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  • Documents Illustrate NATO Betrayed Moscow on Promise of ‘No Expansion’

    Published on March 10, 2022

    By Klaus Wiegrefe (inosmi.ru)

    A document has been found in British archives that confirms that Western countries in negotiations in 1989-1991 promised the USSR they would not expand NATO eastward,they would not expand NATO eastward, the German magazine ‘Spiegel’ reports. Gorbachev gave up the GDR and other “socialist countries” without resistance. In return, the Americans and Europeans planned to make NATO a peaceful organization.

    Russia has argued for decades that NATO’s eastward expansion is a violation of the promises the West made immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall. And now a noteworthy document has come to light.

    A few weeks ago, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was very confident. When asked by ‘Spiegel’ whether NATO made a promise in the nineties not to expand eastward, the Norwegian confidently replied: “That’s just not true.Such a promise has never been made, there has never been such a behind closed doors agreement. It is nothing but a farce”.


    Many Western politicians, military officers and journalists perceive the situation just like Stoltenberg. They all shared a common position that the entry of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic in 1999, and then other Eastern European countries into NATO allegedly did not contradict the agreements with Moscow after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.This common position is understandable. Russian President Putin repeats on every occasion that the West has deceived his country with NATO expansion. And since Putin claims this, who in the West would want to be accused of being an advocate of Putin’s propaganda?

    But still, Stoltenberg’s version raises questions. A document from the British National Archives confirms this. This paper was dug up by the American political scientist Joshua Shiffrinzon. This document was classified initially. The document talks about a meeting of the Secretaries of State of the US, British, French and German Foreign Ministries in Bonn on March 6, 1991.

    The topic of the meeting was the security of Poland and other east European countries. The GDR and the FRG had united five months before the meeting. It had already been many months since politicians in Warsaw and Budapest had signaled their interest in Western alliances of states. And the document proves that at that moment the British, Americans, Germans, and French were all in agreement: NATO membership of Eastern European countries is ‘unacceptable’.

    A remark made by the German representative Jürgen Hrobog in this document is of particular interest: ‘During the negotiations over the 2+4 formula, we made it clear: NATO will not be extended to the other side of the Elbe. Therefore, we cannot offer Poland and other Eastern European countries membership in NATO’.It is worth recalling that the 2+4 negotiations were held between the FRG and the GDR and the representatives of the four powers that had won World War II (Britain, the USSR, the United States, and France).

    Back in 1993 – well before the Putin regime began – the Russians noted that the NATO’s expansion plans published at the time suddenly contradicted the spirit of the 2+4 talks as well as the document that emerged from those talks. Judging by the document, the Russians in their objections referred to official assurances in 1991 from the leadership of the Federal Republic of Germany – Chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU) and Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP).

    The Americans also saw the situation in 1991 exactly as Putin presents it now – as one that does not favor NATO’s expansion. If the document is to be believed, U.S. representative Raymond Seitz agreed with Hrobog and said: “We have clearly assured the Soviets – in the 2+4 talks and in other negotiations – that we are not going to benefit in any way from a withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe. NATO must not expand eastward, either formally or informally”.

    Nevertheless, the West, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, still did not signa legally binding agreement with the Kremlin that would have ruled out NATO’s expansion.It seems, however, that everyone involved in those negotiations acted in good faith.Nevertheless, the West still did not sign a legally binding agreement with the Kremlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall that would have ruled out NATO expansion. It seems, however, that everyone involved in those negotiations acted in good faith. After Gorbachev’s promises to make the USSR a democratic state, the empire to the east seemed ready for reforms, and Gorbachev even promised to consider including the USSR in NATO.In return, Kohl, Genscher and other Western politicians really wanted to reform NATO, transform the bloc from a military to a political one, and seriouslytake into account Kremlin’s interests. It was assumed that a conflict over NATO’s eastern expansion would be out of the question.


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