37. Letter From President Reagan to Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev1

Dear Mr. General Secretary:

It has been a long time since you and I last communicated directly. I am pleased that the visit of Secretary Shultz to Moscow offers us an opportunity to resume our direct dialogue.

I can recall at Geneva sitting before a fireplace and commenting that you and I were in a unique position. Together we can make the difference in the future course of world events. Let us pray that you and I can continue our dialogue so that the future will be one of peace and prosperity for both our nations and for the world.

I can also recall commenting to you that the very reason we are engaged in arms reductions negotiations is because of military competition that stems from the fundamental mistrust between our governments. If we are able to eliminate that distrust, arms reductions negotiations will be much easier.

There has been a recent incident that has caused problems between our two countries, and I feel strongly about this issue.2 At the same time, however, I am encouraged by many of the steps you are taking to modernize your own country and by the improved dialogue between us on arms reductions. There has also been some progress on human rights, although much more needs to be done. But the dialogue on regional issues has been quite fruitless so far, and I hope that we can make strenuous efforts in this area, especially on Afghanistan.

Secretary Shultz will come to Moscow prepared to deal with a broad range of issues. He will carry with him positions that I have reviewed carefully and that are designed to improve the climate [Page 133] between our two countries and to build on the progress we have already made in the arms reductions area.

I look forward to positive discussions during Secretary Shultz’ visit, and to a personal report from him immediately upon his return.3 Nancy joins me in sending very best regards to you and Raisa.


Ronald Reagan
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Head of State Correspondence File, U.S.S.R.: General Secretary Gorbachev (8790364) (#1). No classification marking. Shultz handed the letter to Gorbachev in Moscow on April 14, see Document 42.
  2. Reference is to the bugging of the Embassy in Moscow.
  3. See Document 48.