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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 31, 1988

ANATOLY CHERNYAEV, NOTES FROM A MEETING OF THE POLITBURO

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    Gorbachev et al prepare for their upcoming UN visit, and discuss presenting their reformed policies, arms reductions, the implementation of perestroika, withdrawal of troops from Hungary, and overall Soviet-American relations.
    "Anatoly Chernyaev, Notes from a Meeting of the Politburo," October 31, 1988, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation. Moscow, Russian Federation. Translated by Svetlana Savranskaya. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/134819
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What are we going to take to the United Nations? Attended: Shevardnadze, Yakovlev, Dobrynin, Falin, Chernyaev.

Gorbachev. This is what I think.  First of all, we need to define new thinking how our policy is reflected in the minds of the people, politicians, and the military.

Single out significant, constantly present factors.

We should present "the new us," show them how we are changing, how we comprehend the changing world, and how we develop along with it. This is the first part of the speech.

The second part-and the main one-is to affirm that new thinking; our new foreign policy is fully connected with perestroika, with the objective processes within the country. Tell them, what we are going to do next at home.

Present basic principles of our new military-political doctrine, as concrete as possible, and what it means for the international situation.

Show them our new military thinking as a part of new political thinking, and emphasize the military-technological side of our doctrine.  In the speech we should make public the figures regarding our armed forces. Name the reductions that we are going to make unilaterally.  It would be better, if we could unload ourselves of weapons in two years, and then publish how much we had, and how much we have left.

Recently, I met with Komsomol members at their exhibition of science and creativity. They overwhelmed me with questions: for what do we need such an army, Mikhail Sergeevich? For what do we need so many tanks, so many missiles?  In short, the people will accept the idea of unilateral disarmament only in the event that the international situation changed. However, we are already acting in this direction. We have just given 6 billion dollars for public health-precisely by cutting the military expenditures.

Shevardnadze raises the issue of whether it was time to withdraw our troops from Hungary.

Gorbachev.  Yes, but first we need to reduce the numbers, not to withdraw all at once. By the way, Khrushchev had all the right intentions in the military sphere. But look how he implemented them.

The third part-about the United Nations.  Describe what it lived through during the Cold War. Emphasize that it was created for cooperation and coordination, and therefore, it was just natural that its role diminished during the Cold War, its role "fell down."

It is for a reason that this organization is called the United Nations. In this context it should have a universally accepted doctrine, which would reflect the rights of the peoples, their right of free choice, human rights. Show the UN role as an instrument of the new world.

The fourth part. How do we see our contribution to the creation of the new world? We are not just calling for it, we are going to act. In the speech, we should present a set of responses to Western anxieties.

In general, this speech should be an anti-Fulton-Fulton in reverse. And we can already use the basis of certain experience of new thinking's work, show the movement in the right direction. And they will believe us when they see that we make clearly evident real steps.

The American theme should be present in the speech, i.e. our look at Soviet American relations now, and in the prospective [future].

We should present our worldview philosophy based on the results of last three years. We should stress the process of demilitarization of our thinking, humanization of our thinking.

We should point to the fact that today international politics is expanding to the level of the people - not only politicians and generals.