133. Letter From Romanian President Ceausescu to President Reagan1

Dear Mr. President:

I would first like to give you my warm greetings and best wishes, and to congratulate you once again on your re-election as President of the United States of America.

Continuing our exchange of messages on bilateral relations and some international matters, which has proved to be extremely useful, I would like to impart to you my preoccupation about the very grave tension existing on the international scene. We are now in a decisive stage for mankind, at a crossroads where the question is whether to continue the arms race and especially the nuclear arms race, or to stop this dangerous course and resume policies of peace, detente, and disarmament.

In these conditions, which call for the greatest possible responsibility of heads of state and government, I consider that it is imperative for all countries to do everything possible to adopt concrete measures of disarmament, and firstly of nuclear disarmament, to stop the race toward a nuclear catastrophe and defend the supreme right of human beings to existence, life, and peace.

In this framework a special responsibility devolves upon the United States of America and the Soviet Union, which possess the preponderance of nuclear arms and other types of weapons, and directly upon you, Mr. President, and on Mr. Konstantin U. Chernenko, the President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.

That is why we welcome the January meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the United States of America and the Soviet Union.2 We also believe that this meeting should create the conditions for convening a direct summit meeting between you and the President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet.

Romania, like all countries in the world, expects that the meeting between the Foreign Ministers of the United States of America and the Soviet Union will set the foundations for new negotiations on disarmament issues and other complex problems in the international situation.

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In reference to the foregoing, I would like to present to you certain Romanian views.

Without any doubt, a global approach to disarmament issues has great importance, but this does not mean that some major issues should be neglected or postponed. In this regard, I consider that the beginning of the negotiations should work from the necessity of freezing the development of nuclear arms and other types of weapons, at least while the negotiations are carried on. This would increase mutual trust between both sides and assure positive development and results for the negotiations.

Special priority in these talks should be given to halting the arms race, to moving on to disarmament and first of all nuclear disarmament, to measures for halting and reducing military expenditures, and to the renunciation of any nuclear testing.

The basic idea in taking these measures is that the realization of military balance between the two sides has to be achieved not by increasing weapons, but by reducing weapons and nuclear arms to the smallest possible level. It would be equally important to conclude an agreement on banning the militarization and other military activities in outer space, while enshrining general regulations for the utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes.

The serious situation in Europe requires that during the negotiations a total priority should be given to the halting of both the deployment of intermediate range American missiles in West European countries and to the countermeasures taken by the Soviet Union and some of the socialist countries in Europe, followed by measures conducive to turning Europe into a continent free of nuclear weapons.

The halting of deployment of the American intermediate range missiles and of the Soviet nuclear countermeasures will represent an element of confidence, and will create a better climate for progress in the talks and for concluding them with positive results.

In view of the grave situation in Europe and, bearing in mind that the intermediate range missiles are first of all aimed at the European countries, it is necessary that the countries of Europe and especially the members of both military alliances—NATO and the Warsaw Treaty—assume a greater responsibility and participate in an appropriate form in the solution of peace problems and firstly of disarmament, of nuclear disarmament, to contribute to the realization of an agreement for the elimination of intermediate range missiles and other nuclear weapons from Europe and from the world. Romania considers that unfailing efforts are necessary for successful development of the Stockholm Conference on confidence-building measures and disarmament in Europe.3

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A successful conclusion of this conference would have great importance for detente and cooperation, for strengthening confidence and friendship among the participating countries.

We also feel that it is necessary to act more decisively in order to reach a suitable agreement at the Vienna talks for reducing military armaments and troops in Central Europe,4 an agreement which would have an important role in promoting a policy of peace, confidence, and cooperation on our continent.

In order to achieve a healthier international situation it is necessary to act with all strength and to intensify political and diplomatic efforts for solving only by means of negotiation all conflicts and legal disputes between states.

To that end, I consider that it is necessary to organize an international conference under the aegis of the United Nations with participation of all interested countries—including the PLO, the United States, and the Soviet Union—conducive to the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, to securing the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, including the creation of an independent state.

At the same time, it is necessary to intensify efforts for settlement of the situation in Southern Africa and especially for assuring Namibia’s right to independence.

Romania considers that, taking into account the current situation of the world economy and the worsening of the economic situations of developing countries it is necessary, as I expressed to you in my previous messages, to take urgent and efficient measures which should lead to settlement of problems of underdevelopment and foreign debts of the developing countries, and for the establishment of a new international economic order.

I would like to emphasize the constant preoccupation of Romania that relations between states should be based on equality of rights, respect for national independence and sovereignty, noninterference in internal affairs, mutual advantage, renunciation of the use or threat of force, and the right of every country to decide freely its own path of social and economic development, without any outside intervention.

I express my hope that you personally, Mr. President, will do everything possible for the commencement and successful development of the talks for halting the arms race and for the achievement of disarmament for assuring peace and independence of all peoples.

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I would like to assure you that as concerns Romania, as in the past, it will do everything to contribute, together with other countries, to the achievement of disarmament and assuring peace, security, and international cooperation, and we will support every step toward that end.

Dear Mr. President, I would also like to make a few remarks concerning prospects for the development of relations between our countries. I consider that by intensifying efforts in the spirit of the agreements we have reached by previous messages, we will be able further to increase commercial exchanges and economic cooperation in production.

In that respect, the positive settlement of the question of export licenses, as well as the granting of most-favored nation status for Romania on a permanent basis or at least for several years would give impetus and stability to our economic relations.

I am confident that in the future as well we will act together for the development of the bilateral relations between our countries, for the extension of our cooperation in the international field, for a policy of peace and cooperation, of disarmament and respect for the national independence of all peoples.

With very best wishes,

Nicolae Ceausescu5
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Paula J. Dobriansky Files, Romania—Correspondence (6). Secret. Printed from an informal translation of the letter, which was received via telegram.
  2. Shultz and Gromyko met in Geneva January 7–8, 1985. See Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985, Documents 356363.
  3. January 17 1984–September 19, 1986.
  4. Documentation on the U.S. policy regarding the Vienna talks is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1989–1992, vol. X, European Security Framework, 1984–1992.
  5. The translation bears this typed signature.