12. Memorandum From the Director of Intelligence and Research (Cumming) to Secretary of State Dulles0


  • Intelligence Note: Implications of the “New Rapacki Plan” for the US and Western Europe

A new version of the Rapacki Plan was announced in Warsaw on November 4. (Tab A)1 The new version envisages two stages. In the first stage Poland, Czechoslovakia, East and West Germany, would ban the production of nuclear weapons and undertake not to build installations for them; simultaneously the US and the USSR would agree not to give nuclear weapons to armies that did not have them.

In the second stage, nuclear installations of the Soviet Union and the West in the area would be banned but only after agreement had been reached on nuclear and on conventional disarmament in the zone.

If accepted by the West, the plan would have profound military and political implications. Militarily it would deny to NATO the ability to carry out defensive plans, which depend on utilizing West German forces armed with advanced weapons as a counter balance to Soviet superiority in conventional weapons. While there is no evidence that the USSR intends to arm its satellites with thermonuclear weapons, the denial of these weapons to German forces would constitute an overwhelming military concession to the USSR without reciprocal benefits.
Politically, the plan implies that West Germany would eventually be excluded from Western councils and defense planning since it would not be able to fulfill its military obligations. Moreover, as the plan seems to enhance Soviet control over Germany, the Adenauer government is bound to reject it. It is obvious that Adenauer is fully aware of the political, psychological and military dangers involved.
The new Rapacki Plan is designed as a major propaganda weapon. It was issued over the heads of existing governments to the “peoples of Europe”. However, it can develop into an effective diplomatic tool of the USSR and become a potent weapon for producing additional strains in NATO. It is significant that the plan was released after Rapacki’s visit to Norway, where sympathy has existed for some of his ideas.
The propaganda campaign outside Germany will stress that all the legitimate defense needs of the US, UK and France have been provided for, since these powers would keep their thermonuclear weapons in the “atom free zone” until an agreement had been reached on conventional armament in this zone. Only the Germans, the “troublemakers of Europe”, the “State that produced hitler” would be denied these weapons.
The Soviet propaganda will also seek to impress the West Germans that the plan is the only one which keeps open the door to reunification and that Germany is not “disarmed” since she would have a conventional force for legitimate defense needs. If the Germans restrict themselves to conventional weapons in their own territory, the Soviets will insist, they should not hesitate to ask the Western allies to remove their thermonuclear weapons from German soil in return for similar Soviet action. Therefore, withdrawal of all alien forces from German soil and the “atomic neutralization” of a “reunited” Germany will be represented as the most rational policy for the Germans to adopt.
This propaganda line coincides with the position of an increasingly vocal wing of the SPD. The SPD (and the FDP) will probably hail the new plan as a further sign of the need for negotiations and demand anew assurances from the Adenauer government that it will not rearm Germany with thermonuclear weapons until a new effort has been made to discuss the German question with the Soviets. Should the government not accept these demands, the pposition might launch another major campaign to refer the weapons issue to the people by plebiscite, referendum or some other scheme. The present thermonuclear fallout in the Scandinavian countries and the current deadlock of test suspension talks in Geneva will also provide additional pretexts to the SPD to reopen the “Struggle Against Atomic Death” campaign and to link this campaign with the demand for a high level conference to consider the Rapacki Plan, as well as general disarmament and the reunification of Germany.
The East German regime will unconditionally accept the new Rapacki Plan and use it as the basis for a campaign to protect Germany against thermonuclear annihilation and to assure progress towards reunification. If the Adenauer government proves to be intransigent, its policy will be denounced as a return to “fascism” and the East Germans will attempt to develop a “people’s movement” throughout Germany to consider means to prevent the return of “Nazism” to Germany. The combination of these factors may confront Adenauer with as serious a coalition of hostile internal and external forces as he has ever had to face.

A similar memorandum has been addressed to The Under Secretary.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 640.0012/11–658. Confidential.
  2. Not found attached. A detailed analysis of the new version of the Rapacki Plan is in Intelligence Report No. 7891, “The Rapacki Plan—A Polish Road to the West,” December 5, 1958, prepared by the Office of Intelligence Research and Analysis. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, OSS-INR Reports)