134. Letter From President Reagan to Romanian President Ceausescu1

Dear Mr. President:

I appreciate your letters of June 252 and December 15,3 and would like to share my thinking about current U.S.-Soviet relations, the Middle East, and the bilateral relationship between our two countries.

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I am gratified that the Geneva discussions established the format and objectives for forthcoming negotiations, and that the Soviet Union has agreed to resume the dialogue on nuclear arms issues.4 We are deeply interested in making rapid progress toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons and believe that substantial reciprocal reductions would serve the interests of the United States, the Soviet Union, and the entire world.

I am optimistic that important progress can be made even though profound differences remain. I look to 1985 as a year for dialogue leading to better U.S.-Soviet relations. In addition to seeking early progress in the new arms negotiations, we will continue to pursue dialogue with the Soviets on regional problems, human rights, and bilateral issues. With a constructive approach on the Soviets’ part, I am hopeful that a more stable and productive U.S.-Soviet relationship will emerge.

Tough issues, like space and other defensive weapons, will have to be resolved. We are prepared to discuss our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and the broader question of strategic defense. But it must be understood that the SDI is a research effort to determine whether it will be possible for both countries to move away from a nuclear relationship based on the threat of mutual annihilation. No steps beyond research have been decided, nor could they be for several years. In any case, to restrict research would be neither practical nor verifiable, even if it were desirable. In the near term, priority must be given to radically reducing offensive nuclear weapons.

We are prepared to go beyond where we left off in the last round of Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) in exploring mutually acceptable approaches to reducing strategic arms. We are also ready to consider new approaches to reductions in intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF). I appreciate your advice but frankly, I do not believe that a halt to U.S. deployments and Soviet “countermeasures” is a balanced or viable approach. U.S. intermediate-range missiles are being deployed to offset the enormous—and growing—force of Soviet SS–20 missiles. Any agreement must be based on reductions to equal global levels in this class of systems.

As a practical matter, I feel that progress in the three groups which were agreed upon at Geneva need not be linked. If an understanding is reached in one or two areas and both sides agree it is in their interest, the agreement should be implemented.

Regarding the Middle East, we remain committed to working with the parties to achieve a peaceful settlement between Israel and its [Page 370] neighbors. I understand that you will see Prime Minister Peres in late February. I want you to know that we believe an essential next step in moving the peace process forward is the commencement of direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan—rather than an international conference—and that efforts by all countries interested in the search for peace should be directed toward that goal. I believe that the positions in my September 1, 1982, Middle East peace initiative,5 which is based on Security Council resolution 242 and fully consistent with the Camp David framework, continue to be realistic and workable and could point the way to an equitable settlement. However, these positions do not have to be accepted in advance of negotiations. We would expect the parties to bring their own positions to the bargaining table.

As I told Vice President Manescu last September,6 I sincerely appreciated Romania’s important contribution to the Los Angeles Olympics and the Olympic movement. I believe our bilateral relations are good, are based on common interests, and continue to mature. U.S. officials will continue actively to consult with Romanian colleagues on bilateral issues and in multilateral fora. I know you are aware of the importance of human rights issues in our perception of the bilateral relationship, and we will continue privately to raise specific human rights concerns with Romanian officials.

You wrote to me about the desirability of our approving export licenses for Romania. As you know, the area of technology transfer is a sensitive one, because advanced technology is one of our greatest strategic assets. My administration has approved the great majority of export license applications for Romania. We have not found solutions to some cases in which we are aware of your personal interest. I want to assure you, however, that I personally have given considerable attention to these cases, and we will continue to seek case-by-case approval of export licenses for Romania consistent with national security considerations.

With best wishes.


Ronald Reagan
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Paula J. Dobriansky Files, Romania—Correspondence (7). No classification marking.
  2. See Document 125.
  3. See Document 133.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 133. The talks established the format for the U.S.-Soviet Nuclear and Space Arms negotiations that began in Geneva in March 1985. For documentation, see Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. V, Soviet Union, March 1985–October 1986.
  5. See Public Papers: Reagan, 1982, Book II, pp. 1093–1097. The address is also printed in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. I, Foundations of Foreign Policy, Document 116.
  6. See UN Yearbook, 1967, pp. 245–258.