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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May, 1988


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Soviet plan for negotiations between Gorbachev and Reagan. Topics covered include peacemaking efforts in the Near East, nuclear limitation, and the issue of Afghanistan.
    "Plan of Negotiations between M.S. Gorbachev and the President of the United States of America, R. Reagan before the first trip to Washington," May, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD.
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between M.S. Gorbachev and the President of the United States of America, R. Reagan

before the first trip to Washington.  May 1988.

(draft dictated by Gorbachev to an assistant)

The first conversation is to last an hour and a half.  Of this, 30 minutes is one-on-one.  The rest is with the participation of the ministers, since it is necessary to develop the entire set of problems [problematika] and then include working groups.  

How do I imagine the course of the conversation?

After greetings, give an evaluation of the Geneva and Reykjavik [meetings] and the work done after them.  This is a whole stage.  Work was also done at the summits.  The dialog was enriched and more and more took into account realities.  It is very important that an element of personal mutual responsibility on the part of former officials was included.  

For the first time, we have a document that permits us to discuss the problems of strategic offensive arms and to plan steps.  We will discuss the problems of chemical weapons and conventional arms and regional problems.  

The very breadth of scope of these problems already testifies to the fact that we are in a condition to examine key issues of world politics together.  And are ready to move onto the level which our peoples expect of us.

The real desire of our peoples is for rapprochement [sblizhenie].  They do not want any more confrontation.  I have a huge selection of letters from the Soviet people.  I can read out some of them.  The leitmotiv of these letters is “Let us live a little!” [“Daite i nam pozhit’!]  We are obliged to express the will of our peoples - of ours and of others.  What we are now doing in Soviet-American relations will go down in history for all time.  

Nuclear weapons.  The problem worries both the Americans and our people.  Forward movement has been noted.  We must be ready to keep the nuclear arms race in check.

Regional conflicts.  I would change the approach to this problem.  We must end mutual recriminations.  Put off the issue of the reasons for conflicts.  We are confronted by different real conflicts.  There is also a tendency to political resolutions and even to ethnic [natsional’noe] peace-making.  These opportunities exist in Central American, in Afghanistan, and in Kampuchea.  

Near East.  There is a recognition that united efforts are needed, that separate agreements will not achieve the goal.  In Angola, a desire to find a way out through political means has also been noted.

Here is the situation.  People are turning to us, to me, and to you with hope.  And let us approach the negotiations from this point of view.  Of course, rights will be brandished [kachat’ prava budut].  Disagreements will be expressed.  But at some point, we must begin to deal with everything ably.  And take advantage of positive signs.

I would welcome negotiations which will lead to a positive result.  Take for instance the treaty on the RSD[-10 Pioneer missile].  How many doubts and difficulties were there[?]  And in America, Reykjavik was almost written off.  If negotiations become jammed with polemics, the will not lead to anything.  After all, I disagreed with much in Geneva, for instance.  To me it was clear that we were standing far apart from one another.  But I forced myself not to exaggerate the difficulties.  And now I see that this has given us the chance to go further.  I would like your visit to Moscow to be businesslike.  You and I are acquiring great political capital and I am ready to cooperate with you to the end.  

Now call the ministers and continue the discussion with the broad contingent.  

On nuclear weapons:  On tests.  Each side must at the start consult with its scientists in order to make decisions and lead negotiations only on that basis, considering both its own security and the consequences for the entire world.  The same in relation to SDI and anti-SDI.  The principle is obvious: if one side violates the ABM Treaty, the other is free of its commitments through this treaty.

Propose the creation of an International committee of prominent scientists whose members would have direct access both to the General Secretary of the CC CPSU and to the President of the US, Reagan.  Representatives of the Pugwash movement could take part in the committee.  Propose a mutual rejection of test explosions for the period of the negotiations on banning tests.

Afghanistan.  Cordoves’ positions are well known.  The important thing here is to name a departure date for the troops and at the same time a date for ending US aid to the mujahedin.  From the moment of the announcement of a withdrawal date, the troops do not take part in battles and use their weapons only for self-defense.  

There is the idea of calling together all of the opposing sides in Afghanistan and trying to assist the creation of a coalition government there (or a transitional government), but on the basis of parity.  The US and the USSR would offer political services (in a 50-50 proportion).  We will exert pressure: you on Pakistan and the mujahedin and we on Nadjibullah.  The coalition government should be recognized immediately by the United States, the USSR, and Pakistan.  Excuses to the effect that allegedly the US cannot exert influence on the mujahedin cannot be taken seriously.  The United States can influence Pakistan.  And without Pakistan, the mujahedin are powerless.  As for our influence on Nadjibullah, here the matter is not entirely simple.  He is not our marionette as is commonly thought in the West.  He has his own connections and his own capabilities.  

Iran (the Iran-Iraq war is the subject of discussion here).  Let us try the following.  What is happening there can disrupt the whole process of improving our relations.  An even more tense situation [there] will have unforeseeable consequences.  And your domestic situation in the United States will be complicated.  And we will also be seriously affected.  

I will say the following: you have invited us to cooperate on Iran, and we have invited you to cooperate on Afghanistan.  But what is being exchanged for what?  [No chto za chto prodat’?]  We are using Peres de Cuellar’s capabilities in order to move the matter toward a settlement.  Let us try to act together on that basis.  Military activities must be ended if the UN Commission begins to work.  

Pumping both camps full of arms is the most dangerous and hopeless approach.

If we are to talk about a “package,” we could do as follows: we prepare a second resolution of the Security Council and at the same time a resolution to replace the US fleet with a UN fleet in the Gulf, and include a military-staff committee of the Security Council.  But here we add Afghanistan.  We link the two problems: here your and our interest overlap.  Along these lines we pacify the entire region.  

Nicaragua.  Let us state that we support the Guatemalan proposals and supply the sides only with infantry weapons.

Separate comments.  The term a neutral, non-aligned [neprisoedinivshiisia], pluralist Afghanistan.  The term “friendly” does not suit.  We withdraw all advisers from the army and leave the hospital.  Think through the Afghanistan-Iran bloc thoroughly.

Near East.  An international conference on the Near East.  All are for it.  Bilateral relations - under the cover of the USSR and US.  In relation to Israel, we have no prejudices.  It is an organic part of the entire process.

Palestine.  This is the core of the problem.  A federation with Jordan is possible.  Without the Palestinians, the problems will not be solved.  In some form - show a real process leading to a conference.  Influence it.  We will work with Syria and the UN.  Our diplomatic relations with Israel are a part of the process of a general settlement.  

The Jewish issue in Soviet-American relations.  The key idea is to remove this issue from Soviet-American relations.  Why it ended up there is history.  We have someone to strike up a dialog with: with liberal Jewish organizations in the Unites States.  They are knocking [at our door].  Among them, there are also those who are not for emigration, but for moving [forward] Jewish ethnic development in the USSR: culture, newspapers, theaters, assemblies, regional communities [obshchiny].  How realistic is this?  I think that it is.  Jews also strongly influence Near Eastern affairs and the mass media.  That increases the significance of the problem.

Someone from our delegation to visit Jewish organizations in the US.

Give Reagan a draft memorandum to allow the groups to start work without waiting for the results of negotiations at a high level.