NATO "Fact" Sheet Lies About Promises Not To expand NATO Eastwards
April 19, 2014 • 12:53PM

On April 12, NATO released a "fact sheet," entitled "Russia's accusations — setting the record straight," in response to Russian allegations about its behavior, a fact sheet that, on first examination, seems to be woefully short of facts. We will examine, here, one claim of the fact sheet which is central to the confrontation between the U.S. and NATO on one side and Russia on the other. "Russian officials claim that U.S. and German officials promised in 1990 that NATO would not expand into Eastern and Central Europe, build military infrastructure near Russia's borders or permanently deploy troops there," the fact sheet says. "No such pledge was made, and no evidence to back up Russia's claims has ever been produced."

As we have reported previously, German and U.S. officials did make such promises, and the evidence was published back in 2009, by the German magazine Der Spiegel, quoting newly released German Foreign Ministry documents. "What the U.S. Secretary of State [James Baker III] said on Feb. 9, 1990 in the magnificent St. Catherine's Hall at the Kremlin is beyond dispute," Der Spiegel reported at the time. "There would be, in Baker's words, 'no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east,' provided the Soviets agreed to the NATO membership of a unified Germany. Moscow would think about it, Gorbachov said, but added: 'any extension of the zone of NATO is unacceptable.'" The next day, German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher told Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that "As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general," and not just to the soon-to-be former East Germany, which they were otherwise discussing.

The authors of the fact sheet are either grossly ignorant of history or are outright lying.