Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: Thatcher letter to Reagan (Geneva arms negotiations) [declassified 1998]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: 10 Downing Street
Source: Reagan Library: NSA Head of State File (Box 36)
Editorial comments: Declassified 13 Oct 1998.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 400 words
Themes: Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (USA), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan

Declassified 98-005#16
By SMF, NARA, Date 10/13/98

10 Downing Street

Dear Ron,

My warmest thanks for your message of 5 January, prior to the Geneva talks. Our discussions at Camp David had given me a valuable outline of your own thinking especially on the Strategic Defence Initiative; your message was a great help in explaining the details of your approach.

It has been an interesting, exciting and fruitful week; and a very considerable achievement for American diplomacy under your leadership. It was good of you to take so much trouble to let me have the results of Geneva. And I am indebted to Mr. McFarlane for his comprehensive briefing. We now have a clear idea of how you expect the subsequent negotiations may develop.

I look forward very much to further discussions with you on these all-important issues of arms control when I come to Washington next month. I hope that we can set aside sufficient time for a concentrated discussion of the substantive problems which will arise in each area.

We have faced serious problems over the past year in the arms control field. But the Alliance has stood the test impressively. Intensive consultations have been the key to this cohesion; you have provided the result of us this week with a model example of how these consultations should [end p1] continue to be conducted. The exchanges which you have launched bilaterally and in the Alliance will be of even greater importance as the new negotiations get under way. The Alliance marches together into 1985, in the real hope that – as you have said yourself – it should become the year of dialogue and negotiations.

I must also tell you how impressed I was by the other points you made in your press conference on 9 January. Obviously we have a long and difficult road ahead of us; patience, perseverance and solidarity will all be required. But I do believe that as a result of your efforts – and I should like to echo your tribute to members of your delegation, especially George Shultz and Bud McFarlan – we now face a new and perhaps historic opportunity to create a more stable and therefore safer world.

With warmest regards,

Yours ever,