GHDI logo

The Berlin Ultimatum (November 27, 1958)

page 11 of 11    print version    return to list previous document      next document

Voices are raised in the capitals of some Western powers that those powers do not recognize the Soviet Union's decision to relinquish its part in the maintenance of the occupation status in Berlin. But how can one place the question on such a level? He who today speaks of nonrecognition of the steps planned by the Soviet Union Obviously would like to talk with the latter not in the language of reason and well-founded arguments but in the language of brute force, forgetting that the Soviet people are not affected by threats and intimidation. If behind the words about, “nonrecognition” there really lies the intention to resort to force and drag the world into a war over Berlin, the advocates of such a policy should realize that they assume a very grave responsibility for all its consequences before all nations and before history. Those who indulge in sabre-rattling in connection with the situation in Berlin are once again betraying their interests in preserving for aggressive purposes the occupation regime in Berlin.

The Government of the Soviet Union would like to hope that the problem of normalizing the situation in Berlin, which life itself raises before our states as a natural necessity, will in any case be solved in accordance with considerations of statesmanship, the interests of peace between peoples, without the unnecessary nervous strain and intensification of a “cold war.”

Methods of blackmail and reckless threats of force will be least of all appropriate in solving such a problem as the Berlin question. Such methods will not help solve a single question, but can only bring the situation to the danger point. But only madmen can go to the length of unleashing another world war over the preservation of privileges of occupiers in West Berlin. If such madmen should really appear, there is no doubt that strait jackets could be found for them. If the statesmen responsible for the policy of the Western powers are guided by feelings of hatred for communism and the socialist countries in their approach to the Berlin question as well as other international problems, no good will come out of it. Neither the Soviet Union nor any other small socialist state can or will deny its existence precisely as a socialist state. That is why, having united in an unbreakable fraternal alliance, they firmly stand in defense of their rights and their state frontiers, acting according to the motto – one for all and all for one. Any violation of the frontiers of the German Democratic Republic, Poland, or Czechoslovakia, any aggressive action against any member state of the Warsaw Treaty will be regarded by all its participants as an act of aggression against them all and will immediately cause appropriate retaliation.

The Soviet Government believes that it would be sensible to recognize the situation prevailing in the world and to create normal relations for the co-existence of all states, to develop international trade, to build relations between our countries on the basis of the well-known principles of mutual respect for one another's sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, non-interference in one another's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit.

The Soviet Union and its people and government are sincerely striving for the restoration of good relations with the United States of America, relations based on trust, which are quite feasible as shown by the experience in the joint struggle against the Hitlerite aggressors, and which in peacetime would hold out to our countries nothing but, the advantages of mutually enriched spiritual and material cooperation between our peoples, and to all other people the blessings of a tranquil life under conditions of an enduring peace.

Source: Note from the Soviet Foreign Ministry to the American Ambassador at Moscow (Thompson), Regarding Berlin (November 27, 1958); 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. 317-31. [With slight edits to the translation by GHDI staff.]

first page < previous   |   next > last page