Soviet-Bloc Controversies over East-West Trade
Successful tactics or false optimism?
As the highest decision-making level of the socialist bloc – the Warsaw Pact Political Consultative Committee – had decreed in its January meeting, the CMEA had to have a common policy towards the EC by April 1972. The CMEA members were preparing to submit their position papers to the CMEA Secretariat which in turn would compile a summary of the different positions. The Executive Committee would deliberate on the issue and to adopt a commonly accepted policy at its April meeting. The Soviet Union had taken the lead in actions towards the EC.
The CMEA discusses the EC policy
The Executive Committee convened in Moscow to review the national position papers as had been agreed. There was a general exchange of opinions on the working materials, followed by oral remarks from the Soviet representative Lesechko. The CMEA Secretary Nikolai Faddeev and representatives of all member states, Romania included, took part in the discussion. At the centre of discussions was how to prepare an offensive strategy against the EC countries.284
Lesechko’s remarks echoed some optimism generated by the speech of Brezhnev in March: the EC might possibly take up the Soviet offer and in turn make an approach towards the CMEA. Lesechko pointed out that it was now the EC’s turn to act so the CMEA and its members should refrain from any actions at this point. According to him, the Soviet policy line was to become the reference point for the CMEA: 1) relations...
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