26. Letter From President Reagan to Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev 1

Dear Mr. Secretary General:

Secretary Baldrige’s visit to Moscow provides me the opportunity to repeat to you my desire for a more constructive working relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. An expansion of peaceful trade can and should be an important part of an improved relationship between our countries.

I place great significance on the discussions between Secretary Baldrige and Minister Patolichev in Moscow. They are holding the first meeting of our Joint Commercial Commission in seven years, and their meeting reflects the judgment of both our governments that an expansion of our peaceful trade is now appropriate. It is my hope that their achievements will result not only in increased trade, but also in an increased desire to seek greater cooperation in areas other than trade.

I have asked Secretary Baldrige to have pragmatic discussions with Minister Patolichev, so that the meeting of our Joint Commercial Commission will result in concrete actions by both sides to expand trade where that is now possible. To leave no doubt that the United States favors the expansion of peaceful trade with the Soviet Union, I have also authorized Secretary Baldrige to join with Minister Patolichev in a public statement on the development of trade relations.

While I believe there are some actions we can take now to facilitate trade, I doubt that there can be a fundamental change in our trade relationship without parallel improvements in other aspects of our relationship. I have mentioned in my previous letters some of the areas in which improvements would contribute greatly to a climate in which [Page 79] a more complete development of trade and economic cooperation would be possible.

It is my hope that upon his return from Moscow Secretary Baldrige will be able to report to me that there are areas in which both our countries can benefit from commercial cooperation and that there is Soviet interest in parallel improvements in other parts of our relationship. Given such progress, I believe that the development of our trade relationship is a question in which you and I could usefully take a continuing personal interest. I will welcome any suggestions you may have in this regard.


Ronald Reagan
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, US-USSR Summits, E.1, President/Gorbachev Correspondence. No classification marking. In a May 10 covering memorandum to McFarlane, Matlock explained: “Commerce has requested a letter from the President to Gorbachev for Secretary Baldrige to deliver in case he is granted an appointment. I have made some changes in the Commerce/State draft to reflect elements of the previous correspondence. In particular, I have made the reference to emigration indirect (though unmistakable), since I believe that direct mention in a letter which will have wider distribution in the Soviet bureaucracy than the confidential correspondence would be counterproductive.” Poindexter initialed his approval that McFarlane forward a copy to the President. Matlock drafted and attached a May 10 covering memorandum from McFarlane to Reagan, forwarding the letter; Reagan initialed his approval and signed the letter. (Reagan Library, Jack Matlock Files, Chronological File, 1980–1986, Matlock Chron May 1985 (3/5)) Baldrige was traveling to Moscow for meetings of the Joint Commercial Commission, scheduled to begin May 20. See Documents 31 and 32.