Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: Reagan letter to Thatcher (arms control verification) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: Executive Secretariat NSC Head of State File
Editorial comments: Declassified 30 June 2000. Time of despatch uncertain.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 355 words
Themes: Defence (general), Defence (arms control), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan

Declassified S98-001#198
By dIb, NARA, Date 6/3/00


Dear Margaret:

We have discussed many times my deep concern over Soviet violations of arms control agreements. As you know, the US Government has conducted several extensive studies, and concluded that the Soviet Union has violated its legal obligation or political commitment with respect to the SALT II Agreement, the ABM Treaty, the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons, and the Helsinki Final Act. In addition, the Soviets have likely violated the provisions of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty.

We have shared our findings and the evidence for them with the British Government in both NATO and bilateral talks, including extensive meetings between our experts and yours.

As we approach the November meetings with Mr. Gorbachev, it is more than ever for the West to make clear to the Soviet Union that violations and actions inconsistent with arms control commitments are unacceptable, not just to the US but to other Western nations as well. The Nuclear Planning Group Ministerial, which will be held October 29 and 30 in Brussels, is an ideal time for NATO to state publicly its concern over Soviet violations, and I sincerely hope your government will support us in including such language in the communiqué. [end p1]

The US and its NATO Allies have a shared interest in supporting the arms control process. The Soviet pattern of noncompliance raises fundamental concerns about the integrity of the arms control process, concerns that – if not corrected – undercut the viability of arms control as an instrument to assist in ensuring a secure and stable future world. A strong Allied consensus on concern over Soviet violations will strengthen our efforts both in seeking corrective actions from the Soviet Union and in seeking effective verification procedures for future agreements. The success of such efforts will improve the prospects for the Nuclear and Space Talks.