Ambassador Jolles and Federal Councillor Brugger (from left) at the signing of the free trade agreement with the ECC on 22nd of July, 1972,

The 50th anniversary of the free trade agreement with the EEC

For the editorial staff of «Weltwoche», in 1972 it was a «historical landmark» whose significance could be compared to the Federal Charter of 1291, to the Battle of Marignano, to the Peace of Westphalia, the Congress of Vienna, and to the foundation of the Federal State in 1848 ( What this Zurich weekly, fresh from the press, took to the hall of glory of Swiss history was the free trade agreement with the European Economic Union (EEC), signed in Brussels 50 years ago, on 22nd of July, 1972, by Federal Councillor Ernst Brugger on behalf of Switzerland. This was «a decisive step in the context of our traditional efforts to contribute to the integration of our continent, as far as we can while maintaining direct democracy, the parliamentary rights, and neutral foreign policy», Brugger underlined during his speech ( «Special relations» of the EEC with the «non-candidates » «When in 1969 France dropped her veto against British membership, the way for a first round of EEC extension was clear», says Sacha Zala, Director of the Dodis research centre. Parallel to the accession talks with the United Kingdom as well as with Denmark, Ireland and Norway, Brussel also negotiated the «establishment of special relations» with the «non-candidates», the EFTA countries Finland, Iceland, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland ( Any economic fragmentation of Western Europe had to be avoided, but how much these states were supposed to contribute to the project of European integration was still an open question when the explorative talks were started. For the Swiss negotiators, the «range of possible solutions with the EEC» went from «a solution close to joining» as far as to a «common trade agreement» ( Institutional contribution by Switzerland? In his opening statement in Brussels on November, 1970, Federal Councillor Brugger emphasized the already «high degree of economic interpenetration between Switzerland and the European Communities», particularly when it came to the exchange of goods, where the 75% of Swiss imports and 60% of exports were «unsurpassed by any other third country» ( Brugger’s chief negotiator, the Director of the trade division of the Department of Economic Affairs, Paul Jolles, knew that both Switzerland and the European Community (EC) were breaking new ground. «The querying of suitable, novel modalities of cooperation requires creative imaginativeness and, accordingly, needs time», Ambassador Jolles expressed his task which was still to be solved even 50 years later: «The most difficult problem will doubtlessly be the shaping of Switzerland’s institutional contribution to the integration process.» ( The results of the agreement After all, a comprehensive institutional solution could not be achieved. On 22 of July, 1972, Federal Councillor Brugger signed an agreement which «did not provide for any participation in Europe’s political integration». On the other hand, the treaty exempted more than 90% of Swiss exports to the EEC, in particular industrial products, from existing duties and fixed rules of competition ( One prerequisite of the EEC was «a solution for the delicate ‹Swiss made› problem» which, concerning the products of the watchmaking industry, could be tied up two days before in the context of the agreement ( Indeed, any «solution for the second generation problems (such as currency policy, energy policy, environmental policy, transport policy)» was left out, as chief negotiator Jolles summed it up. Yet still, for the first time it was possible to «establish a long-term relation including consultation possibilities» with the EEC ( «Irreversible development in the direction of Europe» During the negotiations, Switzerland had intensively operated with the argument of the agreement being threatened with being rejected by the referendum, thus exerting pressure on the EEC. However, when finally the Federal Council made the free trade agreement subject to the obligatory referendum, this was not just to keep face towards the outside. «By way of this treaty, also our cooperation with Europe will be consolidated in the long run», Minister of Economic Affairs Brugger had it during his statement to the Federal Council, «and nevertheless we tie ourselves economically – if ‹only› by way of a free trade agreement – to a community of more than 300 million inhabitants». «For practical reasons» Switzerland «would probably never contemplate» any termination of the agreement. Minister of Home Affairs Hans-Peter Tschudi doubled «that the treaty with the EEC starts a development of our country in the direction of Europe which is mostly irreversible». ( The people’s rights and foreign policy The referendum on the free trade agreement also marked the beginning of the intended extension of the people’s rights in the course of a reform of the state treaty referendum. Increasingly, foreign political decisions required the sovereign’s agreement. Thus, as early as at the beginning of the negotiations the Federal Council had decided to, by way of an increased communications policy, create «an atmosphere of interest, of open-mindedness and understanding among the broad masses for the great issues which concern the fate of our country» – «not as propaganda but basically as a didactic effort» ( Juicy in this context, however, is a note by the Integration Office in charge of the relations with Brussels, titled «What should not be said when telling the people about the Switzerland-EEC agreement» ( Finally, both the people and the Cantons agreed with the free trade agreement on 3rd of December, 1972, with 72.5 % affirmative votes. «Never since has the Federal Council’s European policy been given such a broad legitimation» is the conclusion by Dodis Director Zala. «Any further integration of Switzerland was prevented by the people by the referendum on the EEA agreement of December, 1992.»  
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From the left: Presidents Shushkevich (Belarus), Karimov (Uzbekistan) and Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan) with the President of the Swiss Confederation Felber at a reception on February 1st, 1992, in Davos. Source:

30 years ago – the dissolution of the USSR and the recognition of the successor states

Exactly 30 years ago, on December 23rd, 1991, Switzerland was one of the first states at all to recognize the successor states of the Soviet Union. «Apart from the early recognition of the People’s Republic of China on January 17th, 1950, this is one of the few deviations from Switzerland’s usual policy of diplomatic recognition», explains Sacha Zala, Director of the Research Centre Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland (Dodis). According to the almost sacred guideline of «not counting among the first and not among the last», the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) was usually reluctant when it came to recognition issues. «It is even more astonishing», says Thomas Bürgisser, the managing editor of the volume Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland 1991 – soon to be published, «that on that December 23rd Switzerland acted on the spur of the moment and was one of the very first states to recognize the independence of the former Soviet Republics». Until the year 1991 the Soviet Union consisted of 15 Union Republics which, de jure, enjoyed far reaching sovereignty rights but were actually subject to the centre in Moscow. Kick-off in the Baltic countries In 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet empire was happening at a breath-taking pace. The Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had marked the beginning, the central power violently opposing these aspirations until the August putsch in Moscow ( On August 28th, the President of the Swiss Confederation Flavio Cotti was able to inform the Presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania about the decision by the Federal Council «that Switzerland is going to establish full diplomatic relations with the three independent Baltic republics» ( Between September 3rd and 6th, a delegation headed by Ambassador Jenö Staehelin, the Head of the Political Department I of the FDAF, went on a trip to Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius to formally confirm the reestablishment of diplomatic relations by way of an official exchange of letters ( The founding of the Commonwealth of Independent States The erosion process of the Soviet empire went on unrestrainedly. On December 8th, 1991, by the Minsk Treaty the Presidents of Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine founded the «Commonwealth of Independent States» (CIS). On this occasion they curtly stated that «herewith the Soviet Union as a subject of international law and as a geo-political reality terminates its existence» ( Shortly afterwards FDFA discussed Switzerland’s official stance. In the course of the meeting «the opinion pushed through that the recognition should not be postponed any longer if it becomes obvious that the point of no return has been reached. In this case, however, not only the Slavic republics would have to be recognized but also all others striving for recognition, at least as far as such a recognition is uncontentious.» (        A telephone conference before Christmas On December, 21st, almost all other republics of the former USSR joined the Alma-Ata (Almaty) declaration by the CIS. The point of no return seemed to have been reached. On Monday, December 23rd, at 1:30 p. m. the Federal Council discussed an EDA motion, faxed by the Federal Chancellery at noon, on the recognition of the Russian Federation as well as the Republics of Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan ( «It is important that Switzerland will establish contacts with the new republics as soon as possible», the Federal Council affirmed the motion by the head of FDFA, René Felber ( After a discussion of 15 minutes the Federal Council, by Decision No. 2518, passed that year’s last decision. Appreciation of early recognition On that same evening, by telex via the Swiss Embassy in Moscow, the FDFA notified the recognition to Presidents Karimov, Kravchuk, Niyazov, Nabiyev, Yeltsin, Snegur, Akayev, Nazarbayev, Shushkevich, Ter-Petrosyan, and Mutallibov ( «For practical reasons» the Federal Council was hesitant with notifying the recognition of Georgia which had not joined the CIS and where the situation was unclear. Recognition at an early state was to pay off: «When travelling through the successor republics of the USSR», wrote Switzerland’s ambassador to Moscow, Jean-Pierre Ritter, to then go on: «I am always impressed by the satisfaction, indeed gratitude, expressed towards us for having been the first in Europe to notify our recognition of the new independent states, and also for having been the first to appear personally to formalise the establishment of relations» ( The establishment of diplomatic relations As early as in January, 1992, the continuation of the relations with the Russian Federation as the legal successor of the USSR was stated by way of a simple exchange of notes between Berne and Moscow ( and Subsequently, at first Ambassador Ritter went to Yerevan and Baku as a special envoy, to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan ( and In early February, the FDFA sent the head of the Directorate of Administration Matters and Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Johann Bucher, on a special mission to Kiev and Minsk, to formalise the relations with the Ukraine and Belarus (  In June, once again Ambassador Ritter went to Alma-Ata, to establish relations with Kazakhstan ( After Berne, on March 23rd, 1992, had also notified the recognition of Georgia which, like the three Baltic republics, did not join the CIS (, in June Ambassador Ritter also paid a visit to Tbilisi, where he established relations and handed over his letter of accreditation to the new President, Eduard Shevardnadze ( Finally in July it was time for Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) and Tashkent (Uzbekistan) ( Contacts at the Presidential Level In early February the participation of high-ranking delegations from the CIS states in the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos was an opportunity for Foreign Minister Felber, Federal President in 1992, to meet Presidents Karimov (Uzbekistan), Snegur (Moldova), Nazarbayev (Kazakhstan), Shushkevich (Belarus), Ter-Petrosyan (Armenia), and Mutallibov (Azerbaijan) as well as to have a more thorough exchange with Ukrainian President Kravchuk ( and On the occasion of a visit, scheduled on short notice, by President Askar Akayev to Federal President Felber in Berne, once again in February the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan was decided (  In Berne on September 2nd, 1992, Felber exchanged letters on the establishment of diplomatic relations also with Moldovan President Mircea Snegur ( Various missions and contretemps Making contacts to the Soviet successor states happened via different channels. In April and June, for example, high-ranking delegations of the Federal Financal Administration paid visits to the CIS states. With regard to the passing of the additional dispatch by the Federal Council on continuing the increased cooperation with states in Central and East Europe (, which earmarked an extension of development loans to the CIS, in August and September the FDFA sent two missions to all Central Asian and Trans-Caucasian republics. The former was once again headed by Ambassador Staehelin, the latter by his deputy, Daniel Woker. Also representatives of the Federal Office of Foreign Economic Affairs were members of the delegations ( and It was not always easy to coordinate the various missions, and there were contretemps and struggles for competences (, and «Helvetistan» and Heidi Tagliavini «The lively interest by the Swiss authorities opens up prospects towards two developments», Dodis historian Thomas Bürgisser has it: on the one hand Switzerland, after having joined the Bretton Woods institutions, wanted to make sure to get a seat in the Executive Boards of the World Bank and the World Monetary Fund, and for this purpose it had to found its own voting group. Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan as well as Poland could be one over for this project, later also Kazakhstan and Tajikistan joined the so called «Helvetistan Group». «Due to its commitment in Central Asia, Switzerland was able to make sure to have an influential position with these international financial institutions», says Bürgisser. It is also remarkable that Ambassodor Ritter on his trips was in each case accompanied by his associate, who was a fluent Russian speaker. Heidi Tagliavini was the name of the young diplomat who, on later occasions, was repeatedly entrusted with difficult missions to conflict regions, such as in 1995 as a member of the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnia, as a special envoy of the EU to research the causes of the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, or as an OSCE representative for Ukraine in 2014.
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Demonstration against Bishop Wolfgang Haas on 17 June 1990 in Chur. (Keystone-SDA, Keystone, 477127 (RM))

30 ans de relations avec le Vatican

«Dans l’objectif d’améliorer la représentation des intérêts suisses au Vatican, nous vous proposons de nommer, pour une période limitée allant jusqu’en 1992, un ambassadeur en mission spéciale auprès du Saint-Siège et d’attribuer le titre d’ambassadeur spécial au chef de la Division politique I» ( «Cette demande du DFAE, adressée en des termes simples et acceptée par le Conseil fédéral il y a exactement 30 ans – le 30 octobre 1991 –, marque un tournant décisif dans les relations diplomatiques entre la Suisse et le Vatican», explique Sacha Zala, directeur du centre de recherche Dodis, qui poursuit: «C’est le premier représentant diplomatique nommé par la Suisse auprès du Saint-Siège». Cette étape intervient à la suite de l’histoire longue et parfois tumultueuse des relations entre la Suisse et le Siège apostolique. De la situation pionnière à la rupture des relations diplomatiques En 1586, la nonciature permanente, c’est-à-dire la représentation diplomatique du Vatican, s’établit à Lucerne. Le nonce apostolique devient ainsi – après l’ambassadeur de France qui réside à Soleure depuis 1522 déjà – le deuxième représentant diplomatique en Suisse. Cette forme de représentation est restée fondamentalement constante au cours du temps, à l’exception des cinq ans d’interruption sous la République helvétique. Cette continuité se rompra cependant à la faveur du Kulturkampf. En effet, l’expulsion du vicaire apostolique de Genève et la vive critique faite à l’encontre de la Suisse par le pape Pie IX dans son encyclique de novembre 1873 conduisent le Conseil fédéral à la conclusion que «le pape [ayant] prononcé de la manière la plus ostensible des accusations graves et répétées à l’endroit des autorités suisses et de ses résolutions, […] une représentation diplomatique permanente du Saint-Siège est devenue inutile». Le gouvernement décide dès lors, en décembre 1873, de rompre les relations ( La reprise de relations unilatérales Pendant près d’un demi-siècle, la Suisse n’entretient aucune relation officielle avec le Vatican. Il faut attendre la Première Guerre mondiale pour que les questions humanitaires rapprochent la Suisse neutre et le Siège apostolique. Cette convergence d’intérêts inaugure une coopération dans le domaine de l’internement des prisonniers de guerre malades et blessés (, qui permet à son tour un nouveau rapprochement sur le plan politique. En juin 1920, le Conseil fédéral décide ainsi de la reprise des relations diplomatiques, mais «en posant toutefois comme condition expresse que la Suisse, comme elle n’avait pas pratiqué la réciprocité dans le passé, [ne pourra] pas la pratiquer dans l’avenir» ( et En outre, le Conseil fédéral avertit l’envoyé du pape «qu’il entre sur un terrain quelque peu difficile et qu’il ferait bien de ne pas poursuivre une politique d’intervention dans nos affaires intérieures et d’éviter, par une grande retenue, toute matière à discorde entre catholiques et protestants ou entre catholiques eux-mêmes» ( Vers une bilatéralisation des relations Depuis 1920, le Vatican est donc à nouveau représenté officiellement en Suisse par un nonce apostolique. Le caractère unilatéral des relations est strictement respecté, également après la Seconde Guerre mondiale face à la crainte «de provoquer des luttes confessionnelles dans certaines régions de notre pays» ( et Ce n’est qu’en 1963 que des signes d’un changement d’opinion apparaissent ( Cependant, le gouvernement considère que la priorité est la révision totale de la Constitution fédérale et, avec elle, la suppression de l’article d’exception confessionnelle (interdiction des jésuites). Il faudra, pour cette raison, «encore un certain temps avant qu’un représentant diplomatique soit accrédité auprès du Saint-Siège» – comme l’assure le conseiller fédéral Willy Spühler à la Commission de politique extérieure du Conseil national en 1968 ( Normalisation des relations Le pronostic de Spühler se révélera exact. Il faudra attendre précisément 1987 pour qu’une «normalisation graduelle» des relations soit envisagée au sein du Conseil fédéral ( Le choix même des mots donne lieu à des désaccords. En 1988, par exemple, le nonce apostolique se plaint que «l’on parle toujours de ‹normalisation› des relations», alors qu’il existe déjà bel et bien «des relations diplomatiques normales, qui peuvent toutefois être ‹perfectionnées› par l’établissement d’une ambassade suisse» ( Deux ans plus tard, le même nonce qualifiera pourtant d’«absurde et dépassée» la nature unilatérale des relations ( L’«affaire Haas», au début des années 1990, permet la poussée décisive. Les disputes autour de la nomination de l’ultra-conservateur Wolfgang Haas comme évêque de Coire montrent clairement les conséquences du fait que «la réalité suisse n’est rapportée à Rome que dans la perception du nonce» ( Le DFAE examine en détail différentes options ( et retient au final la proposition faite au Conseil fédéral de nommer l’un de ses principaux responsables, le réformé Jenö Staehelin, au poste d’ambassadeur temporaire en mission spéciale ( En 2004, le Conseil fédéral procède à un ajustement en accréditant pour la première fois un ambassadeur de Suisse auprès de la Curie. Le 1er octobre 2021 – presque 31 ans après la première nomination d’un ambassadeur en mission spéciale –, le Conseil fédéral décide d’établir une ambassade suisse auprès du Saint-Siège. «La tension qui a prévalu historiquement entre le libéralisme de l’État fédéral et l’ultramontanisme continue d’opérer dans la mesure où les relations diplomatiques ne sont pas exemptes de controverses et qu’elles sont caractérisées par une prudence constante », résume le directeur de Dodis, Sacha Zala.
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Rund 1200 geladene Gäste aus dem In- und Ausland fanden sich am 7. September 1991 zum «Europatag» in Sils ein. Reden und Festakt fanden im Botta-Zelt, der «visuellen Klammer» der 700-Jahrfeier, statt. (

700-Jahrfeier der Eidgenossenschaft – die internationale Dimension

1291 bis 1991 – 700 Jahre Eidgenossenschaft – ein Grund zum Feiern. Das sagte sich die Schweiz in den ausgehenden 1980er Jahren. «CH91» hiess das gigantische Jubiläumsprojekt, das im Zusammenspiel mit einer Landesausstellung rund um den Vierwaldstättersee stattfinden sollte – und 1987 am Innerschweizer Stimmvolk grandios scheiterte. Das neue, dezentralere Konzept unter dem Motto «Begegnungen 1991» und der Gesamtleitung des Delegierten des Bundesrats, Marco Solari, sollte dem Gigantismus des ersten Vorschlags entgegenwirken und der weltoffenen Dimension der Schweiz Platz einräumen ( Nebst dem «Fest der Eidgenossenschaft» und dem «Fest der vier Kulturen» sollte das «Fest der Solidarität» verdeutlichen, dass sich die «Schweiz als Teil der Völkergemeinschaft versteht und auch gewillt ist, zur Gestaltung dieser weltweiten Gemeinschaft beizutragen» (  Tag der internationalen Beziehungen  Der Startschuss für die internationale Dimension der Jubiläumstrilogie verkörperte der «Tag der internationalen Beziehungen» am 14. Juni 1991 ( Mit UNO-Generalsekretär, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, der Generalsekretärin des Europarats, Catherine Lalumière und EFTA-Generalsekretär Georg Reisch sowie den Aussenministern der Nachbarstaaten empfing der Gesamtbundesrat illustre Gäste zu politischen Gesprächen im Landgut Lohn ( Am anschliessenden Festakt im Bundeshaus schlossen sich ihnen weitere geladene Gäste aus dem In- und Ausland an. Zu den wohlwollenden Rednern gehörte der UNO-Generalsekretär, der von den drei «Wundern» der Schweiz sprach: Sie sei geeint und doch vielseitig, auf ihre Unabhängigkeit bedacht und gleichzeitig weltoffen und schliesslich arm an natürlichen Ressourcen und trotzdem reich (  Die Welt trifft Graubünden  Weniger offiziell, dafür umso bunter wurde es im Sommer in Graubünden, dem Gastgeberkanton des Herzstücks des Solidaritätsfests. Ganz im Zeichen der aussereuropäischen Länder stand das Internationale Fest, das durch zahlreiche Kurse, Konzerte, Austauschprojekte, Workshops und einem grossen Volksfest in Chur persönliche Begegnungen mit Menschen aus aller Welt ermöglichte. Während letzteres als voller Erfolg verbucht wurde, blieb der Widerhall des Symposiums «Wem gehört die Welt?», das dem Nord-Süd-Dialog gewidmet war, etwas unter den Erwartungen ( Der ursprünglich angedachte Ehrengast aus Simbabwe, Robert Mugabe, lehnte die Einladung aufgrund anderer Verpflichtungen ab ( «Treuzeugnis an Europa»  Die «Europäischen Begegnungen» im Engadin entsprachen schliesslich dem bundesrätlichen Wunsch, die Beziehungen zwischen der Schweiz und Europa in der entscheidenden Phase der Verhandlungen mit der EG über den EWR-Vertrag besonders zu unterstreichen ( und boten die Gelegenheit, durch den Blick über die Landesgrenzen hinweg zur Schaffung des neuen Europas beizutragen ( Insbesondere sollte auch die junge Generation in den Dialog miteinbezogen werden: Im Rahmen der Begegnungswoche «Spiert Aviert» (Rätoromanisch für «Offener Geist») tauschten sich Jugendliche aus ganz Europa zur europäischen Zukunft aus, Gedanken, die auch am offiziellen Festakt Ende Woche Gehör fanden.  Der Europatag am 7. September in Sils-Maria entwickelte sich zu einem der zentralen Anlässe der gesamten 700-Jahrfeier ( und wollte sich als «Treuzeugnis der Schweiz» an Europa verstanden wissen, wie im Schlussbericht an den Bundesrat nochmals proklamiert wurde ( Mit Elisabeth Guigou, Mario Monti und Carl Friedrich von Weizäcker sprachen drei namhafte Persönlichkeiten über ihre Zukunftsvision für Europa, und Bundespräsident Flavio Cotti offenbarte sich in einer visionären Rede als überzeugter Europäer ( Der Auftritt von Bronislavas Kuzmickas, Vizepräsident des litauischen Staatsrates, stand sinnbildlich für die neuen Verbindungen in den Osten des Kontinents. Damit liess sich der Europatag als schöner Erfolg verbuchen, der lediglich durch die «Stauungen auf dem Weg ins Festzelt» – verursacht durch den zahlreich erschienen europäischen Adel – getrübt werden konnte (  Mit Klischeevorstellungen ausräumen  Mit Festlichkeiten wie diesen sowie zahlreichen Veranstaltungen der Schweizer Botschaften und lokalen Schweizervereine fand die 700-Jahrfeier auch im Ausland Beachtung ( Nicht zuletzt sorgte die «wohl umfangreichste je organisierte Informationskampagne der Schweiz im Ausland» für internationale Aufmerksamkeit. Pressemitteilungen, Logos und Fotos wurden produziert, Medienkonferenzen veranstaltet und Einladungen verschickt, um «bei einem breiten, weltweiten Publikum ein totales, zukunftsgerichtetes Bild der Schweiz bekannt zu machen» ( Falsche Klischeevorstellungen sollten ausgeräumt und die Schweiz als dynamisch, offen und selbstkritisch präsentiert werden – ein Anspruch dem nicht immer entsprochen werden konnte. So seien die Informationen zur schweizerischen Entwicklungshilfe allzu selektiv, kritisch und verzerrend, beklagte der Schweizer Botschafter in Nigeria ( «Entwicklung braucht Entschuldung»  Mit der von Hilfswerken lancierten Petition «Entwicklung braucht Entschuldung» fand die technische Zusammenarbeit prominenten Eingang ins Jubiläumsjahr, das als Anlass genommen wurde, «verstärkte und erneuerte Solidarität auch gegenüber den schwächeren Gliedern der internationalen Gemeinschaft zu beweisen» ( Ein Rahmenkredit von symbolträchtigen 700 Millionen Franken wurde gesprochen, zum einen zur Finanzierung von Entschuldungsmassnahmen zugunsten ärmerer Entwicklungsländer und zum anderen für die Finanzierung von Umweltprogrammen und -projekten globaler Bedeutung.  Gleichzeitig erfüllten unzählige weitere Veranstaltungen, Ausstellungen, Projekte, dezentrale Feste und Feiern im Zeichen des 700-Jahrjubiläums das Jahr 1991: Junge Menschen aus aller Welt tanzen auf Einladung des Kantons Zürichs an der Welt-Jugendparty (, die «fünfte Schweiz» weihte den neu erstandenen Auslandschweizerplatz in Brunnen ein und im Bundeshaus diskutierten Jugendliche im Rahmen der ersten Jugendsession über die Schweizer Aussenpolitik (  Nachdenkliches Jubiläum  So zog das Büro des Delegierten des Bundesrates Ende 1991 denn auch eine positive Bilanz über das Jubiläumsjahr: «A tous niveaux, les célébrations du 700ème ont largement contribué à abattre les fronts et à réduire les antagonismes.» ( Unbestritten blieben aber auch die Startschwierigkeiten des Jubiläumsprojekts, der Schock in der Öffentlichkeit rund um die 1989 aufgedeckte Fichenaffäre, die Empörung über den als scheinheilig empfundenen Aufruf an die Kulturschaffenden der Schweiz, sich kreativ an der Feier zu beteiligen und der damit verbundene Kulturboykott. Auch die Projektgruppe des Internationalen Festes war von dieser kritischen Welle betroffen, hielt aber am Projekt fest: Damit das Fest keine Jubelfeier werde, sondern «Anstoss, über die Rolle der Schweiz in der Welt nachzudenken» ( 
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RTR Cuntrasts: 1923 sajetta Moritz Conradi a Losanna in diplomat sovietic d’aut rang. Il Russ-Svizzer cun ragischs grischunas vesa sa sez sco il nov Gugliem Tell che vul deliberar la carstgaunadad dal communissem.

L’«affera Conradi»: L’assassin grischun e la revoluziun

Avant 40 onns ha el purschì materia per in film da kino russ «emplenì cun clischés sovietics» ( L’onn 1977 s’interessavan era cineasts en Svizra per «il tema anc adina pulit brisant» ( I sa tracta da l’assassinat dal diplomat sovietic Wazlaw Worowski tras Moritz Conradi, in Svizzer en Russia, l’onn 1923 a Losanna. In mazzament cun consequenzas extendidas.Film documentar da Helen Stehli-Pfister Uss ha Helen Stehli-Pfister realisà per RTR in film documentar davart quest mument central da las relaziuns svizras-sovieticas en il temp tranter las guerras. Da la partida sco expert è Sacha Zala, directur dal post da perscrutaziun Documents Diplomatics da la Svizra. A chaschun da la premiera dal film ils 5 da mars 2017 ha il DDS arranschà in e-dossier cuntegnend documents istorics exclusivs ord la banca da datas online Dodis davart l’«affera Conradi».In mazzament a LosannaIgl è il confess d’in assassin: «Forsa vegnan pir noss vegnintsuenter a chapir mia acziun ed esser engraziaivels ch’jau hai cumbattì sco emprim cunter questa banda da delinquents internaziunala», ha Moritz Conradi dà per protocol a la polizia da Losanna. Ils 10 da matg 1923 aveva el schluppettà en l’Hotel Cécil davant perditgas il diplomat sovietic Wazlaw Worowski. Suenter il murdraretsch ha el sa laschà arrestar senza resistenza. El aveva agì ord persvasiun: «Tranter tals ch’èn sa participads al declin da la Russia ed indirectamain a quel da l’entira umanitad, na dati nagins innocents» (  Svizzer en Russia ed anti-bolschevist ardent  Ils Conradis, emigrads en la mesadad dal 19avel tschientaner dal Grischun, manavan a St. Petersburg, da lezza giada chapitala da la Russia zaristica, ina pastizaria flurinta. Suenter la Revoluziun d’october l’onn 1917 èn lur bains vegnids expropriads; il bab e l’aug da Moritz assassinads dals Bolschevichi. Durant la guerra burgaisa russa ha Conradi cumbattì sco uffizier da «l’Armada Alva» cunter ils «Cotschens». Suenter la sconfitta da las forzas cunterrevoluziunaras è el scappà via la Tirchia enavos en sia veglia patria. Qua è el vegnì en contact cun emigrants russ. Quests han probablamain intimà l’anti-bolschevist ardent al mazzament. «Crim dad ina persuna privata ad autras persunas privatas»?  Il di suenter l’assassinat è sa radunà il Cussegl federal a Berna. En in communiqué ha la Regenza federala sentenzià questa «violaziun da la morala e da la lescha» cun «indignaziun». Ulteriur basegn d’agir n’ha il Cussegl federal dentant betg vesì. Giuristicamain sofisticà n’ha la regenza betg taxà l’attentat sco delict politic, mabain sco «crim malign, commess dad ina persuna privata ad autras persunas privatas» ( Il diplomat sovietic Worowski era bain delegà sco observader a la Conferenza da l’Orient ch’aveva lieu a Losanna. Pervia da divergenzas internaziunalas n’era el dentant betg accredità uffizialmain sco participant da la conferenza (   Decisiv per la sistida da las relaziuns La posiziun dal Cussegl federal vers l’attentat era fitg delicata. Tschun onns avant, il november 1918, aveva la Svizra exilià ina missiun sovietica, perquai ch’i vegniva renfatschà als diplomats bolschevics d’avair fatg «propaganda revoluziunara» ed aschia dad esser conculpaivels a la chauma generala svizra dal 1918 ( Dapi lura era il rapport tranter Berna e Moscau mals ( L’«affera Conradi» è alura stada decisiva per la sistida da las relaziuns da la Svizra cun la Russia sovieta durant plirs decennis. Pir suenter la Segunda Guerra mundiala han las duas regenzas puspè reprendì contacts uffizials. Cumplicitad dal Cussegl federal?  En ina nota diplomatica ha il minister da l’exteriur Georgi Tschitscherin crititgà vehementamain la posiziun dal Cussegl federal concernet il murdraretsch: La «refusaziun illegitima» dad attribuir il status diplomatic a Worowsi, saja stà in «act nunlubì ed ostil» ed haja chaschunà ina «situaziun anormala ed ambigua» che haja provocà attatgas cunter il delegà sovietic. Tuttina n’hajan las autoritads «prendì naginas mesiras preventivas» per impedir in act da violenza cunter el. Perquai portia la regenza svizra ina «responsabladad absolutamain evidenta e gronda», ina cumplicitad a l’assassinat (  Murdraretsch cunter violenza revoluziunara  Il Cussegl federal ha reagì cun in telegram salà sin las «accusaziuns impertinentas e malvulentas» da Tschitscherin. Il Departement politic federal (DPF, oz DFAE), manà dal anti-communist persvadì Giuseppe Motta, ha refusà tut las renfatschas ed è passà a la cunterattatga. I saja chaussa da la Regenza sovieta da finalmain conceder in’indemnisaziun per «las expropriaziuns ed ils acts da violenza nunditgs» ch’èn vegnì commess durant la revoluziun a millis Svizzers en Russia ( Il process penal cunter Conradi menà fitg emoziunalmain vegn era a suandar questa logica. Acquittament da l‘assassin Las tractativas davant la dretgira da giuraders a Losanna durant il november 1923 eran orientadas pli pauc vers il mazzament effectiv, mabain vers la qualificaziun dal reschim da cussegls en Russia. A moda explicativa è l’act da Conradi vegnì congualà cun il destin tragic da sia famiglia, las suffrientschas dals Svizzers en Russia en general e las unfrendas dals Bolschevichi ( e Ils giuraders han alura pelvair acquittà l’assassin. Na betg mo en Russia era l’indignaziun gronda. Il Cussegl federal da l’autra vart ha refusà tut las renfatschas cun renviament rigurus al federalissem e la separaziun da las pussanzas (  Represa da relaziuns per aut pretsch La Russia sovieta ha decretà in scumond d’en- ed extrada per Svizras e Svizzers e declarà in boicot per martganzia svizra. Prest ha Moscau signalisà interess per ina «regulaziun da la situaziun», insistiva dentant «sin ina tscherta satisfacziun en chaussa Worowski» ( Adina puspè è il chass vegnì negozia cun mediaziun internaziunala ( e L’onn 1927 è vegnì cuntanschì almain ina sligiaziun temporara ( Igl ha dentant cuzzà fin l’onn 1946, fin che Berna – per in aut pretsch politic – ha cuntanschì la represa da relaziuns uffizialas cun la URSS (cf. e-dossier).  Vus pudais leger quest e-dossier era per tudestg, franzos, talian ed englais.Per il film: Link RTR.Data d'emissiun:dumengia, ils 05-03-2017, 17:25 sin SRF1mesemna, ils 08-03-2017, 08:35, 09:30 e las 12:50 sin SRF infogievgia, ils 09-03-2017, 11:00 sin SRF infovenderdi, ils 10-03-2017, 13:15 sin RSI LA2sonda, ils 11-03-2017, 14:20 sin RTS 2 e las 17:15 sin SRF1dumengia, ils 12-03-2017, 07:30 sin RSI LA1mardi, ils 14-03-2017, 14:55 sin RTS 2
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Chief Delegate Minister Walter Stucki shortly before his departure to Washington. Schweizerische Filmwochenschau, 22 March 1946, cf.

The Washington Agreement of 1946

In spring 1946, a high-ranking Swiss delegation visited Washington to negotiate the release of frozen Swiss assets in the USA as well as the end of the allied boycott of companies that, during WWII, had traded with the Axis Powers. In turn, the USA, Great Britain, and France demanded that Swiss banks hand over German assets. The Washington Agreement (, finalised 70 years ago, on 25 May 1946, after difficult negotiations, represents a milestone in Swiss foreign policy. It was the clearance that ended Switzerland’s isolation and prepared the way for the country’s integration into the post-war world. «a trial to any freedom-loving Swiss» Near the end of the war, in 1944, the Allies increased their pressure on Switzerland. The country was regarded as a war profiteer that upheld tight economic relations with Nazi Germany even as the German defeat became inevitable. «It would indeed be a trial to any freedom-loving Swiss to feel that he had in any way impeded the efforts of other freedom-loving countries to rid the world of a ruthless tyrant», US President Franklin D. Roosevelt reprimanded Swiss Federal President Eduard von Steiger in January 1945 ( The Swiss media were less roundabout, stating that «the American press accuses us of supporting their enemy» (, original in German). In Spring 1945, an allied delegation demanded the freezing of German assets in Switzerland, the cessation of exports and of all gold trade with the Reich, and the termination of the transit between Germany and North Italy. The Currie Agreement of 8 March 1945 On 8 March 1945, Switzerland largely agreed to the conditions stipulated by US chief negotiator Lauchlin Currie ( Yet the so-called Currie Agreement left unresolved the question of German assets in Swiss banks, and the related question of the Swiss banking secret. Swiss bankers opined that to disclose customer information would «deal a death blow to the reputation for discretion» and that this would prove «ruinous, as foreign capital would flee elsewhere at the first opportunity» (, original in French). The bankers pointed to «these foreign assets‘ contribution to the Swiss balance of payments and national revenue», venturing that «it would be a catastrophe to destroy for decades to come that which was built in past decades» (, original in German). Federal Councillor Max Petitpierre, the new Swiss Minister of Foreign Affairs, assured them that Swiss diplomacy had «always taken the interests of Swiss banks into consideration and does not intend to change its attitude» (, original in French). Minister Stucki goes to Washington Pressure from the USA persisted. Washington froze Swiss assets in the USA and blacklisted persons and companies that had traded with Germany. The Federal Council nominated Walter Stucki, a high-ranking Bernese diplomate, as the chief delegate in a new round of negotiations with the USA, Great Britain, and France. In a preliminary meeting, Stucki asserted: «On the matter of Swiss Sovereignty, we will in no way be haggled with» (, original in German). He declared his «main goal» was «to find an agreement with the Allies [...] that reflects Swiss juridical principles and interests whilst also being apt to dispel the atmosphere of distrust vis-à-vis Switzerland still predominant among the Allies today.» Minister Stucki’s plan was to diminish the demands step by step, up to the «demolishing of the basis of the allied claim» (, original in German). «a scandalous insolence» These expectations were quickly destroyed by what the Swiss delegation encountered in Washington. In April, Stucki was forced to personally travel to Berne for new instructions, reporting to the Federal Council that «two walls» were facing each other. In the Allies’ opinion, German assets in Switzerland were theirs, «not from a legal, but from a higher, moral point of view». They held that Switzerland was, «as a privileged state saved by us, obliged to make these resources available to us». The Americans bluntly informed the Swiss delegation that if its members did «not change their opinion», they would best «return home» – according to Stucki, «a scandalous insolence». The Americans’ unusually brusque style of negotiation, however, mirrored the distribution of power: «The Allies indeed have the means to make our lives [...] quite miserable», as the experienced diplomat put it (, original in German). Payment of «Nazi Gold» When Stucki returned to Washington with new instructions, a «veritable torrent of attacks and defamation», awaited him. Ultimately, the delegations agreed that money that German citizens had put in Swiss bank accounts would be liquidated, paid out in half to the Allies – «as a voluntary contribution to the rebuilding of Europe» – and in half to Switzerland, in compensation for its claims against Germany. More than the Swiss had expected, allied demands focused on the question of the gold in the vaults of the Swiss National Bank, purchased «in good faith» from the German Reichbank. Ultimately, Switzerland transferred to the Allies «Nazi Gold» at an overall value of 250 million Swiss Francs, however, «without recognition of a legal obligation». In fact, this «compromise» was only slightly less than the allied demands that in Switzerland had been perceived «as insolent and impossible to meet» (, original in German). The question of «dormant accounts» The Washington Agreement can be accessed and read in detail, with its various annexes, on the Dodis database at (which includes links to all appendices). All documents relating to the negotiations can be found using the permalink and the keyword Washington Agreement. Not all of the agreement‘s appendices were made public in 1946. A document that was kept confidential is a letter regarding the «possessions, in Switzerland, of victims of the violent crimes, recently committed by the former German government, who died without heirs». The Federal Council intended to examine «sympathetically» the question of these «dormant assets» in Switzerland (, original in French). The «unclaimed assets» would occupy diplomats for decades to come (see, with the real éclat following only after the end of the Cold War, in the 1990s. The judgement of historians«I do not know how future historians will judge the operation we carried out», William E. Rappard, advisor of the Swiss delegation, wrote to Federal Councillor Petitpierre after negotiations had ended. The Geneva-based professor assumed that the achievement regarding the gold would receive praise, whereas there would be less patience for the «surrender of principles» with regard to German assets. That the small country nevertheless succeeded in denying «a significant part» of the three Great Powers’ demands, Rappard writes, «is, in my eyes, close to a diplomatic miracle» (, original in French). However Switzerland, with its financial and industrial capacity, was by no means the lightweight as which it represented itself. In addition, the country profited from the emerging Cold War. It is less the contents than the long-term consequences of the Washington Agreement that are central: For the normalisation of relations with the superpower USA, almost any sacrifice had to be accepted.
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From left to right: federal councillor Max Petitpierre talking to minister Eduard Zellweger (Belgrad) and to Hermann Flückiger, designated as the first envoy to Moscow. «Schweizerische Filmwochenschau» from 5.4.1946.

The Establishment of Swiss Diplomatic Relations with the USSR

On 18 March 1946, an exchange of diplomatic notes in Belgrade ( broke a silence that had lasted almost thirty years, establishing official relations between Switzerland and the Soviet Union. The normalization of relations with the new eastern superpower was one of the fundamental conditions for the development of Switzerland's international relations in the commencing Cold War.A period without relationsAfter the expulsion of the Soviet diplomatic mission in November 1918 (, there followed a long time that saw no relations between Bern and Moscow. The attempt to establish contacts with the USSR towards the end of World War II ( was curtly rejected by the Soviets on the basis of Switzerland's «pro-fascist politics», as a blunt diplomatic note from autumn 1944 puts it (, original in French). As a result of the affront, the Swiss foreign minister, federal councillor Marcel Pilet-Golaz, resigned from his office ( end of the war and the Soviet assetsFor the new foreign minister Max Petitpierre, the normalisation of relations with the victorious power in the east became a top priority. Achieving this goal had its price; in September and October 1945, the Federal Council reversed the freezing of Soviet assets in private banks and the Swiss National Bank that had been effectuated in 1941. «Always with a view to the desirability of a normalisation of mutual relations», the national government saw this step as an «advance payment» to Moscow (, original in German). 20 million Swiss Francs were paid without Switzerland's own substantial compensation claims – over 1.5 billion for evictions, looting, and expropriations after the October Revolution of 1917 ( – having been settled.The question of internees and an immoral offerThe end of the war also saw negotiations with a military delegation about the fate of the roughly 10'000 interned Soviet prisoners of war and forced labourers who had fled to Switzerland from the German Reich. Not all of them wanted to return to the the Soviet Union; among them were a political refugee and a deserter. By international law, the two Russians should not have been extradited. However, Moscow was urging their exchange for five Swiss diplomats held by the USSR. In Bern, there were worries that «a refutation of the Russian proposal might negatively influence the Soviet Union's willingness to establish diplomatic relations with Switzerland» (, original in German). In December 1945, the federal government decided to give in to the pressure coming from the Soviet Union ( «Walk to Canossa» The agreement on the subject of the internees cleared the way for negotiations on the re-establishment of relations with the USSR. These were initiated by the Swiss envoy to Yugoslavia, Eduard Zellweger, with the Soviet embassy in Belgrade. Once again, the Soviets made steep demands. They asked the Federal Council to apologise for its «anti-Soviet attitude» in the past. Petitpierre initially declined (, original in French, see also The formulation ultimately agreed on was: «The Federal Council announces that it has changed its previous standpoint insofar as this was inimical towards the USSR» (, original in French).Normalisation after the «worst-case scenario»After the exchange of notes on 18 March 1946, things moved quickly. In late April 1946 Hermann Flückiger already took up his post as the first Swiss envoy to Moscow. Economic relations were established, too. In March 1948, Switzerland and the USSR signed a trade agreement in Moscow ( Nonetheless, the conditions under which the Federal Council had normalised relations with the Soviet Union were traumatising for Switzerland. The extensive concessions made and the humiliating procedure were a worst-case scenario for Swiss diplomacy, and had far-ranging consequences.
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