I. Meeting of the PCC, Prague, 27-28 January 1956
The launching of the PCC, provided for by the Warsaw treaty, was preceded by a conference of the party secretaries in Moscow on 6 January 1956. Convened to bring them up to date on Soviet foreign policy, the meeting also helped define the Warsaw Pact as a political rather than military instrument.
On the day of the conference, the participants received Molotov’s statement on Soviet foreign policy. The statement emphasized its recent successes-the normalization of relations with Yugoslavia, the conclusion of the Austrian state treaty, the establishment of diplomatic relations with West Germany, the opening to the Third World-but also the allegedly persisting threat of war in view of NATO’s ongoing armament program.
Khrushchev addressed the conference mainly on economic matters, relating the need for better coordination of production with the need for a reduction in the output of military items. He singled out as redundant military aircraft that were being manufactured in different eastern European countries. He warned against getting provoked by a war scare, which he attributed to the West.
The East German party chief, Walter Ulbricht, welcomed closer economic cooperation but called for more attention to be paid to the the way NATO members cooperated among themselves, which he regarded in many ways better organized. Rather than to promote any meaningful discussion about the organization of the Warsaw Pact, the conference merely prepared for the formal adoption of proposals drafted by the Soviet Union.
Even before the PCC was convened, the Soviet Union on January 11 provided on its behalf for the creation in Moscow of a standing commission for the coordination of foreign policy. The need for its coordination was accentuated by the continued Soviet campaign for a “collective” security system that would supersede both the already established NATO and the still to be established Warsaw Pact organization.
Also in advance of the PCC meeting, on January 18 the East German “National People’s Army” was formally created as the only Warsaw Pact army integrated in its entirety into the alliance-as the West German Bundeswehr was intregrated into NATO. On the same day, the East German government issue a call for an agreement between the two German states that would lead to the collective security system and for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Germany-another bid for an ostensibly symmetrical dismantling of the two military groupings.
The organization of the Warsaw Pact and its institutions was on the agenda of the PCC’s Prague meeting on 27-28 January 1956. It was outlined by the alliance’s chief of staff, Gen. A.I. Antonov, in his capacity as secretary general of the alliance. Besides the confirmation of the statute of the Unified Command, issued by Moscow the previous September, the two important organizational measures were the proposed creation of the foreign policy commission and of a Unified Secretariat.
The Soviet proposals were accepted without discussion after routine speeches were delivered by heads of each delegation. A Chinese representative was present as an observer. On behalf of the Soviet Union, Molotov dwelt in his speech on the need for mutual consultation to ensure common line on foreign policy without elaborating on military cooperation, thus again accentuating the role of the Warsaw Pact in the diplomatic maneuvering following the rejection by the West of the Soviet proposal for a collective security system.
The public declaration issued by the committee at the end pursued variations on the original proposal. It called for preparatory measures, such as the cretaion of zones of limited and control armaments that would include Germany, withdrawal of foreign forces from Germany, gradual banning of nuclear weapons, and nonaggression treaties.
The PCC decided to meet at least twice a year and establish the commission on foreign policy coordination as well as the Secretariat. None of these decisions, however, was implemented, thus indicating that the original expectations that the Soviet Union had in regard to the PCC failed to materialize. Its next meeting would not take place until more than two years later, and the common institutions would only be created thirteen years later, in a different form.
In the meantime, Molotov, who had been supervising the launching of the Warsaw Pact, fell out with Khrushchev, and was replaced as foreign minister on 1 June 1956. During the upheaval in Eastern Europe later that year, Polish generals questioned the fairness of the alliance, calling-albeit in vain-for its reorganization and redrawing of the statute according prerogatives to its Soviet supreme commander. Khrushchev’s attempted demilitarization of the Cold War then suffered a setback as a result of the Soviet intervention in Hungary and his nuclear threats against Paris and London during the simultaneous Suez crisis. The “first détente” that had been at the origins of the Warsaw Pact never fully recovered after 1956, making the prospects of the collective security system, for which the alliance had been created to provide an incentive, even dimmer than they had been before.
 Records of the meeting, Büro Ulbricht, J IV 2/202/193, SAPMO.
 Record of the meeting of the Czechoslovak party presidium, 2 March 1956, AÚV KSČ, 02/2/105/10, Central State Archives, Prague.
 Boris Meissner (ed.). Der Warschauer Pakt: Dokumentensammlung (Köln: Wissenschaft und Politik, 1962), pp.103-104.
 The stenographic record of the January 27 meeting is in the Foreign Policy Archive of the Russian Federation in the folder Politicheskii konsultationnyi komitet, 1/1/1, but is not available for copying.