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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 28, 1984


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

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    Gromyko analyzes the Reagan administration and the increase in international tensions as a result of US "activism." He also discusses the role of Japan as a self-identified NATO and G7 member, a cause for alarm, he concludes.
    "Information of Comrade A. A. Gromyko on International Questions," March 28, 1984, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Mongolian Foreign Ministry Archive: fond 2, dans 1, kh/n 489, khuu 46-49. Obtained and translated by Sergey Radchenko.
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Moscow. March 28, 1984

The international situation is characterized as being complicated and even tense. This complexity and tensions did not begin today or yesterday. They have continued for a fairly long time. One can definitely say that they have increased with the arrival of the Reagan Administration.

The US administration is the voice for the most extreme, aggressive circles, for their most reactionary, extreme wing.

Judging by everything, the US administration is not departing from this course. Some hints are being made – even statements of little meaning to the effect that the USA would like to mend relations. We – and not only we – consider these hints and statements as purely tactics. Reagan and his administration must show some façade, which would facilitate the lessening of the concerns of the American public about their future. [He needs to] show that the US government, too, is looking for ways of improving relations with the Soviet Union.

But we have not moved even an iota in our understanding that these statements have purely tactic nature. This is all conjecture, nothing else.

With the coming of Reagan to power, how many decisions have been made concerning the arms race, about new types of nuclear weapons? How many times did Reagan ask the Congress to increase the military budget? Unfortunately, the US Congress is little different from the administration in terms of the spirit of aggression. It almost unequivocally rubberstamps whatever the administration offers it. It swaggers, it kind of swaggers, chatters for the calming of the public opinion, and then it votes, making the decision. Therefore, the military budget has reached astronomical heights. They have opened a new sphere for militarization – space. Until now, everything has been tied to mother Earth. But now there is space. They ignore the obligations they had undertaken, resolutions of the General Assembly, and have made the aim of unleashing competition in space, for using it with military aims. All these plans about the creation of a wide-scale system of antimissile defense, etc. – all of that aims at militarization of space. All these falsehoods, lies, which are accompanied by statements – all of this aims at disorienting people, so that they do not soberly see the danger, so as to soften that danger and concern. Of course, we must make our conclusions from this. To make a dual conclusion, as it were.

First, one must expose the Reagan administration. Their tendency to widen the arena of competition in the sphere of production of weapons, especially nuclear [weapons]. [We must] carry on political struggle in the UN and in other organizations, work with political and public leaders etc.

The other conclusion concerns actual plans and abilities of socialist countries, first and foremost the Soviet Union. We cannot shut our eyes and pretend that we are not seeing anything. They do it, and we do not see anything. Therefore, socialist states, the Soviet Union must think, must carry on in such a way as not to allow themselves to fall below a [certain] level of defensive ability, including in the sphere of new weapons.

You know, in recent times they say and write a lot in the sphere of nuclear weapons. You know and understand our policy well.

There are lots of primitive views in the world. An [average] American does not get truthful information. An American turns on the radio, the television, and he gets a downpour of lies, falsehood that the Soviet Union [and] socialism present a threat, that it is a manifestation of evil. Where will an American learn the truth? Perhaps once a week, and sometimes not as often, our information will come – a TASS statement, or a Pravda article. But all of this is accompanied by a cascade of lies [and] slander, so that this person cannot understand where the truth is, and where the lies – and does not end up on the [right] track. Media serves this purpose. One cannot but be amazed that Reagan comes out with lies every day. Also ministers, congressmen and senators do this. Who does not? There are enough of these critters [zelyi] there. They come out with hostile statements in favor of rearming.

Negotiations. This question has come to the fore. We are being persuaded: why did you, allegedly, leave the negotiating table; they propose that we return in spite of all these decisions, to sit at the table and calmly conduct negotiations. It’s clear that this is profitable to them, so as to say: why are you criticizing us, when we are conducting negotiations. This is profitable to them. For between negotiations, between reality and what a person hears is a net, which does not allow through, which creates a sense, an illusion of some movement. Of course, this creates concern, worry among the people. But why would we help Reagan. Why should we hold him up by his elbows when he is climbing the stairway to the White House in connection with the presidential elections?

This does not suit us.

We have an activity in response. They are not going for it, but say that they leave their plans in force.

Friends correctly understand us, and our policy in this direction. Our policy – is a joint policy. I just talk about this for the sake of the bigger picture.

As for the statement about socialism being some kind of misunderstanding. They are such obscurants, political savages, and in general poorly educated people. As if the march of socialism, its place in history depend on the chatter of the occupant of the White House.

But recently they have held back their unwieldy statements.

Now one should say something about our appraisal of Asia. We believe that the situation in Asia is very complicated. On the one hand, no matter what side you take, the militarist plans of the Reagan administration take the fore. Every region, where, in their understanding, core interests of the USA are involved, can become an object of intervention. They have really enjoyed it so much that intervention can be of any form, including the military one. They are the judges who make the sentences. They decide whether core interests of the USA are involved or not involved. If intervention is needed – Washington decides. A military intervention is required – Washington decides. They have appointed themselves the judges. Therefore, the activism of the US makes us alarmed.

We must see the danger in relation to Japan. Before, under Suzuki, but especially now, under Nakasone. Japan considers itself a kind of a NATO member. It kind of moved into the North Atlantic. The heads of the G-7 will meet in London in May or June. Japan is the seventh. The inclusion of Japan in Washington’s militarist plans makes us alarmed.