135. Telegram From the Embassy in Romania to the Department of State1



  • Letter From Ceausescu to President Reagan Regarding U.S.-Soviet Arms Negotiations and the Middle East.
(C—Entire text.)
Summary: Early this afternoon (March 9) Foreign Minister Stefan Andrei handed the Ambassador a letter from President Ceausescu to President Reagan concerning the forthcoming U.S.-Soviet arms talks at Geneva and the Middle Eastern situation with the request that it be sent at once. Ceausescu urged—as he has in the past—that U.S. INF deployments in Western Europe and Soviet countermeasures be halted or frozen during negotiations. He also again called for halting every action directed toward the militarization of space. Ceausescu wrote that his first priority regarding the Geneva talks had to be the arriving of an acceptable agreement regarding nuclear arms on the continent of Europe; and he again called for the participation of European countries, especially those of the Warsaw Pact and NATO, to actively contribute to the success of the Soviet-American negotiations.
Where Ceausescu broke new ground, however, was concerning the Middle East. After hailing the recent Jordanian-Palestinian agreement2 as “positive” and again calling for an international conference to achieve a global solution to the Middle Eastern problem he made a strong pitch for the participation of Syria in such a conference and in all other activities concerning a Middle Eastern settlement—a participation which he described as “indispensable.” Ceausescu also proposed that the UN Secretary General be empowered to enter into contact with the “two parties” and to organize “indirect” negotiations between them.
After presenting the letter to the Ambassador and reviewing its contents with him, Foreign Minister Andrei made a strong appeal on behalf of his President for the United States to adopt a “constructive” position regarding the import of Romanian steel—i.e. to give [Page 372] preferential treatment to Romania regarding the import of cold steel plate in current voluntary restriction agreement talks. End summary.
This afternoon (March 9) Foreign Minister Stefan Andrei summoned the Ambassador to the Ministry to hand him a letter from President Ceausescu to President Reagan with a request that it be sent at once. He did not state whether a similar letter was being sent to the Soviet leadership.
At the conclusion of his description of the letter’s contents, Andrei made a strong pitch on behalf of Ceausescu for the United States to grant preferential treatment to Romania regarding cold steel plate imports. He referred to his discussions with Secretary Baldrige and Vice President Bush and their declared intention to ensure the expansion of Romanian exports to the U.S. He noted that his government was aware of the measures taken by the U.S. to regulate steel imports, but said that Washington should make a special effort to understand Romania’s particular situation.
Andrei personally requested that Secretary Shultz look into this matter on his behalf and give (political) attention to it in context of the development of good relations between the U.S. and Romania. He added that it was necessary for the U.S. to reduce armaments and not imports of steel from Romania.
An Embassy translation of the text of the letter from President Ceausescu to President Reagan follows. (The original in the Romanian language will be sent by classified pouch March 12 to EUR/EEY.)
Begin text:

“Esteemed Mr. President:

“In the context of the established exchange of opinions between us and noting existing problems of international life, I want to give you my thoughts regarding some aspects of world situations.

“We now find ourselves at a decisive moment for the future evolution of international life and the way events will develop this year will depend very much on whether one will succeed in halting the present dangerous course or mankind will continue to direct itself toward a world war, toward a nuclear catastrophe.

“I value highly the January meetings between the Foreign Ministers of the USA and the Soviet Union and the understandings regarding the beginning of American-Soviet negotiations on March 12 this year.3 To be sure, the beginning of negotiations does not mean the changing of the course of international events nor the solution of serious nuclear armaments problems.

[Page 373]

“The peoples of our countries, and also all the peoples of the world, expect the negotiations between the USA and the Soviet Union to lead to understandings which ensure the halting of the nuclear arms race, the prevention of the militarization of space, and the beginning of practical measures for nuclear disarmament.

“I especially appreciate your and the Soviet leaders’ declarations that both parties are ready to go to radical measures for reducing nuclear armaments.

“Because it is possible that the negotiations could last a long time, I consider that it is necessary that nuclear armaments be halted or frozen during the period of the negotiations, and primarily the production of new nuclear arms and the deployment of American medium-range nuclear rockets in some Western European countries and the application of Soviet nuclear countermeasures, as well as every action for the militarization of cosmic space. Such a measure would be saluted by all European states and by all the world’s peoples.

“Even the beginning of such measures at the beginning of Soviet-American negotiations would lead to the increase of mutual trust, would be a proof of the will of both participating parties to the negotiations to arrive at a suitable accord, would constitute an expression of the desire and will of putting an end to the nuclear arms race and of beginning the reduction of nuclear arsenals and of the other armaments, and would positively influence the result of the Geneva negotiations.

“One cannot conceive of the development of negotiations and the continuation at the same time of the nuclear arms race. Similarly, how will it be possible to advance toward identifying solutions if production and deployment of new arms will continue, the very things which would cause a change in the basis for beginning the negotiations.

“The halting of the expansion and the beginning of the reduction of strategic arms and the stopping of every action directed toward the militarization of cosmic space has, to be sure, a special importance for the effort of halting the nuclear arms race. The extension of the arms race into space will lead to the intensification of the arms race in general and will increase the danger of a nuclear war. But, because intermediate-range nuclear arms continue to be deployed in Europe, they represent an immediate problem of major importance for the people of the continent.

“Therefore, I consider that in the framework of the Geneva negotiations the problems regarding the deployment of American intermediate-range nuclear rockets in some Western European countries and of Soviet countermeasures would have to have priority to arrive at the achievement of an appropriate understanding which would assure the withdrawal of existing nuclear rockets on the continent and the freeing of Europe of every form of nuclear arms.

[Page 374]

“Since the problems which are (make) the subject of the Soviet-American negotiations concern the life, the existence, and the security of all peoples, I consider that it is necessary for the USA and the USSR also to agree to create conditions for all states also to have an active role and to contribute to the successful conclusion of the Geneva negotiations.

“Mindful of the grave situation existing in Europe because of the large quantities of nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction, I consider that it is necessary that European countries demonstrate more initiative and participate in an appropriate way in the negotiations between the USSR and the USA regarding disarmament. Especially I consider that it is necessary for countries in the Warsaw Pact and NATO to meet and actively contribute to the success of the Soviet-American negotiations.

“It is of special importance that parallel to the negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States that the activity of the conference for disarmament at Geneva, the conference for trust and disarmament at Stockholm, the negotiations at Vienna regarding the reduction of armaments and armed effectives in Central Europe, and efforts in other international conferences concerning disarmament should be intensified, in order to arrive at appropriate agreements which would positively influence the development and the success of the Soviet-American negotiations.

“The strengthening of international peace and security requires the solving of conditions of war and conflict in the different regions of the world. Romania has declared and declares itself firmly for the solution on a political path, through negotiations, of all contentious situations between states.

“In this spirit, I consider that at present it is necessary to intensify diplomatic activity to achieve a lasting and just peace in the Middle East.

“I appreciate that the recent Jordanian-Palestinian agreement is a positive factor toward a political solution in the Middle East. Now it is necessary to make further efforts for a political solution in the Middle East through the organization of an international conference in the framework of the U.N., with the participation of all interested parties and of the Palestine Liberation Organization and of the U.S. and USSR. It is necessary to act to arrive at an agreement regarding the organization of this conference, at which Syria too would necessarily participate. I consider that every initiative would have to have in view the active participation of Syria. I am firmly convinced that Syria cannot be left out of a part in the discussions and the solution of the situation in the Middle East, at a time when its engagement and active participation would give a real perspective for arriving at a global solution in the Middle East.

[Page 375]

“For the preparation of this international conference it would be possible to consider that the Secretary General of the U.N. would be empowered to enter into contact with the two parties—as he acted in the Cyprus problem—and to organize indirect (Embassy note: repeat indirect) negotiations between the two parties.

“These were some considerations which I wanted to share with you regarding the forthcoming Soviet-American negotiations and the present situation in the Middle East.

“On this occasion I want to refer generally to Romanian-American bilateral relations. I express my trust that in the spirit of earlier established understandings we will act to expand commercial exchanges and cooperation in production, to intensify relations in the area of science and technology, education, culture and other areas.

“I am convinced that the development of bilateral Romanian-American relations and the intensifying of our cooperation on the international level correspond to the interests of the two nations, and to policies of peace, security and international collaboration.

“With friendship,

Nicolae Ceausescu” End text.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Paula J. Dobriansky Files, Romania—Cables (4). Confidential; Niact Immediate; Exdis.
  2. On February 12, it was reported that King Hussein and Yasser Arafat had agreed on a “framework for common action” to settle the Palestinian issue. (Christopher Dickey, “Hussein-Arafat Reported In Agreement on Action Plan,” Washington Post, February 12, 1985, p. A17.) See documentation scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XIX, Arab-Israeli Dispute.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 134.