Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of a subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the foreign policies of the administration of Ronald Reagan. Four volumes in the subseries are devoted to Reagan’s Soviet policies: Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume III, Soviet Union, January 1981–January 1983; Volume IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985; Volume V, Soviet Union, March 1985–October 1986; and Volume VI, October 1986–January 1989. The crafting and negotiation of the landmark U.S.-Soviet nuclear treaties of this era are explored in two additional volumes: Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XI, START I, 1981–1988, and Volume XII, INF, 1984–1987. Documentation on chemical weapons, nuclear testing, and non-proliferation negotiations which involve the United States and the Soviet Union will be printed in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XL, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation; United Nations. Discussions and decisions pertaining to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the “narrow vs. broad” interpretation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, strategic modernization, Interim Restraint Policy and the expiration of the unratified 1979 Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II), and the crafting of national security strategy will be printed in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XLIV, National Security Policy, 1985–1988. Readers seeking further illumination of the global cold war during this period should consult Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume VIII, Western Europe, 1985–1988; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume IX, Poland, 1982–1987; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume X, Eastern Europe; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Central America, 1985–1988; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XXVI, Southern Africa, 1985–1988; Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XXXII, Southeast Asia; Pacific; and Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume XXXV, Afghanistan, 1985–1989.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, Volume VI

This volume commences immediately following the October 10–11, 1986, weekend in Reykjavik, Iceland, when U.S. and Soviet leaders discussed the total elimination of nuclear weapons, and centers around three summits: the Washington Summit in December 1987, where President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; the Moscow Summit of May–June 1988, when Reagan stood in [Page X] Red Square and stated that his phrase of 5 years earlier—“evil empire”—applied to “another time, another era”; and a final meeting, on Governor’s Island, New York, in December 1988 where Gorbachev hailed President-elect George H.W. Bush and bade Reagan farewell. Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze accompanied their respective leaders on such occasions, but other times, they led delegations to Geneva, Moscow, and Washington. The documentation focuses on these key encounters among Reagan, Gorbachev, Shultz, and Shevardnadze.

The volume also documents the roles played by other U.S. officials in crafting the administration’s approach to the Soviet Union. One such figure was Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, who clashed with Shultz over matters of substance and style in meetings of the National Security Council (NSC) and National Security Planning Group prior to the former’s resignation in November 1987. Other driving U.S. figures in the formulation of Soviet policies were Frank Carlucci (who replaced John Poindexter as the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs in December 1986), Colin Powell (who took over when Carlucci succeeded Weinberger at the Pentagon in November 1987), Fritz Ermarth (Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs at the NSC), Roseanne “Roz” Ridgway (Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs), Richard Solomon (Director of the Policy Planning Staff), and Jack Matlock, who preceded Ermarth on the NSC staff before succeeding Arthur Hartman as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Documentation is included on the Reagan administration’s four-pronged approach to U.S.-Soviet relations laid out in Foreign Relations, Volume IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985 and Foreign Relations, Volume V, Soviet Union, March 1985–October 1986. Carlucci lauded this framework in an April 1987 memorandum to Reagan that was drafted by Ermarth, characterizing “arms reductions, easing regional conflicts, human rights, and bilateral contacts” as an agenda that “is steady, but flexible; it can deal with positive as well as negative developments in Soviet behavior.” (Document 34) As the volume shows, some in the administration, such as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates, who served as acting director during the illness of William Casey and until the confirmation of William Webster in May 1987, were skeptical of this approach. The views of Vice President George H.W. Bush and Chief of Staff Howard Baker, who provided Reagan counsel on seizing the opportunities and meeting the challenges that the Gorbachev phenomenon provided and posed, are also represented.


The editor wishes to thank officials at the Ronald Reagan Library, especially Cate Sewell and Lisa Jones, and the Library of Congress, es [Page XI] pecially Jeffrey Flannery and Ernest Emrich. Thanks are also due to the Central Intelligence Agency for arranging access to the Reagan Library materials scanned for the Remote Archive Capture project. The History Staff of the Center for the Study of Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency was accommodating in arranging full access to the files of the Central Intelligence Agency; Sandy Meagher was helpful in providing access to Department of Defense materials. The editor also thanks the staff at the National Archives and Records Administration facility in College Park, Maryland, for their valuable assistance. The editor wishes to extend a special thanks to Jon Gundersen at the Department of State.

James Graham Wilson collected, selected, and edited the documentation for this volume under the supervision of David Geyer, Chief of the Europe Division, who reviewed the volume. Kristin Ahlberg, the Assistant to the General Editor, also reviewed the volume. Kerry Hite coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Carl Ashley, Chief of the Declassification Division. Kerry Hite and Heather McDaniel performed the technical and copy editing.

James Graham Wilson, Ph.D.