6. Memorandum From Paula Dobriansky of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark)1


  • U.S.-East European Relations—Implications of Polish Crisis

In light of Polish developments and the current tenor of U.S.-Soviet relations, many East European countries as evidenced by intelligence reports and exchanges with respective Embassies, are uncertain and apprehensive as to the direction of U.S. policies toward Eastern Europe. Uncertainty sometimes can yield policy advantages and enhance one’s bargaining leverage. Yet, there is a need for a coherent, comprehensive [Page 22] policy toward Eastern Europe. This policy should be flexible and reflect the legitimate differences which mark our relations with each East European country. Despite the diverse nature of our bilateral relations, there ought to exist some common guidelines in our policies toward Eastern Europe. The Administration endorsed the policy of differentiation promulgated in PD 212 and established compatible guidelines in the interagency East-West Study. Unfortunately, the East-West Study is still pending further NSC consideration and approval.

Polish events prompt a careful assessment of our relations with Eastern Europe. Specifically, with the imposition of tougher sanctions on the Soviet Union and/or Poland, to what extent should similar or supportive measures be applied to East European countries.3 East European sanctions should not be applied blindly. Rather, they should vary in intensity and severity contingent on the country’s stance on the Polish crisis and the degree of assistance it has rendered Moscow. Consideration must also be given to the special relations which exist among our allies and East European countries. For example, any sanctions applied against East Germany, which has taken an extremely hard stance against Poland, would have to take into account the sensitivity of inter-German relations.

I recommend that an ad hoc East European Interagency Working Group be established to examine our future options toward Eastern Europe in light of prospective Polish developments. Once these options have been developed, they should be reviewed and considered within the Polish/Soviet sanctions monitoring group. Informally, both State and DOD have endorsed this idea.

Norm Bailey and Bill Streaman concur.4


That you authorize me to call an ad hoc East European Interagency Working Group to determine options.5

That the proposed options be reviewed and considered within the Polish/Soviet sanctions monitoring group.6

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Paula J. Dobriansky Files, Europe, Eastern (General) (1). Confidential. Sent for action. Bailey and Stearman initialed their concurrence.
  2. Reference is to Carter’s “Policy Toward Eastern Europe,” issued on September 13, 1977. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. XX, Eastern Europe, Document 16.
  3. Martial law was instituted in Poland on December 13, 1981. In response, Reagan imposed economic sanctions against Poland. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VII, Poland, 1977–1981.
  4. Bailey and Streaman initialed above their names.
  5. This recommendation was neither approved, nor disapproved.
  6. This recommendation was neither approved, nor disapproved.