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Masterpieces of History

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton
Vladislav Zubok


Document No. 66: Record of Second Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl June 13, 1989

Traduction de Svetlana Savranskaya

Texte intégral

1In these notes of the continuation of Gorbachev and Kohl’s talks in Bonn, we see the beginnings of the “beautiful friendship” that led to German unification in 1990. Earlier in 1989, Gorbachev wanted to make Bush his main foreign partner, but the “pause” in Washington meant the two leaders would not meet until December. So by June the Soviet leader has settled for Kohl, remarking on “the trust that is growing between us with every meeting.” It is hard to imagine any other Soviet communist and any other West German politician appealing to each other through their personal experiences of World War II.



3Kohl: I am in favor of progress in all negotiations, in all spheres of arms control. I took 1992 as a benchmark. And the “Lances” are not the only ones that matter. The point is that in 1992 there will be a year left until the elections in the U.S. We should take that into account in all respects. We have to work in all directions.

4Gorbachev: We have a common destiny. Why should we be anybody’s hostages?

5Kohl: We have not only a common destiny, but also a common history. Now, as we are talking, our wives are visiting the memorial in Stuckenbrück—the place where Soviet citizens killed in the war were buried. There is not a single family in either the USSR or the FRG whom the war did not touch. My two sons are officers in the Bundeswehr, and my brother was killed in the war.

6Gorbachev: Policy without morality cannot be considered serious policy; immoral politicians cannot be trusted.

7Kohl: At a recent NATO meeting at the highest level I told my colleagues directly that I was the only one among them whose two sons served in the army integrated into NATO. I also stressed that I was not a coward, of course, but that I was a German, and knew history and geography very well.

8Gorbachev: I very much appreciate your honest and sincere judgments. And I value the trust that is growing between us with every meeting.

9Kohl: Let us communicate more often, let’s call each other on the phone. I think that we could accomplish many things ourselves without delegating to the bureaucracies, which can drag their deliberations on and on.

10[Source: Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation, Fond 1. Opis 1. On file at the National Security Archive. Translated by Svetlana Savranskaya.]

© Central European University Press, 2010

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