Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph in Erfurt (March 19, 1970)
In his policy statement of October 28, 1969, Chancellor Willy Brandt offered the GDR an opportunity to engage in “mutual government-level negotiations without discrimination,” the goal being to secure “cooperation backed up by a treaty.” After corresponding in January and February 1970, Brandt (left) and Willi Stoph, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the GDR (right), met on March 19, 1970, in Erfurt (East Germany), where Brandt was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd. At the meeting, Stoph insisted upon official recognition of the GDR under international law; Brandt called for an improvement in the humanitarian situation and recommended that the relationship between the two states be regulated by a treaty – one that excluded, however, the possibility of the very recognition that Stoph was demanding. On May 21, 1979, Brandt and Stoph met again, this time in Kassel (West Germany), where they discussed a 20-point-checklist compiled by the government of the Federal Republic on regulating the relationship between the two German states. Virtually no progress was made at the meeting, and the two sides decided it was time for a break.