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Berlin Declaration by the Three Western Powers and the German Federal Republic on Reunification (July 29, 1957)

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8. The Western Powers have never required as a condition of German reunification that a reunified Germany should join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It will be for the people of a reunified Germany themselves to determine through their freely elected Government whether they wish to share in the benefits and obligations of the treaty.

9. If the all-German Government, in the exercise of its free choice, should elect to join NATO, the Western Powers after consultation with other members of NATO are prepared to offer on a basis of reciprocity, to the Government of the Soviet Union and the Governments of other countries of Eastern Europe which would become parties to a European security arrangement, assurances of a significant and far-reaching character. The Western Powers are also prepared, as part of a mutually acceptable European security arrangement, to give assurance that, in the event of a reunified Germany choosing to join NATO, they would not take military advantage as a result of the withdrawal of Soviet forces.

10. But the Western Powers could not contemplate that the existence of NATO itself should constitute the subject of negotiations.

11. The reunification of Germany accompanied by the conclusion of European security arrangements would facilitate the achievement of a comprehensive disarmament agreement. Conversely, if a beginning could be made toward effective measures of partial disarmament, this would contribute to the settlement of outstanding major political problems such as the reunification of Germany. Initial steps in the field of disarmament should lead to a comprehensive disarmament agreement which presupposes a prior solution of the problem of German reunification. The Western Powers do not intend to enter into any agreement on disarmament which would prejudice the reunification of Germany.

12. Any measures of disarmament applicable to Europe must have the consent of the European nations concerned and take into account the link between European security and German reunification.

The Four Governments continue to hope that the Soviet Government will come to recognize that it is not in its own interest to maintain the present division of Germany. The Western Powers are ready to discuss all these questions with the Soviet Union at any time that there is a reasonable prospect of making progress. At such time there will be many points relating to the procedure for German reunification and the terms of a treaty of assurance which will be worked out by detailed negotiation.

In advance of serious negotiations the Western Powers cannot finally determine their attitude on all points. Nor can they contemplate in advance the making of concessions to which there is no present likelihood of response from the Soviet side. If negotiations are to be fruitful, both sides must approach them in a spirit of accommodation and flexibility. Through this declaration the Western Powers, in full accord with the Federal Republic, wish again to manifest their sincere desire to enter into negotiations with the Soviet Union in order to reach a European settlement and to give evidence that the paramount objective of their policy is the attainment of a just and lasting peace.

Source: Berlin Declaration by the Foreign Minister of the German Federal Republic and the American, British, and French Ambassadors, on Germany, European Security, and Disarmament (July 29, 1957); reprinted in Documents on Germany, 1944-1959: Background Documents on Germany, 1944-1959, and a Chronology of Political Developments affecting Berlin, 1945-1956. Washington, DC: General Printing Office, 1959, pp. 212-14.

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