the party have become aggravated, including discussions assessing the past.

73The most important task right now is for the HSWP to mobilize, to be able to control social processes rather than just putting out fires. It is necessary to immediately find opportunities for contacts and dialogue with the new social organizations and unions, which have developed through democratization; we need to influence their positions.

74The reorganization of the CC HSWP apparatus has started in the provinces as well. It has become necessary to strengthen party organizations at places of residence, where the alternative and opposition organizations mostly operate, while the party is presented mostly to pensioners. This detail is especially important in relation to the forthcoming elections. We should promote the work of the primary organizations, building them on the basis of both production and territorial principles.

75Making up for lost ground, the HSWP is paying attention to the formation of a socialist legal state, and the creation of legal guarantees of law and order. The program in the area of legislation contains 29 laws.

76We will have to change the Constitution. There are strong opinions among the intelligentsia in favor of introducing a multi-party system. While not rejecting this in principle, the HSWP right now is conducting a policy aimed at holding out the resolution of this question, although the law on unions and assemblies that is to be adopted in January does not preclude a multi-party system. But in circumstances where the HSWP is in a weakened condition we will have to clarify, in addition to this law, that the question of creating political parties will be regulated by other normative acts.

77In the economic sphere the Hungarian colleagues are placing great hope in the impact of the law passed in October on economic associations. In the opinion of M. Németh, this law will allow more effective use of government, as well as public, property. Possibilities for mixed forms of property are being created, free enterprise will be more widespread, as will broader incentives for foreign capital.

78However, the adoption of this law has come up against ideological stereotypes, making a portion of the party membership fear the return to capitalism. Naturally the HSWP does not want a return to capitalism, M. Németh noted, but it intends to strengthen the entrepreneurial attitude toward using government and cooperative property. The need to service foreign debt is a great hardship for the Hungarian economy; the interest alone is 1.3 billion dollars. This inhibits the rate of structural change in the economy. The process of economic stabilization entails the inevitable liquidation of unprofitable enterprises; it entails the emergence of unemployment.

79M. Szűrös noted that at the stage of socialism that has unfolded in the majority of the socialist countries, there is a growing need for a friendly exchange of opinions on foreign policy. Touching upon the question of improving the work of the Warsaw Treaty, the CC HSWP expressed the opinion that striving for monolithic unity and a consensus on all issues, characteristic of the previous period, right now hinders us from moving forward, and this was evident at the last PCC meeting in Warsaw. It is clear that similar to the CMEA, in some cases we need to act on the basis of individual countries’ interests.

80M. Szűrös repeated Hungary’s well-known position regarding the desire to take part in immediate measures to reduce the armed forces and regular armaments in Central Europe, including unilateral steps. Hungary’s readiness to be a distinctive testing ground for such measures was emphasized—to take on the role of a coordinator for steps toward reducing regular arms inside the WTO.

81The Hungarian colleagues also have the intention of creating an international center for human rights in Hungary. In connection with this, a proposal was put forward to conduct a meeting of expert-representatives from the CSCE member-states in Budapest, in order to discuss establishing such a center with coordination and research functions. In M. Szűrös’ opinion, it would be possible to conduct a preparatory conference on one of the human rights issues in Hungary’s capital before the Moscow conference on humanitarian issues.

82Having stated the HSWP’s support of the “common European home” concept, M. Szűrös confirmed the Hungarian comrades’ readiness to continue the work of preparing a pan-European “Roundtable” for parties and movements. In accordance with the USSR agreement, the HSWP recently proposed to the CDU/CSU and the Italian Socialist Workers Party that they put forward an initiative on this issue, and they are waiting for a response from those parties.

83M. Szűrös informed us that the HSWP, which in 1987 together with the Social-Democratic Party of Finland and the Italian Socialist Party advanced the idea of conducting a conference of non-nuclear European countries, is planning to develop its initiative by holding a new meeting of experts in Rome in 1989, with the addition of three more countries (from the WTO, NATO, and the neutrals).

84Speaking in favor of conducting a “European Reykjavik,” the CC HSWP secretary [Szűrös] at the same time expressed the opinion that this useful idea should be given time to mature. Forcing the implementation of this idea, which could alienate the partners, should not be allowed. Emphasizing the importance of broad preparatory work, M. Szűrös noted that in the course of this work it would be necessary to expose the Americans’ attempts to devalue the idea of a “European Reykjavik” by referencing the USSR’s efforts to distance Western Europe from the USA and Canada.

85A.N. Yakovlev gave a detailed account of the major direction of the CPSU’s work in implementing the XIX Union Party Conference resolutions, including conducting political reform, forming the socialist legal state, and solving pressing practical issues of economics and national welfare.

86The Hungarian colleagues were informed about our assessment of international problems, and about the Soviet Union’s point of view regarding improved cooperation among socialist countries within the framework of the WTO and CMEA. Special attention was given to our countries’ and parties’ cooperation in the European region.

87The conversations were recorded by N. Kosolapov, V. Musatov, V. Dorokhin.

88[Source: State Archive of the Russian Federation [GARF], Moscow. Yakovlev Collection. Fond 10063. Opis 1. Delo 256. On file at the National Security Archive. Translated by Anna Melyakova.]

Notes

1 A major oil field in western Kazakhstan.

© Central European University Press, 2010

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