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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • February, 1989

    Cable from the US Embassy in Moscow to the Secretary of State, 'US-Soviet Relations: Policy Opportunities'

    Approaches to take advantage of the evolving political landscape in the Soviet Union to leverage and promote US interests via Soviet policy proposals.

  • February 24, 1989

    The Political Processes in the European Socialist Countries and the Proposals for Our Practical Steps Considering the Situation Which Has Arisen in Them

    “The Political Processes in the European Socialist Countries and the Proposals for Our Practical Steps Considering the Situation Which Has Arisen in Them” – an evaluation by the Soviet Union of changes in the Eastern European countries and measures that need to be taken in order to maintain ties with these countries

  • March 24, 1989

    Conversation between M.S. Gorbachev and Karoly Grosz, General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, March 23-24, 1989

    These conversations reveal Gorbachev’s contradictions, as the Soviet leader proclaims again that the Brezhnev doctrine is dead and military interventions should be "precluded in the future, yet at the same time, tries to set "boundaries" for the changes in Eastern Europe as "the safekeeping of socialism and assurance of stability."

  • April, 1989

    Central Intelligence Agency, 'Rising Political Instability Under Gorbachev: Understanding the Problem and Prospects for Resolution: An Intelligence Assessment'

    An analysis of the mounting dysfunction and political instability within the Soviet Union.

  • June 05, 1989

    Transcript of the Central Committee Secretariat Meeting of the Polish United Workers Party (PZPR)

    On the day after Solidarity had swept Poland’s first open elections, ultimately winning 99 of 100 Senate seats, the Polish Communists vent their shock and dismay ("a bitter lesson," "the party are not connected with the masses," "We trusted the Church and they turned out to be Jesuits" were typical comments). Comrade Kwasniewski (who was later elected President of Poland) remarks that "It’s well known that also party members were crossing out our candidates" (only two out of 35 Party candidates survived the epidemic of X’s). But they see no choice but to negotiate a coalition government, and specifically "[w]arn against attempts at destabilization, pointing at the situation in China" -- since the Tiananmen massacre occurred the same day as the Polish elections, the road not taken.

  • June 09, 1989

    Records of the Talks between GDR Comrade Erich Honecker, and Member of the Politburo and Minister for Foreign Affairs the USSR, Eduard A. Shevardnadze

    GDR Chairman Honecker and Shevardnadze discuss the state of the German Democratic Republic and the CPSU's outlook on and relationship with East Germany, as well as both of their perspectives on the sociopolitical landscape in Poland, its recent election and the battle to maintain socialism in Poland.

  • June 13, 1989

    Excerpts from the Opening Full Session of the Hungarian National Roundtable Negotiations

    Transcribed from previously unpublished video recordings, these discussions point to the unwritten "rules" of mutual civility that arose in the nonviolent dissident movements and found an echo among the Communist reformers during the negotiated revolutions of 1989. For example, Dr. Istvan Kukorelli from the Patriotic People’s Front proposes to "refrain from questioning the legitimacy of each other, since the legitimacy of all of us is debatable. It is a question which belongs to the future - who will be given credit by history and who will be forgotten."

  • July 25, 1989

    Report of the President of Hungary Rezso Nyers and General Secretary Karoly Grosz on Talks with Gorbachev in Moscow (excerpts)

    President of People’s Republic of Hungary, Rezso Nyers, and General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, Karoly Grosz, report on their talks with Gorbachev in Moscow, 24-25 July, 1989. The excerpts contains economic reformer Nyers’ assessment of the political situation in Hungary, and first among the factors that "can defeat the party," he lists "the past, if we let ourselves [be] smeared with it." The memory of the revolution of 1956 and its bloody repression by the Soviets was Banquo’s ghost, destroying the legitimacy of the Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, just as 1968 in Prague and 1981’s martial law in Poland and all the other Communist "blank spots" of history came back in 1989 to crumble Communist ideology. For their part, the Communist reformers (including Gorbachev) did not quite know how to respond as events accelerated in 1989, except not to repeat 1956.

  • September 10, 1989

    Letter from GDR Ambassador to Hungary, Gerd Vehres, to Foreign Minister Osker Fischer

    A letter from Gerd Vehres to Oskar Fischer detailing aspects of his conversation with Rezso Nyers in Vehres complains about Hungary opening its border to allow GDR citizens to illegally travel to Austria.

  • November 09, 1989

    Conversation between Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa

    In this extraordinary conversation, Solidarity’s leader fears the collapse of the Wall would distract West Germany’s attention - and money - to the GDR, at the time when Poland, the trail-blazer to the post-communist era in Eastern Europe, desperately needed both. "Events are moving too fast," Walesa said, and only hours later, the Wall fell, and Kohl had to cut his Poland visit short to scramble back to Berlin, thus proving Walesa’s fear correct.

  • February 09, 1990

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

    Gorbachev and Baker discuss cuts in strategic arms and conventional forces, focusing on air-based and sea-based cruise missiles.

  • October 29, 1990

    Record of a Conversation Between M. S. Gorbachev and President of France, F. Mitterrand

    Record of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand, on the subject of Saddam Hussein and his invasion of Kuwait. Both leaders stress the importance of avoiding military conflict and the necessity of a united front for the permanent members of the UN Security Council in order to achieve this. Mitterrand notes his apprehension over the US perception of UN Charter Article 51 and the possibility US initiation of hostilities.

  • 1998

    Interview with Robert W. Hultslander, Last CIA Station Chief in Luanda, Angola

    CIA station chief in Luanda, Hultslander gives his perspective on the US involvement in Angola. In his interview he explains what the US knew about liberation movements prior to the outbreak of Civil War, his opinion on the CIA covert action program IAFEATURE, the Cuban presence in Angola and his assessment of the leading factions in Angola; MPLA, UNITA and FNLA.