Records of the Political Consultative Committee
The records of the Warsaw Pact's Political Consultative Committee (PCC), which are collected here for the first time in a comprehensive fashion, are the most important source for the study of the political role played by the Soviet military alliance during the Cold War.
The committee, which met typically at the highest party and government levels, discussed and decided some of the most important initiatives on international security that the Soviet Union undertook in conjunction with its Eastern European allies. The committee was also the forum where the diverse interests of the Soviet Union and other members of the Warsaw Pact often clashed.
The committee met irregularly twenty-three times from 1956 to 1990. Additional gatherings of Soviet bloc leaders, which were not officially designated as PCC meetings, are not included in this collection (see for example Brezhnev's Crimea meetings in the 1970s).
No official minutes of the PCC meetings were kept. The collection therefore includes, if available, minutes kept by the different delegations, summaries of discussion, and reports subsequently prepared for internal purposes. The many speeches that were delivered at the meetings are included verbatim if available, otherwise in summary form. Additional documents pertinent to the contents of the discussions are also part of the collection.
Since no single archive contains the most comprehensive or informative set of documents from each meeting, the collection brings together the best records from different archives-Polish, former East German, former Czechoslovak, Hungarian, Romanian, and Bulgarian. Soviet material from PCC meetings, deposited in Russian archives. is currently not accessible. If additional PCC documents become available in the future, they will be added to the website collection.
Nearly all records that are published here were originally secret and have only been declassified since the end of the Cold War, many of them at the request of the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP). The few documents that the PCC made public at the end of each session, usually called "communiqué," "declaration," or "statement," are included to supplement the main collection.
The documents are reproduced on the website in the language in which they were found in the archives. The language of each document may or may not be its original language; some are translations prepared for the benefit of officials in different Warsaw Pact countries. The languages involved are Russian, German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, and Bulgarian. Some of the documents have been translated into English by the PHP; additional English translations will be gradually added to the website if allowed by the availability of funds.
The documents are arranged chronologically by meeting and those from each meeting are preceded by an introduction written by the PHP coordinator, Vojtech Mastny. The introductions are intended to place each meeting within its historical setting and offer the most basic information about the agenda and its significance to those readers who are unable to read the texts in the original languages.