Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
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Vienna Document (17 November 1990)

Final document of the Vienna Conference on Confidence and Security-Building Measures (CSBM). Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's June 1986 call for a new CSBM conference to build on the agreements contained in the Stockholm Document (1986) was adopted by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) at its Vienna follow-up meeting on 15 January 1989, after two years of preliminary discussions. Gorbachev's proposal for new talks on conventional forces in Europe had been adopted the previous day, and the two sets of negotiations were mandated to be completed at the same time.

Both negotiating sessions were to be held in Vienna, with the CSBM conference beginning on 6 March 1989, to include all thirty-five CSCE members. The talks concluded on 17 November 1990 with the adoption of the Vienna Document that same day.

Many provisions of the Vienna Document were little changed from those in the Stockholm Document. The parties to the agreement pledged to refrain from the threat or use of force, and provisions for prior notification of troop movements, observation of troop movements, and the production of annual calendars forecasting expected troop movements by each party were essentially the same, as was the area of coverage from the Atlantic to the Urals. New provisions included a single threshold of 40,000 troops for the requirement to give notice of movements two years in advance, replacing the dual threshold contained in the Stockholm Document.

The most significant changes from the 1986 agreement dealt with verification. The signatories were required to submit detailed annual reports on their armed forces, including information on manpower levels, organization, weapons systems, command structure, and location down to the regimental level. The resulting data set would support a new form of verification to supplement the inspection provisions retained from the Stockholm Document. Termed "evaluation," it provided for on-site inspections of units in garrison. Each party was required to accept one evaluation inspection per year for each sixty regiments it deployed, up to a total of fifteen visits per year. The Vienna Document enhanced European stability and lessened the chance of misunderstandings resulting from nonaggressive military activities. Subsequent negotiations brought revisions to the document in 1992 and 1994 to reflect changes in the European political situation stemming from the collapse of communism.

Steven W. Guerrier


Further Reading
MacIntosh, James. "Confidence-Building Measures in Europe." Pp. 929–945 in Encyclopedia of Arms Control and Disarmament, edited by Richard Dean Burns. New York: Scribner, 1993.
 

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