USSR satellites

British government analysis of relations between the Soviet Union and its satellite countries in Eastern Europe, 1955 (Catalogue ref: FO 371/116114)



Soviet control of the Satellites is exercised through

(i.) The penetration of the armed forces, security organs, communist party organisations and state administration at all levels by soviet representatives or agents;

(ii.) The integration of the Satellite economies with that of the Soviet Union.

2. On this base there is a superstructure represented by

(iii.) Stationing of Soviet army units on their territories or at a short distance from the frontier;

(iv.) the present Communist governments of men whose political future and indeed whose lives are dependent on continued Soviet support;

(v.) a system of interlocking pacts and alliances;

3. While as we emphasised in the correspondence between the Yugoslav and All-Union Communist Parties [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] in 1948, the Red Army played an essential part in the establishment of the Satellite regimes, maintenance of 6 Soviet divisions in Poland, Hungary and Roumania is no longer necessary for the stability of the Satellite bloc. The Soviet Government could make concessions on this and the other items listed in Paragraph 2 without endangering their supremacy in Eastern Europe. As stated above the basis of this supremacy is set out in paragraph 1, which is why, after 1945, the Communists always insisted on control of the Ministry of the Interior and why the Czechoslovak Government were compelled to refuse Marshall Aid.

4. The minimum prerequisites for the liberation of the Satellites from Soviet control are freedom of association, of information and of movement, followed by free elections; but those freedoms would not be effective unless the whole State apparatus was dismantled.

5. This does not mean that less far-reaching concessions should be necessarily be rejected, but it should be realised that they would only be of limited value.

6. The attached notes amplify the various forms of control, and show what papers already exist on these, with the dates of preparation.

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