Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington for a summit

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington for a summit


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington, D.C., for three days of talks with President George Bush. The summit meeting centered on the issue of Germany and its place in a changing Europe.

When Gorbachev arrived for this second summit meeting with President Bush, his situation in the Soviet Union was perilous. The Soviet economy, despite Gorbachev’s many attempts at reform, was rapidly reaching a crisis point. Russia’s control over its satellites in Eastern Europe was quickly eroding, and even Soviet republics such as Lithuania were pursuing paths of independence. Some U.S. observers believed that in an effort to save his struggling regime, Gorbachev might try to curry favor with hard-line elements in the Russian Communist Party. That prediction seemed to be borne out by Gorbachev’s behavior at the May 1990 summit. The main issue at the summit was Germany.

By late 1989, the Communist Party in East Germany was rapidly losing its grip on power; the Berlin Wall had come down and calls for democracy and reunification with West Germany abounded. By the time Gorbachev and Bush met in May 1990, leaders in East and West Germany were making plans for reunification. This brought about the question of a unified Germany’s role in Europe. U.S. officials argued that Germany should become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Soviets adamantly opposed this, fearful that a reunified and pro-western Germany might be a threat to Russian security. Gorbachev indicated his impatience with the U.S. argument when he declared shortly before the summit that, “The West hasn’t done much thinking,” and complained that the argument concerning German membership in NATO was “an old record that keeps playing the same note again and again.”

The Gorbachev-Bush summit ended after three days with no clear agreement on the future of Germany. Russia’s pressing economic needs, however, soon led to a breakthrough. In July 1990, Bush promised Gorbachev a large economic aid package and vowed that the German army would remain relatively small. The Soviet leader dropped his opposition to German membership in NATO. In October 1990, East and West Germany formally reunified and shortly thereafter joined NATO.

READ MORE: How Gorbachev and Reagan's Friendship Helped Thaw the Cold War


Moscow Summit (1988)

The Moscow Summit was a summit meeting between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev. It was held on May 29, 1988 – June 3, 1988. Reagan and Gorbachev finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the U.S. Senate's ratification of the treaty in May 1988. Reagan and Gorbachev continued to discuss bilateral issues like Central America, Southern Africa, the Middle East and the pending withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Reagan and Gorbachev continued their discussions on human rights. [1] The parties signed seven agreements on lesser issues such as student exchanges and fishing rights. A significant result was the updating of Soviet history books, which necessitated cancelling some history classes in Soviet secondary schools. [2] In the end, Reagan expressed satisfaction with the summit. [3]

Play media

Reagan and Gorbachev eventually issued a joint statement, of which excerpts are shown here:

The President and the General Secretary view the Moscow summit as an important step in the process of putting U.S.-Soviet relations on a more productive and sustainable basis. Their comprehensive and detailed discussions covered the full agenda of issues to which the two leaders agreed during their initial meeting in Geneva in November 1985 -an agenda encompassing arms control, human rights and humanitarian matters, settlement of regional conflicts and bilateral relations. Serious differences remain on important issues the frank dialogue which has developed between the two countries remains critical to surmounting these differences.

. The President and the General Secretary underscored the historic importance of their meetings in Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington and Moscow in laying the foundation for a realistic approach to the problems of strengthening stability and reducing the risk of conflict. They reaffirmed their solemn conviction that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought, their determination to prevent any war between the United States and Soviet Union, whether nuclear or conventional, and their disavowal of any intention to achieve military superiority.

The two leaders are convinced that the expanding political dialogue they have established represents an increasingly effective means of resolving issues of mutual interest and concern. They do not minimize the real differences of history, tradition and ideology which will continue to characterize the U.S.-Soviet relationship. But they believe that the dialogue will endure, because it is based on realism and focused on the achievement of concrete results. . It is a process which the President and the General Secretary believe serves the best interests of the peoples of the United States and the Soviet Union, and can contribute to a more stable, more peaceful and safer world.

Arms Control

The President and the General Secretary, having expressed the commitment of their two countries to build on progress to date in arms control, determined objectives and next steps on a wide range of issues in this area. These will guide the efforts of the two Governments in the months ahead as they work with each other and with other states toward equitable, verifiable agreements that strengthen international stability and security.

Nuclear and Space Talks

The two leaders noted that a joint draft text of a treaty on reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms has been elaborated. . While important additional work is required before this treaty is ready for signature, many key provisions are recorded in the joint draft text and are considered to be agreed, subject to the completion and ratification of the treaty.

Taking into account a treaty on strategic offensive arms, the sides have continued negotiations to achieve a separate agreement concerning the ABM treaty building on the language of the Washington summit joint statement dated Dec. 10, 1987. Progress was noted in preparing the joint draft text of an associated protocol.

The joint draft treaty on reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms reflects the earlier understanding on establishing ceilings of no more than 1,600 strategic offensive delivery systems and 6,000 warheads as well as agreement on subceilings of 4,900 on the aggregate of ICBM and SLBM warheads and 1,540 warheads on 154 heavy missiles.

The draft treaty also records the sides' agreement that as a result of the reductions the aggregate throw weight of the Soviet Union's ICBMs and SLBMs will be reduced to a level approximately 50 percent below the existing level and this level will not be exceeded.

During the negotiations the two sides have also achieved understanding that in future work on the treaty they will act on the understanding that on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs of existing types the counting rule will include the number of warheads referred to in the joint statement of Dec. 10, 1987, and the number of warheads which will be attributed to each new type of ballistic missile will be subject to negotiation.

In addition, the sides agreed on a counting rule for heavy bomber armaments according to which heavy bombers equipped only for nuclear gravity bombs and SRAMs will count as one delivery vehicle against the 1,600 limit and one warhead against the 6,000 limit.

The delegations have also prepared joint draft texts of an inspection protocol, a conversion or elimination protocol, and a memorandum of understanding on data, which are integral parts of the treaty. These documents build on the verification provisions of the INF treaty, extending and elaborating them as necessary to meet the more demanding requirements of Start. The Start verification measures will, at a minimum, include

A. Data exchanges, to include declarations and appropriate notifications on the number and location of weapons systems limited by Start, including locations and facilities for production, final assembly, storage, testing, repair, training, deployment, conversion and elimination of such systems. Such declarations will be exchanged between the sides before the treaty is signed and updated periodically.

B. Baseline inspections to verify the accuracy of these declarations.

C. On-site observation of elimination of strategic systems necessary to meet the agreed limits.

D. Continuous on-site monitoring of the perimeter and portals of critical production facilities to confirm the output of weapons to be limited.

E. Short-notice on-site inspection of:

I. Declared locations during the process of reducing to agreed limits II. Locations where systems covered by this treaty remain after achieving the agreed limits and III. Locations where such systems have been located (formerly declared facilities).

F. Short-notice inspection, in accordance with agreed-upon procedures, of locations where either side considers covert deployment, production, storage or repair of strategic offensive arms could be occurring.

G. Prohibition of the use of concealment or other activities which impede verification by national technical means. Such provisions would include a ban on telemetry encryption and would allow for full access to all telemetric information broadcast during missile flight.

H. Procedures that enable verification of the number of warheads on deployed ballistic missiles of each specific type, including on-site inspection.

I. Enhanced observation of activities related to reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms by national technical means. These would include open displays of treaty-limited items at missile bases, bomber bases and submarine ports at locations and times chosen by the inspecting party.

The two sides have also begun to exchange data on their strategic forces.

During the course of this meeting in Moscow, the exchanges on Start resulted in the achievement of substantial additional common ground, particularly in the areas of ALCMs and the attempts to develop and agree, if possible, on a solution to the problem of verification of mobile ICBMs.

The sides also discussed the question of limiting long-range, nuclear-armed SLCMs.

Ronald Reagan and M. S. Gorbachev expressed their joint confidence that the extensive work done provides the basis for concluding the treaty on reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms which will promote strategic stability and strengthen security not only of the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A., but of all mankind.

Guided by this fundamental agreement . the delegations of the two countries have been instructed to return to Geneva on July 12, 1988. It has been agreed as a matter of principle that, once the remaining problems are solved and the treaty and its associated documents are agreed, they will be signed without delay.

Nuclear Testing

The leaders reaffirmed the commitment of the two sides to conduct in a single forum full-scale, stage-by-stage negotiations on the issues relating to nuclear testing. In these negotiations the sides as the first step will agree upon effective verification measures which will make it possible to ratify the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974 and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty of 1976, and proceed to negotiating further intermediate limitations on nuclear testing leading to the ultimate objective of the complete cessation of nuclear testing as part of the effective disarmament process. This process, among other things, would pursue, as the first priority, the goal of the reduction of nuclear weapons and ultimately, their elimination. In implementing the first objective of these negotiations, agreement upon effective verification measures for the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Threshold Test Ban Treaty of 1974, the sides agreed to design and conduct a joint verification experiment at each other's test sites.

The leaders . also noted the substantial progress on a new protocol to the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty and urged continuing constructive negotiations on effective verification measures for the Threshold Test Ban Treaty.

Expressing their conviction that the progress achieved so far forms a solid basis for continuing progress on issues relating to nuclear testing, the leaders instructed the negotiators to complete expeditiously the preparation of a protocol to the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty and to complete the preparation of a protocol to the Threshold Test Ban Treaty as soon as possible after the joint verification experiment has been conducted and analyzed. They confirmed their understanding that verification measures for the TTBT will, to the extent appropriate, be used in further nuclear test limitation agreements which may subsequently be reached. They also declared their mutual intention to seek ratification of both the 1974 and 1976 treaties when the corresponding protocols to the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty are completed, and to continue negotiations as agreed in the Washington joint summit statement. [4]

One ironic instance of the summit was when Reagan gave Gorbachev a copy of the movie Friendly Persuasion, whose screenwriter Michael Wilson got blacklisted in the 1950s due to suspected communist sympathies. [5]


Geneva summit stirs memories of 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev meet

Wednesday's talks between US President Joe Biden and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin evoke vivid memories of the 1985 Geneva summit, when Cold War rivals Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time.

Despite the chilly November weather in the Swiss city, relations began to thaw between Washington and Moscow as the US president and the Soviet leader came face to face on neutral territory.

Now some 36 years on, Biden and Putin are set for decidedly less hopeful talks on the placid shores of Lake Geneva, with the echo of history surrounding them.

Back in 1985, "the atmosphere was relaxed. They had both lined something up to seduce the other camp," said former AFP correspondent Didier Lapeyronie, who covered the Reagan-Gorbachev talks.

"At the same time, we were all aware that it was a historic moment."

Things got off to a bad start. Just before US president Reagan arrived at one of the summit locations, a Swiss soldier waiting in the ceremonial honour guard fainted, overcome by the bitter cold.

Six years before the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, the 1985 Geneva summit focused on de-escalating the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers, and came with hopes of fostering better East-West relations.

The three-day summit was covered by 3,500 journalists.

The 1985 summit focused on de-escalating the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers, and came with hopes of fostering better East-West relations / © AFP/File

Nicolas Burgy, who was at Geneva Airport for AFP to report on the Reagans' arrival, recalls the sense of "joy" in the air.

"There was a casual sort of feeling," he said.

One of the most enduring pictures from the summit is one of the two most powerful men on the planet sitting beside a fireplace, smiling at each other from their armchairs -- an image that conjures up the impression of a cosy fireside chat between two old friends.

The conviviality extended to their wives Raisa Gorbacheva and Nancy Reagan, who chatted over tea under the gaze of photographers.

Reagan and Gorbachev met in the Villa Fleur d'Eau, a late 19th-century mansion on the shores of Lake Geneva that is currently up for sale / © AFP

Marie-Noelle Blessig, charged with following the wives' programme for AFP, remembers seeing Gorbacheva paying a visit to the United Nations' Geneva headquarters "to greet staff at the UN, where she was received with loud applause".

Another sign of the thaw was the first handshake between Gorbachev and Reagan, which lasted seven seconds.

The historic moment took place in front of the Villa Fleur d'Eau, a late 19th-century mansion on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The villa is currently up for sale.

The handshake took place before frozen photographers and reporters who had stood waiting in the garden in the bitter cold.

As the Americans had chosen the large villa for day one of the talks, Reagan was there first to welcome Gorbachev, "seemingly in very good spirits", said Claude Smadja, a former deputy editor of Switzerland's TSR television, who witnessed the historic moment.

"Straight away there was the very American, very Californian side of Reagan, shaking Gorbachev's hand, putting his other hand on his shoulder to usher him inside, and the exchange of smiles.

"The two wanted to show that they were very much at ease."

It was only when Gorbachev arrived at the villa that Christiane Berthiaume, who worked for Radio Canada, realised the importance of the moment.

"Not a single journalist asked him a question when he got out of the car. We were all simply speechless. It was awe-inspiring," said Berthiaume, who later became a spokeswoman for various UN agencies.

The conviviality extended to the leaders' wives Raisa Gorbacheva (left) and Nancy Reagan, shown here two years later at a meeting in Washington DC / © AFP/File

The fact that the Soviet leader was there for a summit with the US president "was a sign that the Cold War, a period marked by fear, was coming to an end".

In a sign of how high the stakes were, the US and Soviet delegations decided to impose a "total blackout" on updating the media until the end of the summit.

"In fact, despite the personal warmth, the initial encounter was very harsh. The two sides' positions were very far apart," said Smadja, who went on to become the World Economic Forum's managing director.

Hosts Switzerland were also well aware of the gulf between the two superpowers -- so much so that the Swiss president Kurt Furgler's assistant Walter Fust had to prepare for his boss "two different welcoming speeches, taking into account the different cultures".

The cultural divide was also evident in the formality of the two delegations, Fust told AFP.

"The Russian participants arrived in formation very disciplined. The Americans were less strict on following instructions and the protocol order," he said.

Meanwhile Nancy Reagan, he added, wanted to replace the bottles of mineral water provided with US ones, and also wanted an aide to try out her food before she did.


Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington for a summit - HISTORY

The Reykjavik File

Previously Secret Documents from U.S. and Soviet Archives on the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit

From the collections of The National Security Archive
George Washington University, Washington DC

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 203

Posted - October 13, 2006

Edited by Dr. Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton

For more information contact:
Svetlana Savranskaya/Thomas Blanton
202/994-7000

Document 2: USSR CC CPSU Politburo discussion of Reagan's response to Gorbachev's initiative to meet in Reykjavik and strategic disarmament proposals, 22 September 1986, 2 pp.

Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze reports to the Politburo on his talks in Washington and informs the Soviet leadership about Reagan's decision to accept Gorbachev's invitation to meet in Reykjavik on the condition that 25 Soviet dissidents including Yury Orlov and Nicholas Daniloff, accused of spying, are released. Gorbachev accepts the conditions and sets forth his main ideas for the summit. The Soviet position, according to him, should be based on acceptance of U.S. security interests, otherwise negotiations would be unproductive. Gorbachev is aiming at a serious improvement in U.S.-Soviet relations.

Document 3: Gorbachev discussion with assistants on preparations for Reykjavik, 29 September 1986, 1p.

At this Politburo meeting Gorbachev stresses once again the importance of taking U.S. interests into account and the fact that his new policy is creating a positive dynamic for disarmament in Europe. He emphasizes the need for an "offensive" and the active nature of new Soviet initiatives for Reykjavik.

Document 4: Memorandum to the President, Secretary of State George Shultz, "Subject: Reykjavik," 2 October 1986, 4 pp.

This briefing memo from Shultz to Reagan, labeled "Super Sensitive" as well as formally classified as "Secret/Sensitive," shows that the U.S. did not expect any actual agreement at Reykjavik, but rather, mere preparations for a future summit in the U.S. Shultz talks here about ceilings on ballistic missiles but fails to predict Gorbachev's dramatic agreements to 50% cuts and a process leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Ironically, Shultz says one of the U.S. goals is to emphasize progress "without permitting the impression that Reykjavik itself was a Summit," when history now sees Reykjavik as in many ways the most dramatic summit meeting of the Cold War.

Document 5: Gorbachev's instructions for the group preparing for Reykjavik, 4 October 1986, 5 pp.

Gorbachev explains his top priorities and specific proposals to the group charged with preparing for Reykjavik. He calls for preparing a position with a "breakthrough potential," which would take into account U.S. interests and put strategic weapons, not issues of nuclear testing, at the forefront. Gorbachev's ultimate goal for Reykjavik-he reiterates it several times during the meeting-is total liquidation of nuclear weapons based on the Soviet 15 January 1986 Program of Liquidation of Nuclear Weapons by the Year 2000. Whereas Gorbachev sees the value in making concessions in hopes of achieving a breakthrough, his Politburo colleagues (including Chebrikov) warn him against using this word in the negotiations. In the evening Gorbachev gives additional instructions to Chernyaev on human rights and on the matter of Gorbachev's wife, Raisa Maksimovna, accompanying him to Iceland.

Document 6: "Gorbachev's Goals and Tactics at Reykjavik," National Security Council (Stephen Sestanovich), 4 October 1986, 2 pp. (plus cover page from John M. Poindexter [National Security Adviser to the President] to Shultz)

This briefing memo prepared (on the same day as Gorbachev's Politburo discussion above) by one of the National Security Council's senior Soviet experts, completely mis-predicts Gorbachev's behavior at the Reykjavik summit. Far from being "coy" or "undecided" about a future U.S. summit, Gorbachev was already planning major concessions and breakthroughs. Far from having to "smoke" Gorbachev out during the talks, Reagan would be faced with an extraordinarily ambitious set of possible agreements.

Document 7: "The President's Trip to Reykjavik, Iceland, October 9-12, 1986 - Issues Checklist for the Secretary," U.S. Department of State, 7 October 1986, 23 pp. (first 2 sections only, Checklist and Walk-through)

This detailed briefing book for Secretary Shultz provides a one-stop-shopping portrait of the state of U.S.-Soviet relations and negotiations on the eve of the Reykjavik summit. The complete table of contents gives the list of briefing papers and backgrounders that are also available in the collections of the National Security Archive (from FOIA requests to the State Department), but posted here are only the first two sections of the briefing book: the "Checklist" of U.S.-Soviet issues, and the "Walk-Through" of subjects for the Reykjavik agenda. Notable is the very first item on the latter, which presupposes that the best they will achieve is some agreement on a number of ballistic missile warheads between the U.S. proposal of 5500 and the Soviet proposal of 6400, rather than the radical cuts that wound up on the table at Reykjavik.

Document 8: USSR CC CPSU Politburo session on preparations for Reykjavik, 8 October 1986, 6 pp.

In this last Politburo session before the delegation departed for Reykjavik, Gorbachev goes over the final details of the Soviet proposals. He allows for the possibility that the meeting could be a failure, and suggests making "concessions on intermediate range missiles," and French and British nuclear weapons. Gorbachev believes there should be no "intermediate" positions or agreements, driving for his maximum program even if concessions would have to be made. Shevardnadze sounds most optimistic predicting that the U.S. side could agree with the Soviet non-withdrawal period on the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty and on 50% cuts of the nuclear triad (missiles, bombers, submarines) and intermediate-range missiles.

Reagan and Gorbachev depart Hofdi House after the conclusion of the summit, 12 October 1986. (Source: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library) [Click image for larger version.]

Document 9: U.S. Memorandum of Conversation, Reagan-Gorbachev, First Meeting, 11 October 1986, 10:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., 8 pp.

Document 10: Russian transcript of Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Reykjavik, 11 October 1986 (morning), published in FBIS-USR-93-061, 17 May 1993, 5 pp.

Document 11: U.S. Memorandum of Conversation, Reagan-Gorbachev, Second Meeting, 11 October 1986, 3:30 p.m. - 5:40 p.m., 15 pp.

Document 12: Russian transcript of Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Reykjavik, 11 October 1986 (afternoon), published in FBIS-USR-93-087, 12 July 1993, 6 pp.

Document 13: U.S. Memorandum of Conversation, Reagan-Gorbachev, Third Meeting, 12 October 1986, 10:00 a.m. - 1:35 p.m., 21 pp.

Document 14: Russian transcript of Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Reykjavik, 12 October 1986 (morning), published in FBIS-USR-93-113, 30 August 1993, 11 pp.

Document 15: U.S. Memorandum of Conversation, Reagan-Gorbachev, Final Meeting, 12 October 1986, 3:25 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. - 6:50 p.m., 16 pp.

Document 16: Russian transcript of Reagan-Gorbachev Summit in Reykjavik, 12 October 1986 (afternoon), published in FBIS-USR-93-121, 20 September 1993, 7 pp.

This side-by-side presentation of the official U.S. transcripts of the Reykjavik summit meetings and the Soviet transcripts as published in Moscow in 1993 and translated by the U.S. government's Foreign Broadcast Information Service puts the reader inside the bullet-proof glass over the windows of Hofdi House as Reagan, Gorbachev, their translators, and their foreign ministers discuss radical changes in both U.S. and Soviet national security thinking.

The two sets of transcripts are remarkably congruent, with each version providing slightly different wording and detail but no direct contradictions. Reagan and Gorbachev eloquently express their shared vision of nuclear abolition, and heatedly debate their widely divergent views of missile defenses. For Reagan, SDI was the ultimate insurance policy against a madman blackmailing the world with nuclear-tipped missiles in a future where all the superpowers' missiles and nuclear weapons had been destroyed. Reagan comes back again and again to the metaphor of keeping your gas masks even after banning chemical weapons, but Gorbachev feels as if Reagan is lecturing him, and says "that's the 10th time you talked about gas masks."

For Gorbachev, SDI was a U.S. attempt to take the arms race into space and potentially launch a first-strike attack on the Soviet Union - the ultimate nightmare for Soviet leaders seared into their consciousnesses by Hitler's blitzkrieg. But Gorbachev's scientists had already told him that missile defenses could be easily and cheaply countered with multiple warheads and decoys even if the defenses ever worked (which was unlikely).

The great "what if" question suggested by the Reykjavik transcripts is what would have happened if Gorbachev had simply accepted Reagan's apparently sincere offer to share SDI technology rather than dismissing this as ridiculous when the U.S. would not even share "milking machines." If Gorbachev had "pocketed" Reagan's offer, then the pressure would have been on the U.S. to deliver, in the face of a probable firestorm of opposition from the U.S. military and foreign policy establishment. Working in the opposite direction in favor of the deal would have been overwhelming public support for these dramatic changes, both in the U.S. and in the Soviet Union, and especially in Europe.

Perhaps most evocative is the Russian version's closing words, which are not included in the U.S. transcript. This exchange comes after Reagan asks for a personal "favor" from Gorbachev of accepting the offer on SDI and ABM, and Gorbachev replies by saying this is not a favor but a matter of principle. The U.S. version has Reagan standing at that point to leave the room and a brief polite exchange about regards to Nancy Reagan. But the Russian version has Reagan saying, "I think you didn't want to achieve an agreement anyway" and "I don't know when we'll ever have another chance like this and whether we will meet soon."

Document 17: Russian transcript of Negotiations in the Working Group on Military Issues, headed by Nitze and Akhromeev, 11-12 October 1986, 52 pp.

In the all-night negotiations of Soviet and U.S. military experts during the middle of the Reykjavik summit, the Soviet delegation led by Marshal Sergei Akhromeev starts from the new Soviet program, just outlined by Gorbachev in his meeting with Reagan earlier in the day-proposing 50% cuts of strategic weapons across the board, a zero option on intermediate-range missiles in Europe, and a 10-year period of non-withdrawal from the ABM treaty. At the same time, the U.S. delegation led by Paul Nitze conducts the discussion practically disregarding the new Soviet proposals and negotiating on the basis of U.S. proposals of 18 January 1986, which by now are overtaken by the latest developments in the Reagan-Gorbachev talks. Responding to U.S. proposals on allowing development of SDI while proceeding with deep cuts in strategic weapons, member of the Soviet delegation Georgy Arbatov comments "what you are offering requires an exceptional level of trust. We cannot accept your position," directly implying that the necessary level of trust was not there. This document, prepared as a result of the all-night discussion, outlined the disagreements but failed to integrate the understandings achieved by the two leaders on October 11 or approached again on October 12.

Document 18: "Lessons of Reykjavik," U.S. Department of State, c. 12 October 1986, 1 p. (plus cover sheet from Shultz briefing book for media events October 17, but text seems to have been written on last day of summit, October 12)

This remarkable one-page summary of the summit's lessons seems to have been written on the last day of Reykjavik, given the mention of "today's" discussions, but leaves a dramatically positive view of the summit in contrast to the leaders' faces as they left Hofdi House, as well as to Shultz's downbeat presentation at the press briefing immediately following the summit. It is unclear who authored this document, although the text says that "I have been pointing out these advantages [of thinking big] in a theoretical sense for some time." This document plus Gorbachev's own very positive press briefing commentary immediately following the summit were included in Secretary Shultz's briefing book for his subsequent media appearances.

Document 19: Gorbachev's reflections on Reykjavik on the flight to Moscow, 12 October 1986, 2 pp.

In his remarks on the way back from Reykjavik, written down by Chernyaev, Gorbachev gives a very positive assessment of the summit. He proclaims that he is now "even more of an optimist after Reykjavik," that he understood Reagan's domestic problems and that the U.S. President was not completely free in making his decisions. He understands Reykjavik as signifying a new stage in the process of disarmament-from limitations to total abolition.

Document 20: "Iceland Chronology," U.S. Department of State, 14 October 1986, 11 pp.

This blow-by-blow, minute-by-minute chronology sums up not only the discussions given in detail in the transcripts above, but also all the preparatory meetings and discussions and logistics on the U.S. side.

Document 21: USSR CC CPSU Politburo session on results of the Reykjavik Summit, 14 October 1986, 12 pp.

In the first Politburo meeting after Reykjavik, Gorbachev reports on the results, starting with a standard ideological criticism of Reagan as a class enemy who showed "extreme primitivism, a caveman outlook and intellectual impotence." He goes on, however, to describe the summit as a breakthrough, and the attainment of a new "higher level from which now we have to begin a struggle for liquidation and complete ban on nuclear armaments." The Politburo agrees with the assessment and approves the General Secretary's tough posturing.

Document 22: USSR CC CPSU Politburo session on measures in connection with the expulsion of Soviet diplomats from the USA, 22 October 1986, 2 pp.

Reacting to the U.S. decision to expel Soviet diplomats, the Politburo discusses the perceived American retreat from the understandings reached at Reykjavik and decides to press Reagan to follow through with the disarmament agenda on the basis of the summit.

Document 23: USSR CC CPSU Politburo session. Reykjavik assessment and instructions for Soviet delegation for negotiations in Geneva, 30 October 1986, 5 pp.

At this Politburo session Gorbachev and Shevardnadze discuss whether and when to reveal the new Soviet position on SDI testing, which would allow "testing in the air, on the test sites on the ground, but not in space." This is a significant step in the direction of the U.S. position and is seen as a serious concession on the Soviet part by Foreign Minister Gromyko. Gorbachev is very concerned that the U.S. administration is "perverting and revising Reykjavik, retreating from it." He places a great deal of hope in Shevardnadze-Shultz talks in terms of returning to and expanding the Reykjavik agenda.

Document 24: Memorandum for the President, John M. Poindexter, "Subject: Guidance for Post-Reykjavik Follow-up Activities," 1 November 1986, 1 p.

This cover memo describes the process of developing National Security Decision Directive 250 (next document) on Post-Reykjavik follow-up, led by National Security Adviser John Poindexter. The most striking aspect of this memo is Poindexter's own claim that he has incorporated as much as he can (accounting for the President's expressed bottom lines) of the Pentagon's and other objections, and that he needs to brief Reagan about remaining objections on matters that simply would not fit with the President's program.

Document 25: National Security Decision Directive Number 250, "Post-Reykjavik Follow-Up," 3 November 1986 (signed by Ronald Reagan), 14 pp.

Largely the work of NSC staffer Robert Linhard, who participated at Reykjavik, NSDD 250 attempts to keep the U.S. national security bureaucracy focused on President Reagan's goal of eliminating ballistic missiles while walking back from Reagan's expressed intent at Reykjavik to eliminate all offensive nuclear weapons. In fact, the NSDD's version of Reykjavik completely leaves out the Reagan and Shultz statements to Gorbachev about welcoming the abolition of nuclear weapons. Yet even this limited effort did not succeed in moving the U.S. bureaucracy towards realistic planning, and in fact the Joint Chiefs of Staff promptly weighed in with National Security Adviser Poindexter to the effect that eliminating missiles would require large increases in conventional military spending.

Document 26: USSR CC CPSU Politburo session. About discussions between Shevardnadze and Shultz in Vienna, 13 November 1986, 3 pp.

Here the Politburo discusses the results of the Shevardnadze-Shultz talks in Geneva, where Shultz refused to discuss new Shevardnadze's proposals concerning what is allowed and not allowed under the ABM treaty. Shultz's position notwithstanding, Gorbachev emphasizes the need to press the U.S. to move forward on the basis of Reykjavik. Gorbachev stresses that "we have not yet truly understood what Reykjavik means," referring to its significance as a new level of disarmament dialogue.

Document 27: Gorbachev Conversation with Chernyaev about Reykjavik, 17 November 1986, 1 p.

In a conversation with Chernyaev, Gorbachev talks about Soviet next steps in countering the U.S. attempts to circumvent Reykjavik. He stresses that "we cannot go below Reykjavik," and is concerned that "the Americans will not go above Reykjavik."

Document 28: Gorbachev Conference with Politburo Members and Secretaries of the Central Committee, 1 December 1986, 4 pp.

In a Politburo discussion of the Reagan decision to abandon the SALT II treaty, Gorbachev angrily states that the Americans are not doing anything in the spirit of Reykjavik and that the recent position of the Reagan administration was related to the domestic political crisis over Iran-Contra. Yegor Ligachev agrees with Gorbachev that after Reykjavik the Soviet positions only became stronger. Gorbachev speaks about his awareness of growing opposition to his disarmament proposals among the generals, who are "hissing among themselves."

Document 29: Meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Alton G. Keel [Executive Secretary of the National Security Council], 18 December 1986 [for meeting on 19 December to discuss NSDD 250 and other topics], 7 pp. with staff attachments and talking points


Geneva summit stirs memories of 1985 Ronald Reagan-Mikhail Gorbachev meet

Wednesday's talks between US President Joe Biden and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin evoke vivid memories of the 1985 Geneva summit, when Cold War rivals Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the very first time.

The November weather in the Swiss city may have been chilly, but relations began to thaw between Washington and Moscow as the US president and the Soviet leader came face to face on neutral territory.

Now some 36 years on, Biden and Putin are holding decidedly less hopeful talks on the placid shores of Lake Geneva, even as history weighs on them.

Back in 1985, "the atmosphere was relaxed. They had both lined something up to seduce the other camp," said former AFP correspondent Didier Lapeyronie, who covered the Reagan-Gorbachev talks.

"At the same time, we were all aware that it was a historic moment."

And yet the encounter was preceded with what could have been an ill omen. Just before US president Reagan arrived at one of the summit locations, a Swiss soldier waiting in the ceremonial honour guard fainted, overcome by the bitter cold.

Six years before the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, the 1985 Geneva summit focused on de-escalating the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers, and came with hopes of fostering better East-West relations.

The three-day summit was covered by 3,500 journalists.

Nicolas Burgy, who was at Geneva Airport for AFP to report on the Reagans' arrival, recalls the sense of "joy" in the air.

"There was a casual sort of feeling," he said.

One of the most enduring images from the summit is a photograph of the two most powerful men on the planet sitting beside a fireplace and smiling at each other from their armchairs in what could be a cosy fireside chat between two old friends.

The conviviality extended to their wives Raisa Gorbacheva and Nancy Reagan, who chatted over tea under the gaze of photographers.

Marie-Noelle Blessig, charged with following the wives' programme for AFP, remembers seeing Gorbacheva paying a visit to the United Nations' Geneva headquarters "to greet staff at the UN, where she was received with loud applause".

Another sign of the thaw was the first handshake between Gorbachev and Reagan, which lasted seven seconds.

The historic moment took place in front of the Villa Fleur d'Eau, a late 19th-century mansion on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The villa is currently up for sale.

The handshake took place before freezing photographers and reporters who stood waiting in the garden in the bitter cold.

As the Americans had chosen the large villa for day one of the talks, Reagan was there first to welcome Gorbachev, "seemingly in very good spirits", said Claude Smadja, a former deputy editor of Switzerland's TSR television, who witnessed the moment.

"Straight away there was the very American, very Californian side of Reagan, shaking Gorbachev's hand, putting his other hand on his shoulder to usher him inside, and the exchange of smiles.

"The two wanted to show that they were very much at ease."

It was only when Gorbachev arrived at the villa that Christiane Berthiaume, who worked for Radio Canada, realised the importance of the moment.

"Not a single journalist asked him a question when he got out of the car. We were all simply speechless. It was awe-inspiring," said Berthiaume, who later became a spokeswoman for various UN agencies.

The fact that the Soviet leader was there for a summit with the US president "was a sign that the Cold War, a period marked by fear, was coming to an end".

In a sign of how high the stakes were, the US and Soviet delegations decided to impose a "total blackout" on updating the media until the end of the summit.

"In fact, despite the personal warmth, the initial encounter was very harsh. The two sides' positions were very far apart," said Smadja, who went on to become the World Economic Forum's managing director.

Hosts Switzerland were also well aware of the gulf between the two superpowers -- so much so that the Swiss president Kurt Furgler's assistant Walter Fust had to prepare for his boss "two different welcoming speeches, taking into account the different cultures".

The cultural divide was also evident in the formality of the two delegations, Fust told AFP.

"The Russian participants arrived in formation very disciplined. The Americans were less strict on following instructions and the protocol order," he said.

Meanwhile Nancy Reagan, he added, wanted to replace the bottles of mineral water provided with US ones, and also wanted an aide to try out her food before she did.


Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Washington for a summit - HISTORY

Following the final approval of the Paris Peace Treaties that ended World War II, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) planned to incorporate the new state of West Germany into their military alliance in the spring of 1955. From the Soviet perspective, this was another aggressive military maneuver. In response to NATO's German decision, the Soviet Union and its East European allies&hellip.

President Bush Welcomes Vaclav Havel to the White House

In February 1990, the newly-elected president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel, became the first Czechoslovakian leader to visit Washington and meet with a US president. A former dissident and playwright, Havel was “an enigmatic figure” in his own country, according to National Security Council staff member Robert L. Hutchings, and his meeting with President George H. W. Bush was helpful in&hellip.

Chancellor Kohl and President Bush Discuss Influx of East Germans and Kohl's Meeting with Michael Gorbachev

One of the most significant problems for West Germany after the opening of the intra-German border was the massive influx of immigrants from East Germany. Under the West German Basic Law, East Germans who fled to the West could instantly claim West German citizenship. Hundreds of thousands of East Germans came to the West each month in the search for better employment opportunities. They also&hellip.

Polish Government reports on domestic unrest

Pessimism prevailed in this report prepared by the Polish Council of State assessing the general welfare of the country seven years after the national strikes that led to the Gdansk Agreements and four years after the lifting of martial law. The authors of this report note contempt among the general populace for the government's attempted economic reforms, as well as widespread dissatisfaction&hellip.

Telephone Call from Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany

In this telephone conversation between West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President George H. W. Bush on October 23, 1989, the two leaders discuss the revolutionary events in Hungary, Poland, and East Germany. It is clear from Kohl's summary of West Germany's approach toward Eastern Europe that he preferred a slow course of reform, based primarily on economic reforms supported by new&hellip.

Arms Reductions and the Warsaw Pact

The Warsaw Pact was based around the principle of cooperation and mutual assistance for its member states, though primarily it was a military alliance led by the Soviet Union. Therefore, Mikhail Gorbachev's arms reduction plan affected all of the member states of the Warsaw Pact by reducing all of the men under arms in Eastern Europe. In this meeting from July 1988, the Defense Ministers of the&hellip.

President Reagan Discusses the crisis in Poland

In August 1980, a worker's strike began in Gdansk, Poland in reaction to the struggling economy and massive shortages. In a compromise, the Communist government legalized Solidarity, but this only increased tensions. Imports from the Soviet Union and the West failed to improve the economy, with more strikes becoming endemic throughout 1980 and 1981. Fearing a Soviet military invasion to restore&hellip.

Joint News Conference Following Discussions With Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany

On February 25, 1990, President George H. W. Bush and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl met for meetings at Camp David. Their discussions included German unification, European integration, arms control, and the situation in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, as well as other foreign policy issues of joint concern. It is clear from the statements made by both Bush and Kohl that the unsettled&hellip.

Telephone Call from Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany to President George H. W. Bush

After the historic and spontaneous dismantling of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, East and West Germany were on the verge of reuniting. Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor and later chancellor of the reunited Germany, and George H. W. Bush, president of the United States, engaged in ongoing conversations in the months leading up to reunification, which eventually took place on October 3,&hellip.

Report on the future of the Soviet Military in Eastern Europe

In May 1988, Georgi Shakhnazarov, an adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev and a champion of reform in the Soviet Union, responded to a report by Marshal Viktor G. Kulikov, the commander-in-chief of Warsaw Pact forces. In his comments, Shakhnazarov delineated in detail the problems with Kulikov's report, namely, his plan to continue building up the military even following the Intermediate-Range Nuclear&hellip.

State Department Views on European Security Prior to the 1990 Washington Summit

President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met for a four-day summit, their second together, in Washington and Camp David beginning on May 31, 1990. Discord had grown dramatically within the Soviet government concerning the drastic changes that had occurred in the Soviet bloc during the previous year. The following excerpt from a State Department report produced for Bush&hellip.

CIA Intelligence Assessment: Rising Political Instability Under Gorbachev

As President George H. W. Bush took office in January 1989, factions within his administration disagreed concerning the approach to take with regard to US-Soviet relations. In December 1988, Gorbachev had delivered what he called a “watershed” address at the United Nations, announcing that he planned unilaterally to reduce Soviet military forces by 500,000, cut conventional armaments&hellip.

Bonn Embassy cable, The German Question and Reunification

As events in Eastern Europe and especially in East Germany continued to pick up the pace, speculation began to grow, both within the two Germanies and internationally, that German reunification was once again a topic for debate. The West European had already speculated that West Germany might abandon its commitment to NATO and the European Community in favor of reunification. West German&hellip.

National Security Directive 23: United States Relations with the Soviet Union

As President George H. W. Bush took office in January 1989, factions within his administration disagreed concerning the approach to take with regard to US-Soviet relations. In December 1988, Gorbachev had delivered what he called a “watershed” address at the United Nations, announcing that he planned unilaterally to reduce Soviet military forces by 500,000, cut conventional armaments&hellip.

President Bush and Chancellor Kohl discuss Eastern Europe

The fall of 1989 was a turbulent one. A new reform-oriented government had been elected in Poland, new elections were scheduled in Hungary, and East Germany had a new leader, Egon Krenz, who was speaking openly about reforms in the GDR (German Democratic Republic, also known as East Germany). In this telephone conversation, U.S. President George H. W. Bush discusses the situation in Poland,&hellip.

President Bush and Chancellor Kohl Make Remarks on German Unification

West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President George H. W. Bush kept in close contact throughout the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and Germany's unification on October 3, 1990. The process of German unification was complicated by the fact that there was never an official treaty ending World War II. Thus, the four victorious powers (France, the United&hellip.

Joint Press Conference of President Bush and Chairman Gorbachev at the Malta Summit

US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev held their first summit early in December 1989 onboard a Soviet cruise ship docked off the coast of Malta. Prior to arriving, Gorbachev wondered if he would be able to establish a relationship of trust with Bush as he had achieved with other Western leaders, since information coming into the Kremlin indicated that Bush’s&hellip.

Appealing to College Students in Hungary

In the summer of 1989, President George Bush made an official visit to several East European countries, each in the midst of democratic demonstrations and public pressure on their Communist regimes. These visits provided President Bush an opportunity to lend support for the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe. In Hungary, for example, the President gave a speech at the famous Karl Marx&hellip.

NATO Statement of the Future of East-West Relations

On December 3, 1989, following the summit meeting in Malta between US President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, in which the leaders attested to an historic shift in US-Soviet relations, Bush traveled to Brussels to report on the meeting to a special summit of NATO leaders. The next day, Bush delivered a speech in which he discussed the issue of German reunification.&hellip.

NATO celebrates German Reunification

On 3 October 1990, the constitution of West Germany was extended to cover the five states of East Germany, reunifying Germany as a single country under one law. Congratulations were extended to the new country from around the world, including from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which could celebrate the reunification as one of its own achievements. NATO was a military alliance&hellip.


Biden-Putin Geneva Summit Stirs Memories Of 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev Meet

Wednesday’s talks between US President Joe Biden and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin evoke vivid memories of the 1985 Geneva summit, when Cold War rivals Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the very first time.

The November weather in the Swiss city may have been chilly, but relations began to thaw between Washington and Moscow as the US president and the Soviet leader came face to face on neutral territory.

Now some 36 years on, Biden and Putin are holding decidedly less hopeful talks on the placid shores of Lake Geneva, even as history weighs on them.

Back in 1985, “the atmosphere was relaxed… They had both lined something up to seduce the other camp,” said former AFP correspondent Didier Lapeyronie, who covered the Reagan-Gorbachev talks.

“At the same time, we were all aware that it was a historic moment.”

And yet the encounter was preceded with what could have been an ill omen. Just before US president Reagan arrived at one of the summit locations, a Swiss soldier waiting in the ceremonial honour guard fainted, overcome by the bitter cold.

Six years before the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union, the 1985 Geneva summit focused on de-escalating the nuclear arms race between the two superpowers, and came with hopes of fostering better East-West relations.

The three-day summit was covered by 3,500 journalists.

Nicolas Burgy, who was at Geneva Airport for AFP to report on the Reagans’ arrival, recalls the sense of “joy” in the air.

“There was a casual sort of feeling,” he said.

Fireside chat

One of the most enduring images from the summit is a photograph of the two most powerful men on the planet sitting beside a fireplace and smiling at each other from their armchairs in what could be a cosy fireside chat between two old friends.

The conviviality extended to their wives Raisa Gorbacheva and Nancy Reagan, who chatted over tea under the gaze of photographers.

Marie-Noelle Blessig, charged with following the wives’ programme for AFP, remembers seeing Gorbacheva paying a visit to the United Nations’ Geneva headquarters “to greet staff at the UN, where she was received with loud applause”.

Another sign of the thaw was the first handshake between Gorbachev and Reagan, which lasted seven seconds.

The historic moment took place in front of the Villa Fleur d’Eau, a late 19th-century mansion on the shores of Lake Geneva.

The villa is currently up for sale.

The handshake took place before freezing photographers and reporters who stood waiting in the garden in the bitter cold.

As the Americans had chosen the large villa for day one of the talks, Reagan was there first to welcome Gorbachev, “seemingly in very good spirits”, said Claude Smadja, a former deputy editor of Switzerland’s TSR television, who witnessed the moment.

“Straight away there was the very American, very Californian side of Reagan, shaking Gorbachev’s hand, putting his other hand on his shoulder to usher him inside, and the exchange of smiles.

“The two wanted to show that they were very much at ease.”

Awe-inspiring moment

It was only when Gorbachev arrived at the villa that Christiane Berthiaume, who worked for Radio Canada, realised the importance of the moment.

“Not a single journalist asked him a question when he got out of the car. We were all simply speechless. It was awe-inspiring,” said Berthiaume, who later became a spokeswoman for various UN agencies.

The fact that the Soviet leader was there for a summit with the US president “was a sign that the Cold War, a period marked by fear, was coming to an end”.

In a sign of how high the stakes were, the US and Soviet delegations decided to impose a “total blackout” on updating the media until the end of the summit.

“In fact, despite the personal warmth, the initial encounter was very harsh. The two sides’ positions were very far apart,” said Smadja, who went on to become the World Economic Forum’s managing director.

Hosts Switzerland were also well aware of the gulf between the two superpowers — so much so that the Swiss president Kurt Furgler’s assistant Walter Fust had to prepare for his boss “two different welcoming speeches, taking into account the different cultures”.

The cultural divide was also evident in the formality of the two delegations, Fust told AFP.

“The Russian participants arrived in formation very disciplined. The Americans were less strict on following instructions and the protocol order,” he said.

Meanwhile Nancy Reagan, he added, wanted to replace the bottles of mineral water provided with US ones, and also wanted an aide to try out her food before she did.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


Soviet Union in History (Part 11)

    USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR #3931 Batten, #4529 Webern, #4530 Smoluchowski, #4818 Elgar, #5502 Brashear & #5943 Lovi Soviet sub crashes into USS aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk off Japan USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR General Secretary Konstantin Chernenko named President of the Soviet Union

Event of Interest

    USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR FBI arrests John A Walker Jr, convicted of spying for USSR US sailor Michael L Walker arrested for spying for USSR USSR's Vega 1 deposits lander on surface of Venus En route to Halley's Comet, USSR's Vega 2 drops lander on Venus Andrei Gromyko appointed president of USSR USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR USSR performs underground nuclear Test USSR performs nuclear Test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR Rudolf Povarnitsin of USSR sets new high jump world record (7'10"12) Russian Igor Paklin sets new high jump world record at 2.41m in Kobe, Japan U.S. 7th Circuit Court rules Soviet defector Walter Polovchak can't be forcibly returned to parents' country if it's deemed "not in the best interests" of underage defectors President Reagan arrives in Geneva for a summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev

Pripyat: Nuclear Wasteland

1986-04-26 World's worst nuclear disaster: 4th reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power station in USSR explodes, 31 die, radioactive contamination reaches much of Western Europe

'I Love You Pripyat, Forgive Me!' scrawled on the walls of a Pripyat clinic during its hasty evacuation after the Chernobyl disaster
    Soviet authorities order the evacuation of the city of Pripyat (pop. 50,000) 1 day after the Chernobyl nuclear accident Soviet TV news program Vremya announces a nuclear accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station, 2 days after the event Soviet authorities arrested Nicholas Daniloff (US News World Report) USSR charges correspondent Nicholas Daniloff with spying NYC jury indicts Soviet United Nations employee Gennadly Zakharov of spying Marina Stepanova of USSR sets 400m hurdle woman's record (52.94) USSR releases American journalist Nicholas Daniloff confined on spy charges US releases Soviet spy Gennadiy Zakharov Soviet Yankee-class sub sinks off NC, 3 die USSR expels five US diplomats

Event of Interest

1986-12-19 USSR frees dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile


BOOK REVIEW: 'Reagan at Reykjavik'

Ken Adelman, President Reagan’s arms-control director, was at the fateful October 1986 weekend summit between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Not only was he an eyewitness to and participant in what proved to be an intensely dramatic event in the Cold War, he is also a very good writer. He captures the drama and tension of those 48 hours that transports the reader to the middle of each scene of Oct. 11-12 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

The Reykjavik meeting was the unforeseen summit. There had been staff-level exchanges between the two governments to have a preliminary meeting to plan for a full-scale summit in Washington late in 1987.

Then, on Sept. 15, Mr. Gorbachev replied to a July letter from Reagan that had restated U.S. arms proposals. In his six-page reply, the Soviet leader wrote defensively about his perception that the United States was carrying out a deliberate plan to delegitimize the USSR. Then, in the final page, he switched “from nasty to nice,” proposing “a quick one-on-one meeting, let us say in Iceland or London, maybe just for one day” with the subject to be arms control. He added that the two could “engage in a strictly confidential, private and frank discussion (possibly with only our foreign ministers present).”

Reagan who, for a long time, had been developing a strong desire to one day eliminate all nuclear weapons, saw such a meeting as an opportunity to talk about that possibility. Therefore, rushed planning began. Both men would go with small staffs.

Hofdi House was chosen as the site for the meetings. Owned by the Icelandic government, it stood by itself, simplifying security. About the size of a suburban American home (2,300 square feet) it would be just large enough for the principals to meet and for staff meetings on the second floor.

Mr. Adelman writes that what had been expected to be an uneventful weekend turned out to be “an emotional roller coaster, full of twists and turns, ups and downs all weekend long.”

At the Saturday morning meeting, Mr. Gorbachev took the initiative by announcing his agenda items. He proposed possible reductions of strategic weapons. On the second item, intermediate weapons, he said that British and French nuclear weapons could be left as is however, American weapons should be removed from Europe. Recognizing the serious condition of the Soviet economy, he wanted strict adherence to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and no Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) by the Americans.

Reagan argued vigorously that “SDI makes the elimination of nuclear weapons possible.” His proposal was to field-test SDI with Soviet representatives observing. If the test proved practical, SDI technology would be shared with the USSR. Also, SDI would not be deployed until offensive strategic missiles were dismantled. Mr. Gorbachev was both skeptical and negative. Soviet intelligence had mistakenly concluded that SDI was much further along than it actually was. Mr. Gorbachev knew that the USSR could not bear a race over SDI, neither technologically nor economically.

He hinted that the United States could use space-based missiles to target the USSR, and he treated the shared technology offer as not serious.

The two agreed to continue their discussions in the afternoon. Along with Secretary of State George P. Shultz and USSR Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, they left for their respective embassies.

In the afternoon, Reagan sought to overcome Mr. Gorbachev’s skepticism about SDI.

There was thrust and parry, but no agreement except to turn the agenda items over to teams of American and Russian experts. Paul Nitze, a skilled U.S. negotiator, and Sergey Akhromeyev, decorated war hero and chief of the USSR general staff, led the two teams.

After a 3 a.m. break, Akhromeyev announced a breakthrough: The Soviets would agree to a 50 percent cut in strategic weapon down to equality. Mr. Adelman concludes in his book that “Akhromeyev served nobly at Reykjavik.” The session concluded at daybreak.

The Sunday morning session devolved quickly into previous positions argued by Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev. Before long, however, Reagan began to speak of the benefits of the “Zero Option” — the elimination of all nuclear weapons. Mr. Gorbachev agreed in principal.

At that point, Mr. Gorbachev said he could accept Reagan’s position on intermediate-range weapons. That is, treat the respective distribution both equally and in Asia as well as Europe. Reagan then agreed to Mr. Gorbachev’s proposal to uphold the ABM Treaty for another 10 years however, when Mr. Gorbachev reiterated his proposal to restrict SDI to the laboratory, Reagan refused.

In the final session, Sunday afternoon, they argued over the wording of final statements drafted by Mr. Shultz and Mr. Shevardnadze. Both agreed to stating the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons however, Mr. Gorbachev made one last argument for keeping SDI in the laboratory, and Reagan once again said he could not agree. Thus, the meeting ended with no agreement and no joint statement.

News media and many others concluded that Reykjavik had been a failure. Time and history, however, have proved that it was the climactic event of the Cold War. Mr. Gorbachev had to go home and hasten the reforms he had begun. This turned out to be an irreversible process. As it was, Reagan’s stand proved to be the last word.

Peter Hannaford is a board member of the Committee on the Present Danger. His latest book is “Presidential Retreats” (Threshold Editions, 2012).


Previously Secret U.S. and Soviet Documents on the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Reveal Deal Was Closer than Believed

The documents include Gorbachev's initial letter to Reagan from 15 September 1986 asking for "a quick one-on-one meeting, let us say in Iceland or in London," newly translated Gorbachev discussions with his aides and with the Politburo preparing for the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz's briefing book for the summit, the complete U.S. and Soviet transcripts of the Reykjavik summit, and the internal recriminations and reflections by both sides after the meeting failed to reach agreement.

Archive director Thomas Blanton, Archive director of Russia programs Dr. Svetlana Savranskaya, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographer Dr. William Taubman presented the documents to Gorbachev at a state dinner in the residence of President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland on October 12 marking the 20th anniversary of the summit, which Grimsson commented had put Iceland on the map as a meeting place for international dialogue.

The documents show that U.S. analysis of Gorbachev's goals for the summit completely missed the Soviet leader's emphasis on "liquidation" of nuclear weapons, a dream Gorbachev shared with Reagan and which the two leaders turned to repeatedly during the intense discussions at Reykjavik in October 1986. But the epitaph for the summit came from Soviet aide Gyorgy Arbatov, who at one point during staff discussions told U.S. official Paul Nitze that the U.S. proposals (continued testing of missile defenses in the Strategic Defense Initiative or SDI while proceeding over 10 years to eliminate all ballistic missiles, leading to the ultimate abolition of all offensive nuclear weapons) would require "an exceptional level of trust" and therefore "we cannot accept your position."

Politburo notes from October 30, two weeks after the summit, show that Gorbachev by then had largely accepted Reagan's formulation for further SDI research, but by that point it was too late for a deal. The Iran-Contra scandal was about to break, causing Reagan's approval ratings to plummet and removing key Reagan aides like National Security Adviser John Poindexter, whose replacement was not interested in the ambitious nuclear abolition dreams the two leaders shared at Reykjavik. The documents show that even the more limited notion of abolishing ballistic missiles foundered on opposition from the U.S. military which presented huge estimates of needed additional conventional spending to make up for not having the missiles.

The U.S. documents were obtained by the Archive through Freedom of Information Act and Mandatory Declassification Review requests to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and the U.S. Department of State. The Soviet documents came to the Archive courtesy of top Gorbachev aide Anatoly Sergeyevich Chernyaev, who has donated his diary and notes of Politburo and other Gorbachev discussions to the Archive, and from the Volkogonov collection of the U.S. Library of Congress.

These documents are now available on the Web site of the National Security Archive:


Watch the video: Για τη διαφθορά στην ΕΣΣΔ και τις δημοκρατικές ελευθερίες


Comments:

  1. Fenrikora

    This is a common conditionality

  2. Vokivocummast

    the phrase is deleted

  3. Ronnell

    Sorry to interfere, but could you please give a little more information.

  4. Davison

    the Relevant message :), it is worth knowing ...

  5. Landis

    Bravo, I think this is the magnificent idea



Write a message