Telegram1 from the Polish Ambassador in Cologne, Ryszard Karski2, to the Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bolesław Kulski3


Assessment of Chancellor Kohl’s5 10-point “German policy” programme presented at the Bundestag on 29 November (résumé by diplomatic cable, full version 29 November6).

1. Kohl’s address marks a new quality in Bonn’s reunification policy, a transition to its operative and concrete phase.

2. The programme he set out involves the creation of a political and economic infrastructure, the concept of confederation followed by federation of the two states (while pursuing the aim of full reunification of Germany), but without defining a specific timeframe. The vision is very compelling and broad, without precluding any modifications and other solutions heading in the same direction.

3. Kohl’s concept meets the expectations of West German political circles and its public; it allows the Chancellor and government to seize the initiative on this subject matter, both with respect to the GDR and internal politics of the FRG. Given the broad support for the programme from all major political parties (except for the “Greens”), it can be viewed as a national mission.

4. Kohl’s political and – crucially – economic offer addressed to the GDR (immediate assistance in many fields, substantial increase in such assistance in the future, facilitating links with the EEC) on condition of fundamental and irreversible internal changes in the GDR is aimed at invigorating and enhancing reunification sentiments among the public and the political circles of the GDR (notably in view of discussions ahead of a convention of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), and the important decisions about further development at home and relations with the FRG). Special importance is attached to free elections in the hope that they will change power relations and make it easier for Bonn to achieve its objectives.

5. It is apparent that Kohl is making a strong connection between reunification and a future European architecture, the CSCE and disarmament process, and W[estern] E[uropean] integration so as to alleviate widespread concerns (harboured also by the Allies) that the integration of both German states is proceeding too quickly and could slip out of control. However, the very fact that Bonn has introduced such an initiative at this stage is due to a belief that is gaining ground in the FRG whereby both the East (including the USSR) and the West are less and less capable of slowing down the dynamic process towards reunification. At the same time, attempts are being made to create an impression that Bonn’s current actions are being taken with the consent of the main Allies, including the USSR (as suggested by Teltschik7 at an internal briefing for leading West German journalists on 27 November).

6. From the Polish point of view, it is unfavourable that guarantees for the Oder-Neisse border should be completely left aside (even though Bonn is aware of Poland’s strong position, which was communicated during Kohl’s visit, and the fact that the FRG’s allies – especially France – have been raising this issue). Practical implementation of the programme outlined, which gives absolute priority to relations with the GDR, creates the prospect – despite official assurances – of our country being side-lined in FRG policy (especially in economic collaboration) behind the GDR, USSR and CSSR.

In the present situation, we believe that it would be advisable to:

– Consider reiterating the Polish position, notably by highlighting territorial guarantees as one of the fundamental conditions for any further examination of the development of the “German problem”;

– Step up efforts to coordinate views on this subject matter with the most interested stakeholders in the East and West.

It is especially important that the broadest possible consensus should be built at home over German affairs, which are of vital importance to the nation and state.

Telegram No. 0-2787/IV (incoming, translated from Polish): Archives of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs AMSZ, ZD 24/91, w. 11, w. 37. Delivered by: 30 November 1989, 12.20 a.m.
Ryszard Karski (*1926),, Polish Ambassador in Cologne 1987–1990.
Bolesław Kulski,, Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs 1988–1990.
The Polish Embassy in the FRG was situated in Cologne.
Helmut Kohl (1930–2017),, Chancellor of the FRG 1.10.1982–27.10.1998.
Archives of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs AMSZ, Dep. IV 31/92, w. 2.
Horst M. Teltschik (*1940),, Foreign policy advisor to the Chancellor of the FRG.