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On the directives for negotiations with the U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in Moscow on May 16-19th, 1990
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This package of Soviet documents from Gorbachev Foundation files includes the Politburo’s approval of what are in effect marching orders for Gorbachev’s and Shevardnadze’s dealings with the Americans up to and including the Washington-Camp David summit, starting with Secretary Baker’s ministerial visit to Moscow. The tone-setting document is the May 15th memo from six senior officials including Shevardnadze of the Foreign Ministry, Zaikov from the military-industrial complex, Kryuchkov from the KGB, Yakovlev (in charge of ideology), and Yazov from the Defense Ministry. This memo declares that “[t]he main task is to prepare the principle provisions of a Soviet-American treaty on a 50-percent reduction in strategic offensive weapons, to be coordinated during the summit” and the following specific directives even expect the agreement “to be initialed by the USSR and US leaders during the meeting…” But on Germany, the memo includes the position that the Soviets had already presented at the Two Plus Four negotiations in Paris, that “it would be politically and psychologically unacceptable for us to see a united Germany in NATO. We cannot agree to the destruction of the balance of power and stability in Europe that would inevitably result from this step.” Top Gorbachev adviser Anatoly Chernyaev had earlier in May debated this position with Gorbachev, who well understood that it could not be sustained, yet this was Gorbachev’s official brief as he went into the summit. As the further documents show, he would seriously exceed his brief in Washington; yet the memo gives the sense of limits and domestic political pressure under which Gorbachev was operating. Combined with the directives that follow, the memo clearly attempts to limit the possibility of any further Gorbachev concessions during the negotiations, and details very specific positions on each of the contentious issues to be covered. Interestingly, the specific instructions include a paragraph on biological weapons—the only indication we have in the documents that this subject becomes an important part of discussion at the summit, taken up directly by Gorbachev with Bush at Camp David, according to David Hoffman’s account in The Dead Hand.