343. Telegram From the Embassy in Hungary to the Department of State1



  • Eastern Europe From Budapest—February 1988: Prospects and Opportunities.


  • 87 State 398186.2
This cable responds to Washington’s request (reftel) for posts’ views on Eastern Europe. The Country Team has tried to identify [Page 1081] key U.S. interests and develop specific policy recommendations for advancing each of these interests. While our views are colored by our Hungarian vantage point, we feel that the interests and the recommendations generally apply to all of Eastern Europe. We apologize for the length of this cable, but it is the result of several brain-storming sessions and contains lots of ideas—we hope some of them sensible.
General observations:
Viewed from Budapest, 1988 has strong potential to be one of Eastern Europe’s periodic watershed years. Many factors are at work which could combine to bring this about. These include deep-seated frustration with socialism’s inability to deliver a satisfactory standard of living after 40 years of trying; the feeling that aging leadership is not capable of carrying out badly needed changes; rising expectations aroused by Gorbachev and the spirit of glasnost; hope for East/West reconciliation kindled by improvement in U.S./Soviet ties and a trend towards greater outspokenness among ordinary citizens. These elements make the possibility of substantial unrest somewhere in Eastern Europe in 1988 greater than it has been since the emergence of Solidarity. With or without unrest, the pressures for change must be accommodated in some manner.
The current situation should provide opportunities to a younger generation of Eastern European leaders who recognize the serious shortcomings of socialism’s economic performance as well as the depth of public discontent. This recognition could produce policies characterized by increased decentralization, privatization and a somewhat greater reliance on market forces in the economy and possibly less repression and greater sophistication in public dialogue as a whole. The West’s leverage is increasing as these countries need us so badly in a variety of ways. We believe it is in the U.S. interest to assist efforts to respond to the popular demand for change in a meaningful, sustainable manner. The openings which such policies create present us, and our allies, with the opportunity to increase our levels of influence significantly and, hopefully, permanently, throughout the area.
Now is the time to develop specific measures to take advantage of the window of opportunity we are likely to have as Eastern European leaders try to introduce new policies which will both stimulate their economies and keep public discontent manageable. Our measures should be designed to be part of a gradual process which over 15–20 years will break down the largely artificial and unnatural boundaries dividing Eastern and Western Europe. We need to be prepared for reversals, particularly if serious unrest transpires and is put down, as in the past, by Soviet intervention. At the same time, we and our allies should be of the view that any such reversals are likely to be temporary since the inherent appeal of the West and its combination of economic [Page 1082] prosperity and political and cultural pluralism is a constant. We must recognize that our policies alone will not be the determining factor, but if they are executed in a skillful and timely fashion—and in coordination with the other members of NATO—they will be an important further stimulus to the trends in Eastern Europe we need to encourage.
We set forth below six Western interests and concrete steps to further each.

I. U.S. Interest in the Economic Reform Process in Eastern Europe

A top U.S. policy priority should be strong encouragement to the continuation and intensification of Eastern European economic reforms. These reforms are an unmitigated plus for us. They allow more enterprises to develop ties with the West—thereby increasing opportunities for U.S. exports—develop broad appreciation for the efficiency inherent in Western economies, and stimulate higher levels of personal contact. Ultimately, they could have profound political significance as well—changing the basic nature of these systems. For example the reform process in Hungary has encouraged a greater role for the individual, somewhat more openness and diversity in society and has generated additional demands for greater freedom from government control.

The effective execution of the reform process will require successful Eastern European businessmen to think and act like their Western counterparts. This need stimulates interest in Western management which we are responding to with the U.S.-Hungarian joint venture to establish a regional management training center. (This center will organize conferences on economic reform and provide consultant services as well).
We view the critical factors in the reform process as being the reduction of central plans and subsidies, continued movement towards market prices, emphasis on profits, a willingness to allow unprofitable enterprises to fail, greater incentives for individuals, increased receptivity to direct foreign investment and more intense links with the world economy.
We strongly agreed with DAS Tom Simons’ point that Eastern Europe’s precarious debt situation offers to the West important leverage that should be utilized. The IMF, in its discussions with the Hungarians regarding a stand-by agreement, has reached a tentative agreement which balances a traditional demand management program with performance criteria calling for further economic reforms. On balance, however, it appears that this program’s main emphasis remains on the demand management side. The IMF, the Bank, the USG and the West badly need a more comprehensive strategy for economic reform in Eastern Europe. We need to think through what is realistic in both the near and medium terms—broadly and for each country. And, we need to develop a specific set of tactics. For example, we should encourage [Page 1083] the Fund to include performance criteria calling for economic reform in its Eastern European programs. Perhaps, the Department could take the lead in setting up a task force that woul include non-USG experts to develop such a strategy.
Our potential to affect policy decisions by Eastern European governments in the area of trade is greater than we may appreciate. While U.S. trade with Eastern Europe is a very small percentage of our total trade and is really not of critical significance for any OECD country, we believe access to Western technology and markets is crucial if Eastern European economies are ever to become competitive and resume a pattern of healthy economic growth. Hungary’s annual exports to the U.S. of dols 250 million may only look like a drop in the bucket to us, but is very significant when viewed from Budapest. The U.S. is now Hungary’s 4th largest Western export market, accounts for about five percent of total hard currency sales and is viewed by many Hungarians as the market with the greatest untapped potential for growth. For some key enterprises, the U.S. is the key trading partner. The U.S. is the leading market for Hungarian exports of canned ham, while half of hard currency exports of Hungary’s top manufacturer of heavy equipment, Raba Gyor, goes to the U.S.
Throughout Eastern Europe more needs to be done to promote U.S. exports. At an absolute minimum, we should get back to the level of the early 1980s in those EE countries where there has been a steady decline. And, in places like Hungary where our exports are now growing, we need to sustain momentum. Although the markets are of modest size, they are the kind of markets our companies should be going after aggressively, if we ever expect to close our trade deficit. U.S. firms need to take a higher profile in Eastern Europe and we should be expanding our official commercial presence in the area. Specifically, each of our six embassies should have a foreign commercial service officer (only three do now). We should push the governments of these countries to increase U.S. imports, and not always turn to traditional Western European suppliers. Such action would be especially timely now given the current level of the dollar. The U.S. business presence in Hungary has increased dramatically, but it is still limited. Currently, there are 20 offices of American firms in Budapest versus only seven two years ago.
Greater Western and, particularly, U.S. commercial presence in Eastern Europe, has a very desirable spin-off in that it responds to the longing of local citizens to be part of a broader world community. In Hungary, we are promoting the establishment of American fast food outlets and a U.S. department store, featuring American consumer goods. Nothing will have a more visible impact than McDonald’s and K-Mart stores throughout Eastern Europe; nothing will break down the psychological Berlin walls more effectively.
Specific recommendations are:
Develop a U.S./Western strategy for economic reform in Eastern Europe and work much more closely with the IMF and the World Bank to implement it. For example, encourage the IMF to include performance criteria calling for economic reforms in their programs for East European countries.
Be prepared to respond to Eastern European governments’ efforts to institute meaningful reform measures in their economies, and more enlightened approaches towards dissidents and human rights with reciprocal economic actions of our own. In cases where there is genuine movement towards reform, this should include the extension of MFN to those countries who do not already have it and multi-year MFN to countries who do. (Ensure that if a decision is made to extend MFN to the Soviet Union, parallel treatment is given to Eastern Europe.)
Seek modification in existing legislation such as the Foreign Assistance Act3 blocking benefits like GSP, OPIC and the Trade and Development Program to countries “dominated by international communism”. Provide the President a sufficient escape clause to allow the USG to respond to special opportunities in Eastern Europe, where warranted.
Expand our export promotion programs throughout Eastern Europe and specifically have a foreign commercial service officer at each of our six embassies (there are currently only three).
Open American/Hungarian management center by the fall of 1988. Encourage support of the institute by Western governments and companies and attendance by managers from all over Eastern Europe. (We already have contacts with the Czechs, Poles and Soviets).
Introduce a more meaningful differentiation in our export control policies to favor countries disposed to cooperate with us.
Encourage greater Eastern European receptivity to Western investment and a reduction of the restrictions applicable to such investment.


II. Developing Ties With Eastern Europe’s New Generation of Leaders

One development in Eastern Europe which we can be certain about is the coming to power of a new generation of leadership. This process is already well underway in Hungary and even if Kadar is able to fend [Page 1085] off growing pressures to replace him at the special Party Congress this spring, the successor group is already heavily into day-to-day decisions. Prime Minister Grosz at 58 is a man of Gorbachev’s generation and is making every effort to be seen as a Hungarian personification of the Gorbachev approach. Many of the rising stars in the Hungarian Government and party are almost a generation younger than Grosz, being in their early 40s and late 30s. Grosz’s newly-appointed Senior Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Medgyessy is 45, while new Party Secretaries [Facsimile Page 11] Gyorgy Fejti (security affairs) and Miklos Nemeth (economics) are 41 and 39, respectively.

Eastern Europe’s new generation of leaders is likely to be more pragmatic, better educated and more widely travelled than their predecessor. A larger portion of them will also be able to speak some English and have an interest in improving their knowledge of the language. While we will need to keep in mind that these individuals will still have an ideological outlook influenced by long periods of training in party educational institutions, they are likely to be more approachable and easier to deal with than their predecessors.
It should be a top priority of U.S. policy to develop substantive contacts with this new generation of leaders while they are still relatively young. We need to devote significant attention to identify emerging leaders and get them to the United States through official visits, USIA leader grants, privately-sponsored study tours (such as those offered by the Soros Foundation) and participation in academic study programs.
Our success thus far with emerging Hungarian leaders has been encouraging. Party Secretary Nemeth has studied in the U.S., speaks good English and appears to be very comfortable with the American approach to business. Fejti completed a tour as a USIA leader grantee just before being elevated to his current post, which oversees both the Ministries of Interior and Defense, and wrote an internal party report full of praise for what he had seen in the U.S. Perhaps the most telling comment on the enormous benefits we reap by giving communist leaders first-hand exposure to the U.S. was made recently to the Ambassador by Gyorgy Aczel, the 70-year old Politburo member, ex-chief ideologist and Kadar confidant, upon his return from his first American trip last fall. Aczel commented “If I only could have done this 20 years ago, it would have made a big difference in my way of thinking.”
Of course, high-level visits are extremely valuable in developing contacts and expanding U.S. influence. Eastern Europe needs to be given a higher priority in travel plans of senior U.S. officials as well as when scheduling official visits by foreign dignitaries to the U.S. The travels of Deputy Secretary Whitehead to the area on a regular basis has been a very helpful development and the Vice President’s visit to [Page 1086] Poland appears to have been a major success.4 We should do more, including possible stops by the President and Secretary, where appropriate and encouraging key members of Congress to pay more attention to Eastern Europe—perhaps on their way to or from Moscow. One dramatic initiative would be a tour by an American President from Warsaw to Sofia. We are by far the most popular country in this part of the world and should take advantage of that popularity. In this spirit, we strongly support an official visit to the U.S. by Prime Minister Grosz this fall.
Specific recommendations:
Increase our efforts to send emerging younger party and government leaders to the U.S. on official grants. Consider an expansion of the IV grantee program to do this.
Work closely with the interested parties in the private sector (Soros Foundation, AFS, Young Presidents) to see how their activities might best complement our efforts to develop contacts with the new generation of leaders.
A Presidential tour of all of Eastern Europe.
Give Eastern Europe a higher priority in developing the travel plans of senior administration officials and in approving official visits to the U.S.
Actively encourage key Congressmen to visit Eastern Europe.
Invite Hungarian Prime Minister Grosz to the U.S in 1988.


III. Weakening of the Soviet Strategic Position in Eastern Europe

We have several thoughts about how to undermine the Soviet’s military strength in this part of the world.

We cannot expect to woo the Eastern European militaries from the Warsaw Pact. Soviet institutional control mechanisms are much too strong for any chance of success in that area especially among the professional officer corps. There are, however, opportunities to chip away at Soviet military dominance in Eastern Europe and accentuate, if not accelerate, fissures in the command and decision-making structure of the Warsaw Pact command and decision-making structure in which the Eastern European national armies have greater participation.
Reductions in Conventional Arms

Sizeable reductions in Soviet tank, infantry and artillery forces and the withdrawal of these forces from Eastern Europe would cause [Page 1087] the Soviet Union to rely to a greater extent on the national armies of its less modern Warsaw Pact allies. This, in turn, would require the Soviets to attempt to have their allies increase the size of their military forces or at the very least to modernize. The Soviets would take up the slack by providing to the Eastern European national armies some of the weaponry reduced as a result of a conventional forces agreement, but probably not for free. Even at reduced prices, none of the Eastern European nations can endure economically the massive modernization program that would be necessary to replace withdrawn Soviet forces.

Fully modernized Eastern European national armies would still not inspire confidence in Soviet military planners, since each of the Eastern European national armies rely largely on conscript soldiers who are susceptible to the same cultural, linguistic and historical prejudices as the population at large. Moreover, none of these armies has an independent history of recent military success that could serve to bind them together. Therefore, any programs effective in influencing the population as a whole will be effective among the rank and file soldier and reduce Soviet confidence in the reliability and effectiveness of their allies. In addition, withdrawal of Soviet forces would have a significant political impact within these countries—increasing pressures for reform and closer contacts with the West.
Opportunities to influence the Eastern European military elites are available, but they are going largely unutilized. We commend the JCS for its initiatives in this area and believe that with the establishment of greater U.S.-Soviet military contacts (Secy Carlucci-DefMin Yazov, for example), we have new openings in Eastern Europe.
Specific policy recommendations:
Seek conventional arms control agreements that provide for substantial reductions in Soviet tank, mechanized infantry and artillery forces in Eastern Europe and force greater reliance on the Soviet Union’s less reliable allies.
Expand military-to-miltary dialogue at all levels and on a wide variety of subjects. This dialogue should, in addition to the Soviets, focus on the leaders of the Eastern European national armies.
Strongly encourage our NATO partners to increase the level of military exchanges with Eastern Europe. (Our experience in Hungary suggests the local military establishments may be more comfortable in agreeing to exchanges with countries they would view as possible counterparts in NATO rather than directly with the U.S.)
Promote general information programs which will influence that segment of the population comprising the rank and file of the national armies.
[Page 1088]


IV. Reaching Out to the People of Eastern Europe

The spin-off effects of the Soviet policies of glasnost and of local pressures for change are likely to make the people of almost all countries in this area more accessible to us and our allies. This is a development we all need to take advantage of through bolder exchanges and information programs and greater openness to the West will reinforce trends towards greater democratization throughout the area. The individuals who are most curious to know more about the Western democratic practices are likely to be in the forefront of those who will insist that East European leaders honor their pledges of political reforms and be most able to take advantage of the concessions that are made. They will play a key role if the remaining barriers between East and West are to be dismantled during the next 20 years.

While we recognize that the U.S. image may vary somewhat throughout Eastern Europe, our feeling is that on the whole it is very positive. Our role as leaders of the West, our technological achievements, continuing links with relatives who have emigrated and generally prospered and the appeal of American culture—especially among the young—are all elements which substantially enhance our standing. Despite institutionalized anti-Americanism, one encounters relatively little of this phenomenon within the public at large.
In Hungary, we are often seen as a large, powerful, mysterious and distant entity, an image which begets a great deal of curiosity and a very strong desire to learn more about us. A trip to the U.S. is a very special reward for Hungarians of all ages, and an opportunity to study in America is a truly exceptional prize. Although the demand to participate in exchange programs will always be far greater than we can hope to accommodate, the fact the overwhelming majority of Hungarian participants return with extremely positive impressions of life in the U.S. and much enthusiasm for the American style of life should make the expansion of both official and privately-sponsored exchange programs a top priority.
One special advantage that we and the British have in making Eastern Europeans more familiar with us is the exceptional popularity of English. Despite our relative remoteness, English has become the foreign language of choice in Hungary (and we believe elsewhere in Eastern Europe), the number of those passing state proficiency examinations in English now outnumbers aspirants in German—traditionally the first foreign language of educated Hungarians—by a margin of about 3 to 2. This margin will almost certainly grow in coming years. American English is already generally acknowledged here as the language of computers and international business. Compared to their counterparts in Western European countries of similar size, young Hungarians are still largely monolingual, a characteristic which we suspect also holds for [Page 1089] their counterparts elsewhere in Eastern Europe. While Hungarian youth are generally proud of their inability to speak Russian, even after many years of compulsory study, there is growing embarrassment at being unfamiliar with English which, like computer literacy, they regard as one of the requirements needed to obtain good jobs in the coming century.
Specifically, we propose a truly massive program to bring Americans to Eastern Europe to teach English. A major element could be 1,000 high school teachers and college students coming to teach 6-week courses in English each summer. This would be very inexpensive and cost-effective as local costs and a small salary could be covered by fees paid by the East European students. We just need to generate the funds to charter several 747s and to cover program management—perhaps a million dollars a year. As we know from the limited number of American teachers now here, such a program would teach our democratic values just as much as English.
The information revolution and the U.S. role as a pioneer in this field also offers great possibilities to enable East Europeans to become more familiar with us and less dependent on the organs of their governments for information about foreign and domestic events. Western radios continue to enjoy a large audience and force the local media to address potentially embarrassing issues. This function of keeping the local media “semi-honest”—if governments want to have them regarded with any level of credibility—is an extremely important reason to continue the activity of VOA and RFE, while at the same time, ensuring that these stations retain the ability to appeal to increasingly sophisticated local audiences.
We should also make aggressive efforts throughout the area to get radio and television access for senior American officials. In Hungary we have recently been able to get prime time radio and television interviews for Assistant Secretaries of Commerce Freedenberg and Laun, DAS Simons, Ambassadors Rowny and Zimmermann, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative Blum and Ambassador Palmer. This type of direct exposure enables us to allow East European audiences to obtain first-hand information on U.S. positions on issues from trade to arms control as well as demonstrating our efforts to improve bilateral relations. We also need to come up with new methods for reaching Eastern European audiences via video cassette—there are now more than 500,000 VCRs in Hungary alone, according to Hungarian TV—and by satellite television. Hungarian television, which pioneered interactives with USIA in 1985, has now been receiving the Worldnet daily feed for well over a year,6 providing the Embassy with cassettes for daily showings in our library. We ought to encourage the continued expansion of [Page 1090] video cassette lending libraries by our cultural libraries. We also should generate funding for a dedicated, direct broadcast satellite with sufficient power to beam signals directly into East European (and Soviet) homes. While most of the programming should be in English, we should do some programs in the EE languages. This would go well beyond Worldnet which is not picked up directly by the peoples of this area and which is not designed exclusively for Eastern Europe.
Specific recommendations:
Establish a U.S. cultural center in each Eastern [Facsimile Page 21] European capital. These would be separate from our secure chanceries. They should offer easy public access. Our other public functions like export promotion and consular affairs also could be located in these “America House(s)”. This would allow us to remove all FSNs from our core chancery.
Recognizing that there is a special period of opportunity in Eastern Europe, expand official exchanges with Eastern Europe. Tight USG budget probably would mean giving EE a higher priority than in the past.
Work closely with the private sector to expand significantly the level of private exchanges such as Experiment in International Living, AFS International, and other programs featuring home stays for youth.
Give strong support to the establishment and continuation of U.S-East European professional contacts along the lines of the highly successful U.S.-Hungarian economic roundtable.
Seek to establish American studies programs with visiting U.S. professors in all Eastern European countries. Expand existing programs.
Initiate a massive expansion of English language [Facsimile Page 22] teaching programs using 1,000 American high school teachers and college students to teach English in Eastern Europe. Create opportunities for teachers of English to travel and study in the U.S. Work closely with emerging English bilingual school, including work in developing curricula.
Get more television access for visiting U.S. officials.
Maintain RFE and VOA broadcasts at current levels while ensuring that the stations remain attractive to an increasingly sophisticated audience.
Put up direct broadcast satellite and set up a televised service for the EEs (and Soviet Union).


V. Supporting Pluralism, Encouraging Democracy, Protecting Human Rights

Devising effective means for encouraging greater pluralism, promoting democracy and insisting that Eastern European governments observe the human rights standards stipulated in the Helsinki Final [Page 1091] Act should be among the West’s top priorities in dealing with Eastern Europe during the decade to come. Governments, such as Poland’s and Hungary’s, which make serious efforts towards democratization should be encouraged with economic concessions; those with poor records in this area should receive less favorable terms.

We anticipate that demand for a greater voice in the decision-making process by Eastern Europeans is likely to grow sharply in the coming years, particularly if the Soviet glasnost policies are continued. In Hungary there is increased acceptance of the notion that more outlets for popular expression must be found if economic restructuring policies are to be successful. The role of parliament and parliamentary committees has been expanded and members, although still timid by Western standards, are increasingly outspoken. Elections for seats in parliament are now contested in form and sometimes in fact, as are contests for local council seats. In the current preparations for the Special Party Congress the question of how to broaden participation in the decision-making process within the party itself appears to be a major issue.
Interest groups are also assuming a higher profile. Environmentalists, although unsuccessful in their efforts to stop the controversial Nagymaros Dam on the Danube, are becoming more organized and effective at stating their priorities, while Hungarian trade union officials openly acknowledge to us their need to be more aggressive in defending workers’ interests. The recent request by Hungarian homosexuals to obtain permission to form an organization underscores the trend towards a proliferation of interest groups in Hungarian society. In the coming years, we would anticipate the emergence of other increasingly outspoken interest groups in such areas as consumers rights, health care, the problems of the elderly and in opposition to nuclear power.
Limits on democracy and the activities of interest groups will certainly remain in place, but it is likely that these limits will be broadened gradually in response to popular pressure and economic necessity. And, the more these limits are widened, the more costly it will be to roll them back. For while coercion will remain an option, there seems to be little disagreement in Hungary, at least, that coercive policies bring with them serious economic costs, both in terms of potential Western sanctions and the creation of a sullen population unwilling to work hard or creatively.
The process towards greater democratization and pluralism in Eastern Europe will be a gradual one—and a system which we would be prepared to recognize as democratic is likely to take decades to achieve. However, we believe that our hope of long-term evolution towards greater democracy throughout the area is realistic. As noted earlier in this paper, the demonstrable success of the Western democracies in achieving a combination of high living standards, life quality and freedom will have growing appeal in Eastern Europe, especially [Page 1092] as better communication, increased travel and improved access to Western media allows Eastern Europeans to become better informed about the outside world.
In addition to the economic steps already mentioned to reward good performance and punish poor ones, we believe there are a number of measures which can be taken to promote pluralism, democracy and human rights. General exchange programs, and informational programs will clearly serve this goal. Likewise, exchanges between Western and Eastern interest groups in areas such as consumer rights and environmental protection are likely to make Eastern European special interest groups more outspoken, sophisticated and able to affect domestic policies. Parliamentary exchanges and contacts with labor unions are trickier questions. Congressional reluctance to treat members of Eastern European parliaments as full equivalents is understandable and justified. However, carefully planned exchanges between members of key committees (i.e. budget, appropriations) which would demonstrate to the new generation of Eastern European parliamentarians the political powers of Western parliaments and the techniques used in exercising this power would seem to be very much in our interest. Example: Until October 1987, the Hungarian Parliament had no committee staff and no capacity for independent research of determination of facts. There is considerable interest among some Hungarian parliamentarians as to how the functions are carried out in Western systems. In establishing such programs, consideration should be given to including state legislatures and staff delegations should also be encouraged.
We also think the time may be coming to consider careful modification of our policy towards contacts with labor unions. In Hungary, and perhaps elsewhere as well, the trade union apparatus contains numerous mid-level officials as frustrated and outspoken as many of the democratic opposition. While we must avoid puffing up old-line war horses like trade union chief Sandor Gaspar, we believe it would be beneficial to talk to the Hungarian Central Council of Trade Unions officials at the mid-level. An initial step might involve the visit to Eastern Europe by an AFL-CIO official as a guest of the Ambassador and having contacts with both the dissidents and trade union officials along the pattern of a December 1987 visit to Hungary by the President of the National Endowment for Democracy. This approach might work in other EE countries.
Our contacts with the opposition in Hungary and elsewhere are extremely beneficial to us and them and need to be pursued vigorously. While the opposition here is small and its members have difficulty in adopting a common platform, collectively they represent a program which we believe the majority of Hungarians would heartily support—a genuinely neutral Hungary with a representative parliamentary democracy and considerably more free enterprise. Their sense of commitment and ability to think without the constraints which [Page 1093] even democratically inclined members of the local establishment must impose upon themselves, make it very possible that their ideas will be one of the key engines of change in the years to come (as we can see happening in the Soviet Union to some extent).
In respect to the opposition, various programs of the National Endowment for Democracy in Eastern Europe have made a good start. One recurrent difficult here is the Hungarian language and with translations. The JPRS series “Hungary: Samizdat, Other Unofficial Publications”, is an invaluable source about and for the Hungarian opposition. Other countries would profit from similar publications if they do not already exist. Book-length publications remain a problem, and a mechanism is needed to insure English language publication of all major Hungarian samizdat works. In the exchanges area, it would be particularly useful for the opposition if we could sponsor visits by prominent U.S. political thinkers of all persuasions. Zbig Brzezinski’s visit,7 lectures, TV appearance, etc. were a smashing success. While we should do what we can to improve conditions for dissidents here, we should also continue vigorously to support passport applications by dissenters.
In our experience, programs with the Hungarians in drug enforcement and terrorism have been useful in their own right, but have also provided us with channels into the Hungarian police and security apparatus. One message we and U.S. agencies involved in these programs should be trying to reinforce patiently over time, is that police professionalism, an orderly society, and respect for human rights are not incompatible. In that respect, we would welcome more visits by groups such as the Human Rights International Law Group. Also in that respect, Party Secretary for Security Fejti’s recent international visitors program may turn out to be one of our more important efforts in the human rights field in some time.
Specific recommendations:
Step up efforts to arrange visits by U.S. political thinkers for dialogue with both official party groups and opposition elements.
Facilitate visits by the International Human Rights Law Group and other organizations interested in exploring human rights legal concepts with opposition and government officials.
Increase support to Hungary’s and other opposition movements by supporting English language translation and publication of samizdat materials on a regular basis.
Encourage parliamentary exchanges in targeted area with the express goal of helping Eastern Europe parliamentarians to have a [Page 1094] greater impact on policy formulation. In arranging such a program, exchanges with state legislatures should be included.
Continue to work closely with our allies to object to human rights abuses and push Eastern European govenrments to observe standards set forth in the Helsinki Accord. Restrict economic benefits to human rights violators.
Encourage all NATO governments to adopt policies which will insist that Eastern European citizens, including dissidents, will be permitted to accept invitations to visit the West.
Promote contacts between emerging Eastern European interest groups (i.e. environmentalists) and Western counterpart organizations.
Generate greater congressional funding for National Endowment for Democracy for its EE programs.


VI. Establishment of a regular dialogue with and about Eastern Europe

We and our allies should establish and maintain a dialogue with the individual countries of Eastern Europe on issues which transcend the narrow confines of immediate bilateral concerns. Over time, such a dialogue should encourage these countries to develop views on a range of international issues in terms of their own national concerns, rather than automatically reflecting those of the Soviets. We would give priority to exchanges of views on international security issues, with particular emphasis on questions relating to conventional forces, but also seek to establish a regular dialogue on regional issues and economic questions of mutual concern. The December 1987 visit of the Policy Planning Staff team to Hungary and our plan to hold a conference in Budapest this summer on conventional forces offer concrete examples of ways to conduct such a dialogue.

We should also try to increase the number of generic areas where East European governments can work with us comfortably on a bilateral basis without feeling that such cooperation is at odds with their alliance obligations. In this regard, we feel a modest yet good start has been made with a number of governments on contacts we have initiated on narcotics control and counter-terrorism. A dialogue on environmental protection may be another area worth pursuing—and would have the added benefit of promoting sales of relevant U.S. equipment.
In Hungary, our discussions of counter-terrorism and narcotics control have already yielded some concrete benefits. We have been able to raise the level of police protection for our Embassy personnel and at the same time make it clear to the Hungarians that turning a blind eye towards international terrorists operating within their borders will have a negative impact on relations with us. Officials in both the Foreign and Interior Ministry are showing much greater sensitivity to our [Page 1095] concerns and have indicated to us that they are tightening up surveillance of would-be terrorists. Continued efforts in this area reinforced by approaches from allied governments could pressure Eastern Europeans eventually to deny their territory to those who would use it to mount terrorist actions against the West. Indeed, we should insist that such a policy be part of the price for better economic relations.
Exchanges on narcotics have proceeded even more smoothly. DEA has established very good working relations with their Hungarian counterparts and will be holding a training seminar with international participation in Hungary in April. Information provide by DEA also helped bring about the arrest of narco-terrorists who attempted to assassinate the Colombian Ambassador to Hungary in Budapest in January 1987.
Consulations With the Allies:

We should also take a careful look at how we conduct consultations with our allies about Eastern Europe. While a regular format exists for exchanging views in NATO and elsewhere, these sessions may be too heavily weighted towards exchanging observations on events in the area instead of considering what we might do collectively to bring about change. Semi-annual consultations on Eastern Europe with key allies at the DAS level might be a good mechanism for comparing our policies with a view towards making them mutually reinforcing.

As noted at the beginning of this paper, the developed West has an enormous amount to offer Eastern Europe. Today, Hungarians view Western support as the last best hope for achieving international competitiveness and sustainable growth. If the U.S. and its allies can play our cards in a coordinated manner, we could eventually have a major impact on the course of future developments throughout the area.
Specific recommendations:
Engage the Eastern Europeans in bilateral dialogue on such generic issues as counter-terrorism, narcotics control and the environment convincing governments that cooperation in these areas is not inconsistent with their alliance obligations.
Create opportunities for exchanging views with individual East European governments on security questions, such as conventional force reductions, and selected regional issues.
Continue dialogue begun by Department Policy Planning Staff with East European governments.
Review the current mechanism for consulting with our allies on Eastern Europe. Establish a pattern of semi-annual consultations at the DAS level or above in an effort to improve coordination of our respective approaches.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D880109–0505. Secret. Sent for information to Eastern European posts and Moscow.
  2. See Document 52.
  3. P.L. 87–195, 75 Stat. 424–2.
  4. September 26–29, 1987. Documents covering Bush’s visit are scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. IX, Poland, 1982–1987.
  5. Paragraph number 20 is duplicated in the original.
  6. Worldnet, established in 1983, was USIA’s satellite TV channel/network.
  7. May 12–15, 1987. Telegram 4858 from Budapest, May 23, 1987, described Brzezinski’s visit to Hungary. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, D870398–0889)