The Committee on Foreign Affairs
The Committee on Foreign Affairs – Minutes of Proceedings 1949–1983
The minutes of proceedings of the Committee on Foreign Affairs are an excellent source for the history of the Federal Republic of Germany’s parliament and foreign policy, in particular of the views and positions on foreign policy of the Bundestag parties. The edition sheds light on the domestic parliamentary context of German foreign policy since 1949 as well as the role of parliament in foreign policy and policies towards Europe and the two German states.
Behind closed doors and in closed sessions, representatives of the Federal government – the chancellor and the minister of foreign affairs, undersecretaries and secretaries of state – must answer to the elected members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. They inform the committee on international political developments and diplomatic activities, convey their assessments and answer to questions and criticisms of committee members. The committee is involved in the ratification process of international treaties.
The almost verbatim transcription of the committee discussions provides information on political similarities and differences not only between parliamentary groups but also among individual members of parliament. Conflicting interests between the executive prioritising control and the legislative with its desire to have a greater say appear to have been a frequent occurrence. Furthermore, possibilities and limits of a consensus on foreign policy between government and opposition come to the fore.
The edition of minutes provides rich material for different research approaches and academic disciplines, including historical and political scientific questions on strategic and content-related positioning of CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Greens, on the discourse on foreign policy in the Federal Republic or on parliamentary rhetoric within an exclusive and non-public forum. It also facilitates biographical research on individual foreign politicians such as Carlo Schmid, Gerhard Schröder, Walter Scheel and Jürgen Möllemann. Furthermore the edition covers almost the entire period of the East-West conflict from the »Cold War« to the »policy of détente« to the disarmament negotiations in the 1980s.
The edition provides access to the complete minutes of proceedings of the Committee on Foreign Affairs from the beginning of the Federal Republic to 1987, including annotations, a subject and person index and an introduction to the topic, on more than 13,000 pages, in print or on CD-ROM with the option of full-text search.