Records of the Meetings of the Warsaw Pact Deputy Foreign Ministers
Introduction, by Csaba Békés
The History of the “DEFOMIN” Collection
The collection of the documents of the Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers from 1964 to 1989 is the result of a several-year-long joint research project of PHP and the Cold War History Research Center in Budapest (www.coldwar.hu).  The documents have been collected from several collections in the Hungarian National Archives including the different leading bodies of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Besides the author, Gusztáv Kecskés and Attila Kolontári took part in the research project. 
The present collection contains the relevant documents of 40 meetings of deputy foreign ministers.  Although this material has been gathered as a result of long and extensive archival research, the collection is not yet full and represents the present state of research.  We expect to find documents of a few more meetings especially from the nineteen-eighties, when this kind of foreign policy coordination in the Warsaw Pact became even more intensive than before. So, unlike the other Warsaw Pact collections of leading bodies (Political Consultative Committee, Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Committee of Ministers of Defense), this one has been an “open” material that will be enlarged by new documents in the future. 
The bulk of the materials published here include reports on individual sessions. Most of these reports were prepared by the participating Hungarian deputy foreign minister, and in general they give a true picture of what happened at the meetings. Each report gives a concise summary of the position of the representatives of each member state and outlines in some detail the speech of the Soviet deputy foreign minister that was regarded as authoritative in every case. These sections of the reports are especially valuable historical sources, for they truly reflect the changes in current Soviet foreign political thinking and the developments in strategic and tactical priorities.
In general, the reports also note if there was a dispute on some issues among the participants, so in most cases they record the Romanian position as a fact that is often markedly different from that of the “closely cooperating countries”. In many cases, if the session was held in Moscow, A. Gromyko, and later E. Shevarnadze also met with the deputy foreign ministers and gave them detailed information about current Soviet foreign policy. In such a case, a separate report was prepared on their contribution.
The length of the reports prepared by the Hungarian deputy foreign ministers participating at the sessions is generally 5 to 10 pages. In accordance with general practice in the Warsaw Pact, official records were not kept; occasionally a brief protocol was prepared, containing the list of participants and the issues discussed. One important exception is the material of the Budapest meeting held in June, 1970, which was extremely important from the point of view of working out the position of the Warsaw Pact on the European Security Conference. A 73-page detailed report was prepared on the five sessions of this meeting; the materials of three sessions are published here in English translation.
In many cases the report is supplemented by the text of the contribution of the Hungarian deputy foreign minister, which in general is published in English in full. These contributions are also important historical sources, for the Hungarian position reflects a special middle-of-the-road view in the Warsaw Pact: on the one hand Hungary was a loyal ally of the Soviet Union all along and supported the current Soviet political line unconditionally in most cases at multilateral meetings, often on the basis of preliminary coordination and a mutually accepted scenario (e.g. in the case of the meeting in Prague on 30-31 October 1969  ). However, due to its open economy, Hungary was the most interested in a smooth development of economic relations with the West – along with Romania – among the countries in the socialist camp, and this ambition – which was also in the interest of the entire block – is very well reflected in the Hungarian position put forward at each meeting of the deputy foreign ministers. Therefore, within the framework of the special Soviet-Hungarian preliminary coordination mentioned above, the Hungarian leaders took pains to drive the Soviet position in this direction, often with considerable success. Another special aspect is that although Hungary supported the current deviant Romanian position only very rarely in an open way, since its interests often coincided with those of Romania, the Hungarian leaders often took a benevolently neutral stand with respect to the Romanian position at several sessions, and at times they even tried to put some pressure on the Soviets in support of the Romanian position at the preliminary conciliatory talks (e.g. before the PCC meeting in Budapest in March 1969  ).
The reports on 40 meetings of Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers and their supplementary documents are also published in English, so this is the first PHP collection on leading bodies that contains not only annotations and selected documents but the original versions in full also in English.  This will make it considerably easier to use the documents for research and teaching purposes all over the world. Covering the expenses of translating huge amounts of texts was made possible by the cooperation of the Open Society Archives in Budapest and PHP. The collection is annotated by the main topics discussed at each meeting.
The collection of reports on the meetings of Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers is closely related to another collection that is posted on the website of PHP, the Records of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (CMFA). Anna Locher's thorough and comprehensive introduction to the CMFA collection is an excellent analysis of the activities of this body.  The topics discussed at the meetings of deputy foreign ministers were in most cases fully or partially identical with those raised at the meetings of ministers of foreign affairs and later CMFA sessions, so the present introduction does not intend to comment on and analyze the materials of the 40 meetings. At the same time, once the collection of reports on the meetings of deputy foreign ministers becomes complete, the author plans to investigate the meetings of CMFA and deputy foreign ministers and make a detailed analysis of the mechanisms involved in the coordination of foreign policy in the Warsaw Pact, to be published on the PHP website and elsewhere.
Therefore, what is presented below is essentially aimed at the following two things:
- On the basis of the most recent archival research the history of foreign policy coordination is outlined as it has become institutionalized in the Warsaw Pact from the beginnings to the establishment of CMFA.
- The main characteristic features of the collection of deputy foreign ministers' meetings are outlined, such as the role and function of this forum in the mechanisms of the Warsaw Pact's foreign policy coordination, the publicity, the frequency, the venues and the participants of the meetings.
The Evolution of the Institutionalization of Foreign Policy Coordination in the Warsaw Pact
As is well known, no structure of any kind was set up for the military-political alliance of the Soviet bloc – except for formally establishing a Political Consultative Committee – when signing the Warsaw Treaty in May 1955.  While the future function of the new organization was to be clarified for the Soviet leaders themselves during the years to come, in the course of the year of the „spirit of Geneva” it became obvious that a more effective model of foreign policy coordination had to be established in the Bloc.
At the beginning of January 1956, less than a month before the 20th Congress of the CPSU an important summit meeting was held with the participation of the European Communist states' leaders in Moscow.  At the meeting Khrushchev emphasized in a very explicit way the importance of the new foreign policy doctrine, the so called „active foreign policy”: „All countries of the socialist camp have to make their foreign policy efforts more active, they have to strengthen their international relations. In this field we do not sufficiently exploit the possibilities. What usually happens is that the Soviet Union takes action as the main force of our camp and then the countries of peoples' democracies support her. It is true that the Soviet Union is the great force of our camp but if we organized our work in a more flexible way, the Soviet Union would not always have to be the first to take action. In certain situations one or another country of peoples' democracies could take action and then the Soviet Union would support that country. There are issues where the countries of peoples' democracies could take action better in a more effective way.”  While until that point no such initiatives had been made, from this time on and especially from the mid-sixties quite until the collapse of the Communist regimes in East Central Europe this strategy became an effective model for cooperation among the Soviet bloc states in the field of foreign policy. (China was also represented at the summit meeting as an observer, just like at the session where the Warsaw Pact was established in May 1955.)
It was thus not by chance that at the first session of the Warsaw Pact PCC held in Prague in late January 1956, just a few weeks following the Moscow summit, a decision was made that the Council of Foreign Ministers and a Permanent Secretariat should be established as a subsidiary organ of the PCC. As is well known, no such bodies were actually formed within the Warsaw Pact in 1956, or indeed, not up until exactly twenty years later, in 1976. While it is clear that from the mid-sixties the opposition of Romania blocked such plans, further research will be needed to show why the Soviet leadership did not implement these resolutions in the period between 1956 and 1961 when they were still “plenipotentiary” masters of the Soviet bloc. This is all the more interesting as we now know that in this same period an intensive process of policy coordination never seen before took place in the Soviet Bloc – true, mostly using the traditional channel: the party “line”.
At this point let me just list the most important phases of this process: the 20th congress of the CPSU (including participation of East European leaders at the secret session about Stalin's crimes), the Communist summit meeting in June 1956 in Moscow where information was given to the allies on Tito's recent visit to the Soviet Union and on Moscow's rapprochement with Yugoslavia, the emergency summit meeting in Moscow on 24 October 1956 on the Polish and the Hungarian crises, the Soviet leaders unprecedented “blitz”-visit to offer on the spot information to the satellite leaders on the forthcoming invasion of Hungary on 1-3 November 1956, (including consultation with Tito), the special Communist summit held in Budapest on 1-4 January without Poland where the fate of the Imre Nagy group was determined, and the conference of the communist and workers' parties held in Moscow in November 1957.
And then, as if the Warsaw Pact had been discovered as a new vehicle for the Soviet leadership, policy coordination during the turbulent period of 1958–1961 (that is, the years of the second Berlin crisis) took place mostly in the framework of the Warsaw Pact: meetings of the PCC were held in Moscow in May 1958, and in February 1960, and then in March 1961, just a few months before the erection of the Berlin wall, the first (and until 1966: the last) meeting of the Warsaw Pact foreign ministers was held in Warsaw in April 1959.
In this period three “traditional” high level meetings were held as well: the Communist summit in Bucharest in June 1960, the conference of the communist and workers parties in Moscow in November-December 1960 and the “last minute” Communist summit in Moscow in the beginning of August 1961. This period of very intensive policy coordination within the Warsaw Pact created the illusion that the East Central European leaders were now important – even if not equal – partners of Moscow. Therefore, the Soviet policy of “zero information” concerning the Cuban missile crises in 1962 caused a real shock in the Soviet Bloc.
The Warsaw Pact member countries suddenly had to realize the extent of their defenselessness. It was especially hard for them to understand that if the Soviet leaders had considered the Berlin crisis, which had generated significantly lower international tension, important enough to hold regular consultations with the allies, then how it could have happened that a third world war had nearly broken out while the members of the eastern military bloc just had to stand by and wait for the resolution of the situation without any substantial information. It was the Romanian leadership that drew the most radical conclusion from the case: in October 1963, the Romanian foreign minister, requesting utmost secrecy, informed his American counterpart that Romania would remain neutral in the case of a nuclear world war. 
The lack of consultation by Moscow in important issues of world policy affecting the Warsaw Pact member states created serious concerns in other allied states as well, most notably in Poland and in Hungary. The Polish leadership was especially indignant at the Soviet behavior. Among other things, the Polish leaders objected to Moscow's lack of consultation with the Warsaw Pact member states concerning the nuclear test ban treaty, especially since they had to sign it as well after the contract had been concluded. During his negotiations in Budapest in November 1963, Gomułka stated that Cuba intended to join the Warsaw Pact, which would pose a significant threat to the security of the eastern bloc as well as world peace. Therefore he firmly stated that should the request be officially submitted, Poland would veto Cuba's admission. The Polish leaders saw the solution in intensifying preliminary consultation within the Warsaw Pact, and significantly boosting the political role of individual member states. 
The Hungarian leadership was much more cautious in criticizing the Soviet behavior than the Poles; nevertheless it basically agreed with the Polish views pertaining to the nature of the future cooperation within the Warsaw Pact. This was clearly indicated by the fact that János Kádár, first secretary of the Hungarian party, during his visit in Moscow in July 1963, proposed to establish a Council of Warsaw Pact Foreign Ministers, long before the plans to reform the Warsaw Pact were officially placed on the agenda in 1965 – 1966. The clear objective of the initiative was to place the Soviet leadership under the pressure of necessity for consultation and information provision as well as to enforce the multilateral nature of the decision making process in the Warsaw Pact. Kádár clearly stated to Khrushchev that “the point is that there must not be a case when the Soviet government publishes various statements and the other governments learn about them in the newspapers… I thought of preliminary consultation. I have also told [Khrushchev], that experience shows it is better to dispute issues sooner rather than later”. 
It is interesting that the Soviet leaders, who actually suggested this idea already at the cradle of the Warsaw Pact in January 1956 and supported it later too, from 1965 on, at this point flatly rejected the proposal. Krushchev's argument was based on the pretext that at a time when a “sovereignty disease” broke out in the camp, (referring to Romania's position) the reaction of the member states would be wrong, and they would only misunderstand this intention. Romania, however, opposed only the institutionalization of foreign policy coordination and in fact was herself pressing for preliminary consultations as it was clearly presented at the meeting of deputy foreign ministers in Berlin in February 1966. 
The pressure for regular consultation by the allies, eventually turned out to be stronger than expected, so hardly half a year after Kádár's intervention, on 2 January 1964 – referring to such demands for consultation from “individual sister parties”, that is, those of the Hungarian and Polish parties –, Krushchev himself made a proposal for the organization of regular meetings of the Warsaw Pact foreign ministers or their deputies .  This was the first reference to the possibility of establishing foreign policy coordination in the Warsaw Pact at a level lower than the originally designated Council of Foreign Ministers, e.g. at the level of deputy foreign ministers.
The first meeting of deputy foreign ministers took place in Warsaw in December 1964 and from that time on they held sessions more and more regularly. These meetings gradually became the most important working forum of foreign policy coordination within the Warsaw Pact until the dissolution of the alliance in 1991.
By the mid-sixties it became obvious that the operational efficiency of the Warsaw Pact was satisfactory neither for the Soviet leaders nor for the member states, therefore – especially after the Cuban missile crisis – the efforts to reform the Warsaw Pact appeared more and more resolutely. Thus those member states of the Warsaw Pact that were ready for the modernization of the organization and strengthening cooperation – especially Hungary and Poland – were interested in the development of a more effective and democratic structure in which the countries may obtain a significantly more serious role. These countries were thinking along the lines of such semi-reforms for the implementation of which the Soviets showed at least some willingness. The idea of forming a Council of Foreign Ministers in the Warsaw Pact now offered Moscow's loyal allies a chance for regular preliminary consultation on foreign policy issues – exactly the practice they had been lobbying for.
The issue of the organizational transformation of the Warsaw Pact  was placed on the agenda in official form at the PCC session of January 1965 in Warsaw.  As a result of the resistance of the Romanian leaders opposing the transformation without any prior consideration, no real decision was made at this time besides the discussion of the issue, although the Soviet proposal to form the Council of Foreign Ministers was supported by all parties but the Romanians.
The transformation of the political organization of the Warsaw Pact was discussed again in the session of the deputy foreign ministers in February 1966 in Berlin. At a subsequent summit meeting of the party first secretaries held on 7 April, at the time of the 23 rd Congress of the CPSU in Moscow, it was decided that the issue should be submitted to the next session of the Warsaw Pact PCC. A two-week long meeting of foreign ministers, held in Moscow in June, was charged with reaching an agreement on the definitive proposals. The closely cooperating parties proposed holding the sessions of the PCC at regular intervals and establishing the Council of Foreign Ministers as well as a Permanent Secretariat with headquarters in Moscow. These proposals were all rejected by the Romanians who were trying to preserve the Warsaw Pact as loose an organization as possible.
Thus at the 1966 June Bucharest PCC – in order to work out a unified position concerning a call for the convention of a Pan-European conference on European security, – the issue of the organizational transformation was taken off of the agenda as a result of a last minute deal between the Soviet and Romanian leaders.  Thus the plan for the establishment of the Council of Foreign Ministers was buried for several years.
The Soviet bloc's project on working for a European security conference unfolding after the PCC session in Bucharest – while blocking the establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers at the outset – eventually, in the long run, contributed to the establishment of much more intensive foreign policy coordination within the Warsaw Pact than ever before. Especially following the issuance of the Budapest Appeal in March 1969 frequent coordination of the Warsaw Pact's position concerning the proposed security conference became inevitable. While the Romanian leaders further objected to the institutionalization of foreign policy coordination, in the bloc they were the most serious advocates of opening to the West since the mid-sixties, so they were truly interested in the success of this project. Thus Bucharest became willing to take part in the coordination process at all levels.
Another Warsaw Pact member state very much interested in developing economic relations with the West was Hungary, so it is not surprising that resuming the plan to form the Council of Foreign Ministers was raised by the Hungarian leadership.  The Hungarian strategy was based on the firm belief that only a Warsaw Pact operating in unity can successfully keep the proactive role in this historical process, so further endeavors were made to foster the political transformation of the organization. In order to improve political coordination in the Warsaw Pact in the forthcoming crucial period Foreign Minister János Péter once again made a proposal for the establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers at his meeting with Gromyko in Moscow in December 1969. On 5 January 1970 a positive reply was received from Moscow, authorizing the Hungarian leaders to conduct bilateral talks with the Warsaw Pact member states.  With the exception of Romania, all countries responded positively to the Hungarian initiative. However, the suggested proposal had already reckoned with the Romanian refusal, so a “lightened version” was elaborated, and according to the new proposal foreign policy coordination should be institutionalized at the level of deputy foreign ministers , if the Romanian opposition dashed any hope of setting up the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Therefore, in January 1970, Deputy Foreign Minister Frigyes Puja paid a secret visit to Bucharest to discuss the plan, but his mission eventually failed.
Thus, coordination became officially institutionalized only as of 1976, when Romania gave its consent and the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs was eventually set up. The idea raised again in the Hungarian proposal that foreign policy coordination might be more successful in the Warsaw Pact at the level of deputy foreign ministers – a proposal that had already appeared in Khrushchev's letter of January 1964 cited above – finally met with success, for from 1970 the meetings of deputy foreign ministers took place on a regular basis every year and from 1975 even more frequently (in 1986 alone 8 such sessions were held!), so this forum was undoubtedly the most successful of all coordination forums. (It is worth noting that between 1970 and 1985, that is, during the 16 years before the Gorbachev era, there were 9 PCC sessions and 14 CMFA meetings, or meetings of ministers of foreign affairs, and during the same period of time 23 deputy foreign minister meetings were held!).
Thus the project of setting up the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs failed again at the beginning of 1970, yet the Soviet leadership did not give up the idea. In the four years between 1970 and 1974 they came back to the plan again and again  and finally, with persistent efforts, they managed to persuade Romania to agree to the establishment of CMFA at the 1974 April meeting of PCC. Official decision on the establishment of CMFA was made at the Bucharest meeting of PCC in 1976 and the first meeting of the new body took place in Moscow in May 1977. 
The Main Characteristics of the Collection of Meetings of Deputy Foreign Ministers
Role and Function
“The role of the meetings of the deputy foreign ministers is obscure.”  This is how Neil Fodor characterized this Warsaw Pact forum in 1990 based on having publicly available information of 17 such meetings. The once top secret records of the 40 meetings published in this collection shed much new light on the role and the function of this series of meetings in the foreign policy coordination mechanism of the Warsaw Pact. True, further research is needed to prepare a comprehensive analysis on this field, but the basic functions of this forum can be identified with considerable certainty.
As has been seen before, since the end of the sixties the meetings of deputy foreign ministers had become a regular forum for consultation within the Warsaw Pact, though never formalized and working in an ad hoc manner all along. The Romanian leadership did not object either because it also believed that regular consultation – without any obligation – was in fact useful. For them the meeting of deputy foreign ministers was an adequately flexible form of consultation and the level of representation was also low enough for them not to be too much concerned if a problematic issue was raised, since they could easily say that a higher forum was needed to make a decision on that particular issue. The relative efficiency of the meetings of deputy foreign ministers was essentially due to the fact that they did not have a decision-making role and served all along as a forum for the exchange of information, coordination and preparation of decisions. It could not make any decisions, only recommendations at best, whose implementation fell within the competence of the highest leadership of each member state. Perhaps it is not too far-fetched to say that this institution was the most useful for the “closely cooperating” allies of the Soviet Union – among them especially for Poland, Hungary and the GDR – since they, unlike Romania, did not take the risk of open confrontation with the Soviet Union, so they had to bear the possible negative consequences of Soviet steps anyhow. However, in return to their cooperation at the meetings of deputy foreign ministers they rightly expected the Soviet leadership to provide up-to-date information for them on issues of foreign policy that affected the Warsaw Pact even at times when there was no PCC session or a conference of ministers of foreign affairs held for years.
The meetings of deputy foreign ministers played a key role in the Warsaw Pact foreign policy coordination mechanism all along, and the documentary value of the reports on the meetings is greatly enhanced by the fact that real disputes emerged much more openly at this level than at higher forums. Several proposals and initiatives launched by the Soviets as well as other member states were first tested at this level too.
Maintaining the appearance of unity in the Warsaw Pact was of utmost importance for the Soviet leadership all along, even when Romania openly started to follow a separate political line in the middle of the sixties. This ambition was not without some success, for while the differences of opinion within NATO surfaced more or less at the time they emerged, it is only now, more than a decade after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact that the public can see how serious internal disputes took place behind the scenes despite the pretended unity – and this does not only concern the Romanian attitude.
Therefore, it was especially important for the Soviet leadership that the highest forums, the conferences of the ministers of foreign affairs and especially the PCC sessions, should, if possible, only discuss issues on which the members had already arrived at some sort of a consensus. This was the point at which the meetings of deputy foreign ministers assumed a key role in that, on the one hand, the desired consensus was reached at this forum, and, on the other, issues on which there was no hope for a consensus, often did not make it to higher forums at all. At the beginning this “filter function” was used mostly at the meetings of deputy foreign ministers held right before a PCC meeting or a conference of the ministers of foreign affairs, but later, starting in the mid-seventies, the two processes became totally separated in time too, and the meetings of deputy foreign ministers preparing higher-level coordination were often held several months before the higher forum was convened.
Thus, the meetings of deputy foreign ministers gradually became a routine-like organ of foreign policy coordination within the Warsaw Pact that could be used in a more flexible and efficient way than any other forum, including, for that matter, the conference of the ministers of foreign affairs. Efficiency did not mean that an agreement was made on every issue raised at the sessions; rather, it meant that through the testing function mentioned above in most cases it became clear what should not be pressed at all and what could eventually be adopted by all the member states, perhaps after “working on” some of them – e.g. by means of direct Soviet-Romanian coordination.
The flexible nature of the meetings of deputy foreign ministers was further enhanced by the fact that the participants attending this forum were often different, for there were 3 or 4 deputy ministers working at the ministries of foreign affairs of the member states. Initially it was mostly the first deputy foreign minister who attended the meetings, but later, especially since the beginning of the seventies, the member states were represented by their deputy ministers responsible for a particular field. In this way the mechanism of foreign policy coordination became more and more refined, which was further enhanced by the frequent meetings of Central Committee secretaries responsible for foreign affairs and conferences attended by heads of departments responsible for various different fields at the ministries of foreign affairs.
The tasks that the meetings of deputy foreign ministers performed can be put into the following four categories:
- Preparing the meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs, later the meetings of CMFA, coordinating the agenda of the meetings, preparing the text of the documents to be accepted by the meetings, preparing a draft of the communiqué to be issued after the meeting (if any).
- Preparing the meetings of PCC, coordinating the agenda of the meetings, preparing the text of the documents to be accepted by the meetings, preparing a draft of the communiqué to be issued after the meeting – right before the PCC session (e.g. The meetings of deputy foreign ministers sessions held in March 1969, November 1976 and November 1978).
- Preparing the meetings of PCC, coordinating the agenda of the meetings, preparing the text of the documents to be accepted by the meetings, preparing a draft of the communiqué to be issued after the meeting – often several months before a PCC session.
- Independent consultation on some important issue that affected the Warsaw Pact. Some of the early meetings belonged to this category, including February 1966 (Reform of Warsaw Pact) and February 1968 (Non-proliferation Treaty).
Between 1969 and 1975 the meetings of deputy foreign ministers assumed an even more important role. In this period several sessions were held to coordinate a joint Warsaw Pact policy in the various preparatory phases of the European Security Conference. While between 1969 and 1975 there were four conferences of the ministers of foreign affairs, the deputy foreign ministers met nine times!
As of 1980 consultations became regular (for the deputy foreign ministers in charge of international organizations) preceding the annual UN General Assembly session to coordinate a joint Warsaw Pact position.
While all the Warsaw Pact foreign ministers', CMFA and PCC meetings held between 1956 and 1991 were made public at the time, most of the consultations of the deputy foreign ministers were secret meetings. Neil Fodor identified 17 meetings of the deputy foreign ministers based on examining contemporary press releases published in the Soviet and other Warsaw Pact member states' leading newspapers. Further research may present public information on a few more meetings, nevertheless, at the moment we can conclude with considerable certainty that 27 of the 44 meetings were unannounced consultations. Those meetings listed in Fodor's book are the following: Berlin, 26-27 February 1968; Berlin, 21-22 May 1969; Sofia, 26-27 January 1970; Moscow, 21-22 May 1973; Moscow, 29-30 January 1975; Warsaw, 19-20 March 1975; Berlin, 21-22 February 1977; Prague, 8-9 July 1980; Berlin, 19-20 January 1981; Bucharest, 27-28 January 1983; Warsaw, 20-21 December 1983; Warsaw, 3-4 May 1984; Moscow, 1 March 1985; Budapest, 7 March 1986; Berlin, 27 June 1986; Warsaw, 2 September 1986; Berlin, 20-21 January 1987. 
Between 1964 and 1968 meetings of deputy foreign ministers were held every second year. As mentioned before, the Soviet Bloc's project on working for a European security conference gained increasingly great importance following the issuance of the Budapest Appeal in March 1969, therefore frequent coordination of the Warsaw Pact's position concerning the proposed security conference was now inevitable. The most appropriate forum for such coordination became the deputy foreign ministers' meetings, especially in the early stage of the process: in 1969 and 1970 altogether five conferences were dedicated to that topic. During the seventies meetings were held basically annually, while from 1980, in the era of post-Helsinki conferences, foreign policy coordination at this level became increasingly intensive: the deputy foreign ministers were convened generally twice a year, but in 1983 alone there were four such meetings. Gorbachev's new policy line further enhanced this process, reaching its peak in 1986 when eight (!) conferences were held in the course of one year.
In the Warsaw Pact meetings of the leading bodies were held in the capitals of the member states by a rotation system since 1965. This resulted in a more or less balanced distribution of PCC and CMFA conferences, however, this was different in the case of the deputy foreign ministers. While it is not really surprising that the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Moscow hosted the greatest number of meetings (11), it is more than interesting that the venue of 10 of the 44 meetings was Berlin. At the same time only three of the 26 CMFA (with forerunners) and two of the 24 PCC conferences were held in the East German capital. The other states were represented as follows: Warsaw 7, Sofia 5, Budapest 4, Bucharest 3, Prague 2, Minsk 1, Vientianne 1 meeting.
Between 1964-1979 only the member states participated at the meetings of deputy foreign ministers. From September 1980 on, at several conferences dedicated to coordinating the Soviet Bloc's position prior to the annual session of the UN general Assembly, representatives of other Socialist countries took part as well.  Besides Byelorussia and Ukraine, the two additional “Soviet UN member states”, Cuba, Laos, Mongolia, North Korea and North Vietnam were represented at these meetings.
The meetings of deputy foreign ministers proved to be the most frequent and in many ways the most effective coordination forums in the Warsaw Pact. This series of consultations, however, was never institutionalized; that is no “leading body” of this kind was ever set up. There were also no official rules for the summoning of such meetings that could be initiated by any member state at any time, so this Warsaw Pact institution was working practically in an ad hoc manner all along. The flexibility, due to this ad hoc character was in fact the key to the success of this forum. The relative efficiency of the meetings of deputy foreign ministers was guaranteed by the fact that they did not have a decision-making role and served all along as a forum for the exchange of information, coordination and preparation of decisions. Thus the meetings of deputy foreign ministers played a key role in the Warsaw Pact foreign policy coordination mechanism all along, and the documentary value of the reports on the meetings is greatly enhanced by the fact that real disputes emerged much more openly at this level than at higher forums.
Therefore the collection of the meetings of deputy foreign ministers will hopefully significantly contribute to the better understanding of the structure, the mechanism and the overall history of foreign policy coordination in the Warsaw Pact as well as to the general history of the Cold War.
Csaba Békés , Ph.D., is Founding Director, Cold War History Research Center, Budapest (www.coldwar.hu) and Senior Research Fellow, 1956 Institute, Budapest (www.rev.hu). (For a full CV and a list of publications see the mentioned web sites.) E-mail: bek11339 (a) helka.iif.hu.
 For the two former collections prepared as a result of similar cooperation, see: Vojtech Mastny, Christian Nuenlist, Anna Locher and Imre Okváth (eds.), European Cities Targeted for Nuclear Destruction: Hungarian Documents on the Soviet Bloc War Plans, 1956–1971 . Published in October, 2001; and Csaba Békés, Anna Locher (eds.): Hungary and the Warsaw Pact, 1954–1989. Documents on the Impact of a Small State within the Eastern Bloc. Published in October 2003, both on the PHP web site
 In his book published in 1990 Neil Fodor could identify 17 meetings of the Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers between 1968 and 1987, using publicly available sources. Neil Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization. A political and organizational analysis (London: Macmillan, 1990), pp.169-176.
 Even now this collection contains documents of the largest number of meetings among the leading bodies of the Warsaw Pact: from 1955 to 1991 there were 24 PCC meetings, 26 meetings of the foreign ministers and 25 meetings of the ministers of defense.
 Presently we have information on four more meetings of the Warsaw Pact deputy foreign ministers that have not yet been located in the Hungarian National Archives: 1) 8-9 July 1980, Prague, 2) 19-20 January 1981, Berlin, 3) 27 June 1986, Berlin, 4) 29-30 July 1986, Budapest. 1) is published in Malcolm Byrne, Vojtech Mastny (eds.), A Cardboard Castle? An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955–1991 , Central European University Press, Budapest–New York, 2005, Document No. 88, pp. 438-440. 2) and 3) are listed in Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, p.173 and 175 respectively. 4) is mentioned in Nagy Miklós (ed.), A magyar külpolitika, 1956–1989. Történeti kronoló gia. MTA Jelenkorkutató Bizottság, Budapest, 1993. p. 226. Thus the full number of known meetings is presently 44, so I will use this data in this introduction whenever mentioning the number of meetings of Warsaw Pact leading bodies.
 See Csaba Békés, “The Warsaw Pact and the Preparation for a European Security Conference, 1964–1970”, paper prepared for the international conference “At the roots of the European security system: thirty years since the Helsinki Final Act”, Zurich, 8-10 September 2005.
 See “Introduction” by Csaba Békés to Csaba Békés, Anna Locher (eds.), Hungary and the Warsaw Pact, 1954–1989. Documents on the Impact of a Small State within the Eastern Bloc, Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact, 2003.
 Translations for the meetings held between 1986 and 1989 will be added to the collection during the fall of 2005.
 Anna Locher, Vojtech Mastny (eds.), Records of the Committee of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs , and Locher's introduction, “ Shaping the Policies of the Alliance. The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Warsaw Pact, 1976–1990” , Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact, 2002.
 For the history of the establishment of the Warsaw Pact see: Vojtech Mastny, The Soviet Union and the Origins of the Warsaw Pact in 1955, in Mechanisms of Power in the Soviet Union , ed. Niels Erik Rosenfeldt, Bent Jensen and Erik Kulavig, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000, pp. 241-66. Also on PHP website. See also Csaba Békés, “Titkos válságkezeléstől a politikai koordinációig. Politikai egyeztetési mechanizmus a Varsói Szerződésben, 1954–1967” [From secret crisis management to political coordination. Political coordinating mechanism in the Warsaw Pact, 1954–1967], In: Múlt századi hétköznapok. Tanulmányok a Kádár rendszer kialakulásának időszakáról . [Everydays in the past century. Essays on the period of the emerging of the Kádár regime] Szerk. János M. Rainer (Budapest: 1956-os Intézet, 2003), pp. 9-54. Publication in English pending.
 For the text of the complex policy paper on the future role of the Soviet bloc in world policy prepared by the Soviet Foreign Ministry for this summit see: Csaba Békés, Malcolm Byrne, János M. Rainer eds. The 1956 Hungarian Revolution. A history in documents , (Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2002), pp. 106–15.
 Speech of N.S. Khrushchev at the meeting of the European socialist countries' leaders, Moscow, January 4, 1956. Magyar Országos Levéltár [Hungarian National Archives–henceforward: MOL], M-KS-276.f.-62/84.ő.e.
 Raymond Garthoff: “When and Why Romania Distanced Itself from the Warsaw Pact” in Bulletin, Cold War International History Project 5 (Spring 1995), p. 111.
 Minutes of the HSWP PC session on 26 November 1963, MOL, M-KS-288. f. 5/320. ő. e.
 Account of János Kádár on the visit of a party and government delegation in the Soviet Union, Minutes of the HSWP PC session on 31 July 1963, MOL, M-KS-288. f. 5/309. ő. e.
 See the records of the meeting of deputy foreign ministers in Berlin on 10-12 February, 1966 in this collection. The summary of the Polish record on the meeting is published in Mastny and Byrne, A Cardboard Castle?, pp. 212-214.
 Nikita Khrhuschev's letter to János Kádár, 2 January 1964, MOL, M-KS 288.f. 5/325. ő.e.
 On the Warsaw Pact reformplans in 1965-66 see. A Cardboard Castle? pp. 28-34 and 177-236, see also the Introduction by Csaba Békés to Csaba Békés, Anna Locher (eds.): Hungary and the Warsaw Pact, 1954–1989.
 See Csaba Békés, “The Warsaw Pact and the Preparation for a European Security Conference, 1964–1970”, paper prepared for the international conference “At the roots of the European security system: thirty years since the Helsinki Final Act”, Zurich, 8-10 September 2005.
 On Hungarian foreign policy in this era see Békés Csaba, Európából Európába. Magyarország konfliktusok kereszttüzében, 1945–1990 . [From Europe to Europe. Hungary in the Crossfire of Conflicts, 1945–1990] (Budapest: Gondolat, 2004), and Csaba Békés, “Hungarian foreign policy in the Soviet alliance system, 1968–1989” in Foreign Policy Review , [special English language issue of Külügyi Szemle ], Budapest – also on the web site of the Cold War History Research Center, Budapest: www.coldwar.hu . For a bibliography of Hungary's international relations after World War II see: ibid.
 Report on the visit of foreign minister János Péter in Moscow on 22–29 December 1969 (6 January 1970), MOL, XIX-J-1-j-Szu-00949-1/1970
 Brezhnev continued to press for the establishment of a Cuoncil of Forign Ministers already at the PCC meeting in Moscow on 20 August 1970. Report on the meeting of the Warsaw Pact PCC in Moscow on 20 August 1970, (24 August 1970) MOL, M-KS-288. f. 5/525. ő. e.
 On the activity of the CMFA, see Anna Locher, Vojtech Mastny (eds.), Records of the Committee of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, 2002. See also the introduction to the document collection by Anna Locher, Shaping the Policies of the Alliance. The Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Warsaw Pact, 1976–1990 , 2002, ibid.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, p. 64.
 Fodor, The Warsaw Treaty Organization, pp. 169-176.
 For the list of these meetings please, consult the collection overview.