|The pact was signed at the Warsaw Palace
|1955: Communist states sign Warsaw Pact
The Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies have signed a security pact in the Polish capital, Warsaw, after a three-day conference.
Announcements in Warsaw and Moscow said the Soviet Prime Minister, Marshal Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bulganin, and leaders of seven other countries approved the draft of a new mutual aid agreement called the Warsaw Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance.
It is designed, among other things, to ensure close integration of military, economic and cultural policy between eight Communist nations.
Signatories to the treaty - the USSR, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania - have agreed to unify their forces under one command although at this stage it is not known who will take this post.
Fear of West German army
Yugoslavia, the only European Communist state not included in the pact, was expelled in 1948 from Cominform, the Communist information agency for refusing to acknowledge Sovietsupremacy.
The treaty, signed at the Warsaw Palace, comes in the wake of news that West Germany has been accepted by western nations into Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) following talks earlier this month in Paris.
In a speech at the beginning of the Warsaw talks, Marshal Bulganin warned that the USA, Britain and France were turning West Germany into "the principal hotbed of the danger of war in Europe" by allowing it to re-arm.
He said allowing West Germany into Nato was "the major obstacle" to reunification of Germany.
Existing bilateral agreements between nations of the Eastern Bloc, he stated, were no longer sufficient to ensure their security and this Warsaw Pact wouldsupersedeall of those.
He added that Nato was also encouraging countries in the Near and Middle East to form military blocs to plan attacks on the Soviet Union and its allies.
In his concluding speech today, Marshal Bulganin emphasised the pact was inspired by the Leninist principle of peaceful co-existence between democratic nations and said they wanted to abide by the United Nations Charter.
However the Times newspaper editorial today points out that unifying the armies of all eight countries will also allow the USSR to base its own troops in member states and "would certainly help to keep the satellites in order".