Home » Research » Public Papers - 1990
Facebook Twitter Youtube Flickr

Events Newsletter

Click here to become a member of our e-club and receive news about special events and offers.

National Archives

Public Papers - 1990

Message to the Senate Transmitting the Treaty on the Reunification of Germany

1990-09-25

To the Senate of the United States:

I submit herewith, for Senate advice and consent to ratification, the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany and a Related Agreed Minute, signed by the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Democratic Republic, the French Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Moscow on September 12, 1990. I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, a report of the Department of State with respect to this Treaty.

The Treaty that I am submitting today is the culmination of 6 months' negotiation among its six signatories in what has come to be called the ``Two-plus-Four'' forum, established for this purpose at Ottawa in February 1990. This agreement will end the artificial division of Germany and Berlin; it provides for the full withdrawal of all Soviet forces over the next 4 years; and it terminates all remaining Four-Power rights and responsibilities for Berlin and for Germany as a whole. It thus creates the basis for the emergence of a united, democratic, and sovereign Federal Republic of Germany, capable and ready to assume a full and active partnership in the North Atlantic Alliance, the European Community, and in the many other fora for international cooperation to which the Federal Republic of Germany has already contributed significantly.

The Treaty makes clear that the current borders of the Federal Republic of Germany and German Democratic Republic shall be the final and definitive borders of a united Germany. All the provisions relating to Germany's border with Poland were worked out with the participation and approval of the Government of Poland.

The Treaty specifies that the right of a united Germany to belong to alliances with all the rights and responsibilities arising therefrom shall not be affected by any of its provisions.

The Treaty provides for the withdrawal of all Soviet troops from the territory of a united Germany by the end of 1994. The Treaty also provides for the continued presence of British, French, and American troops in Berlin during the interim period at the request of the German government. During this period the German government shall have complete freedom regarding the stationing of territorial defense units of its own armed forces within the territory of the former German Democratic Republic, and these armed forces shall remain outside the integrated NATO military command structure. Following the departure of Soviet troops by 1994, there shall be no remaining limitations regarding the location of German armed forces throughout Germany and their integration with NATO structures. Non-German Allied forces and nuclear weapons systems shall not be stationed or deployed within the territory of the present German Democratic Republic. The Agreed Minute, for which I am also seeking your advice and consent, provides a special rule for application of the term ``deployed.''

The Treaty contains a number of assurances provided by the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic on behalf of a united Germany. Among these are a reaffirmation of their renunciation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and their stated undertaking to reduce the personnel strength of the German armed forces to 370,000 within 3 to 4 years.

Finally, the Treaty provides for the termination of all remaining Four-Power rights and responsibilities for Berlin and Germany as a whole.

I would also like to draw to the attention of the Senate the texts of three letters that were exchanged on issues arising in the context of the unification of Germany (enclosed as attachments to the report of the Department of State). The first is a letter from Secretary of State Baker to Foreign Minister Genscher of the Federal Republic of Germany dated September 11, 1990; the second is a letter from Foreign Minister Genscher and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister de Maiziere of the German Democratic Republic to their counterparts in the Two-plus-Four negotiations dated September 12, 1990; and the third is a letter dated September 18, 1990, from Foreign Minister Genscher to Secretary Baker.

In their letter of September 12 to their counterparts in the Two-plus-Four negotiations, Foreign Minister Genscher of the Federal Republic of Germany and Prime Minister and Foreign Minister de Maiziere of the German Democratic Republic formally convey several additional assurances. Among these are their declaration that the constitution of a united Germany will protect the free democratic order and provide the continuing basis for prohibiting parties and associations with National Socialist aims. In his letter of September 18 to Secretary Baker, Foreign Minister Genscher also makes clear that the Government of a united Germany accepts responsibility for the resolution of unresolved claims against the German Democratic Republic, both of American citizens, and of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. In this letter he commits his government to seek, shortly after unification, to provide expeditious and satisfactory resolution of claims of Jewish victims of the Nazi regime against the German Democratic Republic. In this same letter he states that the Federal Republic of Germany will, shortly after unification, resolve through negotiations with the United States Government the claims of U.S. nationals that were previously under discussion with the German Democratic Republic. The commitments contained in these two letters are further evidence that the Government of the united Germany will sustain and build on the exemplary record of the Federal Republic of Germany in promoting democratic values.

The Treaty represents a major achievement for our German allies, who have not forgotten the past or the role Germany once played in the horrors of 1933 - 45, but who have demonstrated over 4 decades of steadfast support for democracy and the Western alliance what the world can expect from the united Germany.

The Treaty is also a tribute to the courage and the determination of the people of Germany to achieve unity in peace, freedom, and concord with their neighbors.

The emergence of a free, united, and democratic Germany, linked to the United States and to its European neighbors by indissoluble ties of friendship, common values, and mutual interests, and ready to act as a full partner within a broader community of democratic nations, has been an enduring goal of American foreign policy for over 40 years. Seldom has any President had the privilege of submitting for the Senate's advice and consent an agreement which so fully realizes our national purposes. This agreement is the result of decades of steadfast effort and resolve on the part of past Presidents and Congresses, and our Allies. It is an achievement of which we can all be proud.

It is wholly fitting that Germany formally and irrevocably achieve its unified status at the earliest possible moment, unfettered by Four-Power rights, shared by the Soviet Union, which are now outmoded and unnecessary. I therefore ask the Senate to act expeditiously in giving its advice and consent to ratification of the Treaty and the Related Agreed Minute.

George Bush

The White House,

September 25, 1990.

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
1000 George Bush Drive West, College Station, Texas 77845
Telephone: (979) 691-4000 | Facsimile: (979) 691-4050 | TTY: (979) 691-4091