52. Telegram From the Department of State to All European Diplomatic Posts1


For the Ambassador from Assistant Secretary Ridgway.


  • Eastern Europe: Invitation to the Dance.


  • A) Oslo 09059,2
  • B) EmbBerlin 05170.3
(S—Entire text).
This is to invite you to the discussion of Eastern Europe by cable which Tom Simons suggested at the end of his presentation in Oslo December 14.
The focus is the prospects for change in Eastern Europe and the implications for U.S. policy over the near and middle term. The purpose is to clarify our thinking about the issues preparatory to discussion within NATO as early as mid-February. As some of you will recall, when the Vice President reported to the NAC on his late-September visit to Poland,4 he suggested a ministerial-level exchange as early as December. The Washington Summit5 made this impracticable, but we continue to believe such an exchange would be useful to us and other allies, and we are pursuing options for scheduling it.
By now you will have received both Ambassador Meehan’s very thoughtful cable (Ref B), and Embassy Oslo’s record of Tom Simons’ remarks in Oslo. While I regret not having been able to attend the session, I understand that his presentation was well received, and produced solid, stimulating discussion. So you may wish to take these two cables as a starting point for your own thinking.
The precedent, as Tom mentioned, is the telegraphic debate in the mid-1970’s among our Embassies in East Asia and Moscow concerning the situation in East Asia after the fall of Saigon and implications for U.S. interests and U.S. policy. It was deliberative, but disciplined; area-specific, but policy-oriented; and area-wide in scope. That, I think, should also be our approach here.
Any number can play. Country perspectives are important, but we are not looking for country situation reports, or simple analyses of country X’s approach to the area or parts thereof. What I would like to see is broad consideration of difficult issues of importance to the national interest. As the Oslo discussion showed, those of you in Western Europe as well as our COM’s in Eastern Europe have a real contribution to make. So you should all circularize each other, USNATO and the Department, as you weigh in.
I look forward to very lively and useful discussion. And best wishes for the holiday season.
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Nelson Ledsky Files, Subject File, Eastern Europe (General) [1987 Cables/1988 Cables/1988 Memons-Letters/Reports-Articles] (2 of 2). Secret; Priority. Sent for information to USNATO.
  2. Telegram 396379 repeated the text of telegram 9059 from Oslo, December 18. See Document 51.
  3. See Document 50.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 48. On October 3 in Brussels, Bush briefed the Ambassadors to NATO.
  5. Reagan and Gorbachev met in Washington December 8–10. See Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VI, Soviet Union, October 1986–January 1989, Documents 105115.