Hallstein Doctrine

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The Hallstein Doctrine, named after Walter Hallstein, was a key doctrine in the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) after 1955. It established that the Federal Republic would not establish or maintain diplomatic relations with any state that recognized the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany). Important aspects of the doctrine were abandoned after 1970 when it became difficult to maintain and the Federal government changed its politics towards the GDR.

Contents

Background

In diplomacy the non-recognition of another state, and the discouraging of third states to do the same, is an old instrument. In the first years after the establishing of the communist Soviet Union and Red China, the United States of America refused to have diplomatic contact with them, and similar were the cases of the partitioned states Korea and Vietnam.

The Federal Republic of Germany was founded in 1949 with the consideration that it was the only legitimate (democratic) representation of the German people. It did not recognize GDR but tried to achieve German unity under a freely elected, democratic government. The Federal Republic did not have diplomatic contacts with GDR or other communist states.

In 1955 the Federal government of Konrad Adenauer visited Moscow and established diplomatic relations because of the special significance of the Soviet Union as a victory state of World War II. There appeared to be an inconsistency in the establishment of relations with this communist state and not the others who also recognized the GDR.

Hallstein Doctrine

The doctrine was named after Walter Hallstein, then "state secretary" (the top civil servant) at the German Foreign Office, though largely devised by the head of the political department, Wilhelm Grewe.

The doctrine was understood to be that the Federal government would not establish or maintain diplomatic relations with any state that recognised the German Democratic Republic (GDR) - with the exception of the Soviet Union.

The doctrine was applied twice, to Yugoslavia in 1957, and to Cuba in 1963. Both had first recognized the GDR.

In 1958 the newly founded republic of Guinea accepted a Federal German ambassador and a GDR trade mission. When the country in 1960 sent an ambassador to GDR, the Federal Republic withdrew its own. Guinea then declared that it had never sent an ambassador to the GDR.

Problems of the doctrine

The doctrine seemed to succeed for a long time in isolating the GDR, at least from important Western or Third World states. But it also limited the federal government's politics, and in the 1960s it became more and more difficult to maintain.

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