Archive (Reagan Library)

Middle East: Reagan letter to Thatcher (peace process) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: NSA Head of State File (Thatcher: Cables [1]) Box 34
Editorial comments: Despatched at 1515 GMT on 4 December, with the note attached (from Stoessel to US Ambassador London) "In delivering letter, you should explain it was signed before latest developments re MFO so this part is a bit out of date". Declassified 24 March 2000. The text is in upper case in the original document.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 329 words
Themes: Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan

Dear Margaret

I greatly appreciate your messages of October 31 and November 4. Their constructive contents were heartening and reinforced my renewed hope for a Middle East peace settlement. These messages, along with the earlier views concerning Arab attitudes which you were good enough to share with me in your letter of October 1, attest to the continuing value of our co-operative efforts in the area and to the strength of our own relationship.

It was good to have your congratulations on the AWACS outcome. I am convinced that the sale will directly contribute to greater stability in the Middle East and to broadening the basis on which a genuinely even-handed resolution of the problems can be found. In that connection, I am particularly grateful for your decision to participate in the Sinai Force. I know how difficult this decision was for your government, and I fully understand the approach you plan to take publicly should you be pressed for explanations in Parliament.

I am also exceedingly grateful for the information you passed on concerning your talks with King Hussein in London, which I made good use of during his visit here.

I believe my talks with the King were successful. We certainly got along very well. We did express great concern over his seemingly irrevocable decision to buy Soviet air defense systems.
[Next 15-odd lines blocked out by declassifying agency]
I believe he is also convinced that our interpretation of Resolution 242 is one that anticipates withdrawal for a negotiated peace as the fundamental basis for a settlement on the West Bank and Gaza.

There is no doubt that much remains to be done in the Middle East and that time is pressing upon us. Nevertheless, I feel confident that we are on the right track and that your own invaluable assistance has greatly improved our prospects for eventual success.