THE CZECHOSLOVAK-WESTGERMAN RELATIONS OF TRADE, TRANSPORT AND POLITICIES IN THE PERIOD 1949-1967
The importance of trade and transport ties between Czechoslovakia and Federal Republic of Germany (FGR) is the result not only of the geopolitical situation of both countries in Central Europe but also of their mutual economic contacts, and those with other countries as well. The consequences of the creation of two German states deeply marked the economic, commercial and transport situation in Central Europe for whole decades. The impact resulted from the association of Czechoslovakia and FRG with different military and economic, i.e. also transport and tariff, groupings, which inevitably created a certain framework for defi ning the limits of mutual trade and transport relations. The major points marking the development of foreign trade relations between Czechoslovakia and West Germany include: the signing of a treaty of commerce and transit in 1947, a treaty of payments from 1947 and the treaty of goods exchange from 1948. The fi rst contracts, signed as provisional in 1945-1946, dealt with regulating crossings at Bavarian and Bohemian stations. The trade treaty between Czechoslovakia and West Germany was signed in 1950. The treaty of commercial representation and regulation of the fl ow of goods and payments from 1967 anticipated the creation of diplomatic ties in 1973, or more precisely 1974. One possible explanation for the continuing economic and transport contacts between Czechoslovakia and West Germany, which were maintained for four decades despite various political obstacles, lies in the form and content of the treaties which were entered into. The fi rst treaties were signed by the British, American and French occupation army administrations and were never withdrawn. On the contrary, they actually became an important foundation stone, not to be questioned by any of the parties. The bulk of trade between Czechoslovakia and West Germany continually grew; in relation to West Germany in linear proportion. While the share of Czechoslovak foreign trade in West German commerce did not present a full one per cent, the share of West German foreign trade in Czechoslovakia grew to 5-6 per cent. When taking into account the situation of water transport between Czechoslovakia and West Germany, the main point is that during the whole Cold War, with the exception of the period of the Berlin blocade, shipping on the Elbe River went uninterrupted. Although there was no new Elbe shipping act after 1945, this did not in any way impede shipping on the river. Nevertheless it did imply certain limitations. Hamburg has maintained a fi rm position in Czechoslovak foreign trade. The Czechoslovak zone in Hamburg was preserved. Also, the international status of the Elbe River was recognized de facto, or, as the case may be, in practice.
The Central Europe, transportation, commercial policy
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