49. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Whitehead) to Secretary of State Shultz 1


  • Eastern Europe

This memo is on the right track.2 Our objective should be to do what we can to loosen the bonds between the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. If Gorbachev succeeds in making the Soviet Union a more open place, we must make sure that the Eastern Europeans don’t stand still; they should stay ahead of Moscow. It would be good for us if countries like Hungary and Poland could continue their experiments with free markets or the tolerance of dissent using Gorbachev’s Russia as a base line rather than Brezhnev’s.

I have had some success by offering these countries a better relationship with the United States if they want it. Next month I will start a second round of visits3 to check on progress.

Anything you can do4 to encourage us to move faster would be a help. We have got some big opportunities out there, and we should do our best to take them.

John C. Whitehead 5
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Secretary George Shultz Papers, Executive Secretariat Sensitive (10/05/1987–10/22/1987). No classification marking. Shultz’s initials are stamped at the top of the memorandum. An unknown hand initialed at the top of the memorandum on October 9.
  2. See Document 48.
  3. November 6–17.
  4. Shultz underlined “Anything you can do” and drew a line to the margin, where he wrote, “Agree—open to suggestions. A typewritten transcription of Shultz’s comments bears the date of October 15.
  5. Whitehead initialed above his typed signature.