German media fetch 1991 document on NATO commitment to non-expansion
NATO had agreed with various partners not to expand eastward, though it did, and this document proves that it broke its word.
A formerly classified document from 1991 has been retrieved from the British national archive, which entailed Western countries committing to the non-expansion of NATO eastward, Germany's Der Spiegel reported Friday.
Boston University professor Joshua Shifrinson retrieved the document, and it documents foreign ministry envoys from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany meeting on March 6, 1991, in Bonne, France.
They discussed various issues regarding Polish and Eastern European security, agreeing that NATO expanding eastward was "unacceptable", the report said.
During the meeting between East Germany and West Germany, plus the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union, the nations made it clear that the alliance would not expand beyond the Elbe river, the document quoted the German envoy as saying.
"We cannot offer NATO membership to Poland and others," he added, though Warsaw joined the alliance about half a decade later.
The newspaper specifies that the German representative apparently confused the Elbe for the Oder, a river in Poland.
The unraveling of this document comes at a very critical time for Europe, as Russia and NATO are at a very heated moment, with Moscow urging Brussels to curb its eastward expansion, citing treaties from the '90s.
NATO has been citing the Russian "threat" of an alleged invasion of Ukraine, though the latter has been denying such allegations.