8. Study Prepared by the Ad-Hoc Interagency Group on U.S. Policy Toward Eastern Europe1


In accordance with the President’s Directive of March 25,2 an Interagency Group examined U.S. Policy Toward Eastern Europe. It is the Group’s opinion that the primary long-term U.S. goal in Eastern Europe is to loosen Moscow’s hold on the region, thereby leading to its eventual reintegration into the European community. The Group recognizes that Western influence in the region is limited by Moscow’s willingness to use force against developments which threaten its vital interests (e.g., East Berlin, 1953;3 Hungary, 1956; Czechoslovakia, 1968; and Poland, 1981). Nevertheless, the Group feels that the USG can have an important impact on the region, provided it differentiates in its policies toward the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe by encouraging diversity through active political and economic policies tailored to individual countries. For example, a policy of differentiation:

encourages liberalizing trends in the region,
increases the region’s economic dependence on the U.S.,
helps advance human rights concerns,
reinforces the already existing pro-Western orientation of the populace in Eastern Europe,
adversely impacts on Warsaw Pact military preparedness.

The Group also reviewed an alternative policy of non-differentiation which would call upon the USG and our Allies to minimize political and economic contacts with the region. The Group rejected this approach on the grounds that such a policy would seriously limit Eastern Europe’s freedom of action vis-a-vis the USSR and result in increased Soviet hegemony in the region.

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In implementing a policy of differentiation, the Group agreed that the U.S. should follow a course of carefully discriminating in favor of countries which:

show relative independence from the Soviet Union in the conduct of foreign policy as manifested in the degree to which they resist associating themselves with Soviet foreign policy objectives; or
show a greater degree of internal liberalization as expressed in a willingness to observe internationally recognized human rights, and a degree of pluralism and decentralization in the political and economic spheres.

It was also the Group’s conclusion that states which fail to show internal or external independence should be treated essentially as we treat the USSR. The Group also concluded that to be effective, a policy of differentiation must be carefully calibrated. For example, those countries less involved in support of Soviet foreign policy should be treated more favorably than those which vigorously back up Moscow in its policies around the world. Instruments for implementing differentiation include:

IMF Membership
Concessional Sales of Foodstuffs
Debt Rescheduling
Cultural and Scholarly Exchanges
Scientific Exchanges
High Level Visits, Ship Visits, Consultations
International Organizations.

Finally, the Group noted that in the past too little attention has been focused on negative differentiation. To be credible, those countries which do not show visible signs of progress should be penalized. We cannot assume that U.S. concessions will bring about greater independence on the part of these countries. Such rewards must be earned.

[Omitted here is the rest of the study.]

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Paula J. Dobriansky Files, US Policy toward EE: NSDD 52 (2). Secret; Sensitive.
  2. See Document 7.
  3. Reference is to the East German Uprising. In June 1953, workers in East Berlin protested the government’s demand for greater productivity. The uprising spread quickly with nearly a million East German workers joining in a few days. The Soviet occupation forces instituted martial law and used force to suppress the rioting.