Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



One of the unusual characteristics of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was its provision for "follow-up" meetings to assess implementation of the negotiated commitments and consider adoption of new measures. The first review meeting convened in Belgrade in October 1977. The second such follow-up session is to convene this November in Madrid. In the hope of strengthening this unique mechanism, an analysis of the CSCE process, an evaluation of the previous follow-up session at Belgrade, and a suggested approach to the Madrid talks are presented in this paper.

Numerous writers have now amply described the origins of the CSCE. The desire of the Soviets to solidify their position in Eastern Europe by obtaining recognition of the Oder-Neisse line, the incorporation of the Baltic states into the U.S.S.R. and numerous other boundary changes effected after World War II, led them to call for a conference which would in effect bless the status quo in Europe. Part of the price for such a Conference was Soviet agreement to United States and Canadian participation and to a broad agenda including discussion of economic cooperation and humanitarian measures. In order to conclude CSCE with a document containing an innocuous principle on the "inviolability of frontiers," which the Soviets viewed as meeting their objectives, the Soviet bloc had to accept pages of text dealing with cooperation in humanitarian fields. The comprehensive and complex Final Act, which the thirty-five participating States signed on August 1, 1975, was viewed as a catalogue of the steps that participants would have to take in order for "detente" to become a reality. The security of Europe and the implementation of the various confidence-building, economic, and humanitarian measures contained in the document were seen as an interrelated whole.