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Doc Type: 
Shultz, George
Full Title: 
Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State
Language Type: 
Pub City: 
New York

(Summary by Holly Decker, Harriman Institute, Columbia University)

               Shultz, in his autobiography, provides another a different window from which to view the Geneva Summit. He was one of members of the large American delegation and as Secretary of State; he played an important role in negotiations. Surprisingly his memoir provides little information about the recorded discussion that he and Shevardnadze engaged in while their heads of states were having their “fireside summit”

               Shultz, his memoir suggests, was more perceptive than Reagan was. During the discussions on regional conflicts and interests, he recognized “Gorbachev’s lightly veiled hint about pulling out of Afghanistan.” This insight is corroborated by Gorbachev’s own memoirs where he states that, “incidentally, I also mentioned – as a general remark- that we did not intend to remain in Afghanistan and supported a political solution to the Afghan conflict.” [1]

               Shultz was also vital in the completion of the joint communique, which was contentious in itself. As a matter of course such documents are usually completed prior to a meeting, however, Reagan believed that such an action would be detrimental to the summit because it would confine the leaders. Once the summit was in its closing stages, the leaders decided that they wished to release a joint communique/agreed statement. The task fell to teams of negotiators from both states. Roz Ridgeway led the American delegation of experts but Shultz played a pivotal role in overcoming the hold ups in the negotiations by appealing directly to Gorbachev to take action. He was also an important voice in getting the two leaders to make statements before the press at the signing ceremony.

[1] Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (New York: Doubleday, 1995), 406.