The CMEA and the Third World in the Second Half of the 1950s. Based on Documents from the Archive of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Table of contents
The CMEA and the Third World in the Second Half of the 1950s. Based on Documents from the Archive of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Publication type
Evgeny Osipov 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

For the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), the second half of the 1950s was the time of gradual transition to specialization of production, harmonization of economic development plans, complication of the structure of the organization. At the same time, the active penetration of the people's democracies into the market of third world states began. The article, based on documents from the archive of the French Foreign Ministry, shows the view of Western Europe at the beginning of the external expansion of the CMEA. The figures given in the article on cooperation between Moscow and its allies with several dozen developing states allow us to draw a conclusion about the real scale of the CMEA assistance to the third world. The issuance of loans at very low interest rates, assistance in the construction of large industrial facilities, the dispatch of highly qualified personnel — all these played an important role in the industrialization of a number of third world countries. Compared to the United States, the countries of the socialist camp spent less funds and provided support to a smaller number of states, but even with more limited capabilities, the CMEA was able to win competition with the West in some countries, primarily in the United Arab Republic and India. Moreover, the French documents show that the CMEA acted like a real bloc, in which not only Moscow, but also its allies in the socialist camp actively participated in the development of cooperation with developing countries (for example, Eastern Europe countries granted 40 % of the CMEA loans to third world countries). On the whole, even despite the lack of an integrated approach in the CMEA to the development of cooperation with third world countries, France took the external expansion of the CMEA very seriously and believed that real rivalry between East and West would unfold exactly in the third world.

CMEA, USSR, People's Democracies, France, integration, Third World, Cold War
Publication date
Number of characters
Number of purchasers
Readers community rating
0.0 (0 votes)
Cite Download pdf 100 RUB / 1.0 SU

To download PDF you should sign in

Full text is available to subscribers only
Subscribe right now
Only article
100 RUB / 1.0 SU
Whole issue
1000 RUB / 10.0 SU
All issues for 2020
5000 RUB / 50.0 SU


1. Lipkin M. A. «Mirovoj kooperativ narodov»: Sovet ehkonomicheskoj vzaimopomoschi, kotoryj pytalsya postroit' N.S. Khruschev // Novyj istoricheskij vestnik. 2017. № 4 (54). S. 121—144.

2. Lipkin M. A. Sovet Ehkonomicheskoj Vzaimopomoschi: istoricheskij opyt al'ternativnogo global'nogo miroustrojstva (1949—1979). M., 2020.

3. Osipov E. Comecon in 1956—1960 A Look from France. According to the Materials of the Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France // ISTORIYA. 2018. Vol. 9. Issue 7. URL: DOI: 10.18254/S0002409-8-1

4. Apremont B. Difficultes et progress de l’integration economiques au sein du Comecon // Politiques etrangeres. 1961. № 3. P. 214—238.

5. Engerman D. C. The price of aid. The economic cold war in India. Harvard, 2018.

6. Lombardi R. Les Trente Honteuses. Paris, 2019.