From the Soviet embassy in FRG. An analytical report about the policies of the West German SDP (17 pp). [R 21 June 1977] Excerpts.
in the Federal German Republic
Copy No. 2
20 May 1977
The policies of the SDP leadership
… there are never-ending discussions in political circles, about the fate of West German Social Democracy and, also, about the viability of the Social [Democrat]-Liberal [Free Democrat] coalition as a whole. Numerous meetings and conversations with embassy representatives in social-democrat circles show that the SPD leadership is stubbornly seeking ways to achieve positive results in its foreign and domestic policies and to raise public confidence in its political approach.
1. Foreign policy activities … are regarded by the SPD leadership as one of the decisive preconditions for consolidating the party’s influence in the country.
2. The beginning of President Carter’s activities has caused the SPD leadership much alarm and anxiety. A lack of clarity about the future course of the new US administration on issues of disarmament, relations with the USSR and the most important aspects of economic and financial policy, has made it difficult to draw up a programme for the Social Democrat-Liberal [Free] Democrat coalition and has had a negative influence on the activities of the new Schmidt cabinet.
3. The SPD leadership places great hopes on a successful visit by Comrade Brezhnev to the FRG. They expect that new impulses for further improvement in Soviet-West German relations will permit them to remove the unhelpful impression that the activities of Schmidt’s cabinet in the political sphere since May 1974 have done almost nothing to advance those relations. SPD leaders believe that the Soviet-American dialogue about a second agreement on strategic arms limitation, Comrade Brezhnev’s visit to the FRG, and the constructive course of the Belgrade Conference, should become important, mutually-linked stages during this year, leading the way to a further deepening of détente.
It is noteworthy that, as preparations are made for Comrade Brezhnev’s visit, the Social Democrats are avoiding
active participation in noisy anti-Soviet campaigns about ‘human rights’, and denounce their organisers in the CDU-CSU.
We would like to draw your attention to the useful efforts of Schmidt, Brandt and Werner to give H.D. Genscher a better understanding of the foreign policy conceptions of the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats emphasise that under this influence the foreign minister has begun to show greater restraint as concerns statements unfriendly towards the USSR.
4. The SPD leadership is stubbornly working to remove the main arguments of the opposition that the policy of the government led by Schmidt has lost its way
and revealed itself to be wholly ineffective in inter-German affairs. The Chancellor’s office is making energetic efforts, through various channels, to induce the GDR to discuss a wide range of measures: if agreement on these measures could be reached it would allow the FRG to ‘create a positive balance’ in its dealings with the GDR. The political and ideological aim behind these measures is described quite frankly: to create such a dense network of mutual interests that under no circumstances could the GDR break away without damaging itself. It is necessary, G. Werner declares, to ensure that “the confrontation between the FRG and the GDR gradually develops into an existence alongside one another, as loyal neighbours”.
The Chancellor is well aware of all the difficulties involved in resolving this task and does not nurse great illusions on this score. The SPD leaders constantly emphasise the necessity of caution and patience in dealings with the GDR and, most important of all, note that the ‘fundamental changes’ that have already happened must not be threatened by any demonstrative and thoughtless actions. By this they chiefly mean the increased opportunity for contacts between the citizens of the FRG and the GDR. The increase in the number of FRG citizens visiting the GDR in 1976 to 8 million is regarded by the SPD leadership as ‘an improvement in the position of people in a divided Germany’ and one of the main achievements of FRG policies since 1969 in inter-German affairs.
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 inserted
in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.