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Britain, Ost- and Deutschlandpolitik, and the CSCE (1955-1975)

Luca Ratti

Based on new and existing archival documentation, this book provides a detailed analysis of the British attitude to Bonn’s Eastern and inner-German policies during the period of détente and the CSCE. Each chapter analyses the evolution of British policy on a particular issue area, making detailed comparisons of British and West German archival sources and outlining the main aspects of the British view of West Germany’s relations with the Soviet bloc states and the German Democratic Republic. Drawing upon the archives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and of the West German foreign ministry, this book sheds new light on some of the more occult aspects of the British attitude to the German question and reveals the problems faced by British decision-makers in seeking to maintain Britain’s close ties with Bonn, while being hardly enthusiastic about the long-term prospect of German reunification. This volume addresses issues of East-West and Anglo-German relations, the role of NATO, and the debate among the Western allies on relations between the two German states during the period of détente.

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Chapter 3 - Britain, the FRG’s Deutschlandpolitik,and the quadripartite agreement on Berlin 121

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121 Chapter 3 Britain, the FRG’s ‘Deutschlandpolitik’, and the quadripartite agreement on Berlin 3.1 Introduction This chapter debates the British attitude towards the Federal Republic’s Deutschlandpolitik and the quadripartite negotiations on Berlin. Despite ongoing British support for Ostpolitik, concerns persisted in Britain about the development of relations between the two German states and the quadripartite negotiations on the capital of the former Reich. These concerns peaked at the end of 1970 as a result of the lack of progress in the quadripartite talks on Berlin, which also caused growing apprehen- sion in the United States about the conduct of the West German gov- ernment. It was only throughout 1971 that British decision-makers gradually dropped their reservations about some aspects of Brandt’s Eastern and inner-German policies. This more positive British attitude reflected the evolution in the position of the United States. More spe- cifically, following initial scepticism about Brandt’s international achieve- ments, since the early months of 1971 the Nixon administration, also as a result of a clarification in the linkage policy of the Federal govern- ment, which made ratification of the Eastern treaties conditional upon a satisfactory agreement among the Four Powers on Berlin, had begun to support Ostpolitik, viewing it as a fundamental step for the continu- ation of the dialogue with the Soviet Union and the consolidation of détente in Europe. Finally, as well as a co-ordination of its policy with that of Washington, support for the Federal government also reflected Britain’s interest in a successful conclusion...

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