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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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United States-Soviet Relations

 Documents on the often adversarial relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The majority of the documents are reports, telegrams, and memorandums that come from Russian archives. Many topics are covered, including the "German Question," the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Ethiopian Civil War, Jimmy Carter's presidency, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. (Image, Reagan Gorbachev on Governor's Island, 1988, Reagan Presidential Library, C50846-27)

  • October 15, 1985

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Statement by Ambassador Nitze to the Atlantic Council about recent developments of the Geneva negotiation'

    Nitze's brief commentary on the developments in the recent negotiations with the USSR regarding arms reductions.

  • December 12, 1985

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'East-West relations'

    This document analyzes East-West relations following the December 1985 meeting between Gorbachev and Reagan in Geneva. It discusses the new and more open foreign policy line of the Soviet Union, and underlines the important role of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy under the complex circumstances.

  • December 15, 1985

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Geneva negotiations - New Soviet proposals'

    The document describes the propositions put forth by Soviet negotiators during the Geneva talks, and offers a preliminary analysis of the positive and the negative implications. The developments are not sufficient to expect an accord in the short term, but show a promising move away from "a dialogue of the deaf".

  • February 26, 1986

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'NATO Secretary General's visit in Rome (26th-28th February 1986) - Analysis of the prospects of Geneva negotiations and of the negotiations about disarmament'

    A comprehensive analysis of the Soviet position in the upcoming disarmament negotiations regarding SDI, FNI, MBFR, and chemical weapons. Overall, there seems to be increased willingness on the Soviet side to free up economic resources from military sector.

  • February 26, 1986

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'NATO Secretary General's visit in Rome (26th-28th February 1986). Security and disarmament'

    This document summarizes Ambassador Nitze's speech on the issue of security and disarmament, and provides a rather detailed description of current U.S. position vis-à-vis the USSR in the field of disarmament and global security.

  • August 05, 1986

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Consequences of US-Libya conflict'

    A comprehensive analysis of the possible consequences of U.S. airstrikes in Libya in the short- , medium-, and long-term. Key themes include the impact on inter-allied relations, reaction from Arab countries, terrorism, and superpower relations.

  • September 25, 1986

    Meeting Minutes of the Politburo of the CC CPSU, Regarding Persecution of Political Dissidents and Spies

    In this September 1986 excerpt, Gorbachev receives a report from KGB chief Chebrikov that he had requested on “what kinds of people are serving sentences for crimes, which Western propaganda calls political.” Obviously following Gorbachev’s lead, Chebrikov proposes to alleviate the prison sentences of two-thirds of the 240 persons he lists under this category; but, in response to a question from Gromyko, he notes two cases where the guilty parties had already received a sentence that could not be reduced—execution for espionage.

  • October 11, 1986

    Soviet-American High Level Meeting, Reykjavik, 11-12 October 1986, Record of Conversations in the Working Group on Military Issues

    Record of conversation between US official, Paul Nitze, and USSR Chief of General Staff Sergey Akhromeev. The two discuss the minutiae of nuclear disarmament, particularly the relative disarmament value of each part of the triad (nuclear-equipped bombers/ICBMs/submarine-launched missiles).

  • October 13, 1986

    Memorandum by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'East-West relations'

    The document analyzes the state of East-West relations in the aftermath of the Reykjavik Summit. There appears to be an openness to continuing dialogue by both sides, but many unknowns still persist regarding Europe and the Middle East.

  • October 22, 1986

    Meeting Minutes of the Politburo of the CC CPSU, Regarding the Aftermath of the Reykjavik US-Soviet summit

    The Politburo discusses what to do after the failure of the Reykjavik summit over Reagan's insistence on preserving the right to continue the SDI or "Star Wars" project, as well as the subsequent expulsion of Soviet diplomats from the US. In the angry, bitter meeting Gorbachev decides on the removal of 250 Soviets working in service positions at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

  • November 13, 1986

    CPSU CC Politburo Meeting Minutes (excerpt)

    CPSU CC Politburo transcript regarding attempts to find a solution to the Afghan war and bring resolution to the conflict.

  • May, 1987

    Plan of Negotiations between M.S. Gorbachev and the President of the United States of America, R. Reagan before the first trip to Washington

    Soviet plan for negotiations between Gorbachev and Reagan. Topics covered include peacemaking efforts in the Near East, nuclear limitation, and the issue of Afghanistan.

  • November 24, 1987

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'East-West relations'

    An analysis of the state of East-West relations. The document covers US-USSR relations, CSCE, euro-Soviet relations, and USSR internal developments.

  • November 25, 1987

    Telegram by Permanent Representative to NATO Fulci to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Atlantic Council. Consultations with Secretary of State Shultz'

    Summary of the discussions between Secretary of State Shultz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shevardnadze in preparation for the Washington Summit. Shultz confirms that a joint working text has been produced and the preprations for signing the INF treaty in Washington are well underway.

  • November 25, 1987

    Telegram by Permanent Representative to NATO Fulci to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Atlantic Council. Consultation with US Secretary of State Shultz in view of the US-USSR meeting to be held in Washington'

    Summary of the discussions between Secretary of State Shultz and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shevardnadze in preparation for the Washington Summit. Constructive talks focused on disarmament, human rights and bilateral relations.

  • December 11, 1987

    Telegram by Permanent Representative to NATO Fulci to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 'Atlantic Council. US Secretary of State Shultz's presentation about the Reagan-Gorbachev meeting. Disarmament and arms control issues'

    The permanenent representative of Italy to NATO summarizes the presentation by Secretary of State Shultz following the signing of the INF treaty. Shultz presents the treaty as a great success, both in terms of its content, as well as a demonstration of Atlantic solidarity.

  • 1988

    Memo, Concerning Draft Agreement About the Observance of the ABM Treaty and Non-Withdrawal Period

    Memo describing Geneva negotiations between the United States and Soviet Union on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The two sides disagreed on the restrictions of the non-withdrawal period and the testing of ABM components or sensors in space.

  • May 29, 1988

    Memorandum of Conversation, the President's First One-on-One Meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev

    Reagan and Gorbachev's first conversation during Reagan's 1988 visit to Moscow.

  • December 27, 1988

    Minutes of the Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU CC), (Excerpts)

    Minutes of the Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU CC), (Excerpts) regarding the change of presidency from Reagan to Bush, defense issues and international opinion of the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union

  • May 11, 1989

    Soviet Record of Conversation between M.S. Gorbachev and US Secretary of State J. Baker

    Gorbachev and Baker discuss cuts in tactical nuclear weapons.