40. Message From Soviet General Secretary Brezhnev to President Reagan 1

Dear Mr. President:

In connection with your communication of April 4,2 I am bound to state at the outset, that in our opinion, its content and its form serve [Page 103] no useful purpose either at the level of Soviet-American relations or from the point of view of the normalization of the situation in Poland.

In fact, it repeats again the motif of imaginary “threats” to Poland on the part of the Soviet Union which already for an extended time have been tossed from one American announcement to another.

The more frequently such statements are made the more apparent becomes their true character. It is doubtful that anyone can be deceived by them. Already for a long time—practically from the beginning of the well-known internal events in Poland—it was precisely the United States, and the Administration itself, that has applied crude pressure on the situation in Poland and, in essence, interfered in the internal affairs of that country.

When in Washington, at the very highest official levels, there are issued public “warnings” to the Polish People’s Republic against the adoption of measures to stop the actions of those who strive to throw the country into anarchy and at the same time, in no unmistakable terms, there are threats of some kinds of punishments, we are faced not just with interference but with open incitement to the continuation of disorders and disobedience of legitimate authority. By virtue of what right is this done?

And is it necessary to recall what is being done for the support of anti-government elements in Poland by way of American secret services and other organizations, particularly through the radio broadcasts to that country by stations which are controlled by the U.S. government? It is no secret that the same purposes are served also by the pseudo-humanitarian assistance to particular groups in Poland on the part of certain American trade unions.

Actions of this kind are impermissible in relations between sovereign states. The USA, after all, has also signed the United Nations Charter which gives no one the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. And in how many authoritative international documents since the UN Charter have the governments of the world decisively expressed themselves in favor of this principle, hallowed by centuries, which no one is allowed to trample?

We wish directly to warn the United States of America: do not interfere in the internal affairs of Poland. If Washington genuinely desires that life in Poland return as soon as possible to normal—as is declared there, from time to time—then one should act accordingly.

As concerns the happenings in Poland, we have proceeded and continue to proceed from the collective position of the states of the Warsaw Pact, which, we assume, is known to you.

It should be clear that socialist Poland which, together with its allies, is a member of the organization of the Warsaw Pact, is going to [Page 104] be protected from all assaults from the outside on its prevailing system, from all claims of external powers to intervene in the solution of its internal affairs.

And one more thing. In your communication you make an attempt to link the internal events in Poland with international problems and to issue some kind of warnings on that subject. In this connection one can only express regret that in Washington, apparently, there is inadequate awareness of the truth that any positive achievement can be only the result of the mutual wish of the parties. In the solution of international problems, whether these be questions of European security or arms limitation, all states must be equally interested, including the US, and no one may assume that here one can punish someone else without first punishing himself.

Of course, I am decidedly not in agreement with the manner in which in your communication you interpret the Afghanistan question. Our point of view on this question, we have expressed more than once (word garbled) is scarcely necessary to do this again.

If one is to touch on the American position in regard to Afghanistan then it is clearly reflected in such facts as the recent public announcement of the intention of USA to provide weapons to the interventionists and terrorists who are sent into Afghanistan, as well as the pressure exerted by the US on Pakistan for the purpose of preventing the opening of an Afghanistan-Pakistan dialogue with which we sympathize and which would open the way to a political solution of the problem.

Mr. President, I have frankly given you our position on the questions which you have raised. We are indeed ready to discuss any problems which may arise. It seems, however, that it would be counterproductive and not in the interests of our two countries to reduce everything to mutual recriminations and accusations. The situation in the world is such that there is a pressing necessity for a constructive dialogue for the purpose of locating mutually acceptable solutions of the world’s unresolved problems. This also applies to Soviet-American relations.


L. Brezhnev
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Head of State File, Box 38, USSR: General Secretary Brezhnev (8190199, 8190200, 819201). Top Secret. The original Russian version of the message was sent via Molink on April 7. (Ibid.)
  2. See Document 39.