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1982 Nov 12 Fr
Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: Reagan letter to Thatcher (& others) (US lifts East-West trade sanctions) [Siberian gas pipeline row ended] [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Document kind: Archive
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: NSA Head of State File (Thatcher: Cables [2]) Box 34
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: A draft of the letter follows the telegram as despatched (2037 GMT 12 Nov 1982). Declassified 27 March 2000.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 1,362 words
Themes: Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Foreign policy (Western Europe - non-EU), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan
Declassified F96-107#22
By SMF, NARA, Date 3/27/00

(1) Text as sent:

Secret

November 12, 1982

Dear Margaret

I have just given approval to the final provisions of the agreement among our countries and our other friends and Allies concerning overall economic relations with the East. Your Ambassador has been informed of my separate decision on the economic sanctions relating to Poland. I am gratified that we have reached a concensus [sic] on these vital questions. It is a victory for the Western Alliance which will bring to an end the Soviet Union’s ability to take advantage of the divisions among us and reduce the commercial benefits of playing one Western country off against another.

We have all approved the terms of the current consensus which were worked out by our Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors. In this letter I would like to emphasize two points which I consider of the greatest importance.

First, I believe it is vitally important that we adopt a common approach on the public presentation of our agreement and [end p1] avoid the risk of differing statements in Allied capitals, as happened after our last Economic Summit. This would give the erroneous impression of continued disagreement rather than the reality of an Allied consensus. For my own part, I propose to treat the announcement tomorrow morning in my weekly radio address. At the same time I will announce the lifting of our Poland-related sanctions imposed on December 29th and June 22nd. I realize time is short, but I invite your approval of this procedure. It also seems to me that the official release of the so-called “non-paper” in all our capitals would be by far the best approach to forging a common public understanding. I realize that at the beginning of the discussions between our Foreign Ministers in New York that there was considerable sentiment for keeping whatever emerged at the end of the process a confidential document. However, I feel that now all our interests are best served by releasing the text and allowing it to speak for itself.

Second, the decision by the United States to modify our sanctions was taken with the clear expectation that the joint work program laid out in the agreement on East-West trade will be conducted expeditiously. It is my strong hope that in a matter of months we will have joint policies which we all can support in the areas of energy alternatives to additional contracts for imports from the Soviet Union, tightened controls on high technology items and harmonized credits policies. I expect that we will be able to achieve concrete results in a few months’ time. I intend to assign high-level, knowledgeable people to these studies, and will personally follow the development of the implementing process. We must develop a security-minded, realistic, durable and joint set of policies towards the East in the economic area. We owe no less to our own people, who pay the price for the military forces we must field to deter those of the Soviet Union. We owe no less to [end p2] the people of Polandm whose suffering under a martial law regime has brought home to all of us the repressive and aggressive nature of the Soviet system. I am confident that the policies which result from our studies will both protect our vital interests and have a more substantial impact on the present aggressive behavior of the Soviet Union than the unilateral US measure which we have been obliged to take in the past year.

Margaret, I would like to express particular apprecn to you, Foreign Minister Pym and Ambassador Wright for the constructive role the United Kingdom has played in working out this consensus. I think we have succeeded in moving our friends closer to the US/UK point of view on East-West economic relations than many of us would have thought possible a year ago.

Sincerely,
Ron

(2) Draft text

Draft Presidential letter to Heads of Government of UK, FRG, France, Italy, Canada & Japan

Dear Margaret

I have just given approval to the final provisions of the agreement among our countries and our other friends and Allies concerning overall economic relations with the East. [Following italicized sentence underlined in original.] Your Ambassador has been informed of my separate decision on the economic sanctions relating to Poland. I am gratified that we have reached a consensus on these vital questions. It is a victory for the Western Alliance which will bring to an end the Soviet Union’s ability to take advantage of the divisions among us and reduce the commercial benefits of playing one Western country off against another.

We have all approved the terms of the current consensus which were worked out by our Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors. In this letter I would like to emphasize two points which I consider of the greatest importance.

[Following italicized paragraph underlined in original.]
First, I believe it is vitally important that we adopt a common approach on the public presentation of our agreement and, avoid [sic] the risk of differing statements in Allied capitals, as happened after our last Economic Summit. This would give the erroneous impression of continued disagreement rather than the reality of an Allied consensus. For my own part, I propose to treat the announcement tomorrow morning in my weekly radio address. At the same time I will announce the lifting of our [end p3] Poland-related sanctions imposed on December 29th and June 22nd. I realize time is short, but I invite your [concurrent with] approval of this procedure. It also seems to me that the official release of the so-called “non-paper” in all our capitals would be by far the best approach to forging a common public understanding. I realize that at the beginning of the discussions between our Foreign Ministers in New York that there was considerable sentiment for keeping whatever emerged at the end of the process a confidential document. However, I feel that now all our interests are best served by releasing the text and allowing it to speak for itself.

Second, the decision by the United States to modify our unilateral sanctions was taken with the clear expectation that the joint work program laid out in the agreement on East-West trade will be conducted expeditiously. It is my strong hope that in a matter of months we will have joint policies which we all can support in the areas of energy alternatives to additional contracts for imports from the Soviet Union, tightened controls on high technology items and harmonized credits policies. I expect that we will be able to achieve concrete results in a few months’ time. I intend to assign high-level, knowledgeable people to these studies, and will personally follow the development of the implementing process. We must develop a security-minded, realistic, durable and joint set of policies towards the East in the economic area. We owe no less to our own people, who pay the price for the military forces we must field to deter those of the Soviet Union. We owe no less to [end p4] the people of Polandm whose suffering under a martial law regime has brought home to all of us the repressive and aggressive nature of the Soviet system. I am confident that the policies which result from our studies will both protect our vital interests and have a more substantial impact on the present aggressive behavior of the Soviet Union than the unilateral US measure which we have been obliged to take in the past year.

[Following paragraph in distinctive typeface.]
Margaret, I would like to express particular apprecn to you, Foreign Minister Pym and Ambassador Wright for the constructive role the United Kingdom has played in working out this consensus. I think we have succeeded in moving our friends closer to the US/UK point of view on East-West economic relations than many of us would have thought possible a year ago.

Sincerely,
Ron
[End of section in distinctive typeface.]