The Kremlin Minutes "This Is not our Business"

+++ Consultations over the German question in a closed group on Jan. 26, 1990.

Gorbachev: As is the case in Azerbaijan, we can no longer rely on anyone in East Germany, and we do not have a trusting relationship with anyone. Any agreements one makes remain devoid of serious consequences. Modrow is also distancing himself from the SED. There are no real powers in East Germany anymore. In other words, we can only influence events through West Germany now, and it is there that we must choose between Kohl and the SPD (West Germany's Social Democratic Party). Despite all declarations and promises from Brandt and his colleagues, the Social Democrats have been quick to misuse the issue of East Germany in the election campaign. Leading members of the SPD want to run for the Volkskammer (the East German parliament). They are giving up seats in the Bundestag (the West German parliament) and plan to return to East Germany, which is where many of them came from. That way they hope to outstrip the CDU (Christian Democratic Union).

We can use this to our advantage. We can invite Kohl to visit us and tell him: Take a close look at the game that's being played here. You could lose this game. The Social Democrats have better prospects in East Germany than you do. After all, we don't see the German problem through the lens of your election campaign. Instead, we must take the European and global context into account. Your NATO allies are in the same position. And you know the difference between the things they say in public and what they are really thinking. And so, dear Helmut, we suggest that you too take the European standpoint …

Shevardnadze: Mikhail Sergeyevitch, we should not become embroiled in the reunification discussion. This is not our business. Let the East Germans propose their initiatives. And as far as troops are concerned, we should only negotiate with the United States. I am opposed to an institution in which the four victorious powers are represented -- that would place the NATO countries in charge of the situation.

Kryuchkov: The SED's days are numbered. It is no longer a lever or a support for us. Modrow is a transitional figure who has only managed to keep his head above water by making concessions. But he has little in the way of bargaining chips left to offer. We should take a closer look at the DDR-SDP*.

Our people are afraid that Germany could become a threat once again. After all, it would never agree to the current borders. Our people must gradually become accustomed to German reunification. Our troops in East Germany are a factor in the overall European process. We must play an active role in supporting our friends -- the former members of the KGB and the Interior Ministry in East Germany.

Jakovlev: Modrow should be incorporated into the Social Democratic Party and lead its eastern wing. It would be a smart idea for Modrow to present a reunification program free of prejudice and based on the realities. In that case we would actively support him, and we would also have the sympathies of the German people. We can point out that we were behind reunification as far back as 1946. And as far as conditions are concerned -- (they would be) neutralization and demilitarization. There will be resistance from England, France and the smaller European countries. We are also placing the United States in a situation in which they are forced to think. And we can sit on top of the mountain and watch everyone else fight it out.

Ryzhkov: We must see the development as it is. It is unstoppable. Now the tactics are critical, because we can no longer preserve East Germany. All barriers have already been swept away. The economy is collapsing. All government institutions have been dissolved. Preserving East Germany is unrealistic. Putting everything in Kohl's hands is the wrong approach. If that happens, Germany will start a third world war in 20 to 30 years.

Gorbachev: There was the first Treaty of Brest, and now we are in the situation of a second Treaty of Brest. If we do not master the situation, we will lose half of our country again at some point. It is very important that we understand this. Society is highly ideologized, and for this reason we will be overtaken by real processes.

East Germany remains the most difficult point, because we could lose it. My suggestion would be to play for time as much as possible … The most important thing now -- whatever the end goal may be, though it should be reunification as far as I am concerned -- would be to prolong the process.

Die Wiedergabe wurde unterbrochen.