To Build a Better World by Philip Zelikow

To Build a Better World by Philip Zelikow

Author:Philip Zelikow
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: 2019-09-09T16:00:00+00:00

A Final Settlement for Germany

Between April and late July 1990, diplomatic attention centered on the allied effort to persuade Gorbachev and his government to accept the Western approach for settling the German question. At the time, we believed that this would probably work out somehow. Just the same, we were very anxious about it.

Gorbachev had indicated a degree of acceptance—the “free to choose” point—at the end of May. It took more effort, including the indication of the “transformed” NATO that came out of the London summit, and Gorbachev getting through his Party Congress, until the main deal was closed by Kohl and Genscher after many hours of meetings in Moscow and in the Caucasus on July 14–16.

Relaxing with his team on the evening of July 15 at the lodge where they were staying, Kohl sighed delightedly and said, “Never in my life have I had to work so hard. But never in my life have I also been so happy.” The treaty for a final settlement of the German question was negotiated rapidly in the following two months among the six countries in the Two Plus Four (with a July visit from Poland’s foreign minister).49

We have often reflected on this historic agreement, focusing especially on the turning points in the spring and summer of 1990. Five observations, taken together, help explain that final outcome.


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