Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: Reagan letter to Thatcher (& others) (trade with Soviet bloc) [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 0324 GMT 13 Jan. Declassified 24 March 2000. Original text in upper case throughout.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 354 words
Themes: Trade, Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan

Dear Margaret

At our meeting in Ottowa last July, I spoke about the need for better control over trade with the Soviet Union in strategic goods and technologies as we pursue our common goal of strengthening Western security. We agreed to hold a special high-level meeting of the East-West trade coordinating committee to discuss this issue.

That meeting should reach a consensus for tighter controls that are better enforced and administered. Over the past decade, Western exports and illegal Soviet acquisitions have made significant contributions to the military capabilities of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact.

These contributions have added to the shift in the global military balance that we must now redress at great expense. The uncontrolled export of technology and critical equipment for the Soviet military infrastructure must be stopped.

I know that there are differences among the COCOM countries on these issues. But we all recognize that [end p1] concern for our security must be paramount. To emphasize that concern, I have asked the U.S. Defense Department to join the small U.S. delegation to the high-level meeting.

We look forward to continuing our consultations with your government as we prepare for this meeting. We have already discussed a number of details, and agree that the meeting should provide the political framework for further meetings on technical issues.

Our diplomatic representatives are consulting now on appropriate responses to the events in Poland. These consultations and individual government decisions may lead to the adoption of special measures. However, the issues which the high-level COCOM meeting will address predate and will continue beyond events in Poland and should be addressed on their own merits. Their successful resolution is vital to our collective security. I hope you share my view that this meeting should provide the framework for future meetings on technical issues and lead to much closer consultation, co-operation and agreement among COCOM members.

Ronald Reagan

Similar letters are being sent to heads of government in all COCOM countries except Greece and Turkey. Stoessel.