Comment: Declassified documents shed light on closing Cold War stages

The National Security Archive has posted a brief analysis of declassified documents relating to the last official meeting between Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan. The meeting, which took place at Governor’s Island, New York, in December 1988, was also attended by then US President-Elect George Bush, Sr. The released documents consist of three separate batches, namely previously secret high-level Soviet memoranda, CIA reports and estimates, as well as detailed transcripts of the meeting. According to the report’s editors, Soviet memoranda reveal that at the time of the meeting “Gorbachev was prepared for rapid arms control progress leading towards nuclear abolition”. The extent of the Soviet leader’s commitment stunned even the CIA, whose estimates had not anticipated such massive unilateral offer to disarm. The Archive’s press release blames the then President-Elect George Bush, Sr., for failing “to meet Gorbachev even half-way”, thus essentially preventing “dramatic reductions in nuclear weapons, fissile materials, and conventional armaments, to the detriment of international security today”. Read more of this post

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