Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: Reagan letter to Thatcher (John Brown & Polish sanctions) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: NSA Head of State File (Box 35)
Editorial comments: Despatched 0355 GMT 2 July 1982; declassified 28 March 2000.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 316 words
Themes: Trade, Foreign policy (Central & Eastern Europe), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan
Declassified F96-107#136
By SMF, NARA, Date 3/28/00


Dear Maragret: [sic]

Thank you for your letter of June 25. Again, our information concerning the consequences for John Brown Engineering differs from yours. All information available has and will continue to be passed to your office.

I do not want you to think, in any case, that we took the decision without recognizing that it would be painful. But I want you to understand that it is my conviction that what is happening in Poland is not only a human tragedy but an historic test of our will and our ability to make the Soviets pay a higher cost – if possible a prohibitive cost – for their subjugation of half of Europe. We in the West face no more compelling problem.

I know, Margaret, that you feel as strongly as I that the Soviet and Polish authorities must be brought to realize that the reform process in Poland must be renewed. You have, yourself, spoken eloquently of the tragedy that has befallen the Polish people; I have watched with admiration and respect as you stood firm in support of that stricken nation. Surely, [end p1] given our common view, you and I can – indeed we must – continue to work together to bring the Soviet and Polish authorities to their senses. I would suggest, therefore, that our two countries should undertake, as soon as possible, a serious dialogue on how we might, together, bring pressure to bear on Moscow and Warsaw, while also working out an enduring common approach to economic relations with the USSR over the longer term. I stand ready to lift our sanctions when progress in returning Poland to greater freedom is underway.

With warm regards