The principles of peaceful coexistence, friendship, and cooperation among all states have always been and still form the unshakable foundation of the foreign relations of the U.S.S.R. This policy finds its most profound and consistent expression in the relationship with socialist countries. United by the common ideal of building a socialist society and the principles of proletarian internationalism, the countries of the great commonwealth of socialist nations can build their relations only on the principle of full equality, respect of territorial integrity, state independence and sovereignty, and noninterference in one another's domestic affairs.
This does not exclude, but on the contrary presupposes, close fraternal cooperation and mutual aid between the countries of the socialist commonwealth in the economic, political, and cultural spheres. It is on this basis that after World War 11 and after the rout of fascism the regimes of the people's democracies came into being in a number of countries of Europe and Asia, which were strengthened and display great vitality.
In the process of the establishment of the new regime and the deep revolutionary transformation in social relations there were not a few difficulties, unsolved problems, and out-and-out mistakes, including some in the relations between the socialist states-violations and mistakes which infringed the principles of equality in relations between socialist states.
The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union resolutely condemned these mistakes and violations and demanded that the Soviet Union apply Lenin's principles of the equality of nations in its relations with other socialist states. This statement took complete cognizance of the historical past and the peculiarities of each country which has taken the road of building a new life. . . .
As recent events have shown, the need has arisen for an appropriate declaration to be made on the position of the Soviet Union in the mutual relations between the U.S.S.R. and other socialist countries, primarily in the economic and military spheres. The Soviet Government is ready to discuss with the governments of other socialist states measures insuring the further development and strengthening of economic ties between socialist countries, in order to remove any possibilities of violating the principle of national sovereignty, mutual advantage, and equality in economic relations.
This principle should extend also to advisers. It is common knowledge that during the first period of the formation of the new social order, at the request of the governments of the people's democracies, the Soviet Union sent to these countries a certain number of specialists-engineers, agronomists, scientific workers, and military advisers. During the later period the Soviet Government on many occasions asked the socialist states about the recall of its advisers.
In view of the fact that by now the people's democracies have formed their own qualified national cadres in all spheres of economic and military construction, the Soviet Government considers it as urgent to examine, together with other socialist states, the question whether a further stay of U.S.S.R. advisers in these countries is expedient.
In the military sphere, the Warsaw Treaty is an important foundation for mutual relations between the Soviet Union and the people's democracies. Its participants took upon themselves appropriate political and military obligations, including obligations to adopt agreed measures essential for strengthcuing their defense potential, so as to protect the peaceful labors of their people, guarantee the inviolability of their frontiers and territories, and insure defense against possible aggression.
It is known that, in accordance with the Warsaw Treaty and with government agreements, Soviet units are stationed in the Hungarian and the Rumanian Republics. In the Polish Republic, Soviet military units are stationed on the basis of the Potsdam Four-Power Agreement and the Warsaw Treaty. In other people's democratic countries there are no Soviet military units.
With a view to insuring the mutual security of the socialist countries, the Soviet Government is ready to examine with other socialist countries that are parties to the Warsaw Treaty the question of Soviet troops stationed on the territory of these countries. In this the Soviet Government proceeds from the general principle that the stationing of troops of one state that is a party to the Warsaw Treaty on the territory of another state that is a party to the Warsaw Treaty should take place on the basis of an agreement among all its participants and not only with the agreement of the state on whose territory these troops are stationed or are planned to be stationed at its request...
The Soviet Government and all the Soviet people deeply regret that the development of events in Hungary has led to bloodshed. On the request of the Hungarian People's Government the Soviet Government consented to the entry into Budapest of the Soviet Army units to assist the Hungarian People's Army and the Hungarian authorities to establish order in the town. Believing that the further presence of Soviet Army units in Hungary can serve as a cause for even greater deterioration of the situation, the Soviet Government has given instructions to its military command to withdraw the Soviet Army units from Budapest as soon as this is recognized as necessary by the Hungarian Government.
At the same time, the Soviet Government is ready to enter into relevant negotiations with the Government of the Hungarian People's Republic and other participants of the Warsaw Treaty on the question of the presence of Soviet troops on the territory of Hungary. . . .
The Soviet Government expresses confidence that the peoples of the socialist countries will not permit foreign and internal reactionary forces to undermine the basis of the people's democratic regimes, won and consolidated by the heroic struggle and toil of the workers, peasants, and intelligentsia of each country.
They will make all efforts to remove all obstacles that lie in the path of further strengthening the democratic basis of the independence and sovereignty of their countries, to develop further the socialist basis of each country, its economy and culture, for the sake of the constant growth of the material welfare and the cultural level of all the workers. They will consolidate the fraternal unity and mutual assistance of the socialist countries for the strengthening of the great cause of peace and socialism.
Reprinted from The Department of State Bulletin, XXXV, No. 907 (November 12, 1956), pp. 745-747.
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© Paul Halsall, November 1998