SOVIET UNION: The View from Moscow

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

> A visible relaxation of tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Soviets probably will settle their old World War II Lend Lease debt, an otherwise minor irritant that has handicapped trade between the two countries because the U.S. Export-Import Bank cannot, by law, deal with the Russians until the default is cleared up. Both sides will now probably sign agreements during the presidential visit providing for improved shipping arrangements between the two countries and for the largest sale of U.S. grain to Russia since the cold war began.

> A conference on European security, which would, in effect, be the peace conference that would end World War II. Brezhnev hopes to gather representatives from the 30 countries of Europe, plus the U.S. and Canada in one gigantic conference, to be held most likely in Helsinki. At that time, the Soviets would press for recognition of present borders in Europe. That would legitimize Russia's postwar grab of Polish lands, and Poland's seizure of German lands. It would also enhance the international status of East Germany.

With that goal in mind, the Soviets have been deeply concerned about West German Chancellor Willy Brandt's problems in persuading Bonn's Bundestag to ratify the 1970 treaties of Moscow and Warsaw (see following story). Brezhnev has personally committed his prestige to the normalization of relations with West Germany, and his entire diplomacy toward Western Europe, including the convocation of the security conference, hinges on Bonn's ratification of the treaties.

Washington and Moscow have agreed not to undertake any action during the next three weeks that could unsettle the atmosphere for the summit, but West Germany's possible rejection of the treaties or the fall of the Brandt government could seriously complicate the Nixon-Brezhnev meeting.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page