Mulţi analişti politici au apreciat că la Malta s-a repetat scenariul de la Yalta, de această dată cu sens invers: dacă în februarie 1945 împărţirea zonelor de influenţă în Europa  s-a realizat în favoarea Uniunii Sovietice, în decembrie 1989 Occidentul şi, în primul rand S.U.A., au avut câştig de cauză.


In September 1989 already, when Eduard Shevardnadze traveled to Washington, it had been agreed that a Soviet-American summit would be organized. It was agreed on diplomatic channels that on December 2-3 a first meeting would take place between presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, in the Mediterranean, off the coasts of Malta, alternatively on board of a Soviet then an American military ship; the talks were not official and no press release was issued; the official meeting intended to take place in early 1990.

            Soviet Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Shevardnadze declared on October 31 that an open, sincere and free dialogue would take place in Malta, that no agreements would be signed while the media would be given acces to the talks[1]. George Bush, in turn, emphasized on November 1, that neither side intended to take historical decisions or sign agreements during that meeting, but he would reiterate the US’s interest in the success of Gorebachev’s perestroika as well as in the evolution of reforms in the Eastern Bloc[2]. In another declaration of November 22, Bush mentioned that in Malta he would ask Gorbachev to build together a new world order; he considered freedom arrived in Europe and wished that the USSR adopt an attitude without restraints; he also said that the peace they would build together should be different from the one that had been before. Bush said the US would not seek to take advantage of the problems and difficulties the USSR and the countries of the eastern Bloc were facing and that he wanted that the reform process in all those countries be a really successful one[3]. As the Bush – Gorbachev summit was getting closer, both Washington and Moscow declared that no secret decisions would be made and no Soviet-American agreement signed on Eastern Europe.

In the last days of November 1989, the transformations in the socialist countries continued. On the last day of Romanian Communist Party Congress XIV some very important news came from Czechoslovakia: at the Plenary of the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, the entire party leadership presented its resignation. On November 24, Karel Urbánek was elected to replace Jakes. On the following day, November 25, prime Minister Ladislav Adamec proposed: the government would be formed only of members who had no former Communist Party membership; a law would be adopted on the right to free association, meeting and petitioning; immediate suspending of the officers who were part of repression on November 17.

The demonstrations that started on November 17 continued in the Central Square of Prague, when it became a stand of the opposition; among the slogans launched there was one calling to general strike on November 27. Gradually, official representatives came on the scene. On November 26, both the president of the Federal Government Adamec and the opposition leaders, Václav Havel and Alexander Dubcek, spoke in the square; representatives of the workers and political prisoners that had been released based on the amnesty decree of November 25. Adamec was applauded at the beginning but when he demanded that the strike on November 27 should last only a couple of minutes he was booed. Dubcek said that “Czechoslovakia lived in humbleness for 20 years, because of the policy of Gustav Husák and Milos Jakes, who had an unpopular policy“; he accused the leading bodies of the country for not creating the conditions to re-evaluate the events of 1968, while in Poland and Hungary it was done and they apologized to the Czechoslovak people. Dubcek considered the same should have been done by the governments of GDR, Bulgaria and the USSR. As the Prague Spring became more and more popular, some representatives of the law enforcing forces started to dissociate themselves from the official policy; the representatives of the Militia Motor Unit in Prague accused those who made the Militia rise against its own people of political iresponsibility[4].

While the opposition ruled in the streets, on November 26, the Extraordinary Plenary of CCCCP took place, where it was decided to dismiss the ones appointed in office after the military intervention of 1968 and to call for an Extraordinary Congress of the party on January 26, 1990. Karel Urbánek, general secretary of the CCP informed the Plenary attendants on the dialogue of the government with the opposition when the following were discussed: the political system, the new Constitution, organizing free elections, the law of the press, the law on free association and the law on organizing meetings; a reassessement of the 1968 events[5]. It was decided at the Plenary to establish a coalition government, both at federal level and in Czech and Slovak Republics. As to the demand of the opposition to have the resignation of Gustáv Husák from his office of President of the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia, it was decided that it was a matter that had to be discussed in the Federal Assembly and that the Presidium of the CCCCP should not make any proposals for the new president which meant he would not be a communist anymore.

On November 27, the largest demonstration organized by the opposition took place, which was considered to be a national referendum by the Civic Forum. On the next day, November 28, the delegation of the CC Presidium of the National Front and the Federal Government Ladislav Adamec had talks with the delegation of the representatives of the Civic Forum. On that occasion, Adamec made the following proposals: by December 3 he would ask the president to appoint a new government that would consist of representatives of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, of the other parties as well as specialists that belonged to no party. That meant that the Czechoslovak Communist Party was ready to share power with the political forces of the opposition. The Federal Government formed this way, would submit his proposition of modifying the Constitution to the Federal Assembly. The articles referring to the leading role of the communist party and citizens’ education in the spirit of Marxism and Leninism were to be replaced by an article stipulating an education based on scientific knowledge and humanitarian and humanist principles. Adamec also promised he would ask the People’s Council of Prague to offer the necessary room for the activities of the Civic Forum[6].

            The representatives of the Civic Forum  agreed to the proposals, insisting that the new government should draw out a declaration-program to the effect that it was ready to create the juridical conditions for free elections; to guarantee the freedom of association and meeting, the freedom of word and of the press; to stop controling religious beliefs; to alter the law on conscription; to disband the people’s Militia (armed units organized by the Communist Party in plants and institutions); examining the issue of the political parties’ organizations present in institutions. The Civic Forum asked the government to immediately condemn the intervention of the Warsaw Treaty member states in Czehoslovakia in 1968 while the Federal Assembly should ask the Parliaments of USSR, GDR and PRB to declsare that the intervention was a violation of the international law and of the statute of the Warsaw Treaty as it was done without the knowledge and consent of the Czechoslovak supreme leading bodies. The Civic Forum noted that in case it was not satidfied with the declaration-program and the way it was implemented, it would demand the Prime Minister’s resignation. At the same time, on the next day (November 29), it would ask Gustáv Husák, the president of the republic, to resign[7].

  On November 29, the Civic Forum occupied the national television station, which became a propaganda instrument in the hands of the opposition. The General Secretary of the CCP, Urbánek, could only address the nation on the radio. On the same day, the parliament approved the removal of Article 4 from the Constitution, related to the leading role of the Communist Party in society, also of Article 16 on education in the spirit of Marxism and Leninism. It was emphasized that “the entire cultural policy of Czechoslovakia, development of education, learning and teaching are done,   based on the scientific knowledge and patriotic, humanitarian and humanist principles“[8]. The Federal Assembly agreed to Alois Indra’s resignation from the presidency; Indra was one of those who had asked for the military intervention of August 1968, for the removal of Aleksander Dubcek. The new president of the Federal Assembly was going to be elected on December 12.

The reassessement of the events of 1968 was voiced quite clearly by Ladislav Adamec, who said he would propose the federal government to adopt a position of principle as to the way the 1968 crisis was solved and to start bilateral negotiations with the governments of the five countries participating in the invasion in order to close the matter as soon as possible from the political point of view. He also proposed negotiations with the Soviet government for an intergovernment agreement on the temporary station of Soviet troops on the territory of the Socialist Czechoslovak Republic. Based on the re-evaluation of the events of 1968, media and professional associations brought to the attention of the public the writers and artists and their works, that had been prohibited after that date. Many of the emigrants of 1968 returned home and made very good press (among them Ota Šik, Milan Kundera, Jirí Pelikán).

The Democratic Forum of the Communists was established within the Czechoslovak Communist Party. It vouched for a positive dialogue with the opposition organizations, for the coming back of the members excluded after 1968, for the organization of free elections within the Communist Party, until June 30 1990 at the latest[9].

The economic crisis in the Soviet Union was getting worse while the dissatisfaction of the population was increasing. Gorbachev’s reforms generated debates within the SUCP. Some were against the reforms, considering they were a long way from the Marxist-Leninist teaching and a lethal danger for socialism; others were in favor, asking that Article 6 of the Constitution be removed – that establishing the leading role of the communist party. The First Secretary of the Regional and Town Committe of Leningrad declared on November 22: „we are determined to break free from the Stalinist ideology and stagnation but are convinced our flag has been and will always be red with Lenin, October and Socialism written on it “[10].

To clear the arguments under debate, Gorbachev published in the issue of November 26 of Pravda an article The Socialist Idea and Revolutionary Restructuring[11], in which he stated: „The socialism we aim at in the process of restructuring is a society based on an efficient economy, using the latest achievements of science, technology, culture, based on human social structures that can achieve democratization of all aspects of social life and create the conditions for an intensely  creative life and activity of the people“. He saw SUCP as „the political avantgarde of society“, that was becoming „a centre for creating political and ideological platforms“ that he recommended society and state should use. In his opinion, „in this complex stage, the interests of strengthening Soviet society recommend that the single party system be maintained“[12].

The article showed the limits of Gorbachev’s reforms which had already been overcome in other socialist countries – Poland, Hungary – where the leading role of the communist party was history, as it was removed from the Constitution. The state of confusion perestroika was in, was stressed by V.A. Medvedev, one of the main Soviet reformers. Gorbachev would note later that Medvedev considered the next SUCP Congress would take place in very difficult conditions, as the new program and statute were difficult to prepare because the processes in the Soviet society had not yet matured; he was advocating the restructuring of the party into an organization above all, in a political avantgarde of society[13].

The result of the referendum of November 26 in Hungary was announced on November 29; over 95 per cent of the electorate were in favor of dissolving party organizations in the institutions, of making known the heritage of the former Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, of disbanding workers’ guards[14]. The result was a heavy blow for the HSWP led by Grósz Károly and a strong encouragement for the opposition headed by the Free Democratic Alliance, clearly antisocialist and anticommunist in character. The HSWP Congress XIV was announceed to take place. There a new program and statute were going to be established.

Bulgaria was advancing on the way of reforms. In a declaration of November 23, Dimiter Stanishev, secretary of CCBCP said that after November 10 “a new stage had begun in Bulgaria’s development” that aimed at “improving democracy and citizens’ freedoms”. He also emphasized that the reforms were implemented “with socialist rules for the strengthening of the socialist order”, under the leadership of the BCP “in the context of its increased avantgarde role and political force“[15]. A Plenary of the Central Committee was to be organized, which is why a delegation from Moscow was sent there to study the results of the Soviet experience in implementing the reforms.

In Yugoslavia, the Presidium of the Central Committee considered that “contemporary socialism had to transform radically“[16]. The Communists’ Union there was not the first in reform implementation as it used to under Tito. The main concern of the Belgrade leadership was to maintain the unity of the federation. As Slovens wanted separation, Slobodan Miloşević announced the organization of a march in Ljubljane on December 1, 71 years since the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovens was born. The Sloven leadership declared it would mobilize all forces available in an attempt to stop the march of the Serbs and Montenegros. Faced with such an attitude, the organization committtee annulled the march but started a propaganda war between Serbs and Slovens that was joined by the media in the other republics. Yugoslavia had become a powder keg.

Street demonstrations continued in the DRGermany. The main demands were the removal of the article on the leading role of the SUPG and the organization of free elections. The reunification of the two German states was also a demand: “Germany-one homeland” people would chant. On November 22, the Political Bureau of CCSUPG proposed the organization of a roundtable with governmental and opposition participation as well as of the Church representatives, in order to discuss the reform of the Constitution and the new law on elections law. In an interview, Egon Krenz said that the law on elections was supposed to” ensure free, general, democratic and secret elections”; he said that the Political Bureau agreed to remove Article 1 of the Constitution, on the leading role of SUPG, because “the way a party acts for the development of the society cannot be procclaimed through laws and procclamations” but had to be the result of its activity[17]. On December 1, the People’s Chamber (Parliament) of the DR Germany decided the annullment of Article 1 of the Constitution, related to the leading role of the party[18].

Taking advantage of the international context, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Affairs Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher released the idea of the reunification of the two German states. The old French-German dispute was more and more a matter of the past, as President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer promoted the principle of reconciliation and their followers continued to do so. In 1989, François Mitterand and Helmut Kohl would advise each other in the important international issues, trying to maintain and even improve reconciliation. Nevertheless France did not agree the idea of the German reunification.

The issue was far too complex and affected the European balance established in the aftermath of World War II[19]. Potsdam Conference had established (July 17 – August 2, 1945) the division of Germany into four occupation zones (American, Soviet, British and French), as well as its borders. The agreement was still in force and it could not be annulled unilaterally. On November 20, the French Foreign Affairs Minister, Roland Dumas, made a visit to Moscow, where he had talks with Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze. On that occasion, it was said that there was a unity of opinion concerning the European postwar borders and that “German reunification is not a problem of the present“[20].

On November 21, West German Foreign Affairs Minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, mader a visit to Washington, where he had talks with George Bush and James Baker. At the end of the talks, Genscher declared that he reassured that the US would not take a unilateral decision concerning the future of Europe during the Malta Summit. On German reunification, he said: “We are one people, there is not a capitalist German nation and a socialist German nation; this single German nation lives together in two different states“. Genscher stated that German reunification could only take place after organizing <free elections> in East Germany and in the context of East and West European unification, based on <Western values> without changing the international postwar borders of the two states“[21].

On November 24, Chancellor Helmut Kohl participated in the Congress of the Austrian People’s Party, where he held a speech under the title: Future Picture of Europe; the main idea of the speech was that on the continuosly changing map of the continent a unified Germany had a place of its own. After getting Bush’s agreement on the reunification, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who considered Gorbachev the “dynamic factor” of the reforms in the Soviet Union and East Europe, said: „West Germany owes Gorbachev suppport and assistence in his reform program, as a token of gratitude for the opening he made in the international situation”. The chancellor emphasized that his country supported the reforms in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and GDR both “politically and morally”, stating that “the German problem cannot be solved individually but in the context of the European problems”. He also said that unified Germany “had no intention to become a Great Power, only to find its own identity“[22]. The West German chancellor knew how “to stimulate” Gorbachev economically. He offered the Soviet Union credits of many billion of DM in order to balance its economy and to allow the purchase of food, so badly needed by the population.

Three days later, on Novenber 27, Helmut Kohl released a unification program of Germany in three stages:

1) organizing free elections in GDR and consultations with the population of West Germany on the issue of reunification;

2) establishing an inter-German commission for the political, social and economic life, which would analyze and propose intermediate forms of integration;

3) the reunification itself[23].

Helmut Kohl hurried to launch a 10 stage unification plan for Germany on November 29, so that in Malta, Gorbachev and Bush should have something palpable to work on for solving the German problem. The plan presented the initial proposals in detail while focusing on the idea that it would be achieved within the unification of Europe and Germany’s pledge to respect the existing borders.

The Spokesperson of the State Department immediately declared that the Us was convinced the West German Chancellor’s plan met the deep aspirations of his people for the unity of Germany and  that it was an objective the US and West Germany had shared for a long time. Lawrence Eagleburger, deputy State Secretary declared that Germany’s reunification was an inevitable process and that the US did not share the concern of some West European countries concerning a future powerful and unified Germany[24]. In turn, Roland Dumas, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, declared in the National Assembly that “a solution to the German problem cannot be conceived without referring to the events taking place in East Europe” and that Chancellor Kohl’s project was worth “most careful consideration”. While appreciating “the wish of the German people as legitimate” he also stated that it was possible only by democratic and peaceful means, achieveable “within the European integration“[25].

Helmut Kohl’s reassurance was not considered enough by the Soviet Union and Poland. Several days before the Malta Summit, Poland’s Prime Minister made an official visit to Moscow where he had talks with Gorbachev and Nikolai Ryzhkov. At the press conference of November 25, Mazowiecki stressed again the fact that Poland would respect ita commitments within the Warsaw Treaty and that his government wanted to develop and improve relations with the Soviet Union. He emphasized the beneficial influence of the restructuring policy of Soviet Union on the international situation. “Related to Europe, both parties considered border inviolabilty is the most important condition of maintaining stability on the continent”. In his report to Bucharest, the Romanian ambassador to Moscow, Ion Bucur, wrote that as far as international relations were concerned, „talks focused mainly on <the German problem> on which the two countries had similar points of view:

A) At present, the reunification of Germany is not impending. There are two independent German states, that are part of different military alliances and economic associations. Hasting the process would be detrimental to Europe.

B) Should such a question occur, in the distant future, it could be examined taking into account the following conditions:

— the reunification should be required and supported by both W.G. and G.D.R.;

— the reunification should not come against other peoples’ interests nor lead to a revision of the existing borders. The four great powers (U.S.S.R., U.S.A., Great Britain, France)[26] should have a say in the matter.”

International public opinion, diplomatic offices but secret services as well were highly interested in the first meeting Bush – Gorbachev, the leaders of the two superpowers.

On December 1, General Iulian Vlad, chief of State Security Department, submitted to Nicolae Ceausescu’a attention “top secret” report, in hand writing, saying[27]:

„We report the following intelligence collected from different sources, about the Bush and Gorbachev Summit:

1. During the new summit between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., organized upon the Soviets’ initiative, the two parties will make a priority of approaching the issue of redefining the spheres of influence and drawing out a new common strategy meant to ensure, further on, their dominant role in all international matters.

– It is to be expected that they conclude new agreements for the limitation of the areas of direct confrontation, in favor of those where their interests meet.

– According to existing information, U.S.S.R. will make new concessions to the Americans in exchange for economic and financial support.

– They intend to establish a new balance on the European continent, meant to gradually diminish the differences between the political and economic systems of the socialist and capitalist countries and to put into practice the concept of <ideology-free international relations> and creating a so-called <European common house>.

            – In this context the problem of the existing two military blocs will be raised to the effect that they will be maintained for a while, at least until the stabilization of the situation in Eastern Europe.

– As to the growing concern of Bonn for the reunification of the two Germany, an agreement will be made to assist the process, which will be delayed for the moment in order to include it in the <European integration process>.

– Both parties will be in favor of accelarating bilateral negotiations for reducing armament and military spendings; USSR is interested in allotting more funds to domestic needs while the USA to reduce the great deficit in the balance of payment.

It is possible that during the summit, Bush announce his intention to reduce the American forces stationed in Europe in response to similar measures unilaterally adopetd by the USSR

– In terms of bilateral relations, the US President will show his willingness to assist USSR economically, on condition that Soviet reforms will improve further by taking into account implementing free market economy.

– Beside the direct request for financial support, Gorbachev will insist to get MFN for U.S.S.R. as well as a reduction of the restrictions on know-how transfer.


– The existing data imnply that during the summit, Bush and Gorbachev will discuss the possibility of setting increased pressure on the socialist countries that had not reached the stage of implementing <real reforms>, namely P.R. China, Cuba and Romania.

– As to our country, Bush will emphasize that N.A.T.O. member states will continue to impose restrictions upon their relations with Romania and will request that USSR do the same, mainly by diminishing the supply of oil, gas and iron.

2. During the consultations of the last days with the Washington Administration, the governments of Great Britain, France, West Germany and Italy insisted that:

– U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. avoid adopting final decisions concerning the European military force balance, without prior consultations and consent of the West European countries;

– armaments and forces stationed in Europe be reduced gradually with the revision of the problem after there will be clear guarantees that the U.S.S.R. is willing to dissolve its military force;

– the U.S. observe all prior agreements with West European countries, namely that each of them will have a greater role in influencing the situation in Eastern Europe, so that they should be able to ensure a long term promotion of their own interests in the area.

France and England requested that, in view of the creation of a Confederation of the two German states, it should be avoided a shift of power from Europe to unified Germany or the political and economic, even military polarization between it and the U.S.S.R. as it used to be before WWII“.

It results from the analysis of this report that the Romanian intelligence services have captured the exact context in which the Bush-Gorbachev talks would take place and their direction of evolution.

On his way to Malta, Gorbachev first visited Pope John Paul II who nurtured well-known anti-communist feelings.The Siviet leader was praised by the Pope for the reforming policy he was promoting while Gorbachev appreciated him in return for his contribution to making the world a peaceful place and to a better understanding among peoples. At the same time, the Sovereign Pontiff voiced his hope that Soviet Union would adopt a law on inner freedom that would ensure “the extention of the possibility to lead a religious life for all Soviet citizens“[28]. In his address to the people gathered to meet him, Gorbachev said he was in favor of the organization of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, implying that it would become a substitute of both the Warsaw Treaty and N.A.T.O.

The Malta Summit took place according to the program, on December 2 and 3, 1989: the presidents of the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. had talks, first on board of a Soviet ship, then of an American one. George Bush was at the head of a state in full economic expansion, with an outstanding military force (nuclear included), stable, based on the principles of the American democracy; through the policy it conducted in that last decade, the U.S.A. was in the position to speak on behalf of the Western countries and held by far the place as first world power. Mikhail Gorbachev was the president of a state on the threshold of collapse[29]: chaos in the economy, centralized planning not working, mechanisms of free market economy not yet in place; social turmoil (strikes, street demonstrations); a troubled political life where the communist party sought to maintain its leading role but was more and more contested by a civil society that was beginning to assert itself. Obviously Gorbachev was overwhelmed by the situation, just like a boxer on the verge of KO but continued to stay in the ring only to take more hits, to the satisfaction of the spectators.


The talks were held both in the presence of the delegations, and on eye-to-eye basis. The issues touched: disarmament, bilateral cooperation, the international situation. The American president expressed his support for perestroika, reassuring him that he was dealing with an American Administration and a Congress that were hopeful his reforms would be successful[30]. Gorbachev said he considered there were important changes in the world in terms of the balance of forces. He said it was obvious the world was on the verge of passing form a bi- to a multi-polar system; that willingly or not Europe would be united and integrated economically; he mentioned further that other centres of international policy were Japan, China, India[31]. Gorbachev was in fact recognizing that Soviet Union was no longer the second pole of power of the world. The leader of Kremlin believed it was important to discuss which lessons should be drawn from past experience, from the Cold War. George Bush in turn said he was interested in the developments in Eastern Europe (that used to be under Soviet influence); Gorbachev emphasized he pursued no goals in Central (accepting US preeminence in that region) Europe. The American leader praised the Soviet one saying he was the catalyst of the changes in Eastern Europe, which were positive. Gorbachev in turn said they had to work together, in a responsible spirit and with caution in a period when Europe was so troubled. Bush agreed[32].

The released materials do not show that there was any discussion on the situation in Romania or Ceausescu’s policy. There is one mention, made by Bush; he observed that he was in favor of self-determination and the accompanying discussions. He made clear that the attitude of the U.S.A. did not involve imposing one’s system upon Romania, Czechoslovakia or G.D.R[33]. There are documents that show, however that the intention to discuss the situation in Romania existed. On December 2, the Hungarian Agency MTI announced that both presidents had been sent a telegram signed jointly by Magyars in Transylvania and German nationals, asking that everything possible be done to put an end to Ceausescu regime that was exterminating national minorities[34]. Some Hungarian officials as well (Poszsgay Imre, Horn Gyula) declared that it was up to the great powers to solve the problem of the rights of the Magyar minority in Transylvania.  Hungarian media made frequent use of the names of Tökes László and Süto Andras, as „victims of the political regime in Romania “. Romanian ambassador to Budapest, Traian Pop, wrote on December 2: „The contents and the scope of the political and propaganda actions conducted by the government circles in Budapest against our country, employing all their means available, resemble the period prior to the Vienna Diktat in 1940“[35]. On that same day, December 2, American President George Bush declared for the journalists that he wanted to see some actions in Romania as well and that a new ambassador, Allan Green, had been appointed in Romania, who was a good friend. He said he sent him in Romania because he was a firm and severe man, who was aware of the president’s opinions on democracy and freedom. He continued by saying that he thought Allan Green left for Romania on November 29, where he would present the American and the president’s point of view to President Nicolae Ceausescu. We would try anyway but it would be difficult[36]. The American president shared the same opinion as the Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, whose advisor had declared on November 24: „The process taking place in some East European countries is irreversible and general in character. Some political leaders may not be aware of need for such a change but life itself will impose it. This is why I watch the future developments in Romania with optimism “[37]. The hint to Nicolae Ceausescu was more than obvious.

At the end of the Malta Summit, the two presidents participated in a joint press conference – something unique in the history of the Soviet-American relations. They shared the opinion the talks had been fruitful, that new relations opened between the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. which call for the end of the Cold War. George Bush declared he would support the restructuring policy Gorbachev promoted.

Many political analysts said Malta was a repetition of the Yalta meeting, but reversed: in February 1945 the division of the spheres of influence in Europe was done in favor of the U.S.S.R. while in December 1990, the West, but mainly the U.S.A., were favoured.

During the Malta Summit, the socialist states continued their metamorphosis. On December 3, the Plenary of C.C. of the Socialist United Party of Germany decided the exclusion of Erick Honecker and some of his close collaborators from the party, along with Prime Minister Willi Stoph. The entire party leadership resigned while the daily preparations for the Extraordinary Congress of December 15 – 17 were tended to by a working commission consisting of party members “who showed committment for the renewal process“[38].

The New Forum organization decided the organization of a “human chain” across the territory of G.D.R. from north to south and from east to west, as a symbol of people’s unity in the process of democratization. Theb demonstrations demanded the resignation of Egon Krenz from his position as president of the State Council and of the Council of National Defence. In Leipzig and other towns the demonstrators entered the buildings of Security where thay sealed the lockers containing documents lest they should be destroyed as they were going to play an important role in the trials of those who committed abuses and illegalities.

As agreed, after the Malta Summit, Mikhail Gorbachev was supposed to inform the party leaders of the Warsaw Treaty member states of what had been discussed.

The political leaders of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and G.D.R. answered to the invitation to go to Moscow for a meeting. Nicolae Ceausescu alone set a condition that was accepted by Mikhail Gorbachev, namely that a separate meeting be held with the Romanian delegation. Once in Moscow, Nicolae Ceausescu could easily notice he was the only political leader of the “old school”. There he met with Petar Mladenov (Bulgaria), Egon Krenz and Hans Modrow (G.D.R.), General Jaruzelski and Tadeusz Mazoviecki (Poland), Reszö Nyers (Hungary), whom he considered traitors of the socialist cause. Mikhail Gorbachev’s briefing of December 4 was given in very general terms: peace, disarmament, united Europe, etc. Lest he should enter the details of his talks with George Bush, the Soviet leader proposed that the participants adopt a declaration of condemnation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia of August 1968. Nicolae Ceausescu was keen on emphasizing that Romania was not concerned by such a declaration as it was condemned right then and there as a violation of the Czechoslovakia’s sovereignity and independence. The adopted document mentioned that “the entry of troops in this state was an interference in the internal affairs of sovereign Czechoslovakia and has to be blamed. Interrupting the process of democratic renewal of the S.R. Czechoslovakia these unjustified actions had long term negative consequences “. According to Constantin Olteanu, who participated in the meeting, upon leaving for Berlin, the East German leader Egon Krenz told the head of the Romanian delegation: „Comrade Ceausescu, I do not know if we  see each other ever again“[39].

During the Ceausescu-Gorbachev meeting in which the two Prime Ministers (Constantin Dăscălescu and Nikolai Ryzhkov)[40], participated as well only general matters were discussed first. Nicolae Ceausescu proposed that preparations should begin for a meeting of the communist and workers’ parties where socialism and its future should be tackled, as “the communist movement is faced with a very difficult situation“. Gorbachev said that first a debate should take place in each socialist country: „How could we go into a broader meeting without first defining our position in our own matters?” Ceausescu expressed his “concern” for “that which is happening in some socialist countries in Europe. We understand improvement, renewal, but this is not what I want to talk about now. But the way things are done is seriously endangering not only socialism but the very existence of the communist parties in the respective countries “. Which is why he had proposed a meeting “of our socialist countries and our parties”, to see “the way things are done in some countries“. Gorbachev did not share that point of view, stating that the modernization process should have begun long before; he talked about Honecker, who „did not speak to me anymore“. The Soviet leader did not spare Ceausescu: „On the other hand, I know you have criticized me together“. Of course, Ceausescu denied: „No, we haven’t criticized you. On the contrary, we said it would have been good to meet sooner and discuss how we should work better“. Gorbachev continued: „Frankly speaking, I am really concerned for comrade Honecker“. The Soviet leader concluded: “Important is to strengthen socialism. As for the rest, it is each man for himself”. It is not clear that by saying the words Gorbachev meant he really believed the reforms he started strengthened socialism or he just wanted to soften the blow. Then bilateral relations were approached. The Romanian leader tried to get promises for more supplies of oil and gas from Soviet Union for Romania. The two prime ministers agreed to meet on January 9 to discuss. Then Gorbachev said something with many implications: „Will you live until January 9?“*

The meeting of Ceausescu and Gorbachev took place in a tensed atmosphere. The one with the general secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Peter Mladenov, was entirely different. The meeting took place on December 5[41]. The new Bulgarian leader declared that in his country, “everybody, except a small part of the population, is happily supporting perestroika“, a statement that pleased Gorbachev. He said that “an open, sincere dialogue with the society should contribute to the strengthening of the party authority“, that radical changes had to be made “but they should not be rushed”. Gorbachev strongly advocated the thesis that the communist party had the leading role and recommended Mladenov to study his article The Socialist Idea and The Revolutionary Perestroika published not long before, that encompassed “our long-term guidelines. It is based on a contemporary interpretation of the Marxist classics”.

The problems of the Warsaw Treaty states co-existed with those concerning the reunification of Germany. On December 5, Gorbachev met in Moscow with Hans-Dietrich Genscher. The West German Foreign Affairs Minister reassured him that a unified Germany would observe the principles stipulated in the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 as well as the European existing territorial division. On the next day, December 6, François Mitterand and Mikhail Gorbachev discussed in Kiev; the two agreed that German reunification had to be done in a peaceful, democratic way with the maintenance of the European balance. While Mitterand considered the reunification was under way, Gorbachev continued to advocate that “the problem of the German reunification is not one of the present” and that “personally I do not want to solve the problem of the German people, it is the responsibility and competence of the politicians in this country“[42].

Hardly had Egon Krenz returned from Moscow that he submitted his resignation on December 6, from the office of president of the State Council and of the National Defence Council of G.D.R. The office had been taken ad interim by Manfred Gerlach, president of the Liberal-Democratic Party. The reunification process of the two Germany was in full swing; the companies in West Germany joined the ones in G.D.R., scientists and men of culture from both states were conducting joint actions, parties from the West and the East developed organizations together. There were no borders between the two states, travelling was free across the entire German territory.

The Extraordinary Congress of the Socialist United Party of Germany held on December 8, elected Gregor Gysi, a Jewish lawyer of 41 as president of the party. In his speech after his election, he advocated “a third way” for the development of his country”, “different from the Stalinist socialism and the domination of traditional monopolies“.This way spelled: radical democracy and rule-of-law, humanism, social justice, environment protection, equal opportunities. „The sources of this way are traditional: social-democratic, socialist, non-Stalinist socialism and pacifist“[43]. On the same occasion, Prime Minister Hans Modrow observed: „A sovereign and socialist G.D.R. represents the premises for political stability in Europe and for the interests of other states, for instance France and Great Britain, that are oriented towards the existence of two Germanys and the postwar realities“. He confessed that G.D.R. proposed “a contractual community of the two German states, while Chancellor Kohl extended the idea by proposing <confederative measures>, which is a level-headed start for future discussions>“. Modrow noted that „a reunification of G.D.R. and W.G. is not a problem of today’s policy. The contractual cooperation of the two Germanys, against the background of a new reality, will create the pieces of some new structures that will be needed in a more distant future“[44]. The Extraordinary Congress of S.U.P.G. resumed sessions a week later and lasted until December 16 – 17. It was decided that the party name should be Socialist United Party of Germany – Party of Democratic Socialism. It was going to be part of the “tradition of workers’ movement, of humanism and anti-fascist“. Party organizations in state institution, the military included, were te be dissolved. The Congress was in favor of “a contractual community“ of the two Germanys that would not impede on the stability of Europe. It was emphasized that G.D.R. did not want to become “an underdeveloped federal land, with an uncertain social future“[45]. Two days later, on December 19, Chancellor Helmut Kohl participated in a huge meeting in Dresden, where he had been cheered as a hero of the German unification. The slogans most chanted read: „We are the people!“, „We are one people!“ Unification was happening; juridically, from the perspective of the international law it was going to be solved later.

In Czechoslovakia, Prime Minister Adamec resigned. A new government, with a communist minority, was formed on December 10, headed by Marian Čalfa. On December 11, Gustáv Husák, who had been set in the presidential office by the Soviets in 1968, was dismissed. The way was open for Václav Havel, leader of  Civic  Forum to take office.

In Yugoslavia, the “draft version” of the declaration of the impending Congress of the Communists’ Union of Yugoslavia was released on December 16.  The document stipulated: „authoritarian communism will be abandoned“ and free market economy will prevail; a „democratic socialism“ in a society based on individual freedoms and democracy, self-governing, social justice, solidarity and welfare; „human freedom is above all“; political pluralism: the party would compete with other political forces at the elections; „equality in national rights“: rejecting national discrimination and chauvinism in favor of „equality of people, nationalities and minorities in Yugoslavia“[46]. It was intended that a new program and statute of the Communists’ Union of Yugoslavia be drawn out as well as a new Constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In Poland, the statues of Lenin, Feliks Edmundovici Dzerjinski, Boleslaw Bierut, were torn down, street names were changed, many of them being given the name Jósef Pilsudski, the founder of the modern Polish state, and a well-known anti-Bolshevic. On December, upon the call of Solidarity, sirens and bells were sounded to mark the nine years that elapsed since the calling of the state of siege in the country. Starting August 1989, when Solidarity won the office of Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Poland, it had become the main political force of the country.

In Hungary, Congress XIV of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party was held on December 17. Then, Grósz Károly, head of the organization commission of that forum observed that in October 1989, fractionist forces destryed the party and created the Hungarian Socialist Party “without prior consultations of the party members, which was undemocratic“ and caused “incalculable prejudices to the Hungarian people, opening the way for possible measures to undermine the bases of the socialist order“[47]. The Congress elected Thurmer Gyula for the presidential office of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. He was a 35 years old, former foreign policy adviser of Grósz Károly, who had studied in the U.S.S.R. and later worked in the Foreign Affairs Ministry and then in the C.C. apparatus of the Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party. These renewals at the top were attempts to launch the party back into the political life and to win as large a part as possible of the electorate.

In the Soviet Union, Congress II of the People’s Deputies took place in Moscow. The issues under discussion were revitalizing Soviet economy, reform stages, the way and principles of drawing out the next five-year plan. There were vivid debates, most deputies were criticizing the program presented by Prime Minister Ryzhkov.From among the speakers Boris Yeltsin made an impression as he criticized Gorbachev. He said that the restructuring slogan “was launched without clear tactics and strategy“. The President of the Socialist Soviet Republic of Latvia, A. Gurbunov, reminded in his speech that his country had the organization of an independent country which was brutally stopped in 1940. The representatives of Latvia and Moldavia were against citizens from other republics being relocated in their countries; Mircea Snegur mentioned that over 900 workers from outside the republic had been brought for the building of the metalurgic plant in Ribniţa, thogh many of them had nothing to do with the industry[48].  Vivid debated were generated by the propositon to modify Article 6 of the Constitution, by removing the provision to the “leading role” of the Soviet Union Communist Party. Gorbachev succeeded in avoiding discussions on the subject, advocating that it was a matter in which S.U.C.P. and “the entire people” had to have the first say “[49].


[1]1989 Principiul dominoului. Prăbuşirea regimurilor comuniste europene. Documente [The Domino Theory. The Fall of the European Communist Regimes. Documents], Bucureşti, Editura Fundaţiei Culturale Române, 2000,  p. 264

[2] Ibidem, p. 268

[3] Ibidem, pp. 322–323

[4] Ibidem, p. 342

[5] Ibidem, p. 344-348

[6] Ibidem, p. 352

[7] Ibidem, pp. 356–357

[8] Ibidem, p. 365

[9] Ibidem, p. 374

[10] Ibidem, p. 385

[11] Memorii. [Memoirs] Traducere de Radu Pontbriandt..  Ediţie Dan Petre, Bucureşti, Editura Nemira, 1994., p. 112

[12] Principiul dominoului [The Domino Theory], p. 386

[13] Ibidem, p. 386

[14] Ibidem, p.367

[15] Ibidem, p. 330

[16] Ibidem, p. 349

[17] Ibidem, p. 336

[18] Ibidem, p. 337

[19] Vezi, pe larg, Ioan Scurtu, 1989 – an revoluţionar în istoria Europei, în „Clio 1989“, [For details see  Ioan Scurtu, 1989-Revolutionary Year in the History of Europe, in Clio 1989], nr. 1–3 / 2005.

[20] Ibidem, p. 313

[21] Principiul dominoului… [The Domino Theory], pp. 317–318

[22] Ibidem, p. 348

[23] Ibidem, p. 349

[24] Ibidem, p. 363

[25] Ibidem, p. 349

[26] Ibidem, p. 361

[27] Cristian Troncotă, Duplicitarii. O istorie a Serviciilor de Informaţii şi Securitate ale regimului comunist din România, Bucureşti, Editura Elion, 2003,  p. 207–208

[28] Mihail Gorbaciov, Memorii…, [Memoirs…], p. 70

[29] Vezi, pe larg, J.F. Matlock jr., Autopsy on an Empire. The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union, New York, 1995

[30] Mihail Gorbaciov, Memorii…,[Memoirs…], p. 80

[31] Ibidem, p. 87

[32] Ibidem, p.100

[33] Ibidem, p. 104

[34] [The Domino Theory], p. 381

[35] Ibidem, pp. 381–382

[36] Constantin Sava şi Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română din decembrie 1989 retrăită prin documente şi mărturii, Bucureşti, Editura Axioma, 2001,  p. 106

[37] Ibidem, p. 104

[38] [The Domino Theory…], p. 389

[39] Gen. col. [r] dr. Constantin Olteanu, România, o voce distinctă în Tratatul de la Varşovia. Memorii. 1980 – 1985, [Romania, a Disctinct Voice within the Warsaw Treaty. Memoirs, 1980-1985], Bucureşti, Editura Aldo, 1999, p. 216

[40] Stenograma întâlnirii lui Nicolae Ceauşescu cu Mihail Gorbaciov la 4 decembrie 1989, la Moscova, în gen. col. [r] dr. Constantin Olteanu, România, o voce distinctă…, [The transcripts of Ceausescu’s meeting with Gorbachev on December 4, 1989, in Moscow in Constantin Olteanu, Romania, A Disctinct Voice…]pp. 234 – 243; Constantin Sava şi Constantin Monac, Revoluţia Română…, [The Romanian Revolution…], pp. 80–97

* Ion Dincă, member of the Executive Political Committee declared before the Senatorial Commission, on October 21, 1993, that an eye-to-eye meeting between Ceausescu and Gorbachev followed, when the Soviet leader told him he had to resign. Dincă supposedly read that transcript; in response to the threats of Gorbachev, Ceausescu allegedly said he would inform CC on his position to Romania and him, that he would inform the public opinion, would call for a meeting of the Great National Assembly and ”we would answer each problem in turn, as we discussed them here. Though we agreed not to release them to the public, we will: the thesaurus problem, Insula Şerpilor and Bessarabia”. Constantin Olteanu, member of the delegation, strongly denied that such a meeting had taken place and characterized Dincă’s allegations as pure phantasy.

[41] Mihail Gorbaciov, Memorii…[Memoirs]  pp. 106–108

[42] [The Domino Theory…], p. 425

[43] Ibidem, pp. 418–419

[44] Ibidem, pp. 418–419

[45] Ibidem, pp. 452–453

[46] Ibidem, pp. 440–441

[47] Ibidem, p. 450

[48] Ibidem, pp. 445–446

[49] Gheorghe E. Cojocaru, Tratatul de Uniune Sovietică, Cişinău, Editura Civitas, 2005, p. 330.


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