1 February 1980* (Pb 182/2) Brandt and Sorsa

Politburo decision. Information for WILLY BRANDT (FRG) and KALEVI SORSA (Finland) about Soviet views on disarmament and Afghanistan, pp. 2-20 [Russian: 1 February 1980, Pb 182/2] total 20 pp (excerpts).


[page one of twenty]

[Vertical text along left margin]
Return within [illegible] days to CPSU Central Committee
(General Department, Sector 1)

Workers of all Lands, Unite!


Top Secret

No. Pb 182/2

To Comrades:

Brezhnev, Suslov, Andropov, Gromyko, Kirilenko,
Pelshe, Ponomaryov, Zimyanin, Zamyatin

Excerpt from Minutes No. 182 of the meeting of the Politburo
of the CPSU Central Committee, held on 1 February 1980

Information for W. Brandt, chairman of the Socialist International, and K. Sorsa, chairman of the Social-Democratic Party of Finland

1. Confirm the text of the telegram (attachment 1) to the Soviet ambassador in the FRG [Federal Republic of Germany].

2. Confirm the text to be passed to K. Sorsa (attachment 2)



[pages two to twelve, for Willy Brandt, [1] ]

To item 2, Minutes No 182

Attachment No 1



[…] Recently, and especially as a result of the decision taken by the December meeting of the NATO council, events have occurred that sharply complicate the international situation.

Perhaps we do not see eye to eye on everything. Whatever the case, in the present situation there is probably a need for accurate information about assessments and intentions. The main task is to find a common language about an issue that for many years has been a subject of your concern and of ours: how to strengthen international security.

[…] the Soviet Union has repeatedly warned that if NATO adopts this decision in December it will knock the ground from under the negotiations and destroy their foundation. Our agreement to hold negotiations when NATO has taken this decision would mean discussing only a reduction in Soviet defence potential while the USA is fully engaged in preparing new nuclear missile systems.

[This, wrote the Politburo, “expresses the policies of the present US administration, which were not adopted today as a response to events in Afghanistan.” This policy had become clear long ago “and has merely received a more precise expression in the ‘Carter doctrine’.”]

Evidently Carter and Brzezinski are gambling on frightening the USSR and isolating our country, creating problems wherever possible. This policy is doomed to fail for it is impossible to scare the Soviet Union or shake its resolve.

During meetings with the Socialist International’s working group in Moscow there was discussion about the goals President Carter was pursuing. Now this has been fully confirmed. It is indeed a matter of destroying what was done in the last ten years through the efforts of people of goodwill, including the Social Democrats.

[Two, no matter what the cause of increased international tension, the most important task was to “save détente”.]

In this situation it is essential to confirm the policy of détente. Statements that it is now important ‘to keep a cool head and continue negotiations’, ‘to not allow nervousness to replace a well-thought-out policy’, and ‘it is essential to beware of unthinking and exaggerated reactions, which do not match the events and could thus lead to an even worse situation’, are all of the greatest significance. ..

[As concerned “events in Afghanistan” which, naturally, had no bearing on the subject, they should be regarded “without preconceived views or nervousness”, remembering that they had been provoked by the “undeclared war” waged by the CIA and Beijing.]


[pages thirteen to twenty for Kalevi Sorsa [2] ]

To item 2, Minutes No 182
Attachment No 2

[page sixteen]

International Social Democracy could play a role here. In the next few days there will be a meeting of leaders of social-democratic parties in Vienna at which Comrade K. Sorsa will deliver a speech. Considering the confidence that has developed over the past few years in our relations, perhaps you might consider, at your own discretion, of course, using certain of the following ideas.

Although it is hardly justified to talk about the “end of the decade of détente” (as its opponents do), it is hard to deny that the process of détente has stalled.

It is a particular cause for concern that there is no advance in military détente. The Vienna negotiations are in a blind alley, Carter has postponed ratification of SALT-2, and the December decision of the NATO council makes it impossible for the USSR to continue negotiations about reducing middle-range nuclear weapons in Europe.

Both the super-powers, USA and the USSR, provide different explanations for the increase in international tension. What is important, however, is what they are suggesting. Citing a non-existing Soviet threat, Carter is persistently pushing for a build-up in the military strength of the USA and NATO. …

[Whatever differences of opinion there might be in Europe when assessing the causes of increased tension in the situation, the letter continued, “the predominant opinion is that détente should be preserved”. The most effective way Europe could help would be not to “choose between the USA and the USSR”, but between “cold war” and détente. Of course, this would require a more active policy on issues of disarmament and other areas of cooperation.]

… International experience confirms that the approach of the Socialist International in taking a more active part in the consideration and resolution of issues of disarmament was right. This approach … has shown that Social Democracy also has considerable capacity to exert a positive influence on the

[page twenty]

governing circles of those countries on which success in advancing military disarmament depends.

An analysis of the present situation permits us to make the following recommendations:

it would be expedient for the Socialist International to continue pursuing its own approach on issues of disarmament. It would seem particularly important to finalise a position on the whole complex of issues concerning disarmament and for the Socialist International to adopt it as its own document. […]



[1] For other contacts between Willy Brandt and the Soviet regime, see 7 February 1974*, 350 A/ov.

[2] For more about Kalevi Sorsa, see 16 December 1980*, St 241/108.

See Short Biographies for identity and positions of Afghan, Soviet and other officials.


  • 1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been added to a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, JC

Hoover Institution: Fond 89, Opis 34, Reel 1.1001, File 4

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