Afghanistan and the Soviet Withdrawal 1989 20 Years Later

Alexander Lyakhovsky

Washington D.C., July 31st 2011 – Twenty years ago today, the commander of the Soviet Limited Contingent in Afghanistan Boris Gromov crossed the Termez Bridge out of Afghanistan, thus marking the end of the Soviet war which lasted almost ten years and cost tens of thousands of Soviet and Afghan lives.

As a tribute and memorial to the late Russian historian, General Alexander Antonovich Lyakhovsky, the National Security Archive today posted on the Web ( a series of previously secret Soviet documents including Politburo and diary notes published here in English for the first time.  The documents suggest that the Soviet decision to withdraw occurred as early as 1985, but the process of implementing that decision was excruciatingly slow, in part because the Soviet-backed Afghan regime was never able to achieve the necessary domestic support and legitimacy – a key problem even today for the current U.S. and NATO-supported government in Kabul.

The Soviet documents show that ending the war in Afghanistan, which Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev called “the bleeding wound,” was among his highest priorities from the moment he assumed power in 1985 – a point he made clear to then-Afghan Communist leader Babrak Karmal in their first conversation on March 14, 1985.  Already in 1985, according to the documents, the Soviet Politburo was discussing ways of disengaging from Afghanistan, and actually reached the decision in principle on October 17, 1985.

But the road from Gorbachev’s decision to the actual withdrawal was long and painful.  The documents show the Soviet leaders did not come up with an actual timetable until the fall of 1987.  Gorbachev made the public announcement on February 8, 1988, and the first troops started coming out in May 1988, with complete withdrawal on February 15, 1989.  Gorbachev himself, in his recent book (Mikhail Gorbachev, Ponyat’ perestroiku … Pochemu eto vazhno seichas. (Moscow: Alpina Books 2006)), cites at least two factors to explain why it took the reformers so long to withdraw the troops.  According to Gorbachev, the Cold War frame held back the Soviet leaders from making more timely and rational moves, because of fear of the international perception that any such withdrawal would be a humiliating retreat.  In addition to saving face, the Soviet leaders kept trying against all odds to ensure the existence of a stable and friendly Afghanistan with some semblance of a national reconciliation process in place before they left.

The documents detail the Soviet leadership’s preoccupation that, before withdrawal of troops could be carried out, the Afghan internal situation had to be stabilized and a new government should be able to rely on its domestic power base and a trained and equipped army able to deal with the mujahadeen opposition.  The Soviets sought to secure the Afghan borders through some kind of compromise with the two other most important outside players—Pakistan, through which weapons and aid reached the opposition, and the United States, provider of the bulk of that aid.  In the process of Geneva negotiations on Afghanistan, which were initiated by the United Nations in 1982, the United States, in the view of the Soviet reformers, was dragging its feet, unwilling to stop arms supplies to the rebels and hoping and planning for the fall of the pro-Soviet Najibullah regime after the Soviet withdrawal.

Internally, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan did everything possible to prevent or slow down the Soviet withdrawal, putting pressure on the Soviet military and government representatives to expand military operations against the rebels.

Persistent pleading on the part of Najibullah government as late as January 1989 created an uncharacteristic split in the Soviet leadership, with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze suggesting that the withdrawal should be slowed down or some forces should remain to help protect the regime, while the military leadership argued strongly in favor of a complete and decisive withdrawal.

According to the American record, Shevardnadze had already informed Secretary of State George Shultz as early as September 1987 of the specific timetable for withdrawal.  But many senior officials did not believe the Soviet assurances; in fact, deputy CIA director Robert Gates famously bet a State Department diplomat on New Year’s Eve 1987 that Gorbachev would make no withdrawal announcement until after the end of the Reagan administration.  Gates believed the Chinese saying about the Soviet appetite for territory: “What the bear has eaten, he never spits out” – and only in his memoirs did he admit he was making “an intelligence forecast based on fortune cookie wisdom.”  (Robert Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York:  Simon&Shuster, 1996, pp. 430-431).  Of course, Gates’ hardline views on Gorbachev would take over U.S. policy as the George H.W. Bush administration came into office in January 1989.

By this time, however, the Soviet leaders well realized that the goal of building socialism in Afghanistan was illusory; and at the same time the goal of securing the southern borders of the Soviet Union seemed to be still within reach with the policy of national reconciliation of the Najibullah government.  So the troops came out completely by February 15, 1989.  Soon after the Soviet withdrawal, however, both superpowers seemed to lose interest in what had been so recently the hottest spot of the Cold War.

Najibullah would outlast Gorbachev’s tenure in the Kremlin, but not by much:  Within three years Najibullah would be removed from power and brutally murdered, and Afghanistan would plunge into the darkness of civil war and the coming to power of the Taliban.  Twenty years later, the other superpower and its Cold War alliance are fighting a war in Afghanistan against forces of darkness that were born among the fundamentalist parts of mujahadeen resistance to the Soviet occupation.  In such a context, the language and the dilemmas in these 20-year-old documents still provide some resonance today.

This posting is also a tribute to and a commemoration of one of our long-standing partners in the pursuit of opening secrets and writing the new truly international history of the Cold War.   General Alexander Lyakhovsky passed away from a heart attack while standing on a Moscow Metro platform on February 3, 2009, less than two weeks before the 20th anniversary of the end of the war in which he served as an officer, and which he studied for many years as a scholar.  He is survived by his wife Tatyana and their children Vladimir and Galina.

The National Security Archive mourns the passing of our dear friend and partner, Alexander Antonovich.  It is fitting and proper that here we express our deepest appreciation for his remarkable knowledge, his scholarly and personal integrity, and his generosity both in expertise and the documents that he always shared with us, while he educated us and the world.  His memory lives on in all of us who ever read his work, heard him speak, or best of all, listened to him sing the sad songs of the Afghan war.

— Svetlana Savranskaya, director of Russia programs, Thomas Blanton, executive director, National Security Archive, and Malcolm Byrne, Deputy Director, National Security Archive.


Document 1. Memorandum of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Conversation with Babrak Karmal, March 14, 1985

In his first conversation with the leader of Afghanistan, who was installed by the Soviet troops in December of 1979, Gorbachev underscored two main points: first that “the Soviet troops cannot stay in Afghanistan forever,” and second, that the Afghan revolution was presently in its “national-democratic” stage, whereas its socialist stage was only “a course of the future.” He also encouraged the Afghan leader to expand the base of the regime to unite all the “progressive forces.” In no uncertain terms, Karmal was told that the Soviet troops would be leaving soon and that his government would have to rely on its own forces.

Document 2.  Anatoly Chernyaev Diary, April 4, 1985

Chernyaev reflects on the “torrent of letters” about Afghanistan received recently by the Central Committee and the Pravda newspaper.  They reflect the growing dissatisfaction of the population with the drawn-out war and the consensus that the troops should be withdrawn.

Document 3 Anatoly Chernyaev Diary, October 17, 1985.

At the Politburo session of October 17, 1985, General Secretary Gorbachev proposed to make a final decision on Afghanistan and quoted from citizens’ letters regarding the dissatisfaction in the country with the Soviet actions in Afghanistan.  He also described his meeting with Babrak Karmal during which Gorbachev told the Afghan leader: “we will help you, but with arms only, not troops.”Chernyaev noted Gorbachev’s negative reaction to the assessment of the situation given by Defense Minister Marshal Sergey Sokolov.

Document 4.  Politburo Session, June 26, 1986.

The Politburo discusses the first results of Najibullah’s policy of national reconciliation.  Gorbachev emphasizes that the decision to withdraw the troops is firm, but that the United States seems to be a problem as far as the national reconciliation is concerned.  He proposes early withdrawals of portions of troops to give the process a boost, and proposes to “pull the USA and Pakistan by their tail” to encourage them to participate in it more actively.

Document 5 Politburo Session, November 13, 1986.

The first detailed Politburo discussion of the process and difficulties of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, which included the testimony of Marshal Sergei Akhromeev.

Document 6 Politburo Session, January 21, 1987

The Politburo discusses the results of Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Head of the Central Committee International Department Anatoly Dobrynin’s trip to Afghanistan.  Shevardnadze’s report is very blunt and pessimistic about the war and the internal situation.  The main concern of the Politburo is how to end the war but save face and ensure a friendly and neutral Afghanistan.

Document 7 Politburo Session, February 23, 1987

Gorbachev talks about the need to withdraw while engaging the United States and Pakistan in negotiations on the final settlement.  He is willing to meet with the Pakistani leader Zia ul Khaq, and maybe even offer him some payoff.  The Soviet leader also shows concern about the Soviet reputation among non-aligned countries and national liberation movements.

Document 8 Politburo Session, February 26, 1987

In his remarks to the Politburo, General Secretary returns to the issue of the need to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan several times.  He emphasizes the need to withdraw the troops, and at the same time struggles with the explanation for the withdrawal, noting that “we not going to open up the discussion about who is to blame now.”  Gromyko admits that it was a mistake to introduce the troops, but notes that it was done after 11 requests from the Afghan government.

Document 9  Colonel Tsagolov Letter to USSR Minister of Defense Dmitry Yazov on the Situation in Afghanistan, August 13, 1987

Criticism of the Soviet policy of national reconciliation in Afghanistan and analysis of general failures of the Soviet military mission there are presented in Colonel Tsagolov’s letter to USSR Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov of August 13, 1987.  This letter represents the first open criticism of the Afghan war from within the military establishment.  Colonel Tsagolov paid for his attempt to make his criticism public in his interview with Soviet influential progressive magazine “Ogonek” by his career—he was expelled from the Army in 1988.

Document 10  CC CPSU Letter on Afghanistan, May 10, 1988

On May 10, 1988, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR issued a “closed” (internal use) letter to all Communist Party members of the Soviet Union on the issue of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.  The letter presents the Central Committee analysis of events in Afghanistan and Soviet actions in that country, the problems and the difficulties the Soviet troops had to face in carrying out their mission.  In particular, the letter stated that important historic and ethnic factors were overlooked when the decisions on Afghanistan were made in the Soviet Union. The letter analyzes Soviet interests in Afghanistan and the reasons for the withdrawal of troops.

Document 11 Politburo Session January 24, 1989

This Politburo session deals with the issue of the completion of the withdrawal and the post-war Soviet role in Afghanistan, as well as possible future development of the situation there.  The discussion shows the split among the Soviet leadership with Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze arguing for leaving some personnel behind to help protect the Najibullah regime or delaying the full withdrawal.

Document 12 Excerpt from Alexander Lyakhovsky and Vyacheslav Nekrasov, Grazhdanin, Politik, Voin: Pamyati Shakha Masuda (Citizen, Politician, Fighter: In Memory of Shah Masoud), (Moscow, 2007), pp. 202-205

Document 13  Excerpt from Statement of the Soviet Military Command in Afghanistan on the Withdrawal of Soviet Troops, February 14, 1989

On April 7, 1988, USSR Defense Minister signed an order on withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.  In February 1989, the Defense Ministry prepared a statement of the Soviet Military Command in Afghanistan on the issue of withdrawal of troops, which was delivered to the Head of the UN Mission in Afghanistan on February 14, 1989—the day when the last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan.  The statement gave an overview of Soviet-Afghan relations before 1979, Soviet interpretation of the reasons for providing internationalist assistance to Afghanistan, and sending troops there after the repeated requests of the Afghan government.  It criticized the U.S. role in arming the opposition in disregard of the Geneva agreements, and thus destabilizing the situation in the country.  In an important acknowledgement that the Vietnam metaphor was used to analyze Soviet actions in Afghanistan, they military explicitly referred to “unfair and absurd” comparisons between the American actions in Vietnam and the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

Document 14. Official Chronology of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan with quotes from documents from the Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation, Moscow.

Books By Alexander Lyakhovsky
Grazhdanin,Politik,Voin, Plamya Afgana and Zacharovannye svobodoj


CONFIDENTIAL: Lords of the Narco-Coast: Part II – Community Reaction

DE RUEHMU #0013/01 0071743
R 071743Z JAN 10
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 MANAGUA 000013 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/07
SUBJECT: Lords of the Narco-Coast: Part II - Community Reaction
Divided, FSLN Blames U.S. for Crisis 


CLASSIFIED BY: Robert J. Callahan, Ambassador; REASON: 1.4(A), (B),


1. (C): On December 8, after a plane laden with cocaine and cash
crash-landed in the remote, small village of Walpa Siksa in the
North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), a deadly confrontation
took place between Nicaraguan anti-drug units and drug smugglers
allied with some number of local residents.  This message is the
second in a series that reports on the Walpa Siksa incident and its
immediate aftermath, and explores what these events have revealed
about the actual state of organized trafficking operations in
Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast. 

2.  (C) In the aftermath of the incident, public reactions have
been divided.  Some regional politicians and leaders of the
indigenous Yatama political party have called the incident and
subsequent government operations in the region a new "Red Christmas
Massacre" - a reference to the Sandinistas' deadly attacks on
indigenous Miskitos in the 1980s, assertions the military contests
are false.  Religious leaders have denounced these same political
leaders for turning a blind eye to the increased drug activity.
Former Vice President (and ex-Sandinista), Sergio Ramirez, has
decried the presence of trafficking organizations as a national
security threat, while a senior current FSLN official accused the
United States, specifically the CIA, of "promoting" the drug trade
to destabilize the country.  Underneath all lies a subtext of the
perennial rivalry and racial conflict between Nicaragua's Pacific
(Hispanic) and Atlantic (Afro-Caribbean and Amerindian) cultures.
Yet, also through the dissonance, the Walpa Siksa incident and its
aftermath seem to indicate stronger linkages between drug smugglers
and local communities in Nicaragua's Atlantic region than
previously believed.  END SUMMARY 


3. (C) The Walpa Siksa village, where the December 8 incident
occurred, is in a region historically controlled by Yatama; the
regional, indigenous Miskito political party.  Much of Yatama's
leadership itself has been co-opted by the ruling Sandinista Party
(REF D) over the last few years.  Even so, regional politicians and
several Yatama leaders have taken to the airwaves, primarily on
their new Yatama radio station (reportedly funded by the
government), to condemn the Nicaraguan military for its continuing
operations in the vicinity of Walpa Siksa and Prinzapolka.  These
leaders, including Brooklyn Rivera, a Yatama National Assembly
Deputy; Reynoldo Francis, Governor of the North Atlantic Autonomous
Region (RAAN); Roberto Wilson, the RAAN Vice Governor; and
Elizabeth Enriquez Francis, former mayor of RAAN capital Bilwi (and
ex-wife of Governor Francis), have used Miskito-language radio
broadcasts from the new station to claim that the Nicaraguan
anti-drug unit had violated human rights in pursuing its
investigation and by detaining suspects from Walpa Siksa.  These
leaders vehemently denied that these coastal communities support,
house and abet drug smugglers, as had been charged by some critics.
Rivera told national media that "the soldiers are all from the
Pacific coast.  There has been racism, robberies and looting of
indigenous people's homes."  Other Miskito leaders claim that the
soldiers have killed livestock and stolen food donated to the
community by the World Food Program. 

4. (C) Rivera, Francis, Wilson, and Enriquez have all called for
and even led several protests against police and navy forces
stationed in Bilwi, creating a new crisis in the region.  They have
denounced the "human rights violations" by the anti-drug unit
against the "innocent" indigenous people and claim that the
military "occupation" of Walpa Siksa is rife with abuses.  This
racially-charged agitation led some in the Miskito community to set
up illegal road blocks at the town of Sinsin, preventing traffic on
the only road between Bilwi and Managua.  There were also attempts
to take over the Bilwi International Airport and the capital's main
wharf.  These Yatama leaders and radicalized supporters have
demanded that the Navy cease all operations on the Atlantic Coast,
withdraw from the region, and immediately release the roughly two
dozen suspects detained in Walpa Siksa and Prinzapolka.  (see
SEPTEL).  Rivera also told reporters that the Walpa Siksa community
elders had decided to abandon their community if the military did
not depart or carried out its plan to establish a permanent
presence in the area. 


5. (U) The Moravian Church is the largest denomination on the
Atlantic Coast and a large majority of indigenous Miskitos belong
to it, making the church the moral authority in the region; even
more so than the Catholic Church.  On Friday, December 13, Moravian
Church Superintendant Cora Antonio issued a grave statement against
the local Walpa Siksa community leaders, police officials and
military officials in the Atlantic, whom she claimed knew about the
narco-trafficking base in Walpa Siksa, but took no action until the
recent plane crash.  Antonio, who will finish her two-year term in
January 2010, complained that drug smugglers had established their
networks unchallenged by the GON and exploited the extreme poverty
on the Coast.  She also claimed that elected officials, including
Francis, Wilson, and Lidia Coleman, the mayor of nearby
Prinzapolka, as well as police and military authorities, "knew from
the beginning of the installation of this narco-traffickers' base,
but never did anything about it."   She also stated that in certain
Caribbean communities the narco-traffickers exercised the highest
authority, above that of the community judge, the village elders,
even the pastor or "sindico," and that they frequently commanded
the "last word" on community decisions.  Antonio also said the
Moravian Church had recently removed a reverend from the Walpa
Siksa village out of fear that he would be physically attacked for
preaching against drugs from the pulpit. 


6. (U) Other non-FSLN-aligned indigenous leaders took aim at the
President Ortega and at the military's recent actions.  The Wihta
Tara of the Miskito Nation, aka the Rev. Hector Williams, who
denounced the Managua government and called for Miskito
independence, told the media that Columbian drug traffickers had
already left, so the military should leave as well.  NOTE: The
Wihta Tara (Miskito for "great judge"), was elected by the Council
of Elders of the Miskito Nation and leads Miskito separatist
movement that mounted protests which were violently suppressed this
past October (REF E)  END NOTE.   Williams stated that "the army is
after the money that they think is hidden in the community."
Building on the racial inequality theme, another separatist leader,
Steady Alvarado, publicly questioned why the military felt it could
take actions in the indigenous communities that it would never
attempt on the Pacific Coast.  The Miskito Council of Elders itself
issued a statement on December 12 blaming President Ortega directly
for the "tortures, persecutions and death of our community members
in Walpa Siksa."  It also accused Ortega of being "incapable of
neutralizing" drug trafficking activity on the Atlantic Coast, and
for again "bearing a grudge" against the Coastal peoples, "like he
did during the Navidad Roja (Red Christmas Massacre)."  NOTE: The
Red Christmas Massacre occurred in 1981, when Sandinista military
operations in the Atlantic Coast killed dozens and forcibly
relocated hundreds of Miskitos thought to be collaborating with the
Contras. END NOTE. 


7. (U) General Omar Halleslevens, Commander of the Nicaraguan
military, told reporters that the Army would not leave Walpa Siksa,
nor would it stop searching neighboring communities for drug
traffickers.  He insisted that the Army would remain and would take
appropriate measures to protect the area from again becoming a
haven for drug trafficking.  Halleslevens denied accusations that
the military had violated human rights, saying "our line has been
from the very beginning to respect life, human rights, private
property and the law ... as we are completing our duty to support
the police in applying the law."  He further declared that the
military would "not give a rock, nor even an inch of the national
territory, to narco-traffickers" and called on government
institutions and the population to support law enforcement in its
fight.  NOTE: Thus far, Post has no/no credible evidence of human
rights violations by law enforcement related to this operation.  We
continue to monitor the situation closely and will report relevant
developments if they occur.  END NOTE. 


8. (U) Adding to the chorus of concern about the absentee national
government was author and former Nicaraguan/FSLN vice president,
Sergio Ramirez, who said in an op-ed that the strong
narco-traffickers presence on the Caribbean Coast threatened
Nicaragua's sovereignty and territorial integrity.  He believed
that the "narco-traffickers will promote the separation of the
Caribbean Coast (REF E) and already have the social base to do it"
because of the significant resources drug smugglers enjoy and the
rampant political corruption in the region.  Ramirez also said the
confrontation between the anti-drug units and the Walpa Siksa
community demonstrated that criminal organizations had achieved
enormous influence on the Atlantic Coast while the "government does
not do anything to stop the problem." 


9. (U) In contrast, during December 16 interviews, Steadman Fagoth,
a Miskito indigenous leader, former Contra commander, and now
ardent Ortega supporter, told FSLN-controlled media that United
States had created the Walpa Siksa crisis.  Fagoth, who is also
president of the Government's Fishing Authority (INPESCA), spoke to
Multinoticias Channel 4, owned and operated by the Ortega-Murillo
family, and to "El 19," the official on-line newspaper of the
Sandinista Government.  He claimed that the United States, through
the CIA, was trying to provoke an uprising in the Atlantic Coast
against the government by supporting narco-criminals.  He added
that Alberto Luis Cano, the fugitive Colombian drug leader and
passenger of the crashed drug airplane (see SEPTEL-Part I) had been
hired by the CIA to promote an uprising among the native
population, by playing on the racial animosity between Nicaragua's
Pacific and Atlantic populations.  Perhaps Fagoth's most troubling
comment was that because of the current unrest, the government
might delay regional elections scheduled for March 2010.  


10. (C) In the cacophony following the Walpa Siksa incident,
statements of FSLN official Steadman Fagoth are perhaps the most
politically ominous.  Fagoth is a regular proxy for Ortega's
Atlantic policy.  His remarks frequently represent test balloons
for how Ortega perceives the situation and how the President seeks
to position himself against any fallout.  Fagoth's anti-U.S.
accusations are outrageous, but not unexpected -- that the United
States and CIA employed a drug trafficker to created this crisis,
destabilize the region and overthrow the government.  He made
similar accusations about the United States and CIA when the Wihta
Tara announced the separatist movement several months ago.  In
2008, the GON delayed RAAN municipal elections (REF E) on dubious
grounds.  Thus Fagoth's comment about delaying the March 2010
regional elections may indicate Ortega's true intent: freeze
everyone in place. 

11. (C) The Walpa Siksa incident and its aftermath aggravated
underlying tensions and divisions that persist in the Atlantic, and
may have exposed new evidence about the nature and extend of
narco-trafficking activity.  Serious concerns about threats to
national security and sovereignty have been raised by critics of
the government.  Some community leaders, such as Moravian
Superintendent Cora Antonio, have spoken out about what they see as
rampant drug corruption and political collusion by RAAN political
leaders.  We find it odd that these same political leaders, such as
Rivera, Francis, Wilson and Enriquez agitated against military
counter-drug operations, and virtually denied the existence of any
narco-trafficking activity.  At a minimum, their efforts to fan
latent racial resentments seem self-serving re-election efforts in
the run-up to regional elections.  For its part, the military
denies any human rights abuses in this, its largest anti-drug land
operation in the Caribbean in years.  In a subsequent message we
will provide more detail about the figures caught up in the Walpa
Siksa incident and outline some of the networks and relationships
that we believe traffickers may have been able to establish.

CONFIDENTIAL: Lords of the Narco-Coast: Part I – Deadly Confrontation

DE RUEHMU #1149/01 3552241
R 212241Z DEC 09
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 MANAGUA 001149 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/21
SUBJECT: Lords of the Narco-Coast: Part I - Deadly Confrontation at
Walpa Siksa 


CLASSIFIED BY: Robert J. Callahan, Ambassador, State, Embassy
Managua; REASON: 1.4(A), (B), (D) 

1. (C) SUMMARY: On December 8, after a plane laden with cocaine and
cash crash landed in the remote, small village of Walpa Siksa in
the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), a deadly confrontation
took place between Nicaraguan anti-drug units and drug smugglers
allied with a some number of local residents.  Stories of how the
clash came to pass on December 8 are divergent, but the Walpa Siksa
incident,  the ensuing actions of regional leaders and local
residents, as well as the enhanced posture of security forces seems
to indicate there are stronger linkages between drug smugglers and
local communities than previously believed.  This message is the
first in a series that reports on the Walpa Siksa incident and its
immediate aftermath, and explores what these events have revealed
about the actual state of organized trafficking operations in
Nicaragua's Atlantic Coast.  END SUMMARY 


2. (C) On Tuesday, December 8, a Nicaraguan anti-drug unit clashed
with suspected drug traffickers, leaving two sailors dead and five
other government security forces wounded.  The following account of
events is based on Government of Nicaragua (GON) official briefings
and conversations between senior GON law enforcement/military
officials and Embassy personnel.  On Tuesday, December 8, a
Nicaraguan anti-drug unit combined force of navy and national
police traveled to the remote, small village of Walpa Siksa in the
North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) to investigate reports of a
plane crash linked to drug smugglers.  The joint patrol arrived in
the evening and was ambushed by civilians from the remote village,
who were allegedly defending the drug traffickers.  In the melee,
two sailors were killed, and three other military personnel and one
police officer were severely wounded.  One villager from Walpa
Siksa was also killed.  On Wednesday, December 9, a joint
Nicaraguan navy-army patrol returned to Walpa Siksa to detain those
suspected of involvement in the ambush, only to find the community
abandoned of all males.  On Thursday, December 10, anti-drug forces
from the Navy confronted an additional group of drug smugglers near
the community of Prinzapolka, in which one suspect was killed and
another wounded.  Two more were detained, and the fifth suspect
escaped.  Subsequent missions by the anti-drug unit over several
days resulted in 20 suspects arrested (18 in connection with the
first clash), and confiscation of a powerboat, several guns,
ammunition, small quantities of drugs and $177,960 in cash.
Nicaraguan security forces have seized and are now operating out of
several homes in the Walpa Siksa community that are believed to
have housed drug smugglers.  The military has announced plans to
establish a permanent presence in the area to discourage drug
traffickers from using it as a base of operations any longer. 

3. (U) Capt. Roger Gonzalez, newly-installed chief of the
Nicaraguan naval forces, told the press that "we understand there
is a Colombian criminal, suspected drug trafficker, [Alberto Ruiz
Cano] who has $500,000 and has armed certain area individuals, and
we are searching for him."  Police investigators revealed that Ruiz
Cano, whose real name is Amauri Pau, was illegally issued a
Nicaraguan national identity card (cedula) and owns several
properties and businesses in Managua believed to be involved in
money laundering (see SEPTEL).  Ruiz Cano is also believed to have
been on the crashed plane and is suspected of leading the December
8 attack against the anti-drug unit.  Officials detained two
Colombians -- Ruiz Cano's father [Fernando Melendez Paudd known as
"el Patron"] and his cousin [Catalina del Carmen Ruiz] -- but
neither has been willing to talk to police about Ruiz Cano or his
whereabouts.  Ruiz Cano's associates have hired attorney Julian
Holmes Arguello to defend them.  The presence of Holmes Arguello, a
well-known and expensive attorney, has reinforced official
suspicions about Holmes own possible drug connections. 


4. (U) The national daily newspaper El Nuevo Diario "END"
(left-of-center) has provided continuous coverage of the Walpa
Siksa incident, since it came to light on the evening of December
8th.  According to the paper's accounts, events leading up to the
deadly December 8 firefight differ somewhat from the official
account.  The paper's sources, who requested anonymity for fear of
possible reprisals from traffickers, other residents and the
government, stated that the plane crash-landed in the Walpa Siksa
cemetery on Sunday, December 6 at 11 a.m.  The impact killed the
pilot and co-pilot instantly, and broke the plane into several
pieces scattering packets of cocaine and bundles of dollars in the
debris.  Walpa Siksa residents quickly discovered the dead pilots
and one crash survivor, to whom they gave medical attention.  They
were also surprised at the large quantity of cocaine the plane was
carrying.  According to the paper's sources, some community elders
wanted to immediately contact the police and navy about the plane
crash and drugs, but others argued that it would be better to
divide the cash and drugs within the community and then burn the
plane to hide the evidence.  According to the media reports, the
latter group prevailed and armed themselves with weapons (pistols,
AK-47 rifles) that had been stored since the 1980's.  According to
the eye-witness accounts, on December 7 at 2 p.m. two boats with
approximately 40 Colombian narco-traffickers, who were "armed to
the teeth," arrived in Walpa Siksa to rescue the pilots and the
third passenger (known as "el Jefe" or "the boss," believed to be
Alberto Ruiz Cano), and to recover the plane's lost "merchandise."
The Colombians spent the night of December 7 and all day December 8
trying to convince the community to return the missing drugs and
cash.  According to END reports, when the narco-traffickers learned
that a government anti-drug unit was coming from Bilwi to
investigate the plane crash, they armed the community in order to
repel the Navy.  As soon as the two Navy boats arrived, the
narco-traffickers opened fire on the sailors, who also shot back,
killing four community members [NOTE: only one death in the
community has been confirmed. END NOTE].  The navy boats returned
to Bilwi at 7 p.m. with their dead and wounded.  On December 9, the
wounded civilians from Walpa Siksa were taken to a nearby village
and, by the afternoon, the Walpa Siksa village was evacuated
because villagers feared reprisals by the Government. 

5. (C) Our Embassy contacts on the ground in the RAAN have relayed
an account similar to that reported in the newspaper, but that
differs on some important details.  According to our sources, on
Friday, December 4, an airplane carrying hundreds of pounds of
cocaine and sacks of cash ran out of fuel on its way to a
clandestine runway in the RAAN and was forced to make an emergency
landing on the beach near Walpa Siksa.  The plane's pilot and two
passengers, allegedly Colombians, suffered minor injuries and were
sheltered by the local community.  Members of the community quickly
emptied the airplane of its cargo, estimated to be approximately a
half-ton of cocaine separated into individual one kilo packets.
Our contacts told us that word of the plane crash quickly spread
throughout the coastal communities and on Saturday morning,
December 5, several local merchants left Bilwi with their boats
full of commercial goods and food to sell to the community with its
sudden new windfall.  By Saturday evening narco-trafficker "rescue
boats" carrying approximately 40 Colombians and Hondurans
(reportedly from Honduras and San Andres) arrived in the community
to save the pilot/passengers and recover the drugs and cash.  Over
the ensuing three days, village elders urged by the narco "recovery
team" tried to persuade the community to sell the cocaine packets
back at a price of $3,000 a kilo.  According to our contacts, the
major sticking point was that the $3,000 price was only half the
$6,000 per kilo price that locals knew they could get by taking
their windfall slightly up the coast to Honduras.  When one group
of Walpa Siksa residents ultimately refused to sell back their
stash to the narco-traffickers, they were attacked and robbed of
their "windfall."  This group subsequently traveled to Bilwi on the
morning of Tuesday, December 8, and filed a formal complaint with
the police there, which confirmed rumors of a drug-plane crash.
Our contacts told us that it was this formal complaint that lead to
the government dispatching the counter-drug unit to investigate at
Walpa Siksa.  The anti-drug unit arrived in two boats to Walpa
Siksa at approximately 6 p.m.  Our contacts told us that there had
been no ambush when they arrived, but rather an "amicable" meeting
between law enforcement and village elders.  However, things turned
sour after one of the Colombians from the "rescue team," who was
drunk and under the impression they were under attack, shot his
automatic weapon into the group of uniformed sailors, killing one
and seriously wounding several other counter-drug unit members.
Our contacts told us that the "ambush" story was fabricated later
by authorities to account for their dead and wounded. 


6. (C) Walpa Siksa has obliged us to revise our views about the
nature and extent of trafficking activity on the Atlantic.
Previously, our assessment had been that the majority of the local
indigenous Miskito villages were too xenophobic to actively support
outsiders (even Nicaraguans from the Pacific side of Hispanic
descent) in transporting drugs (or, frankly, any other activity)
for extended periods.  We had also believed that local interaction
with traffickers had been intermittent, and normally took place
upon the instruction or advice of a small number of corrupt
political and indigenous leaders in the region.  We maintain our
basic assessment is still valid; however, all three versions of the
Walpa Siksa incident reveal evidence that there is likely a much
higher degree of cooperation and support than we previously
believed between foreign drug trafficking organization and, at
least, the more remote local communities of Nicaragua's Atlantic
Coast.  In some cases there may be persistent and pervasive
relationships within an entire community.  We fear that it now
appears that organized criminal elements may have made major
inroads within some remote coastal communities, convincing them to
join forces by offering perhaps the only secure and steady
employment opportunity on the Coast - maintaining drug trafficking
supply routes.  Nicaragua's Atlantic is a key mid-point for an
increasingly busy transit corridor of South American drug shipments
bound for the United States.  It is also the most underdeveloped
and economically backward region of the country and has been
generally ignored by the current and previous central governments
in Managua.  This combination of political neglect, limited
economic opportunity and daily shipments of drugs creates
conditions for a possible "perfect storm" where Nicaragua's
Atlantic Coast could degenerate into an ungoverned "Narco-Coast,"
with serious repercussions for Nicaragua's political stability and
U.S. counternarcotics cooperation.  In subsequent messages we will
address reaction to Walpa Siksa by local, regional and national
figures.  We will also provide more detailed reporting about the
key figures caught up in the Walpa Siksa incident and outline some
of the networks and relationships that we believe traffickers have
been able to establish.


DE RUEHSF #0641/01 2761002
O 021002Z OCT 08
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 SOFIA 000641 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/30/2018

Classified By: Ambassador Nancy McEldowney for reasons 1.4. (b) and (d)

1.  (C)  Summary:  The quandary over energy facing all our
European partners is particularly acute here in Bulgaria.
With few hydrocarbons of its own, Bulgaria relies on Russia
for seventy percent of its total energy needs and over ninety
percent of its gas.  Though previously a net exporter of
electricity, the EU's decision to force closure of blocks 3
and 4 of the communist-era nuclear plant Kozluduy cost the
Bulgarian economy over USD 1.4 billion and put a squeeze on
Serbia, Macedonia and Greece, who had purchased the bulk of
the exports.  The hard reality of today's energy picture is
that Russia is not only the dominant supplier, it is also the
dominant player -- your visit here is the first by a senior
U.S. energy official in a year, whereas Putin has personally
engaged both the President and Prime Minister on energy
issues in multiple sessions over the past ten months.  But
the cartoon strip portraying a passionately eager Bulgaria in
bed with the muscle bound duo of Gazprom and Lukoil is only
partially true -- it is a tryst driven less by passion and
more by a perceived lack of options.  Prime Minister
Stanishev recently described Russian tactics on South Stream
as blackmail and Energy Minister Dimitrov complains openly of
psychological warfare.  At the same time, the Bulgarians are
deeply worried about the prospects for Nabucco and are
convinced that Azeri gas supplies will be held up by Turkey.
Their bid to hold an energy summit in the spring, the
ostensible focus of your visit, is designed to catalyze
greater coordination -- and negotiating leverage -- amongst
transit countries while also getting the United States more
actively engaged.  Background on specific issues likely to
arise in your discussions with President Parvanov, Prime
Minister Stanishev, Foreign Minister Kalfin and Energy
Minister Dimitrov follows below.  End Summary. 


2.  (C)  Your visit to Sofia comes when Bulgaria is striving
to sell itself as a European energy center.  With six active
or potential pipelines transiting the country, the creation
of a new energy mega-holding company, and the construction of
a new nuclear plant, Bulgaria is setting itself up to be an
important regional energy player, despite being overly
dependent on Russian energy sources.  The proposal to host a
major gas summit in April 2009 -- which Putin has already
promised to attend -- is the latest attempt to put Bulgaria
on the energy map.  Your visit will guide the Bulgarians as
they formulate an agenda and goals for this summit.  It will
also focus Bulgarian policy makers on U.S. views on Russian
energy strategy and South Stream, answer growing skepticism
about Nabucco's prospects, and give solid counter-arguments
to those who say there is no real alternative to dependence
on Russian energy. 


3.  (C)  At the January 19 signing of the South Stream
Intergovernmental Agreement, President Parvanov, with Putin
at his side, announced Bulgaria would host an energy summit
intended as a follow-on to the June 2007 Zagreb energy
conference.  Upon Putin's departure, Sofia fell under heavy
criticism both at home and abroad for hastily joining South
Stream, and the energy summit idea lost steam.  Ambassador
for Energy Security Peter Poptchev told us the Bulgarians
resented perceived Russian pressure to hold such a summit.
In July the Bulgarians independently resurrected the summit
idea as a way to show Bulgarian support for Nabucco and
diversification, as well to balance European, U.S. and
Russian interests in the Caspian and Black Sea regions.  With
the potential for six pipelines passing through its
territory, the Bulgarians also have high hopes to become a
regional energy hub.  The summit, they believe, will help put
Sofia on the map not only as an energy center, but as a place
that brokers discussions between the West, Russia and

4.  (C)  The Bulgarians requested your visit to advise on the
summit.  They envision a spring conference (tentatively April
24-25) that would bring together heads of state from Eurasian
and European producer, transit and consumer countries.  PM
Stanishev told Ambassador September 19 that Putin has agreed
to attend.  The summit will be gas-focused and will attempt
to put "real solutions" on sources, routes and quantities on
the table.  Well-aware of the potential for East European
energy conference fatigue in the first half of 2009, the
Bulgarians are proposing that all key participants, including
the EU, the United States and Russia, view the proposed
Hungarian, Bulgarian and Czech conferences as a linked
continuum.  The April Sofia conference would take care of any
unfinished business left from the January Hungary Conference
and the proposed Czech conference would take up where the
Sofia conference leaves off.  To distinguish the Bulgarian
summit, Sofia is considering including an as-yet undeveloped
"industry component." 

5.  (C)  The Bulgarians will seek U.S. views and your advice
on the proposed agenda of the summit and whether it will
advance U.S. goals in the region.  They want recommendations
on how to coordinate the Hungarian, Bulgarian and Czech
conferences and may seek advice on the proposed industry
component of the Sofia summit.  They are interested in, but
may not ask directly about, U.S. views on whether Sofia has a
future as an intermediary between Europe, the United States
and Russia on energy and other issues affecting the Black Sea
region.  They are interested in your analysis of recent Azeri
and Turkish energy moves.  They will also request high level
U.S. attendance at the summit. 


6.  (C)  SOUTH STREAM:  The Bulgarians signed the South
Stream intergovernmental agreement in January and Parliament
ratified the agreement in July.  Negotiations between
Bulgargaz and Gazprom resumed in September to work out a
pre-shareholders agreement.  At our recommendation, and at
the direction of the Government, state-owned Bulgargaz
reluctantly hired outside legal counsel (the U.S. law firm
Paul Hastings) to represent it in South Stream negotiations.
With the creation of a new, state-owned energy mega-holding
in September, Bulgargaz has lost much of its
previously-considerable independence.  The acting head of the
Bulgarian Energy Holding is Deputy Energy Minister Galina
Tosheva, previously lead South Stream negotiator for the
Bulgarian Government.  Tosheva has a healthy suspicion of
Russia's intentions in Bulgaria and has directed Bulgargaz to
rely on its legal counsel for expert advice.  Tosheva told us
that Gazprom negotiators are taking a hard line now that
negotiations have resumed.  They are proposing to re-route
gas currently transiting Bulgaria (for which Bulgartransgas
makes a healthy profit) to South Stream, meaning South Stream
would not represent 31 bcm of new gas for Europe, but
something significantly lower.  The Bulgarians state that
this is contrary to the spirit of the IGA and are preparing
to fight the Russian proposal. 

7.  (C)  NABUCCO:  Despite the strong public support they
have shown Nabucco this year, the Bulgarians are turning into
Nabucco-skeptics.  In March, Sofia signed what it thought was
an agreement for Azerbaijan to supply 1 bcm of gas that
Bulgaria would eventually take as its Nabucco quota.  In
advance of Nabucco, Bulgaria planned to access the gas via a
potential hook-up to the Turkey-Greece-Italy interconnector.
Realizing now that the agreement was not, in fact, a
commitment on Azerbaijan's part, the Bulgarians feel burned.
The government is now in dire need of a pep talk on the
Nabucco.  They state firmly that both South Stream and
Nabucco are critical and that one cannot be allowed to
preclude the other.  At the same time, they are nervous about
both Azerbaijani willingness to supply Nabucco and Turkish
willingness to support the project.  They will be interested
in your view of Nabucco's prospects. 

8.  (C)  TGI HOOK-UP:  The Bulgarians are in negotiations
with Greece about this possible interconnector.  Energy
Holding CEO Tosheva said this is Bulgaria's most immediate
source of diversification and energy security.  The Greeks
apparently are cool to the idea, saying there is insufficient
gas.  In response, the Bulgarians have proposed the purchase
of LNG to be delivered to Greece in exchange for either TGI
access or gas currently going through the export pipeline
from Russia and transiting Bulgarian territory.  Your
Bulgarian interlocutors may ask for U.S. support for these
schemes in our discussions with the Greeks and Turks. 

Bulgarians, Russians and Greeks signed a shareholders
agreement for the BAP oil pipeline in January during the
Putin visit.  Since then, the project company has been
registered, but little more progress has been made.  The
Bulgarians are still confident the pipeline will be built,
and seem surprisingly uninterested in the dynamics
surrounding CPC expansion.  With BAP's relative progress, the
AMBO (Albania-Macedonia-Bulgaria) oil pipeline project has
lost momentum.  Still, Bulgaria remains committed to AMBO and
is ready to move forward if and when AMBO attracts supply and

10.  (C)  BELENE:  In 2006 the GOB selected Russian
AtomstroyExport as the contractor for the new Belene nuclear
plant.  Bulgaria is keeping majority ownership of the plant,
but is in the process of selecting a strategic investor for
the other 49 percent.  RWE and the Belgian Electrabel are in
the running.  We have stated repeatedly that the choice of a
Russian contractor for Belene decreased Bulgaria's bid for
greater independence from Russian energy sources.  The lack
of transparency surrounding the tender has led to the
inescapable conclusion that the decision to choose Russia as
the Belene contractor was linked to the re-negotiation of
Bulgaria's long-term gas transit contract with Gazprom in
December 2006. 


11.  (C)  President Parvanov began his second five-year term
in 2007.  Parvanov's desire to exercise behind-the-scenes
influence over the government has led to tensions with his
former protege, Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev.  Parvanov
has close ties to Russian politicians and held no less than
eight meetings with Vladimir Putin in the last seven years.
The energy summit will be under his aegis. 

--Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev is a 42-year-old
progressive Socialist.  He is pro-west and eager to have
Bulgaria viewed as a good friend and partner of the United
States.  He returned September 30 from a week-long visit to
the United States where he met with U/S Burns, spoke at the
Harvard Business School and held an investment forum.  He
understands that Bulgaria is overly dependent on Russian
energy sources, but sees Bulgaria as having few options for
greater energy independence. 

--Foreign Minister Kalfin is close to both Stanishev and
Parvanov and as Deputy Prime Minister oversees the Economy
and Energy Ministry.  He is a strong supporter of close
Bulgarian-U.S. relations and is highly conversant on energy

--Economy and Energy Minister Petar Dimitrov is a relative
new-comer to energy issues.  He is largely seen as taking
direction on energy matters from former Energy Minister Rumen
Ovcharov, who is linked with Russian energy interests and
left office in June 2007 after a corruption scandal. 

12.  (C)  Your visit will also highlight, though meetings and
press outreach, the need for Bulgaria to focus on a long-term
energy strategy not solely based on the transit of
hydrocarbons or the production of Russian-based nuclear
energy, but on the development of renewables, clean coal and
greater energy efficiency.  Bulgaria will always be dependent
on Russian energy to one extent or another. But as the most
energy inefficient economy in Europe, it can make meaningful
strides toward greater diversity away from Russian energy
sources.  With the price of energy at near record highs,
Russia's hydrocarbon-generated wealth is increasingly
circulating through the Bulgarian economy, making Bulgaria
all the more susceptible to Russian leverage.  An energy
strategy that focuses on renewables and efficiency is one
tool Bulgaria can use to put a noticeable dent in negative
Russian influence.  The other tool is transparency.  Hub
status in any industry is bestowed only on places which offer
transparent, efficient service.  To achieve its goal of
becoming a true energy center, we should recommend that
Bulgaria present itself not as the place with closest ties to
Russia, but as the most transparent place to do energy deals. 



DE RUEHROV #0562/01 3571109
R 231109Z DEC 05
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000562 




E.O. 12958: DECL:  12/23/2015

     B. A) LARREA - MARTIN 12/9 EMAIL; B) CARACAS 3757; C) VATICAN 551 ET AL.;

VATICAN 00000562  001.2 OF 002 

CLASSIFIED BY: Peter Martin, Pol/Econ Chief, Vatican, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 


1.  (C)  The Ambassador shared ref (a) points on Venezuela's
nefarious influence in the region with Holy See internal affairs
chief (Vatican number three) Archbishop Leonardo Sandri December
17.  Some points were news to Sandri, but he was not surprised
and said he shared U.S. concerns about Chavez and other leftist
leaders in Latin America.  An interlocutor from the Vatican MFA
as well told the Ambassador that he and his superiors were wary
of connections among these leaders.  Neither prelate thought the
Vatican would become more aggressive in speaking out against
these figures, both because of recent history and the potential
for a backlash against the Church.  The Ambassador will see FM
Lajolo after the holidays to continue this dialogue.  End

Sandri Under No Illusions

2.  (C)  The Ambassador met with Archbishop Leonardo Sandri
December 17 for a wide-ranging conversation on the Church in
Latin America.  Sandri, an Argentine and former nuncio to
Venezuela, is the chief of Vatican internal operations and
generally regarded as the Holy See's number three behind the
pope and Secretary of State.  Ambassador discussed ref (a)
points, emphasizing the danger Chavez poses to the governments
around him.  Sandri was aware of some points, but others came as
news to him.  In any case, he was not surprised. Sandri said he
was convinced that Chavez was dangerous from the time he took
office and Sandri was stationed in Caracas.  The archbishop said
he had taken a harder line than the U.S. Embassy at the time,
who told him to "wait and see" what Chavez did in office. 

Holy See Concerned

3.  (C)  According to Sandri, who said he knew the pope's
thinking on the subject, the Holy See is concerned about a
general leftward shift in Latin America.  He mentioned concerns
about several figures who seemed to be looking to Castro and
Chavez, including Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.  Holy
See MFA Country Director for the U.S. and Mexico Monsignor Paolo
Gualtieri told the Ambassador in a separate meeting December 15
that his superiors in the MFA were of a similar mindset.  They
see the connections between Chavez, Castro, and other leftist
politicians in Latin America, and are concerned about the
dangers they present on many levels. 

What to Do?

4.   (C)  While the Vatican agrees that these figures are
dangerous, it sees the question of how to deal with them as more
complicated.  The Ambassador's conversation with Sandri tracked
closely with the description of the pope's concern on Venezuela
noted in ref (b).  However, Sandri stuck to the previous Vatican
line on engagement there; he did not see the Holy See changing
its non-confrontational approach to Chavez given the recent
history between Venezuela and the Holy See (ref c).  He
responded favorably to the idea that direct aid from the U.S.
Catholic Church to the Venezuelan Church to help the latter
build up its social programs could help counteract Chavez's
appeal and blunt his attacks on the Church.  Gualtieri noted
that in the case of someone like Lopez Obrador, the Church had
to be careful not to overstep its bounds into politics, no
matter how it felt. He said Masonic groups and some segments of
Mexican society were ready to pounce on bishops or clergy who
strayed into the political realm (ref d). 


5. (C)   The Holy See continues to feel that a
non-confrontational approach to Chavez is the right strategy for
the time being, but the Vatican hierarchy is under no illusions
about the danger of Chavez and kindred souls - and the
connections between them.  Sandri has great influence in the
Vatican and as a former nuncio to Venezuela his views on that
country carry particular weight.  But his formal competency is
the internal affairs of the Church.  The Ambassador will see
Gualtieri's boss, FM Lajolo, after the holidays to continue this
dialogue, as Lajolo has the lead on all questions of foreign


DE RUEHCV #0269/01 0621545
P 031545Z MAR 09
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/28/2019
REF: 2008 CARACAS 647
CARACAS 00000269 001.2 OF 002 

Classified By: Economic Counselor Damall Steuart for reasons 1.4 (b)and(d). 

1. (C) SUMMARY: A Venezuelan private sector organization advocated strongly for the Venezuelan civil aviation
authority (INAC) to support the issuance of visas for F AA inspectors and to meet with the Embassy to discuss visa
matters. The Venezuelan govemment (GBRV) has not acceded to either request. While five intemational airlines recent1y
received a disbursement of dollars from Venezuelan exchange control agency (CADIVI), no US carriers were inc1uded.
Charge Caulfield's request to meet with CAD IVI to discuss US company requests for dollars has also gone unanswered. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX told Econoffs in January that
INAC wanted a solution to its US visa issues with an emphasis on obtaining visas for Venezuelan military pilots. On February 11, the AlDCM called
INAC and offered to discuss visa matters with INAC President
Jose Martinez. Although XXXXXXXXXXXX met with Martinez and encouraged him to meet with the AlDCM, INAC has yet to
respond to the Embassy's offer. 

3. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX was also a strong proponent of an FAA visit. Two of Venezuela's three FAA-certified aircraft maintenance facilities have lost their certifications as F AA inspectors have been unable to obtain visas. The third
facility will lose its certification in June 2009. XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that this situation is extremely detrimental for
Venezuelan businesses in the aviation sector, but that he and
his association members have been unsuccessful in convincing
the Venezuelan govemment to issue FAA visas. (Note: After
failing in their second attempt to obtain visas, F AA
inspectors withdrew their passports from the Venezuelan
Embassy in early February.) 


4. (C) On February 10, the Charge requested a meeting with CADIVI to discuss the outstanding dollar requests by US businesses in all sectors. CAD IVI has not responded to the Charge's request to date. All three US carriers with
operations in Venezuela strongly support a meeting between
the Embassy and CAD IVI and would be willing to provide whatever documentation Post might need for their sector.
(Note: CADIVI is the agency that administers the GBRV's currency controls. To receive US dollars at the official
exchange rate for transactions such as dividend repatriation
and operating costs, a company must obtain CAD IVI approval. There are no reliable figures for how much money US companies as a whole have requested from CADIVI, but most believe the number is in the billions. See reftel for more information on CADIVI.) 

5. (C) On February 17, Econoffs met with XXXXXXXXXXXX
And XXXXXXXXXXXX. Both said they would encourage CAD IVI President Manuel Barroso to respond to the Embassy's request. However, neither was optimistic. XXXXXXXXXXXX pointed out that
the Vice President ofIATA had come to Venezuela twice for appointments with CADIVI but Barroso "stood him up" both times. 

6. (C) Three months ago when it became c1ear that Venezuela's
supply of dollars would dwindle, XXXXXXXXXXXX said,
Barroso started approving all dollar authorizations personally. The approvals are "completely arbitrary" according to XXXXXXXXXXXX who argued that Barroso is a military man and a "mini Chavez" who
"wants all the power in his own hands." XXXXXXXXXXXX said Barroso recent1y asked Chavez for another year as the head of CADIVI and Chavez agreed as Barroso used to be a member of Chavez' personal security detachment and remains his "good
friend." Nevertheless, XXXXXXXXXXXX argued that CADIVI was not discriminating against US airlines when it recent1y disbursed
dollars to five non-U S carriers. XXXXXXXXXXXX explained that there are simply not enough dollars to go around. American Airlines,
the largest operator in the Venezuelan market, is awaiting
the most substantial dollar disbursement of any airline. 


7. (C) While there is strong private sector support for increased bilateral cooperation on aviation issues, the GBRV
chooses not to respond to USG overtures. Sources in the sector report that sorne in INAC want to accept the Embassy's repeated offers to begin a dialogue on technical issues. However, INAC officials current1y answer direct1y to the Venezuelan Vice President who does not seem disposed to increasing cooperation with the USG. (A more detailed discussion of intemal INAC operations will follow septel.) US airlines, and indeed the intemational business community, are increasingly concemed with the difficulty in obtaining dollars from CAD IVI in part due to the rumored possibility that the GBRV may devalue in the near future. The GBRV unfortunately seems uninterested in their concems.



DE RUEHRO #0433/01 1061348
O 161348Z APR 09
S E C R E T ROME 000433 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2019



Classified By: Charge d'Affaires a.i. Elizabeth Dibble for
Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 

1. (S)  The Government of Italy sent U.S. Embassy Rome an
unclassified Note Verbale on April 16 thanking the USG for
assistance provided thus far in the deployment of Italian
Special Forces to Djibouti for possible use in an anti-piracy
mission and requesting continuing assistance as needed.  The
note, sent in unclassified channels to speed up the process,
was generated in response to our requirement that any further
USG assistance in support of the Italian anti-piracy mission
be requested via Diplomatic Note. 

2. (S) Background: The Italian-owned and flagged tugboat
Buccaneer was taken by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on April
11.  The ship has 16 crew members on board: 10 Italian, 5
Romanian, and 1 Croatian, and is currently about one nautical
mile from the coast of Somalia.  The Italian military has
requested permission from the Government of Djibouti and
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) to use
Camp Lemonier in Djibouti as a logistical staging area in
preparation for a possible rescue mission.  The GOI assures
us that it has obtained all the necessary landing permits
from the Government of Djibouti.  It has already landed one
aircraft in Djibouti with approximately 29 logistical support
staff, currently housed at Camp Lemonier, to prepare for the
staging.  The mission, if it happens, will not/not be
launched from Djiboutian soil, and the GOI is currently
considering other options that do not entail a rescue
mission.  Italy may use its Frigate MAESTRALE, currently
deployed to the region as part of EU operation ATALANTA, and
which is currently shadowing the pirates, to launch the
operation, or may make use of other vessels.  Italy may
request helicopter, intel, and other logistical support from
the U.S. as the need arises, but currently its request is
limited to logistical support to house units at Camp

3. (S) Post has stressed to the GOI the need to provide as
many details as possible about the potential operation in a
timely manner, as well as the need to coordinate fully with
the Government of Djibouti.  The Defense Attache is in
contact with the Italian Military and Poloffs are in contact
with the MFA Operations Center as the situation evolves, and
will provide additional operational details as they become

4. (SBU) The translated text of the Note is as follows
(Italian original will be emailed to EUR/WE): 


"Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

Rome, 4/16/2009
Prot. 0129432 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy
presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United States
of America and, in consideration of our shared efforts in the
fight against terrorism and piracy, has the honor to express
its full appreciation for the assistance provided to the
"Training Mission" sent to Djibouti. 

The sending of the mission, as well as the deployment of the
Italian Frigate "MAESTRALE," forms part of the efforts
undertaken by the Government of Italy in the struggle against

While noting that the Authorities of Djibouti have provided
the necessary visas and aircraft landing authorizations, the
Italian Government is particularly grateful to the Government
of the United States of America for having hosted this
mission at Camp Lemonier.  The Italian Government, in
addition, is grateful to the Government of the United States
of America henceforth for any further assistance that it
might provide in the future. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in expressing its full
gratitude for the collaboration, takes the opportunity to
extend to the Embassy of the United States of America
reassurances of its highest consideration."



TOP-SECRET: The Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev 1989

Washington, DC, July 31st – The National Security Archive publishes its fourth installment of the diary of Anatoly Chernyaev, the man who was behind some of the most momentous transformations in Soviet foreign policy at the end of the 1980s in his role as Mikhail Gorbachev’s main foreign policy aide.  In addition to his contributions to perestroika and new thinking, Anatoly Sergeevich was and remains a paragon of openness and transparency, providing his diaries and notes to historians who are trying to understand the end of the Cold War.  This section of the diary, covering 1989—the year of miracles—is published here in English for the first time.

After the “turning point year,” 1988, the Soviet reformers around Gorbachev expected fast progress on all fronts—domestically in implementation of the results of the XIX party conference and further democratization of the Soviet system, and internationally following the groundbreaking UN speech of December 1988, especially in the sphere of nuclear arms control and in integrating the Soviet Union into Europe.  However, those hopes were not realized, and the year brought quite unexpected challenges and outcomes.  By the end of the year, no new arms control agreements would be signed, but the Berlin Wall would fall, nationalist movements would start threatening the unity of the Soviet Union, and popular revolutions would sweepEastern Europewhile the Soviets stuck to their pledge not to use force.  By the end of 1989,Europewas transformed and the Cold War had ended.  Anatoly Chernyaev documented all those changes meticulously and reflected on their meaning in real time.

For Chernyaev, the year began with an argument over the final withdrawal of Soviet forces fromAfghanistan.  Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze tried to delay the full withdrawal of troops and to send an additional brigade to help the Afghan leader Najibullah repel attacks of Pakistani-supported mujahaddin and stabilize his government.  Chernyaev and Alexander Yakovlev actively opposed that course of action on the grounds that it would cost hundreds of lives of Soviet soldiers and undermine Soviet trustworthiness in the eyes of international partners.  The troops were withdrawn on schedule by February 15, 1989.

Domestically, the most important event was the first contested election to the Congress of People’s Deputies on March 26, 1989.  Chernyaev himself was elected as a Deputy, but expressed unease about being among the 100 candidates on the “guaranteed” party list.  His reflections on the electoral campaign and the results of the elections show his sincere belief that the Soviet system could be transformed by deepening the democratization and his concerns over the limitations and resistance by the conservative elements within the party.  The electoral campaign takes place at the time when the economic situation deteriorates quite significantly, leading to unprecedented discontent of the population and ultimately miners’ strikes in the summer.

An important theme of 1989 is the growing nationalism and the threat of possible breakup of theSoviet Union—“the nationalities bomb.”  On this issue, Chernyaev seems to understand the situation much better than Gorbachev, who until very late does not comprehend the fact that the Baltic states genuinely want to leave the Soviet Union, maybe up until the human chain of protesters forms on August 23, 1989.  Gorbachev believes that they could be kept in by negotiations and economic pressure.  The events inTbilision April 9, 1989, where the police killed 20 civilians trying to disperse nationalist rallies, should have been a wake-up call.  Chernyaev wonders if Gorbachev understands all the depth of the nationalities issue or if he is still under the influence of the Soviet official narrative of harmonious relations between ethnic groups under socialism.

The summer of 1989 brings the Solidarity victory in the Polish elections and the start of the Hungarian roundtable negotiations culminating in the first non-communist government in Eastern Europe inPolandand the Soviet acceptance of those events.  On the heels of the Polish and Hungarian breakthroughs comes the change of leadership inEast Germanyand the almost accidental yet fateful fall of the Berlin Wall.  In this case, just as on the issue of nationalism, Chernyaev shows a much better understanding of its true meaning than most other Soviet leaders.  In the fall of the Wall, he sees an end of an era, the true transformation of the international system, and a beginning of a new chapter in the European history.  The start of the process of German reunification and theMaltasummit signified the end of the Cold War.

However, for Chernyaev, his position notwithstanding, the year’s main concern was the domestic developments in theSoviet Union, and specifically the insufficient progress in radical economic and political reform.  A lot of entries deal with his disappointment in Gorbachev’s slow or ambivalent actions where he seems to be siding with conservatives, his inability to move more decisively even on the issues that he himself proclaimed, such as land reform.  Chernyaev’s main lament is that Gorbachev is losing time and political power as a result of his indecisiveness while the opposition is growing strong using “the Russian factor” and becoming more anti-Gorbachev and siding with Yeltsin more and more often in the Congress of People’s Deputies.

All through the tumultuous events of 1989, Anatoly Chernyaev remains at Gorbachev’s side, faithful to the ideas and the promise of the reform, but at the same time more and more critical at the weaknesses and inconsistencies of his boss and growing more dissatisfied by the emerging distance in their personal relationship.  The last entry of the year, for December 31, is written in the form of a letter to Gorbachev, expressing all his disappointments and worries about the fate of the reform.  The diary entries allow historians an opportunity to see the days of 1989 as they unfolded, through the eyes of a most perceptive and involved participant.

The Chernyaev Diary was translated by Anna Melyakova and edited by Svetlana Savranskaya for the National Security Archive.


DE RUEHRO #0944/01 2291429
P 171429Z AUG 09
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ROME 000944 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2019


REF: ROME 00930 

Classified By: Charge d'affaires Elizabeth Dibble for reasons 1.4 (b) a
nd (d). 

1. (C) Summary: On August 11, Poloff met with Massimiliano
D'Antuono, Deputy Head of the MFA Crisis Unit, to discuss the
details of the release of the MV Buccaneer crew which was
taken hostage by pirates off the coast of Somalia. A Somali
pirate is quoted in the press as saying that a four million
euro ransom had been paid.  This conflicts with Foreign
Minister Frattini's statement that "Strong political work
with local authorities as well as an Italian warship that was
standing by with Special Forces finally made the pirates
understand there was no other solution than to release the
ship."  D'Antuono affirmed that the hostage release was the
result of diplomatic, military and intelligence efforts.  He
asserted that the Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) of Somalia was instrumental in the
negotiations with the pirates because of his
family/clan/tribal links.  End summary. 

- - - - - 

2. (C) On April 11, the deep water tugboat MV Buccaneer was
slowly towing two large barges at 4-5 knots in the Gulf of
Aden. Because it was moving too slowly to join a convoy, and
because its rear deck was designed to be low to the water
line, the crew of 10 Italians, 5 Romanians and 1 Croat was an
easy target for Somali pirates.  According to D'Antuono, a
couple of hours after the ship was commandeered, one crew
member was able to push a distress button calling for help.
The ship's owner received an email from the Buccaneer with
its location coordinates, but he correctly identified the
message as a ruse because ""the English used was better than
anything the crew was capable of.""  The pirates were able to
anchor the ship in a cove on the Somali coast.  After 2-3
weeks, the Italian Navy ship San Giorgio arrived in the
vicinity to take up a position approximately eight miles off
the shore.  Italian Special Forces, who arrived on the San
Giorgio, routinely positioned themselves and their small
boats in close proximity to the Buccaneer so that they could
react within 20-30 seconds to an assault by the pirates on
the hostages.  D'Antuono implied the pirates knew the Special
Forces had positioned themselves within striking distance
even if they were not able to visibly locate them. 

3. (C) The Crisis Unit worked under the direct supervision of
the "highest levels" of the MFA to negotiate the hostages'
release.  D'Antuono described a "three-pillar approach using
diplomatic, military and intelligence resources."  He
traveled to Somalia with Margherita Boniver, FM Frattini's
Special Envoy for Humanitarian Emergencies, to leverage
Italy's "special relationship" with Somalia and the GOI's
current support for the TFG.  Meetings with the TFG Prime
Minister Sharmarke served to exert pressure on the pirates by
virtue of family/clan/tribal relations.  Asked for specifics,
he demurred that "the Prime Minister was the one who made the
release happen." 

4. (C) D'Antuono emphasized that under Italian law, no ransom
could be paid to release the sailors.  He stated that the
owner of one of the barges offered to pay a ransom, but was
informed that proceeding with that course of action would
result in prosecution by the Italian courts.  In contrast to
the barge owner's interactions with the GOI, he described the
governments of Romania and Croatia, whose nationals were also
being held captive, as being completely supportive of the
GOI's lead role in the negotiations. 

5. (C) Without discussing details, D'Antuono stated that at a
certain point, the Special Forces from the San Giorgio were
cleared to board the Buccaneer after all of the pirates had
vacated the ship.  The Special Forces took control of the
ship and set sail with the crew to Djibouti.  After a medical
assessment in Djibouti, the crew flew to Italy where they
will brief the prosecutor's office in Rome responsible for
handling such cases for possible future action.  D'Antuono
believed the crew was treated reasonably well with the
exception of a "beating of one of the Romanians" by the
pirates.  He mentioned that, at least once, the crew was
taken ashore to offer relief from the cramped quarters of the

6. (C) D'Antuono emphasized the GOI's aversion to resorting
to a military operation because of the negative Italian
public opinion that would likely follow any loss of life.  He
suggested that headlines describing fatherless children would
have been a public relations disaster for the GOI, especially
as the world focused its attention on Italy as the host of
the G8 Summit in June. 

Ransom Paid?
- - - - - - - 

7. (C) Andrew Mwangura, of the Mombasa-based East African
Seafarer's Assistance Programme was quoted in the press as
saying that the pirates received a four million euro ransom.
Sometimes described as an intermediary between pirates and
those who pay ransom, his role, if any, in the release of the
Buccaneer crew is not clear.  D'Antuono stated that the MFA
is "familiar with" Mwangura, but dismissed his claims of a
paid ransom as "a marketing technique."  He reasoned that
releasing a crew without receiving a ransom would set an
unprofitable precedent.  He assessed claims of having
received a ransom as a necessary strategy to protect the
economic value of the pirates' illicit activities. 

8. (SBU) In terms of what the GOI did offer the TFG, if not
the pirates, an MFA statement describes financial support in
2009 dedicated to ""Somali institutions and to the peace
process"" totaling 13 million euros.  Additional money has
been disbursed through the Italian Development Cooperation.
(see reftel) 

- - - - 

9. (C) The official line on the Buccaneer release is a
substantial but incomplete accounting of factors that brought
this situation to a peaceful conclusion.  Gaining the release
of the Italian vessel and hostages was a top priority, albeit
low profile effort, for the Italian government.  Prime
Minister Berlusconi himself reportedly made many of the early
critical decisions.  Italy, with U.S. assistance, moved
quickly to ensure that it had a full range of options
available to resolve the issue, including the strategic
positioning of elite forces ready to engage in an
extraction/rescue operation if necessary.  These efforts were
buttressed by Italy's re-energizing its relations with
Somalia and engaging in a high profile ""embrace"" of its
former colony.  In spite of Italy's slashed overseas budget,
it has dedicated significant development and humanitarian
assistance to the TFG and announced its commitment to re-open
an embassy in Mogadishu at the June 2009 International
Contact Group on Somalia meeting held in Rome.  A logical
quid pro quo for Italy's new engagement was TFG action to
resolve the hostage crisis.  Adamant denials that Italy paid
ransom, directly or otherwise, have been accompanied by
claims of ignorance of TFG initiatives to liberate the
hostages.  The GOI was acutely aware of the strong USG
opposition to the payment of ransom in this case and we
believe that resulted in Italy relying heavily on the TFG to
deliver its citizens.


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NASSAU 000766 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/17/2013

Classified By: DCM Robert M. Witajewski, Reasons 1.5(b) and (d) 


1.  (C) After returning from the OAS/CARICOM meeting on Haiti
in Miami, Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell dismissed the
possibility of invoking the democracy provision of the OAS
Charter in the case of Haiti.  He acknowledged problems with
democracy in Haiti, but made it clear that the Bahamian
government preferred continued engagement with President
Aristide to any type of public confrontation.  He also
announced a decision to provide $500,000 in economic
assistance to Haiti, while admitting that it would not do
much good if the political situation did not improve.
Mitchell's main concern is doing whatever he can to slow down
illegal immigration from Haiti - a key domestic political
imperative - and he has been fruitlessly pursuing an
immigration accord with the Government of Haiti for several
months.  A high official at the Foreign Ministry, although he
proclaimed himself "not competent" to comment on Haiti policy
(or much of anything else), confirmed that Haiti believes it
must stay engaged with the Aristide government to prevent a
mass migration.  End Summary. 

Democracy in Crisis... 

2.  (U) Upon his return from Miami, Foreign Minister Mitchell
discussed the situation there with the press.  He admitted
that the CARICOM Foreign Ministers were "frustrated with the
situation in Haiti, and said that Aristide had put the
international community "in a difficult position" by not
living up to his commitments.  He spoke frankly about Haiti's
failure to: select an appropriate police commissioner, arrest
an important fugitive involved in political violence, and
plan for elections.  While he placed some of the blame for
the lack of progress toward a political solution on the
opposition, he acknowledged the government's greater share of
blame and discussed the reasons why the opposition might feel
threatened and unwilling to make concessions. 

... But Need to Give Aristide Another Chance 

3.  (U) However, Mitchell went on to say that he thought it
was "likely that the deadline will be extended," and Aristide
should be given yet another chance to meet his commitments.
He pointed out that The Bahamas, in his opinion has no
choice: "We cannot afford to disengage from Haiti because
disengaging for us is not an option."  According to Mitchell,
the issue of Haitian migrants and the potential for mass
migration is the key issue for The Bahamas.  Such a mass
migration must be prevented at all costs, and Mitchell made
it clear that he believed the best way to do that was
continued engagement with the Aristide government in an
attempt to improve Haiti's political and economic situation. 

4.  (U) Mitchell was dismissive of the possibility of
invoking the democracy provisions of the OAS Charter, saying
that although "Some people argue that's the case in Haiti ...
I think that is taking it a little bit too far."  He
described the U.S. position on Haiti as "hard-minded", and
called for continued dialogue.  Mitchell also announced a
$500,000 economic assistance package for Haiti.  In
announcing it, he acknowledged that the assistance would
likely not do much good unless the political impasse were
resolved.  Mitchell defended the package, however, by
reiterating that the Government of the Bahamas must do
whatever it can to improve the economic situation in Haiti
because of the impact The Bahamas would likely feel if
further economic and political crisis resulted in a mass
migration.  He made it very clear that this is the paramount
issue for The Bahamas. 

Who Is Competent Then? 

5.  (C) DCM and POL/ECON section chief raised the issue of
Haiti with Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for
Political Affairs Marco Rolle in an April 15 meeting
requested by Rolle to go over the list of pending items
between the Embassy and the MFA.  Rolle, despite being the
number three official at the Ministry of Embassy (he is the
Bahamian equivalent of Undersecretary Grossman) and having
accompanied Mitchell to both Miami and the press conference,
told us that he "was not competent" to talk about Haiti
policy with us.  He couldn't even confirm any details about
the aid package the Minister had announced in his presence.
Nor could he comment on progress made toward an immigration
accord with Haiti or the upcoming visit by Mitchell to Haiti
in late March beyond confirming the dates (May 22-23).  The
one specific response we received to a question was whether
or not Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell planned to make any
trips or telephone calls to Haitian counterparts prior to the
April 30 OAS meeting in Washington.  The answer is: No. 

Consistently Not Competent 

6.  (C) Inability to provide specific responses to queries
was a consistent theme of our conversation with Rolle.  Of
the fifteen pending items on our agenda, he was unable to
comment meaningfully on any single one of them, and could not
point to MFA progress in resolving any of the issues which
have been pending anywhere from 2-3 weeks (dip notes
regarding a trade dispute, RBDF training and a proposal to
form an anti-alien-smuggling task force) to 6 years (request
for a bilateral work agreement).  Rolle, a career civil
servant with no background in foreign affairs, has only been
with the ministry for about seven months, so it can be
understood that he might not be familiar with every issue,
but we would think he could do better than 0 for 15.  The
Bahamian civil service has honed sloth and delay disguised as
deliberation and consensus-building to a fine art.

7.   (C) We believe the bottom line for The Bahamas on Haiti
is their fear of mass migration and doing anything that might
trigger an outflow.  Mitchell in particular has made
conclusion of an immigration agreement his top foreign policy
priority.  Our sources in the Immigration Department tell us
the negotiations are not going well, stalled over Haitian
insistence on an amnesty for the 30,000 - 100,000 Haitians
already in The Bahamas (most illegally).  Such a concession
would be suicide for Mitchell in the xenophobic Bahamian
political landscape.  Pursuit of this agreement and any other
means to slow down migration will continue to push any
concerns for democracy and human rights into the backseat.
While The Bahamas will remain engaged on Haiti, the Christie
government will resist any effort to put real teeth into any
diplomatic effort to pressure President Aristide, preferring
(endless) conversation and dialogue to the alternative. 



C O N F I D E N T I A L  VATICAN 005164 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/13/2013


     B. B) PORT AU PRINCE 2249
     C. C) PORT AU PRINCE 2188
     D. D) PORT AU PRINCE 2344
     E. E) PORT AU PRINCE 2345 

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Brent Hardt for reason 1.5 (b) and (d)


1. (C) Vatican MFA Caribbean Affairs Office Director Giorgio
Lingua said November 7 that the Holy See is "very worried"
about the situation in Haiti.  He expressed concern about the
disruption of an October 16 mass (ref a and b), and noted the
potential for violence in the coming weeks (ref d).  Acting
Foreign Minister Pietro Parolin emphasized in a November 13
meeting the difficult balancing act that Vatican and
Episcopal leadership in Haiti must perform in pressing for
reform while avoiding instigating further violence.  He noted
in this regard that the Haitian Episcopal Conference had
signed on to the protest letter to the Haitian Government
sent by the papal nuncio after the October 16 disturbance
(ref b).  According to Lingua, the Haitian Catholic Church is
struggling in general, with many people leaving the Church
due to disillusionment with its handling of the Aristide
crisis.  Though he acknowledged the challenges Aristide
presented to those seeking reform, Lingua thought that
pressure for increased democratic expression might be
effective if it did not threaten Aristide's legitimacy.  End

The Vatican's Concern

2. (C) MFA Caribbean Affairs Office Director Giorgio Lingua
told poloff November 7 that the Holy See is "very worried"
about the situation in Haiti, following the disruption of the
October 16 papal anniversary mass (ref a, b) and continuing
violent incidents.  Lingua told us a Haitian MFA
representative had called Papal Nuncio Luigi Bonazzi to
express his regret for the incident at mass, but said that to
his knowledge Aristide himself had not contacted any Vatican
representative to comment on the incident.  Lingua expressed
some satisfaction with news that Aristide had spoken to
opposition leader Evans Paul after the incident, as the
post-mass mugging of Evans Paul was also troubling to the
Vatican.  The Holy See remains concerned about the potential
for more violence in the lead-up to the bicentennial
anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres on November 18 (ref d). 

A Church Balancing, Divided

3. (C) According to Lingua, Aristide,s exploitation of some
clergy members for propaganda purposes was taking its toll on
the Haitian population.  Lingua said Haitians see "a Church
divided," with some clergy supporting the Lavalas party and
others against it.  Lingua claimed this lack of solidarity
fostered disillusionment to the point where people were
leaving the Church in increasing numbers. 

4. (C) When asked if the October 16 incident might prompt the
Holy See to raise its voice more forcefully against
Aristide's abuses, Lingua was noncommittal, saying the
Vatican needed to balance pressure on Aristide against a
delicate security situation on the ground.  Similarly, he
said the Haitian bishops needed to tread lightly, as
Aristide's unpredictable nature made such expression 

dangerous.  Holy See Acting Foreign Minister Pietro Parolin
reiterated this point in a November 13 meeting with the
Charge, while also noting that the bishops had signed on to
Nuncio Bonazzi's protest letter to the GOH.  According to
Lingua, the bishops "realize they should speak louder," but
have to pick their spots carefully. 

Episcopal Leadership

5. (C) Lingua told us the newly-appointed archbishop of Cap
Haitien, Hubert Constant, was similarly in a difficult
position.  Lingua said (protect) Constant had a "good spirit
and pastoral character, but is conditioned by the presence --
in fact the omnipresence -- of Aristide."  Deputy FM Parolin
was somewhat more positive on Constant, noting his role in
protesting the October 16 incident.  On leadership in
Port-au-Prince, Parolin confirmed that Coadjutor Bishop Serge
Miot would succeed Archbishop Ligonde as head of the
archdiocese when Archbishop Ligonde retires formally.  He
also denied that Miot was too close to the Aristide camp,
asserting that Miot, too, had played a role the post-October
16 protest. 

Comment: Where to go?

6. (C) Despite Lingua's rather somber assessment of the
situation, he said the Holy See believes there are some
glimmers of hope for progress Haiti.  He said the Vatican had
noticed signs of increased discontent within the Lavalas
party that could contribute to prospects for future reform.
The best bet, he believed, was for further international
pressure, especially from the United States, for increased
democratic expression within the country -- without directly
challenging Aristide's legitimacy.  This tracks with the
conservative approach we have seen from the Holy See in such
situations.  The Vatican is far more likely to take the
long-term view than to invite confrontation -- or encourage
local bishops to do so. 

7. (C) When looking at the big picture, Lingua said,
effecting change in Haiti should be easier than in Cuba.
Unlike Castro, Lingua observed, Aristide is not ideologically
motivated.  "This is one person -- not a system," he added.
Citing the effects on the U.S. of Haitian drug trafficking
and illegal immigration, Lingua acknowledged the USG interest
in Haiti, even beyond its humanitarian concerns.  Lingua
noted with interest the arrival of Ambassador Foley in
Port-au-Prince; consequently we passed him a copy of the
Ambassador's ref E press statement. 






E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/22/2013

     B. SANTO DOMINGO 4930 



1. (C) On December 18 the Haitian Ambassador to the Dominican
Republic Guy Alexandre called on the Ambassador and Acting
DCM to confirm his resignation.  The sudden news (prompted by
the violent December 5 crackdown on student demonstrators in
Haiti) was widely covered December 16 while Ambassador
Alexandre was out of the country visiting his wife in Puerto
Rico.  Ambassdor Alexandre's resignation is due to what he
described as "incompatible principles" with Arisitide's
government.  Composed but staunch in his resolve, Alexandre
assured the Ambassador that he has no plans to seek asylum in
the United States for now.  Requesting asylum, he explained,
would "further complicate Dominican-Haitian bilateral
relations" and would not be in his nor Haiti's best
interests.  Instead, Alexandre said he would seek residency
in the Dominican Republic and teach at a university.  End


2. (C) Ambassador Guy Alexandre met with the Ambassador and
Acting DCM on December 18 to discuss his recent resignation.
He said that he had planned to leave his post in January 2004
after Haiti's independence bicentennial celebrations, which
would have also marked two years in his assignment.  However,
he could not ignore the recent violence against students in
Haiti because of his strong links to the academic community
there.  According to Alexandre, police officers broke both
knees of one of his friends, a vice-rector at a university
(Ref A).  The December 5 violence, he lamented, "produced an
irrevocable situation that cannot be easily fixed,"
following months of extreme polarization and resulting chaos. 

3. (C) According to Ambassador Alexandre's contacts in Haiti,
there are daily protests or preemptive crackdowns by police
on potential protests.  He warned of an upsurge in armed
civilians looking for trouble.  Alexandre expressed his
concern that the environment in Haiti is ripe for
confrontation, which might subside briefly during Christmas
but is sure to resume in January.  He commented that Haiti
has minimal capacity to maintain order and that "none of the
Haitian politicians realize that the country is a ticking
time bomb." 


4. (C) Ambassador Alexandre criticized opposition groups'
preoccupation with forcing Aristide's departure without
considering the consequences.  He emphasized that Aristide's
exit will not solve Haiti's socio-economic problems.
Alexandre also criticized his countrymen for their focus on
grabbing power rather than tackling the difficult problems of
health, education and infrastructure.  The Ambassador asked
Alexandre whether there are clandestine movements in the
Dominican Republic working to overthrow Aristide, to which
Alexandre responded that he does not know of any such
activity.  He acknowledged that some disgruntled former
Haitian military officers reside in the Dominican Republic,
but said most of the pressure on Aristide originates in
Haiti.  He recalled the 1991-94 period when many Haitians
fled the country, but claimed there was no no mass migration.
 During that time Alexandre personally assisted 30 Haitians,
including a former Army chief. 


5. (C) Less than three weeks before his resignation,
Ambassador Alexandre met with the Ambassador on December 1 to
discuss concerns about Dominican-Haitian bilateral relations.
 He was disturbed about the GODR's apparent nonchalant
investigations regarding the Haitian bodies discovered along
the border in September (Ref B).  Alexandre also said the
GODR is not doing enough to document Haitians.  He complained
that the GODR often uses Article 11 of the Dominican
Constitution (providing that anyone born on Dominican soil is
Dominican except offspring of diplomats or foreigners in
transit) to deny citizenship to Haitians for being
"foreigners in transit."  Ambassador Alexandre also blamed
the failure of the 2001 OAS initiative on a lack of OAS
impartiality (Note: This argument was reiterated at the
follow-up meeting on December 18.  End note). 


6. (C) Alexandre said he currently plans to reside in the
Dominican Republic, not flee to the United States.  He was
traveling to Puerto Rico when his resignation hit the press
and returned quickly thereafter.  He emphasized his desire to
get involved in academia and denied having strong ties to
successful Haitian expats in the United States.  Alexandre
did ask the Acting DCM (Consul General) that his B1/B2
nonimmigrant visa be transferred to his tourist passport.
Alexandre said the GOH had not yet accepted his resignation.
He claimed to have no interest in politics because he "knows
too well what Haiti needs."


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 NASSAU 000364 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/22/2014

     NASSAU 322 


- - - -
- - - - 

1  (C)  At a special luncheon function to honor Junior
Achievement on February 19, Prime Minister Christie twice
came to the Charge's table to request an "urgent" meeting the
morning of February 20, later set for 12:30 in the PM's
office.  As events in Haiti continue to deteriorate, the
sense of vulnerability by the Government of the Commonwealth
of The Bahamas (GCOB) at being overwhelmed by mass Haitian
migration continues to grow.  In this light, both the PM and
Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell have exerted considerable time
and energy in recent weeks to mediate peace talks between
President Aristide and the opposition (reported reftels A, B
and C).  Increasing deterioration in conditions in Haiti are
also reinforcing the Bahamian Government's sense of
dependence on the United States in the event uncontrolled
Haitian migrant outflows occur.  At the 60 minute meeting on
February 20 in his private office, PM Christie updated Charge
on recent developments on Haiti from his Government's

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -  -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - 

2. (C)  Christie initiated the discussion with a report on
Foreign Minister Mitchell's just-concluded presentation at
the United Nations General Assembly that morning.  The
Ministry of Foreign Affairs later faxed the Embassy a copy of
Mitchell's speech, which focused on the CARICOM proposal,
including a constitutional role for a Prime Minister, rules
governing protests and demonstrations by the opposition, the
professionalization of the Haitian National Police, and
additional security and economic support.  FM Mitchell also
called for the international community to "provide immediate
security assistance to bring stability to Haiti, including
helping the legitimate authority of Haiti to restore law and
order and disarm the elements that now seek to violently
overthrow the government, and who have interrupted
humanitarian assistance."  Mitchell continued using -- for
him -- unusually strong language: "Those armed gangs who seek
now to overthrow the constitutional order should be urged to
lay down their arms and if not they should be disarmed." 

3. (C)  Christie related to Charge that in New York Mitchell
had sought out and obtained additional support, particularly
from Central and South American countries, for the CARICOM
approach.  Christie was particularly proud that Bahamian
efforts had resulted in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina
agreeing to send police or military to Haiti as he observed,
wryly, that these three countries did not normally agree with
the U.S. of late.  Christie also announced that FM Mitchell
and Assistant Secretary Roger Noriega would fly to Haiti
Saturday to continue to work all sides of the issue.
Christie spoke authoritatively about conversations between FM
Mitchell and A/S. Noriega and between Mitchell and NSC
Western Hemisphere Director Tom Shannon. He also indicated
that he had been in contact with members of the U.S.
Congressional Black Caucus to allay their "deep concerns"
about the "good faith" of the U.S. and others in seeking a
resolution to Haiti's crisis. 

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4. (C)  The Prime Minister described his week of frantic
conference calls on the Haitian crisis and a U.S. preference
for the Bahamian Foreign Minister to play a new, and
significant on-going role in Haiti as the third member in a
tripartite committee that, Christie seemed to believe would
effectively serve as a kind of "Council of Wise Men" in
governing the country.  Christie said that as he understood
current plans, the council would be composed of three
members: a representative from the Haitian Opposition, an
independent Haitian Prime Minister, and Bahamian FM Mitchell
representing Caricom and others.  According to the Prime
Minister, however, President Aristide had expressed
reservations about the constitutionality of formally creating
such a body.  However, Christie continued, he believed from
his conversations with him that President Aristide would
accept an arrangement in which the same group would
"informally" advise him on matters. 

5. (C)  Continuing his exposition, Christie then went on to
say that his preferred solution would be for the United
States or the French to assume the leadership of this body
and supply the "third member" rather than The Bahamas. 

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6. (C)  The Bahamian Prime Minister appeared comfortable in
his newly-assumed role of international mediator. He noted
that he had spoken "at least a dozen times" with Haitian
President Aristide of late, and this week alone reported that
he had spoken with the Haitian President at least once each
day.  Explaining his frequent telephone conversations, PM
Christie declared that, given the urgency of the situation,
he did not want to risk having his message diluted or
distorted "by leaving (the resolution of the crisis) to

7. (C)  Noting that President Aristide had claimed that
"bandits" were responsible for attacking the Opposition, not
government forces, PM Christie said that each time he spoke
with Aristide he had stressed the importance of Aristide
appealing directly to the U.S., France, or Canada for
assistance in re-equipping Haitian police so that law and
order could be restored.  Christie indicated some sympathy
for Aristide's claimed plight, telling Charge that "there is
simply no way that a demoralized police force of less than
5,000 can maintain law in order in a country of more than 7
million."  Christie seemed hopeful that the U.S. would
reconsider its position against supplying the Haitian police
with lethal weapons, and at a minimum do more to support the
Haitian police with non-lethal support. 

8. (C)  Christie indicated his preference for continued
direct high-level involvement in Haiti.  He felt that it was
important that he and others at the head of state level
continue to involve themselves in the situation and interact
directly with Aristide in order to reinforce the urgency of
the situation. Christie said that it had been his idea to
contact South African President Thabo Mbeki to try to involve
him in Haiti.  It would be appropriate, he said, for the
world's "newest black nation" to help the world's "oldest
black nation."   At regular intervals during the one-hour
meeting, Christie reiterated the pleas for assistance to
restore law and order in Haiti made by himself and others to
Secretary Powell, President Bush, Secretary General Annan,
and the O.A.S. 

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9. (C)  Christie stressed his agreement with his Foreign
Minister that the best resolution would be an agreement that
conferred some "dignity" to Aristide.  Christie specifically
sympathized with Aristide's complaint that he (Aristide) was
being asked to take unconstitutional actions.  The Bahamian
Prime Minister indicated that based on his conversations with
Aristide, he believed that Aristide was not opposed to
working with the opposition on the joint appointment  of a
new Prime Minister and subsequently a new cabinet, but is
objecting to being left out of the process or becoming a
figurehead for the remainder of his term in office.  Christie
also made clear his position that President Aristide is
Haiti's legitimately elected constitutional leader.  But
Christie then coupled this principled stand with an
evaluation of the state of the Haitian opposition from his
position as a practicing politician.  "Even with a year to
organize," he said, "the opposition will not match Aristide's
level of support, and would lose if Aristide decided to run
again, which he will not." 

10. (C)  In this vein, Christie volunteered what he thought
might be the outcome of the February 21 talks in Port au
Prince, Christie said that he assumed that the United States
had the power to achieve a solution.  Christie said that he
was confident that A/S Noriega "had the clout" to bring
Haitian Opposition leader Apaid around, and that once Apaid
signed on to an agreement, the rest of the Opposition "would
follow" in permitting President Aristide to serve his term
out since they couldn't organize themselves to win an
election now. 

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11. (C)  Turning from the crisis in Haiti to the consequences
for The Bahamas if that country's political instability
results in a migrant outflow, PM Perry Christie went on at
great length to reiterate his determination to build a deep
water port at Great Inagua that would serve as his country's
strategic southern base.  As he lamented: "The Haitian
problem isn't going to go away for years to come."  Given
this reality, he was convinced that the Royal Bahamian
Defence Force (RBDF) will always need to patrol the country's
vast southern waters.  Moreover, he continued, the drug
problem will always be there, and The Bahamas faces a
consistent problem of fish poaching in by neighboring
countries.  According to Christie, "Last year the Dominican
Republic exported $2 million in conch, and their ain't no
conch in Dominican waters!"  Clearly, he declared, it is in
the best interests of The Bahamas to have a deep water port
and refueling station at its southern tip.  Christie
reiterated the common interests of the United States in
having access to a similarly-situated facility and again
asked for the Charge's help in obtaining U.S. funding for
construction of a harbor and breakwater at Great Inagua. 

12. (C)  Charge responded that the U.S. would like to support
the Bahamian plan, but that it had been extremely difficult
to get RBDF and National Security officials to go beyond
global declarations and obtain specific plans regarding GCOB
intentions on Great Inagua.  Given budgetary constraints in
the United States, Charge explained that until specific plans
were forthcoming, backed up by a GCOB actually committing its
own funds, U.S. agencies would be reluctant to even consider
blocking off possible funding.  Noting that the U.S. was
already looking at FY 06 budgets, Charge urged the Prime
Minister to accelerate internal GCOB decision-making on Great
Inagua.  The Prime Minister agreed, indicating that his
government is willing to work out the details immediately. 

13. (C)  In addition to construction of a southern strategic
base in Great Inagua, the Prime Minister also revealed that
he was in negotiations to conclude an agreement with Royal
Caribbean Cruise Line to build a deep water port at Great
Inagua.  Though the island is currently barren, it is home to
more than 50,000 pink flamingos, a huge Morton Salt plant,
and at least one nice beach.  He was hoping that the flamingo
national park would provide cruise ship passengers with an
interesting diversion to the normal Caribbean port of call.
Christie took on board Charge's suggestion that costs of
constructing a base on Great Inagua could effectively be
reduced if any Royal Caribbean construction were to be made
part of the GCOB's plans. 

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14. (C)  Regarding what The Bahamas would do in the event
that large numbers of Haitians started appearing on Bahamian
territory, the Prime Minister indicated that he would turn to
the United States to effect repatriation.  The Bahamas, he
said, simply had no capacity to maintain large numbers of
migrants for any period of time.  Declaring that he had no
concert with "those liberals" on this issue, he declared that
there would never be asylum in The Bahamas for Haitians.  The
total population of The Bahamas was, he said, "less than that
of a small town in the United States.  We simply cannot do
what Amnesty International and other groups would insist on

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15. (C)  Christie was surprisingly well versed on the
proposed latest iteration of Operation Compassion, a joint
patrolling exercise that involves enhanced communication and
coordination between the RBDF and the U.S. Coast Guard.  PM
Christie reported that the Cabinet had discussed
participation in "Op Compassion" the previous day and had
approved Bahamian involvement.  As the Haitian crisis has
evolved, the GCOB has deliberately taken steps in its public
comments to publicize an increased RBDF presence in southern
Bahamian waters.  Charge indicated that we believed that the
USCG would be prepared to engage in planning discussions for
this iteration of Op Compassion as early as March 3-4. 

16. (C)  However, as Ref D reports, only four of the eight
RBDF vessels capable of long range patrolling are
operational.  Charge queried the Prime Minister on the return
to service date of the HMBS Bahamas noting that effective
Bahamian participation in this six-month extended "Op
Compassion" required that there be at least three functioning
RBDF vessels (the HMBS Bahamas, Nassau, and Yellow Elder) so
that one would be on station 24/7 throughout the exercise.
Similarly, Charge noted that the logistics of keeping a
Bahamian vessel on site 24/7 also presumed that the RBDF
vessels would re-fuel and re-provision at Guantanamo Naval
Base rather than make extended return trips to its home port
of Coral Harbour in New Providence.  Finally,  Charge noted
that we would need assurances of the commitment and
cooperation of RBDF Commodore Rolle to commit the necessary
assets to the operation.  PM Christie responded that the
repairs have started and completing them is a government
priority.  He also acknowledged Commodore Rolle's reluctance
to commit the necessary assets by explaining that Rolle
claims he needs to keep some ships in reserve in the event of
other problems in other areas of the country.  The Prime
Minister said that he overrode the Commodore's objections by
asking him rhetorically, "What other crisis could impact on
The Bahamas right now that is more critical than preventing a
migrant outflow from Haiti?" 

17. (C)  Closing this part of the discussion,  the Prime
Minister also urged the U.S. to simplify matters by providing
fuel to RBDF vessels at no cost, as the relative costs are a
mere "drop in the bucket" for the U.S.  As Charge responded
that refueling costs to the GCOB would probably be much lower
at Guantanamo than in Nassau, the Prime Minister jokingly
accused Charge of "trying to nickel and dime me!" while
thanking him for not yet pressuring him for an Article 98
agreement in the meeting. 

- - - -
- - - - 

18.  (C)  The fact that the over-programmed Prime Minister
would budget more than one hour for a meeting on one day's
notice speaks to the overriding importance Haiti has in local
politics.  PM Christie is clearly committed to remaining
engaged on finding a solution to the Haitian problem, and
accepts that this is currently the dominating project of his
Foreign Minister, who is also the Minister of Public Service.
 While his decision-making style may be protracted and
indecisive, Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie is also an
impressive, dynamic, charismatic  and ebullient presence and
an indefatigable seeker of consensus.  For the purpose of
promoting peace in Haiti, his personality compliments that of
Foreign Minister Mitchell, which is steadier, stealthier, and
more methodical.  Given The Bahamas' proximity to Haiti, both
feel The Bahamas has no choice except engagement.


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NASSAU 000384 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2014

     NASSAU 322 E) NASSAU 364 

Classified By: Charge Abdelnour Zaiback for reasons 1.5 (B) and 1.5 (D) 

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- - - - 

1) (C) On February 24, Acting Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Secretary Marilyn Zonicle separately demarched each
UN Security Council member with representation in The Bahamas
for support for a possible UN Security Council meeting on
Haiti that may be requested by Jamaica Prime Minister
Patterson as early as Thursday.  The original plan was to
request the Security Council to meet on February 25 on Haiti,
however, President Aristide asked that the meeting be
deferred for 24 hours while he pursued the ongoing
negotiations.  For its part, The Bahamas seeks the active
support of the U.S. as the "most important" member of the
Security Council as it engages on a full scale diplomatic
press to achieve peace in Haiti.  If diplomacy fails, The
Bahamas believes that military assistance will be essential,
and is willing to contribute troops to a multinational effort
to maintain law and order.  END SUMMARY 

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2) (C) Anticipating that Prime Minister Patterson would make
the request for the Security Council to hold a special
session on Haiti tomorrow, FM Mitchell had already packed his
bags and made plans to fly to New York tonight.  Patterson
and CARICOM delayed making the request for the session only
because Aristide convinced them that the opposition and
rebels could still agree to CARICOM's peace plan.  However,
as the situation on the ground in Haiti continues to
deteriorate, Zonicle anticipates that Mitchell will fly to
New York tomorrow for a requested Security Council special
session on Thursday. 

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3) (C) Follows are the six talking points presented to Charge. 

i) (C) Pending the outcome of the OAS/CARICOM-sponsored
negotiations between the Government and the Opposition in
Haiti, the CARICOM countries may request the convening of an
emergency meeting of the Security Council to address the
matter, considering the deteriorating situation in that
country and the inability of the Haitian National Police
(HNP) to deal with the insurgency. 

ii) (C) An open debate in the Security Council would allow it
to pronounce on the matter and would provide Haiti with the
opportunity to request military/police assistance,  and,
perhaps, increased humanitarian assistance, as may be
necessary.  Haiti is reluctant to take the matter to the
Security Council before the current political negotiations
have been exhausted and wishes to avoid the matter being
dealt with on "parallel tracks" by OAS/CARICOM and the UN. 

iii) (C) While France has indicated a willingness to send
military assistance to Haiti, the specter of French troops in
Haiti at this time is a very sensitive issue, particularly as
France is the former colonizer and Haiti is currently
"celebrating" the 200th anniversary of discarding that yoke.
A joint dispatch under the UN banner would be more palatable. 

iv) (C) With the United Nations, CARICOM Ambassadors are
seeking the support of the Group of Latin America and the
Caribbean (GRULAC) for the initiative and a meeting of the
GRULAC to discuss the matter is being convened Wednesday
afternoon.  Brazil and Chile, the two members of GRULAC on
the Security Council have indicated their support for the
initiative.  Other member of the GRULAC that have voiced
strong support are Mexico and Venezuela. 

v) (C) Beyond the GRULAC, CARICOM Ambassadors are in touch
with Canada and France, as well as with President of the GA,
Ambassador Colin Granderson of the CARICOM Secretariat, and
the other Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs in
seeking to garner support for the initiative and move it
forward, as appropriate. 

vi) (C) It has been said, although not officially announced
that, Ambassador Reggie Dumas, of Trinidad and Tobago, has
been appointed as the Special Advisor on Haiti by the UN
Secretary-general.  Perhaps, the stigma of a direct request
from Haitian authorities for military assistance could be
alleviated by having the request channeled through the
Special Advisor. 

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4) (C) Charge and Political Chief sought clarification on
Mitchell's vision for outside intervention.  In recent days
Mitchell has made several statements that international
support for Haiti's police was crucial, including "to disarm
the rebels if they did not disarm themselves."  Zonicle
relayed that the first priority of The Bahamas is the
principles in the CARICOM proposal, most notably reinforcing
the ability of the Haitian police to maintain law and order.
However, if this fails, Zonicle reiterated Mitchell's oft
stated plea of late, that "law and order must be restored."
Zonicle volunteered that The Bahamas was prepared to
contribute troops, "perhaps as many as 100."  While the
preferred mechanism is the United Nations, Zonicle confirmed
Mitchell's view that any outside intervention would be
preferable to continued and increased chaos. 

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5) (C) Ambassador to CARICOM Leonard Archer sought Charge's
insight on the relationship between the rebels and the
opposition, but in the exchange of views it became clear that
all sides knew about the same.  Several rebel leaders have
connections with the former military.  While the opposition
may currently feel that they are the beneficiaries of rebel
activity, they may soon learn that "the enemy of my enemy is
not always my friend."  Archer is an experienced diplomat who
has studied Haiti at length. 

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6) (C) As reported reftels, The Bahamas is seized on the
Haitian crisis.  It is certainly Foreign Minister Mitchell's
dominant preoccupation.  It is also clear that The Bahamas
regards U.S. leadership and engagement on Haiti as crucial to
any peaceful outcome.  As has also become increasingly
explicit in Mitchell's recent statements, while The Bahamas
and CARICOM lobby for peace, they have concluded that a
peaceful outcome without international intervention is
increasingly unlikely.






E.O. 12958 N/A











C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NASSAU 000487 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/09/2014


- - - - 

1.  (C) Charge and Political Officer met with the Bahamian
Ambassador to Haiti, Dr. Eugene Newry, and the Under
Secretary in the Consular Section at the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Bahamian-Haitian expert, Mr. Carlton Wright, on
March 8, 2004 to discuss Bahamian views of the current
situation in Haiti.  Ambassador Newry claimed that Caricom is
not "angry" with the U.S. involvement in the departure of
Aristide, but rather was "surprised" by the abrupt
decision-making, and Caricom's lack of involvement.  Newry
downplayed incendiary phrases in Caricom's statement on Haiti
such as expressing "alarm and dismay" as matter-of-fact
descriptions of members' disappointment, but on a positive
note he was quick to say that Caricom will be satisfied as
long as their 10-point action plan remains the basis for
post-Aristide Haiti and is implemented "as quickly and
painlessly as possible." Only history, declared Newry, can
determine whether or not ex-President Aristide left
voluntarily, because neither he (i.e., The Bahamas) nor his
regional colleagues were involved in that process. Bahamian
officials were extremely complimentary and positive about
joint U.S.-Bahamian efforts to deter or interdict intending
Haitian immigrants.

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2.  (C) At a meeting with the Charge, Bahamian Ambassador to
Haiti, Dr. Eugene Newry, characterized Caricom's harshly
worded "Statement on the Situation in Haiti" as "frank," but
was not a message of "anger."  In fact, he said he and fellow
Bahamian officials were quite pleased that changes being
implemented now in Haiti, such as the Tripartite Council and
the Council of Eminent Persons, come straight from the
10-Point Caricom Plan for Haiti.  In Newry's opinion, the
only place in which Caricom has disagreed with the Opposition
was in its desire for the Democratic Platform to be the only
political group. 

3.  (C) Although Ambassador Newry suggested that Caricom's
members were irritated with the lack of consultation and the
abruptness by which Aristide left office, he also indicated
that Caricom is pleased, nonetheless, that its plan is
apparently still being implemented.  As he put it, "a rose by
any other name is still a rose."  He said he will leave it to
the historians to determine what exactly happened on the
night Aristide fled Haiti.  However, he concluded, Caricom
needs to get over its pique because "like a river, things
must move on", and he understood that Haiti cannot advance
without the help that only the United States with the
ancillary support of other "major powers" such as Canada and
France could deliver. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

4.  (C)  When asked at what The Bahamas would "re-engage" in
Haiti, Ambassador Newry ardently argued that neither Caricom
nor The Bahamas has ever "disengaged" from Haiti.  He
stressed that he only left Haiti for "consultations" with the
Bahamian Government, and that as the only Caricom ambassador
actually resident in Haiti, he plans to return "shortly."
When pressed, however, Ambassador Newry acknowledged that he
couldn't define a time frame.  But, he hastened to add, from
Nassau he was in "daily contact" with Ambassador Foley and
both pro-Aristide and opposition figures in Haiti. 

5.  (C)  From a personnel standpoint, Ambassador Newry
admitted that Caricom would not be involved in the initial
multinational interim force in Haiti, but said that Caricom
would be willing to participate -- if only symbolically -- in
the follow-on stabilization UN presence.  He thinks that this
stabilization phase could start as early as the next 60 days. 

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6.  (C)  Ambassador Newry told Charge and political officer
that he was pleasantly surprised with the transition now
occurring.  He indicated that it was a good sign that the
Haitian people overall had focused their mistrust and dislike
on the ex-President.  He said that his contacts with the
opposition has assured him that they would continue to work
with the Lavalas party and that the party itself had not been
tainted by the same image of corruption as was ex-President
Aristide.  Newry also found to be positive the fact that the
interim government retained some of the people closely
associated with ex-President Aristide in positions of power.
Ambassador Newry took this as a sign of good faith on the
part of the opposition. 

7.  (C) Discussing the composition of the interim authority,
Ambassador Newry was optimistic.  He knew personally and
professionally many of the members of the Tripartite
Committee as well as the Council of Eminent Persons and
considered them of high calibre.  He also considered it an
asset that these individuals were not predominantly
attorneys, but rather surgeons, sociologists, and other

8. (C)  The Bahamian representative in Haiti believed that it
would be premature to try to hold elections in the near
future.  In his view, he thought that it would take at least
90 days for the interim government to re-establish itself.
Newry did not believe that the country's political parties
would be prepared to hold meaningful elections for at least
twelve to eighteen months, at best. 

9.  (C)  Asked about the danger of the interim authority
using the period until elections to consolidate its power and
thereby arrange to win the forthcoming elections, Ambassador
Newry said that this had been anticipated by Caricom in its
action plan.  As a consequence, one of the key elements in
Caricom's action plan was a stipulation that no one in the
transitional government in Haiti can run for office once the
permanent government is established.  Ambassador Newry saw
this provision as a "sign of maturity" and a way to  prevent
innumerable problems. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

10. (C)  Turning to U.S.-Bahamian cooperation to prevent an
outflow of Haitian migrants to either The Bahamas or to the
United States, the Bahamian Foreign Ministry officials were
effusive in their praise of the current effort. The U.S., and
Bahamian, presence in the Windward Passage had "never been so
successful" in deterring an outflow of illegal migrants,
Newry declared.  While noting the costs of such an on-going
operation, both Newry and Wright acknowledged that it was
still much less expensive for The Bahamas that would be the
total costs of detaining, maintaining, and then re-patriating
illegal Haitian migrants once they reached The Bahamas. 

- - - - 

10.  (C)  Ambassador Newry was perhaps overreaching in trying
to put a positive spin on Caricom's March 3 statement on
Haiti and reflecting more of the real politik position that
The Bahamas takes regarding Haitian migration than the more
ideological position of some of the other, less affected,
Caricom members. Newry has also briefed both the Prime
Minister and the Cabinet en banc on the situation in Haiti
and his effusive praise of U.S.-Bahamian cooperation in the
Windward Passage reflects the realism of Prime Minister Perry
Christie and Deputy Prime Minister Cynthia Pratt than Foreign
Minister Fred Mitchell.  Surprisingly, Newry downplayed
ex-President Aristide's attempt to remain engaged from afar.
He did not think that Aristide's attempts to regain support
via press encounters in the Central African Republic would
impact on future Haiti developments.  His one caveat was that
Aristide's Lavalas Party is still extremely organized,
especially relative to the loose coalition of opposition
"parties" united only by a negative...their opposition to
Aristide.  His fear was that Aristide's support network would
re-group in time for the next set of elections while the
Opposition coalition would fall apart fall once the "negative
force," i.e., Aristide, disappeared from the scene as an
effective player.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) In response to what it said was a request from the
Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM), on March 22 the GON
offered Haitian ex-president Aristide refuge in Nigeria for a
few weeks before moving on to another destination.  President
Obasanjo's press spokesman, Oluremi ("Remi") Oyo, issued a
press release (text below) to that effect and said much the
same thing in interviews carried by BBC radio and other

2. (SBU) The press release says the GON agreed after
consultations with African leaders, the African Union
leadership, the USG and "other concerned authorities."  Staff
at the Foreign Ministry and at the office of the National
Security Advisor told us March 23 they learned of the offer
from the press, and know nothing about such consultations.
The Presidency told us Aristide has not yet responded to the
offer (as of noon March 23), and said it had no information
on the USG and other consultations mentioned in the press

3. (SBU) COMMENT:  Two items seem important:  Will Aristide
come, and if so under what terms?  Confusion over what was
agreed when Charles Taylor came to Nigeria has long been a
problem.  Taylor is not the only political exile in Nigeria,
which has a history of offering asylum to fleeing leaders.
Post requests guidance from the Department on discussing
Aristide with the GON, and talking points for the public on
whatever USG role there may or may not have been in the
Nigerian offer to Aristide. 

4. (U) Begin text of the Nigerian Presidency press release: 


The Caribbean Economic Community (CARICOM) under the
leadership of Prime Minister P.J. Patterson of Jamaica, has
requested Nigeria to consider giving former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti "a staging post" for a few
weeks until his movement to another destination. 

After receiving the CARICOM request, Nigeria undertook
widespread consultations with African leaders, the leadership
of the African Union, the U.S. Government and other concerned

Following the concurrence received after those consultations,
Nigeria has agreed to grant the request from CARICOM. 

Oluremi Oyo (Mrs.)
SSA to the President 

end text.


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 NASSAU 000733 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/06/2014


Classified By: Charge Robert M. Witajewski for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 

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1.    (C) Charge hosted a lunch for the Bahamian Foreign
Minister Fred Mitchell, and Foreign Ministry Permanent
Secretary, Ms. Patricia Rodgers on March 29.  A/DCM and
Consular Section Head also participated.  The discussion
covered a number of topics: The dynamics of
recently-completed Caricom heads of government
inter-sessional meeting, Caricom-U.S. relations, status of
Bahamian ratification of the bilateral Comprehensive Maritime
Agreement (CMA), the status of ex-Haitian President Jean
Bertrand Aristide, and Caricom,s request of UN investigation
of the events related to Aristide,s resignation and
departure from Haiti.
End of Summary 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - 

2.     (C) The Charge began the discussion by asking Foreign
Minister Mitchell "How did the meeting go in St. Kitts?"
Mitchell responded that Caricom,s statement reflected the
aggregate view of Caricom members, however he continued, the
Bahamas maintains its own views on these matters.  Mitchell
revealed a bit of internal Caricom dynamics in his response.
According to FM Mitchell, there was a definite "north-south"
division within Caricom on Haiti.  In contrast to the more
categorical positions taken by Grenada, Guyana, Surinam, and
Trinidad and Tobago, he claimed, the "northern Caribbean
countries"  who have more concrete interests  took  more
"considered" positions regarding Haiti because of their
geographic proximity.  The northern Caribbean countries, he
continued, are obliged to deal with the realities and are
also cognizant of the importance of their relations with the
United States and thus are more careful in balancing their
interests with Caricom and the U.S.  The southern Caribbean
members are more detached from the practical issues and are
guided by political agendas, according to the Bahamian
Foreign Minister. 

3.    (C) Continuing on the Haiti theme, Foreign Minister
Mitchell expressed the view that the United States
overreacted to Jamaica,s offer to let ex-President Aristide
reside in the country and to Caricom,s declarations.  He
appeared to be arguing that Caricom was entitled to express
its views and not necessarily be held accountable for them.
Mitchell also claimed that despite Caricom,s verbal shots at
the United States over recent events in Haiti, there would be
little net impact on overall U.S.-Caricom long
as the United States didn't "overreact." 

4.    (C) Expressing irritation at Caricom,s cumbersome
decision-making style, Mitchell complained that too much time
was wasted by the ceremonial opening and closing of the
sessions as each successive host felt compelled to spend time
and money on needless pomp and circumstance.  He also
expressed annoyance at the prolixity of his colleagues,
noting that had not each government head not insisted on
"getting their own paragraph" into the final declaration,
they might have both accomplished more and not have been
forced to hold their closing press conference at 2 a.m. in
the morning. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

5.         (C) Regarding the naming of Caricom,s "special
envoy" to address the Haiti issue, Mitchell indicated that
Caricom had been unable to reach consensus on who this person
should be by the end of the inter-sessional and that this
would be subject to continued intra-Caricom negotiations.  He
said that personally hoped that it would be an individual who
both had prior diplomatic experience and someone closer to
The Bahamas, position on Haiti than that of some eastern
Caribbean states.  He discounted the prospect of anyone from
The Bahamas being selected for this role. 

6.    (C) Asked to clarify Caircom,s call for an
investigation into the circumstances of Aristide,s
resignation, Mitchell sought to downplay its significance.
He said that he personally envisioned the "investigation" as
equivalent to resolution of a "routine credentials challenge"
to a government such as occurs at the UNGA or another
committee.  If the LaTortue government is seen to be
exercising effective control in the country then, thought
Mitchell, it ought to be seated in Haiti,s chair at the UN
without controversy, Mitchell claimed.  He  explicitly sought
to minimize the scope, the impact, and the significance of
the Caricom-requested investigation -- but without indicating
whether his views reflected a broader Caricom view, those of
the Bahamian Cabinet, or his own personal view of an exit
strategy out of Caricom's dilemma. 

7.    (C) Questioned about recognition of the LaTortue
government, FM Mitchell reiterated his previous statements
that most Caricom members, as does The Bahamas, follow the
"Estrada Doctrine" when it comes to recognition and rather
than making value or moral judgments about a government, will
recognize whomever exercises effective control in Haiti as
that country's legitimate government.  He assured the Charge
that The Bahamas would not break with its long-held policy of
dealing with any government in control in Haiti, pointing out
that bilateral relations between The Bahamas and Haiti had
never been suspended during the transition from Aristide to
LaTortue  Foreign Minister Mitchell complained that the press
has exaggerated the recognition controversy and that matters
were not as bad as they appeared to be.  He noted that
Haitian Prime Minister LaTortue had called him personally and
assured him that press reports on Haiti refusing to permit
the return of the Bahamian Ambassador to Haiti were totally
untrue.  Mitchell also cited repeated phone conversations
between LaTortue and Jamaica's Prime Minister P.J. Patterson,
who apparently had a close working relationship in the past,
as evidence that Caricom and the new Haitian government could
work together.  He said that he expected the Haitian
Ambassador to return to The Bahamas in the near future as

Ex-President Jean Aristide in Jamaica
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

8.    (C) The Foreign Minister insisted that the United
States should not be concerned with, or opposed to,
Aristide,s presence in the Caribbean.  He argued that a
perceived "Banishing Policy" has racial and historical
overtones in the Caribbean that reminds inhabitants of the
region of slavery and past abuse.  The Charge inquired on
what would happen if Aristide were to meddle with Haitian
internal affairs and give his supporters the impression that
he is still a player in the future of Haiti.  Foreign
Minister Mitchell was emphatic that Jamaica will not allow
Aristide to play such an intrusive role and would "deal" with
Aristide if such a situation were to arise. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - 

9.    (C) Queried about the status of ratification of the
comprehensive maritime agreement (CMA) that has now been
negotiated over the last 18 months, FM Mitchell reported that
due to the document,s significance and complexity it had
been decided to prepare a formal briefing to the entire
Cabinet.  Optimistically, Mitchell thought that this could
completed in two cabinet sessions over a two-week period.
Questioned about the need for such a time-consuming review of
what is essentially a codification and rationalization of
existing agreements, Mitchell again wistfully muse about how
the Bahamian cabinet decision-making process might be
improved.  He related that he had learned as a result of his
Caricom attendance that in other Commonwealth countries,
debate and intervention on issues in the cabinet is
restricted to their ministers whose portfolios are directly
impacted by the issue, or ministers that assert fundamental
issues of principle.  In contrast, Mitchell intimated, in the
Christie Cabinet of the Bahamas operates much less
efficiently since any minister can intervene and express a
view on any issue before the government. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

10.   (C) Queried about his preferences for a date for the
next session of the Joint Task Force on Illegal Drug
Interdiction (JTF), Mitchell expressed agreement for an early
summer meeting in late May/early June.  He agreed with
Charge,s suggestion that the JTF would best be held
following ratification of the CMA and successful
implementation of a major anti-drug round-up that is being
planned for the near future so that participants could review
both past successes since the last JTF meeting and consider
specific goals to be accomplished for the coming year. 

 - - - - - - - - - - 

11.   (C) Foreign Minister Mitchell was his usual
business-like self during lunch as he pursued his agenda of
downplaying the consequences of a division between Caricom
and the United States on Haiti.  Underlying many of
Mitchell's arguments was the premise that Caricom/The Bahamas
as small countries take (and are entitled to take) principled
stands while the United States necessarily engages in real

12.  (C)  Despite a life-long career as a politician in a
country were politics is personalized to the extreme, neither
kissing babies nor making small talk comes naturally to Fred
Mitchell.  He prefers to deal with agendas expeditiously and
then engage in philosophical discussions or reviews of
international relations drawing on his seminars at Harvard,s
Kennedy School.  Holding two time-consuming portfolio,s
(managing the civil service and foreign policy) is also
taking its toll on Mitchell,s private time.  Mitchell told
Charge a year ago that he hoped to write a twelve-chapter
(one chapter for each month of the year) book combining
policy, history, and personal ideology to be published on his
fifty-first birthday.  Ruefully, he admitted that he hasn,t
progress beyond chapter four.



The Impact of the Financial Services Meltdown on The Global Economy And The Meltdown on The Global Economy And The Private Equity Private Equity Industry

The Impact of the Financial Services Meltdown on The Global Economy And The Meltdown on The Global Economy And The Private Equity Private Equity Industry

by David Rubenstein, Co- Founder, Carlyle Group


The 10 Most Influential Media People This Year (According To The TIME 100)

Time 100It’s that time of year again.

Time magazine has released the Time 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as it does every year, to be followed by a swanky party next week at the Time Warner Centre (to which I am told press are no longer allowed to attend).

Unlike its annual Person of the Year, Time doesn’t rank the Top 100, but merely lists them grouped in categories and pairs them with fun write-ups done by equally high profile people.

You can see the full list and accompanying write-ups here.

Julian Assange

Julian Assange

Give Time extra credit for their profile pairing on this one.  Here is Germaine Greer on Assange:The media were easily convinced that WikiLeaks was a person, and unaware of how vulnerable he really was, Assange played the part to the hilt. Egregious to the last, he is convinced that his prosecution for rape in the Swedish courts was engineered by vengeful U.S. intelligence, unable to grasp the plain fact that his callous treatment made two women angry enough to seek redress.

There were many scoops but few surprises amid what we learned from WikiLeaks. Regardless of what happens to Assange, which he will almost certainly not deserve, the construction of stateless, secure and indestructible Internet drop boxes cannot be undone. Secrets will never be safe again.

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

Rush Limbaugh: If she were liberal, she’d be celebrated from the mountaintops. But she’s conservative. So because she is smart, talented and accomplished and a natural leader — not to mention attractive — the left brands her as a flame-throwing lightweight. They underestimate her at their own risk.

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington

 Belinda LuscombeIn 2005, with little more than her impregnable charm, thicket of friends and contacts and outsize chutzpah, she launched the golden goose of news websites (or of any business) — popular, adroit, cheap as chips to run and named after her.

Hung Huang

Hung Huang

Diane Von Furstenberg: These days Hung, 49, is hugely influential in Chinese culture, tweeting with humor and intelligence to 2.5 million people. She runs a fashion magazine called iLook, owns a store featuring Chinese designers and recently became the director of the first design museum in China…What makes Hung unique is that she understands America, its pragmatism and practices, yet she remains a true Chinese patriot.

Saad Mohsnei

Saad Mohsnei

Rupert Murdoch:  Through his ownership of newspaper and TV properties, he has become, without a doubt, the most influential media figure in Afghanistan and plays a big role in shaping public opinion there. He has shown great courage in publicly and strongly criticizing the Karzai government for corruption and incompetence. He hasn’t been afraid to show men and women on TV—a practice the Taliban did not allow.

Ayman Mohyeldin

Ayman Mohyeldin

Dan Rather: Many journalists did good work in Egypt at the country’s — and the region’s — historic turning point, but none matched Mohyeldin, 31. He put us in the middle of the action and took us behind the scenes…By dint of his experience, persistence and talent, he lifted the profile and reputation of the al-Jazeera network. And for one brief, shining moment, he was the best in the world.

Joe Scarborough

Joe Scarborough

Michael Bloomberg: As a group, cable-­television talk-show hosts are not exactly known for independent political analysis that is free of partisan favoritism, but that is exactly what makes Joe Scarborough, 48, so ­refreshing—and so important. Joe’s approach to politics is the same as mine: call ’em like you see ’em, and even if people don’t agree with you on every issue—and they won’t—they will respect you for being honest.

Hu Shuli

Hu Shuli

Adi Ignatius: After a dispute with her publisher, Hu left the magazine in 2009 and set up Caixin Century, now a paragon of reporting brilliance in China. In February it ran a commentary on Egypt that any savvy reader would link to China. “Autocracy creates turbulence,” it read, “democracy breeds peace.”

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Ted Turner: She has not only made it to the top with the cards stacked against her, but she has ­also made extra­ordinary contributions to our global community through her philanthropic efforts.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Image: Ap

April Capone: I never knew when I created a Facebook account to connect with friends, relatives and constituents that I would find one of my residents who needed a kidney. But there was Carlos Sanchez, like some sort of cyberspace SOS on my NewsFeed, contacting as many people as he could to find a new chance at life….Would I have been his donor without Facebook? We’ll never know. But Facebook allowed me to sit quietly in my office and say to myself, You’re up! Answer this call!

Read more:






E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/08/2014

REF: STATE 243180 

Classified By: DCM Lisa Kubiske.  Reason: 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1.  (C) Summary.  When the Rio Group summit of November 4 got
to the agenda item on
Haiti, Dominican President Leonel Fernandez asked for
hemispheric help in
re-instilling democracy in that &narco-state,8 but he put a
big front wrong in
advocating the inclusion in the process of former president
Jean Bertrand
Aristide.  Following a November 6 conversation with the
Ambassador, Fernandez agreed that Aristide was distinct from
Lavalas, and said he meant to say that groups with broad
popular support needed to be included in the process.  The
Ambassador and several other ambassadors see President
Fernandez November 16 to discuss Haiti further, per reftel. 

2.  (C)  Dominicans are continually worried about the other
half of Hispaniola,
and with good reason -- perhaps a million Haitians reside in
the Dominican
Republic already, many of them undocumented.  The February
2004 hostilities in
Haiti did not cause any significant cross-border movements
but the Dominican
military temporarily reinforced the border and the Dominican
precipitately voiced its opposition to any eventual proposal
to establish
refugee camps on national territory. 

3. (C)   The official press release from the presidency
offers an account of the Dominican positions at the meeting.
(See para 4 below.)  It includes two
elements of concern two us:  a calculated reference to
Aristide and a quote
from Hugo Chavez blaming &a large part of the disorder in
that brother country8
on the United States.  Chief of staff Danilo Medina said that
the press release
was not cleared elsewhere in the palace.  See septel for
discussion of the Dominican-Venezuelan questions. 

4. (U)  Following is our informal translation of the release,
which played
extensively in the Dominican press: 

- - - - - - - - - - - 

(begin text) 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The presidents of Latin America
declared their
determination to provide concrete help to Haiti in
establishing a true
democratic order where institutions function and all
participants may be
brought together for a dialogue on the future of the country. 

Responding to a proposal by President Leonel Fernandez, the
heads of state and
government meeting at the XVIII Rio Group Summit agreed in
the need for the
re-establishment in Haiti of peaceful coexistence and
institutional order, so
that in the future a constitutional convention may be

President Fernandez, who offered an analysis of the
historical roots of Haiti,s
ingovernability, stated that in that Caribbean nation there
exists a power
vacuum and a great scarcity as a clandestine economy
functions based on
narcotics trafficking. 

&Haiti, a theme of discussion of the Latin American leaders
participating in
this summit, is a narco-state subjugated to poverty and human
degradation, such
that we the countries of Latin America have the historical
responsibility of
going to its aid,8 he emphasized. 

He said that within a democracy there should be participation
of all sectors,
and that in Haiti there is a political leader with great
popular support, Jean
Bertrand Aristide, who should be involved in the process for
a democratic
solution and establishment of stability and democracy. 

The Dominican leader called on the Rio Group to make a
profound analysis of the
Haitian situation, given this immense undertaking, so that
the presence of the
MINUSTAH can be transformed in a clear and decisive manner to
cooperate in
building a true state of laws. 

The Dominican president,s analysis of the Haitian crisis was
seconded and
approved by 11 of the presidents present, who in their
remarks expressed
support to the Dominican initiative seeking immediate support
for Haiti. 

President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, who will visit the
Dominican republic this
Saturday, said, &We should go to the aid of Haiti, but a
great deal of the
fault for the disorder in that brother country lies with the
United States.8 

The president of Paraguay Nicanor Duarte said that countries
meeting here
should offer support for building a true democracy in haiti,
with sovereignty
and with respect for its cultural roots. 

The president of Panama Martin Torrijos backed the position
of the Dominican
leader and said that he was ready to offer cooperation in
elections, welcoming
the position of President Fernandez. 

At the same time, the Vice President of El Salvador, Ana
Vilma de Escobar,
spoke of the need to restore order and to organize a
constitutional convention
in which all participants can find consensus and will respect
the rules of the

&We should carry out a crusade to recover multi-lateralism,
so that we can work
at establishing order in Haiti, and then work in favor of a
co-existence where conversations about the future can
begin,8 commented the
president of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa.
When his turn came, the president of Guatemala, Eduardo Stein
affirmed that the efforts to assist the Caribbean nation
should be carried out
jointly with the United Nations, but added the self-criticism
that the
countries of Latin America did not take decisions concerning
that nation when
they faced the need to do so. 

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2004.  Office of
Information, Press, and
Public Relations. 

(end text) 

- - - - - - - - - - - 

5. (C)  The Aristide comment appeared to come out of nowhere.
 Fernandez had
not previously discussed Aristide by name in conversations
with us, or with our French and Canadian counterparts. 

6. (C) Perhaps the greatest surprise for us was the palace's
presumption that
there would be no downside.  The next-day in-house press
analysis by
Fernandez's strategy unit concluded that there was "no risk"
associated with
his comments and that Fernandez was "presenting himself as an
element of
international cooperation." 

Fernandez Backtracks
- - - - - - - - - - 

7. (C) On November 6, during a pull-aside at a social event,
the Ambassador admonished Fernandez that his reference to
Aristide was a serious mistake, one
that had the potential of further inflaming a situation
already dangerous for
the Haitian people and for the international peacekeeping
force.  Fernandez
replied that given popular support for Lavalas, it would have
to be part of the
situation.  The Ambassador was direct: Aristide had led a
violent gang involved
in narcotics trafficking and had squandered any credibility
he formerly may
have had.  "Nobody has given me any information about that,"
replied.  The Ambassador insisted that no supporter of human
rights and
democracy could in good conscience allow Aristide and his
close supporters back
into the situation in Haiti.  Fernandez listened and
eventually agreed to
distinguish between Aristide and Lavalas.  He asked for any
information on
Aristide that the United States might be able to share with

7. (C) On November 9 the Ambassador, DCM and EcoPol chief
presidential chief of staff Danilo Medina about the reference
to Aristide.
Medina suggested that the President hadn't meant Aristide,
but rather the
Lavalas political movement; the Ambassador questioned that
Emboffs pointed out that Aristide had been named in the press
release and
questioned the inclusion in a Dominican press release of the
anti-U.S. remark
by Chavez.  Medina professed not to have seen or cleared the
release, which had
been drafted by the press office. He said that in future,
press texts would be
routed through his office before release. 

8.  (C)  The Ambassador meets with President Fernandez  to
discuss Haiti (using reftel talking points) on the evening of
November 16, accompanied by the French, Canadian, British and
Spanish ambassadors.  We will report septel on the results of
that discussion.

GEHEIME LISTE DER VON LYCOS ZENSIERTEN INTERNET-DOMAINS,,s_24466__a_29d69d2d/krefeld-unternehmensberaterin.html,id,274,suche,.html





E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2014

REF: STATE 246188 

Classified By: Ambassador John Hamilton for reasons 1.5 (b) & (d). 

(C) Polcouns delivered reftel demarche to Guatemalan Acting
FM Marta Altolaguirre, who agreed wholeheartedly with U.S.
assessment.  She said Guatemala's troop contribution to
MINUSTAH was just one indicator of Guatemala's commitment to
the "long-term efforts" that would be required of the
international community in Haiti.  Altolaguirre volunteered
that her personal view was that Aristide had been a
"disaster" and could play no useful role in Haiti's future.
She said she would forward to Guatemala's delegation to the
Ibero-American Summit, already in San Jose, our concerns
about Haiti and the need to express support for Latortue and
the Interim Government of Haiti.






E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/07/2015

Classified By: Ambassador James B. Foley, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D) 

1. (C) Summary:  The Lavalas movement remains divided between
leaders who argue for moving beyond Aristide and
participating in elections this fall, and those who continue
to call for Aristide's return and threaten a boycott of
elections if their hard-line conditions are not met.  The
division is not clear-cut.  There are indications that some
of the principal hard-liners are in fact interested in
participating in elections; this is especially true of Father
Gerard Jean-Juste, who has emerged as a hard-line leader.  A
group of Lavalas moderates around former PM Cherestal
continues to lay the groundwork for a new party that would
attempt to capture the Lavalas vote, but some of them still
hope to unite both factions under one umbrella.  The many
U.S.-based Lavalas members and "solidarity" activists
complicate the picture; they are pushing a tough boycott
position, but their distance from the process on the ground
is likely to limit their influence.  Aristide's shadow
continues to hang over the movement, with most people
defining their positions in relation to him and many trying
to use his name to rally for their position.  We anticipate
it will not be clear for several more months how and whether
the Lavalas movement -- either as Fanmi Lavalas or another
party, or both -- will be represented in the elections.  End

2. (C) In the wake of Aristide's departure, the movement and
party he led are still trying to figure out their future.
The internal debates and public arguments have now begun to
focus on the concrete question of whether Lavalas should
participate in this fall's elections or boycott them
entirely.  The degree to which the Lavalas constituency
participates in the election will be a large factor in the
legitimacy of the elections, and we are therefore following
developments inside the movement closely.  Over the past
three weeks, we have spoken with a number of contacts --
Lavalas leaders, politicians from other parties, local
analysts, U.S.-based activists, and others -- to put together
a picture of the movement seven months ahead of the first
(local) elections. 

Elections yes, elections no

3. (C) The two main factions inside Lavalas can be outlined
fairly simply.  Broadly speaking, hard-liners reject the
legitimacy of the IGOH and electoral process and insist that
elections cannot take place until Aristide is returned to
power.  They focus on Fanmi Lavalas (FL) the registered
political party and insist that only FL represents the
legitimate Lavalas voice.  Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a
longtime Lavalas activist and priest, has emerged in recent
weeks as the most significant hard-line leader (spurred by
his imprisonment last fall and his visit earlier this year to
Aristide in South Africa).  He outlined his position at a
March 5-6 conference of Haitian political parties (reftel):
FL would boycott elections unless Aristide is returned to
power, political prisoners are released, "persecution" of
Lavalas partisans stops, and several other conditions are
fulfilled.  He reiterated these in a March 10 conversation
with PolCounselor, arguing that it was not only illegitimate
to participate in elections, it was also impossible, since FL
members could not meet or campaign safely.  The hard-line
position is shared, at least publicly, by the leadership of
the National Reflection Cell of Lavalas Popular
Organizations, by pro-Aristide activists in Bel-Air and other
neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, and by pro-Aristide
activists in other parts of Haiti (e.g. Milot mayor
Jean-Charles Moise).  Some of these people are suspected of
being involved in the pro-Aristide violence that has occurred
in the capital since last fall. 

4. (C) Those in the moderate faction, more diverse and less
vocal, insist they want to participate in the elections, that
they represent the original spirit of the Lavalas movement,
and that FL itself has been discredited by Aristide and his
misgovernance.  The most significant group is coalescing
around former Prime Minister Jean-Marie Cherestal, who has
been quietly and cautiously preparing the groundwork to
launch a new "Lavalas Renewed" party (ref B).  Cherestal told
PolCounselor March 13 that he was satisfied with his progress
in building support and said he was not worried that
elections were only seven months away.  The party's basic
message to Haiti's poor majority would be that Aristide's
power had been a deceit; he was able to speak their language
and raise their expectations, but he had not been able to
deliver any true benefits to them.  Initial reactions to the
draft Lavalas Renewed manifest had been positive, and
Cherestal said he would soon "widen the circle" to bring more
in, including former Lavalas Senators and Deputies like
Gerald Gilles, Yvon Feuille, Rudy Heriveaux and others.  He
said he was still hesitant about some of the these since he
was not convinced they had fully distanced themselves from
Aristide, but he knew it was important to bring them in if

5. (C) For their part, Feuille, Gilles, Heriveaux, and former
Chamber of Deputies President Yves Cristallin told us March
17 that they were still uncertain whether a new party was the
right direction.  Feuille was the most convinced, saying he
was committed to working with Cherestal, but he noted that
financial resources were extremely limited for building a new
party (a complaint not shared by Cherestal).  Gilles and
Heriveaux said they worried about violent reactions from
Aristide supporters, and also about the lack of funds.  All
noted with some pain that Cherestal had not kept them very
well informed about his activities. 

Hidden agendas make clarity difficult

6. (C) This being Haiti, the division between hard-liners and
moderates is not precise.  In a political culture where
hidden agendas are the norm, several appear to be at work
inside the Lavalas movement; the most important of these may
be Jean-Juste's.  Despite his hard-line rhetoric, nearly
everyone we speak with is convinced that Jean-Juste in fact
wants to participate in the elections and sees himself as a
strong Presidential candidate.  MIDH President Marc Bazin
told us he came away from an early March meeting with
Jean-Juste convinced the priest was waiting until closer to
the elections to declare his candidacy.  Voltaire, who has
met frequently with Jean-Juste, also told us he believes
Jean-Juste is interested in running for President or, failing
that, in playing a power-broker role. 

7. (C) Whether all the "moderates" are really committed to
participating in elections is another question.  Cherestal's
suspicion of Gilles and Heriveaux is not without reason; both
have acknowledged publicly and privately their continuing
attachment to Aristide even as they portray themselves as
ready to move on, and Heriveaux told us he would rather
campaign with FL than with anybody else, even if Jean-Juste
were the standard-bearer. Voltaire says he supports
Cherestal, but he also describes himself as working to avoid
a split in the movement over elections and to bring the two
factions together.  Many in the movement see this as
fence-straddling and dismiss him as an opportunist who has
managed to hold Ministerial positions nearly uninterruptedly
since 1990.  (Note:  We understand that Voltaire, an
architect by profession, has been considering an offer to
oversee the construction of the new airport in Caracas,
Venezuela. End note).  Another professed moderate (and
would-be presidential candidate), Jean-Claude Desgranges, was
Aristide's last chief of staff and is married to a reportedly
hard-line pro-Aristide FL activist who resides in Florida;
Cherestal, among others, questions his "moderate"

Electoral strategies for the post-Aristide era

8. (C) For most of the 1990's, the Lavalas movement
represented the (poor) majority of Haitian voters, and
Lavalas/FL could run on its own.  Defections from the
movement and disillusionment with Aristide's record have
diminished the electoral appeal of Fanmi Lavalas, but to a
degree that is unclear.  Polling data from August 2004 showed
that 8% of Haitians support FL, more than any other single
party but a far cry from the 20-40% (or even 80%) that many
Lavalas politicians insist the party enjoyed.  (That same
poll, however, showed that Aristide was still the only figure
in Haiti with a favorability rating above 50%.)  Thus it is
not surprising that all of our contacts acknowledge the need
for electoral alliances. 

9.  (C) Marc Bazin's MIDH party is most often cited as a
likely partner.  Voltaire called Bazin "one of Haiti's most
modern politicians" and said MIDH would give Lavalas
technical credibility that it currently lacked.  Cherestal,
too, said he hoped Bazin would join forces with his new
party, but worried that he would make common cause with the
hard-line faction instead.   Even Jean-Juste said that Bazin
had become very popular within the Lavalas base because of
his insistence on true reconciliation and his criticism of
the IGOH's perceived harsh approach to Lavalas.  Bazin
himself told PolCounselor in early March that he was very
interested in an alliance with Jean-Juste because of the
support it would bring him from the Lavalas base.  He
dismissed the possibility of an alliance with Cherestal's
party-in-formation, calling it "dead in the water."  (Note:
Bazin frankly acknowledged to the Ambassador that he hopes to
capitalize on the exclusion of Lavalas, especially the
moderates.  He would be highly unlikley to step aside in
favor of a Lavalas candidate.  End note.) Both MODEREH, the
party of former Lavalas Senators Dany Toussaint and Pierre
Sonson Prince, and KOMBA, the movement of former Lavalas
official Evans Lescouflair and peasant leader Chavannes
Jean-Baptiste, would appear to be potential allies of either
FL or a Cherestal-led moderate Lavalas party.  Each has
baggage though: Dany Toussaint is clouded by drug trafficking
allegations and Chavannes Jean-Baptiste is seen by many
hard-liners as a traitor to Lavalas. 

The U.S. faction

10. (C) In addition to the hard-line and moderate Lavalas
factions here in Haiti, there is in effect a third "faction"
with agendas and influence that play a significant role: the
U.S.-based community of staunchly pro-Aristide FL
members-in-exile and "solidarity" activists.  The former are
grouped together in the "FL Communications Commission"
( that asserts the exclusive right to speak on
behalf of the party.  Members include former FL interim
chairman Jonas Petit, former Interior Ministry Angelot Bell,
former government spokesman Mario Dupuy, former Aristide
advisor Maryse Narcisse, and former deputy Gilvert Angervil
(Yvon Feuille and Rudy Heriveaux are also members, but have
effectively been ostracized by the others).  The solidarity
activists come from a wide variety of organizations, many of
them with connections to the former Aristide government.
Many are grouped under the Let Haiti Live coalition
( and have been sharply critical of the
IGOH and U.S. policy in Haiti.  We believe that some of them
are in regular contact with Aristide. 

11. (C) According to a well-placed contact inside this group,
there are regular consultations among key leaders of both
groups, leading hard-line figures in Haiti, including
Jean-Juste and OP leaders such as Lesly Farreau and Lesly
Gustave, and members of Aristide's entourage in South Africa.
 According to this same contact, the U.S.-based members
recently "decided" that Lavalas should boycott the elections
this fall and should be prepared for a long-term campaign to
destabilize and delegitimize the IGOH and the government
installed next February.  This group's distance from the
process on the ground, however, constricts its influence.  We
have seen clear indications, for example, that Jean-Juste has
refused to accept this "decision" and has insisted that
decisions be made by the people on the ground.  Nonetheless,
the U.S.-based activists will play an important role in
determining how and whether Lavalas participates in the

The Aristide Shadow

12. (C) Hanging over all of this is the shadow of Aristide,
who remains popular among much of the Lavalas popular base
and remains the legal head of the Fanmi Lavalas party.  Many
see Jean-Juste as Aristide's designate ("clone" according to
one businessman), and Jean-Juste has not shied away from
playing the "Titid" card with the faithful.  Even those who
say they are committed to moving beyond Aristide fear his
reach; Gilles, for example, makes no bones about his fear for
his physical safety if he is seen as "betraying" Aristide.
But overall we believe Aristide's influence is waning and it
is not clear he can influence events on the ground from South
Africa as much as many think.  Jean-Juste's relationship with
Aristide was never close and he gives the distinct impression
of someone looking for his own path.  Typically, Aristide has
not made his views on electoral participation known publicly,
leaving his options open for a decision either way. Clearly
his preferred outcome would be to disrupt the electoral
process; second-best would be to delegitimze the process and
the electoral results.  However, if it appears that a
successful and legitimate process is underway and cannot be
stopped, participation-by-proxy may become the course he
chooses, especially if he thinks a loyal Lavalas slate of
candidate could win. 


13. (C) It will take several months for the differing
divisions and agendas within Lavalas to sort themselves out,
and the results could vary widely depending on a few key
variables.  First and foremost is what Aristide decides to
push and the degree to which he is successful.  Second is
what Jean-Juste does.  If he holds to the hard-line and calls
for a boycott, especially if he does it in the name of
Aristide, then many pro-Lavalas voters will likely heed his
call.   If this happens in the context of credible claims of
anti-Lavalas bias by election authorities and/or anti-Lavalas
violence by ex-FADH or other elements, this could call into
question the legitimacy of the election results.  A third
variable is how successful Cherestal and his group are in
formulating a compelling message for former Aristide voters.
(Related to this is whether corruption charges will be
brought against him that could take him entirely out of the
running; in the past ten days there have been murmurs in the
press of a series corruption-related arrest warrants being
prepared, including against Cherestal.)  Finally, there is
the possibility (which we cannot really judge at this point)
that former Lavalas President Rene Preval could enter the
fray.  Preval has been out of the political scene since he
left the Presidency in 2001, but of late has started meeting
with some political leaders.  At least a few observers
believe he is interested in getting involved and many tell us
he would be a more formidable Presidential candidate than
either Jean-Juste or Cherestal  For what it is worth,
Desgranges told us after meeting with Preval recently that
Preval said he is not going to run. 

14. (C) U.S. interests argue for encouraging the maximum
possible voter participation and the active involvement by
the full political spectrum, including the Lavalas sector.
We have made clear to all factions that we will support the
development of a democratic, modern Lavalas political
vehicle, whatever the name, as long as there is a clear break
with Aristide's legacy of violence and misrule.


S E C R E T PARIS 004660 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/01/2015

REF: STATE 121144 

Classified By: Political Minister-Counselor Josiah Rosenblatt, reasons
1.4 (b) and (d). 

1.  (C) Poloff and Embassy Africa Watcher delivered reftel
demarche July 1 to both MFA DAS-equivalent for Central
America and the Caribbean Gilles Bienvenu and MFA AF
PDAS-equivalent Elisabeth Barbier.  Bienvenu stated that the
GOF shared our analysis of the implications of an Aristide
return to Haiti, terming the likely repercussions
"catastrophic."  Bienvenu actively sought our thoughts on
next steps to prevent Aristide from returning.  Initially
expressing caution when asked about France demarching the
SARG, Bienvenu noted that Aristide was not a prisoner in
South Africa and that such an action could "create
difficulties."  However, Bienvenu later offered to express
our shared concerns in Pretoria, perhaps under the pretext
that as a country desiring to secure a seat on the UN
Security Council, South Africa could not afford to be
involved in any way with the destabilization of another
country.  Barbier, speaking on behalf of the AF bureau,
however, did not foresee any problems at all in delivering a
demarche in Pretoria. 

2.  (S) Bienvenu speculated on exactly how Aristide might
return, seeing a possible opportunity to hinder him in the
logistics of reaching Haiti.  If Aristide traveled
commercially, Bienvenu reasoned, he would likely need to
transit certain countries in order to reach Haiti.  Bienvenu
suggested a demarche to CARICOM countries by the U.S. and EU
to warn them against facilitating any travel or other plans
Aristide might have.  He specifically recommended speaking to
the Dominican Republic, which could be directly implicated in
a return attempt.  Both Bienvenu and Barbier confided that
South African mercenaries could be heading towards Haiti,
with Bienvenu revealing the GOF had documented evidence that
10 South African citizens had come to Paris and requested
Dominican visas between February and the present. 

3.  (C) Comment: France seems to share our analysis and
concerns regarding any attempt by Aristide to return to
Haiti.  They appear eager to prevent such an occurrence and
could be valuable, both bilaterally and within the EU, in
convincing other countries to avoid involvement in any plans
by Aristide.  End Comment.

A Different October Revolution: Dismantling the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe

East German demonstrators take to the streets in Leipzig, October 9, 1989.

Washington, D.C., October 9, 2009 – Twenty years ago today, crowds of East German demonstrators took to the streets in Leipzig starting their own October revolution that would bring down the Berlin Wall a month later. Ironically, these massive peaceful crowds of about 70,000 people gathered in the streets and squares of Leipzig just two days after the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic and the visit by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Berlin. GDR leader Erich Honecker’s security forces were faced with a choice—to apply the Chinese Tiananmen model or to go along with their Soviet patron’s advice not to use force. They chose the latter, and several days later Honecker was sent to retirement and replaced with reform Communist Egon Krenz on October 17, 1989.

Soldiers removing barbed wire from the Austria-Hungray border.

To mark this anniversary, today the National Security Archive publishes the first in a series of document postings on the revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe. The documents come from the forthcoming book Masterpieces of History:  The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989, ed. by Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton and Vladislav Zubok (Central European University Press, 2010), which grew out of the Archive’s groundbreaking conference on the end of the Cold War in Europe at Musgrove Conference Center in May 1998. The documents in the book include formerly top secret deliberations of Soviet, U.S. and East European decision makers, memoranda of conversations and intelligence estimates. Most of the documents are published here in English for the first time.

The documents show that the Berlin Wall actually started falling on March 3, 1989, when Hungarian Prime Minister Miklos Nemeth informed Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev of the decision of the Hungarian Central Committee to “completely remove the electronic and technological defenses from the Western and Southern borders of Hungary.” The Soviet leader did not react negatively to the news, but rather just said that “we are also becoming more open.” This decision by the Hungarian reform communists and Gorbachev’s acceptance of it made the first crack in the Berlin Wall. In May, the first dismantling of technological defenses started on the southern border of Hungary. Over the summer, the Hungarians negotiated most actively with West German representatives and kept their Soviet ally informed, but tried to circumvent the East Germans. On August 19, Hungary organized its famous Pan-European picnic, where people were encouraged to come picnic along the Austria-Hungary border near Sopron. A section of border was opened and some East German citizens were able to escape to Austria. The fate of the Wall may well have been sealed on September 11, 1989, when the Hungarian reform Communist government of Miklos Nemeth took down its own iron curtain—the barbed wire on the border with Austria—thus allowing East Germans who were vacationing in Hungary or taking refuge in the West German Embassy to escape to the West.

These events provoked an outraged reaction from the East German government. By early September, they saw the possibility that the trickle of East Germans would turn into a real flood if Hungary opened its border completely. The German communists (SED) discussed the situation on September 5, looking for options to prevent the opening of the border. One of the options—following the traditional approach of the Brezhnev Doctrine—was to try to convene a meeting of foreign ministers of the socialist bloc to put pressure on the Hungarians. However, that option was opposed by the Soviet representatives. East German attempts to reach out to their Hungarian and Soviet counterparts were met with stalling tactics until the borders were finally open on September 11.

As the flood of East Germans through Hungary undermined what was left of the prestige and legitimacy of the Honecker regime, the German Democratic Republic was preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Gorbachev reluctantly agreed to come and to meet with the SED Politburo. During the celebrations, East Germans overwhelmingly expressed their support for Gorbachev in sharp contrast to their opposition to Honecker, which was immediately noted in the mass media. In his conversations with Honecker and the Politburo members, Gorbachev tried to stick to his compromise line of not interfering in internal affairs of fraternal countries, but eventually he did just that by warning them that “life punishes those who come too late,” and telling them a story about old leaders who cannot push the cart any more. Those statements were correctly heard by the East German communists as a push from the Soviet general secretary to change their own leader, which they did on October 17.

Read the Documents
At this stage, the East German communist leadership is just catching up to the fact that the Hungarian communists have already decided–with some support from Moscow–to open their borders to the West.  The scenes of East Germans hiking en masse to the Austrian border and flocking to embassies in Prague and Budapest while awaiting train tickets to the West, would dramatically degrade what little GDR prestige remained from its higher-than-average living standards in the bloc.  In this record, we see the unvarnished discussions of the GDR leadership, featuring repeated attacks on the Hungarians for doing the bidding of the FRG, and “betraying socialism.”  This discussion takes place two months after Gorbachev’s candid conversations with Kohl whom he treated as a peer and partner to an extent that would have appalled the members of the SED, although some may have feared as much in light of evidence such as that cited below–that the Soviet Foreign Ministry is trying to prevent the GDR from calling a foreign ministers’ meeting to rein in the Hungarians.
In this discussion, East German Foreign Minister Oskar Fischer seeks reassurance from the Soviet ambassador to East Berlin in the midst of the refugee crisis precipitated by Hungary’s decision to open its border with Austria.  Ambassador Kochemassov tells Fischer that his colleagues are in fact actively rebuking both the West Germans and the Hungarians.  In particular, Moscow’s envoy to Bonn, Yuli Kvitsinsky, is a hard-line holdover who has been blasting the FRG for encouraging the East German émigrés, and “condemn[ing]” repeated statements by politicians to the effect that the GDR’s days are numbered.  The latter remark comes in the wake of highly-publicized comments by the U.S. ambassador to the FRG, Vernon Walters, in the International Herald Tribune predicting the speedy reunification of Germany.
This personal letter from the GDR’s man in Budapest to the foreign minister reports on his recent talks with Rezső Nyers.  Responding to East Berlin’s condemnation of Hungary’s émigré policy, Nyers claims that the border openings are “only a temporary measure.”  But Ambassador Gerd Vehres dismisses this and other comments from the Hungarians as “an attempt at stalling and deliberately misleading the GDR.”  Rather than understand the flight of so many East Germans as a popular judgment on the regime, the SED is only able to conceive it as “a coordinated and successful attempt by the imperialist states …”
This diary entry, written on the eve of Gorbachev’s visit to an East Germany in crisis, describes the Soviet leader as anxious and ambivalent about the radical changes underway in Eastern Europe, yet determined not to say anything that will prop up the hard-line Honecker.  Chernyaev knows what the drafters of American national security policy at this time do not, that “the total dismantling of socialism as a world phenomenon has been taking place”–and it is a spectacle Chernyaev applauds.  Here is striking proof of the profound radicalization of political thinking that is unfolding inside the reform-minded echelons of the Soviet political elite.  Chernyaev has by now resolved his personal doubts in favor of supporting the anti-communist “revolutions” in Eastern Europe.  However, while he clearly sees the future of the Soviet Union on the path of total rejection of the Leninist-Stalinist legacy, Gorbachev’s own thinking in this period is more complex and, unlike Chernyaev, is not completely free from the “syndrome of Leninism.” In particular, Gorbachev still seems to nurture an ideological belief in “democratic socialism” as a road for Eastern Europe, and the GDR in particular.
In his conversation with Erich Honecker, Gorbachev is careful and ambivalent trying not to openly push or provoke the East German leader, according to his proclaimed policy of non-interference in the allies’ internal affairs.  While the Soviet leader praises the GDR achievements and gently admonishes Honecker that the party should seize the initiative lest it becomes too late, Honecker is more assertive in his criticism of the Soviet glasnost and “unacceptable” publications in the Soviet press.  He presents the situation in his country as stable, his party in control and poised to achieve a breakthrough in the scientific and technological revolution.
When Gorbachev visits Berlin in early October, thousands of East Germans are already pressing to leave the GDR and demonstrations against the regime are taking place in Leipzig and elsewhere.  Chernyaev’s notes of the discussions with the SED Politburo show the Soviet leader actually pushing for leadership changes–contrary to his own repeated insistence about staying out of bloc “personnel” matters.  While not even mentioning the refugees, Gorbachev reminds the East Germans about the crises of the 1970s when the leadership felt the need to accelerate reforms.  “Life itself will punish us if we are late,” he says. He goes on to tell a story about the miners of Donetsk, where “some leaders cannot pull the cart any more, but we don’t dare replace them, we are afraid to offend them.”  There could hardly be a clearer reference to Honecker and, sure enough, within 10 days the SED Politburo replaces him with another of those present at this meeting, Egon Krenz.
Events are moving quickly in the GDR, marked by the beginning of maneuverings in the SED Politburo against Honecker.  Here Chernyaev records a conversation with Gorbachev and  Shakhnazarov in which the Soviet leader refers to Honecker with an obscenity for not stepping down gracefully and thus preserving “his place in history.”  Chernyaev and Shakhnazarov doubt a graceful exit is possible for the East German party boss, who “has already been cursed by his people.”


1. For most recent publications and  reviews about the peaceful revolution in Germany see Charles S. Maier, “Civil Resistance and Civil Society:  Lessons from the Collapse of the German Democratic Republic in 1989,” in Adam Roberts and Timothy Garton Ash ed., Civil Resistance and Power Politics (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009),  Christof Wielepp, “Montag abens in Leipzig,” in Thomas Blanke and Rainer Erd (eds.), DDR-Ein Staat Vergeht (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch verlag, 1990), Wolf-Jurgen Grabner, Christian Heinze, and Detlev Pollack (eds.), Leipzig in Oktober:  Kirchen und alternative Gruppen im Umbruch der DDR—Analysen zur Wende (Berlin: Wichern-Verlag, 1990).


Magister Bernd Pulch


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NASSAU 000384 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2014

     NASSAU 322 E) NASSAU 364 

Classified By: Charge Abdelnour Zaiback for reasons 1.5 (B) and 1.5 (D) 

- - - -
- - - - 

1) (C) On February 24, Acting Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Secretary Marilyn Zonicle separately demarched each
UN Security Council member with representation in The Bahamas
for support for a possible UN Security Council meeting on
Haiti that may be requested by Jamaica Prime Minister
Patterson as early as Thursday.  The original plan was to
request the Security Council to meet on February 25 on Haiti,
however, President Aristide asked that the meeting be
deferred for 24 hours while he pursued the ongoing
negotiations.  For its part, The Bahamas seeks the active
support of the U.S. as the "most important" member of the
Security Council as it engages on a full scale diplomatic
press to achieve peace in Haiti.  If diplomacy fails, The
Bahamas believes that military assistance will be essential,
and is willing to contribute troops to a multinational effort
to maintain law and order.  END SUMMARY 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

2) (C) Anticipating that Prime Minister Patterson would make
the request for the Security Council to hold a special
session on Haiti tomorrow, FM Mitchell had already packed his
bags and made plans to fly to New York tonight.  Patterson
and CARICOM delayed making the request for the session only
because Aristide convinced them that the opposition and
rebels could still agree to CARICOM's peace plan.  However,
as the situation on the ground in Haiti continues to
deteriorate, Zonicle anticipates that Mitchell will fly to
New York tomorrow for a requested Security Council special
session on Thursday. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

3) (C) Follows are the six talking points presented to Charge. 

i) (C) Pending the outcome of the OAS/CARICOM-sponsored
negotiations between the Government and the Opposition in
Haiti, the CARICOM countries may request the convening of an
emergency meeting of the Security Council to address the
matter, considering the deteriorating situation in that
country and the inability of the Haitian National Police
(HNP) to deal with the insurgency. 

ii) (C) An open debate in the Security Council would allow it
to pronounce on the matter and would provide Haiti with the
opportunity to request military/police assistance,  and,
perhaps, increased humanitarian assistance, as may be
necessary.  Haiti is reluctant to take the matter to the
Security Council before the current political negotiations
have been exhausted and wishes to avoid the matter being
dealt with on "parallel tracks" by OAS/CARICOM and the UN. 

iii) (C) While France has indicated a willingness to send
military assistance to Haiti, the specter of French troops in
Haiti at this time is a very sensitive issue, particularly as
France is the former colonizer and Haiti is currently
"celebrating" the 200th anniversary of discarding that yoke.
A joint dispatch under the UN banner would be more palatable. 

iv) (C) With the United Nations, CARICOM Ambassadors are
seeking the support of the Group of Latin America and the
Caribbean (GRULAC) for the initiative and a meeting of the
GRULAC to discuss the matter is being convened Wednesday
afternoon.  Brazil and Chile, the two members of GRULAC on
the Security Council have indicated their support for the
initiative.  Other member of the GRULAC that have voiced
strong support are Mexico and Venezuela. 

v) (C) Beyond the GRULAC, CARICOM Ambassadors are in touch
with Canada and France, as well as with President of the GA,
Ambassador Colin Granderson of the CARICOM Secretariat, and
the other Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs in
seeking to garner support for the initiative and move it
forward, as appropriate. 

vi) (C) It has been said, although not officially announced
that, Ambassador Reggie Dumas, of Trinidad and Tobago, has
been appointed as the Special Advisor on Haiti by the UN
Secretary-general.  Perhaps, the stigma of a direct request
from Haitian authorities for military assistance could be
alleviated by having the request channeled through the
Special Advisor. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

4) (C) Charge and Political Chief sought clarification on
Mitchell's vision for outside intervention.  In recent days
Mitchell has made several statements that international
support for Haiti's police was crucial, including "to disarm
the rebels if they did not disarm themselves."  Zonicle
relayed that the first priority of The Bahamas is the
principles in the CARICOM proposal, most notably reinforcing
the ability of the Haitian police to maintain law and order.
However, if this fails, Zonicle reiterated Mitchell's oft
stated plea of late, that "law and order must be restored."
Zonicle volunteered that The Bahamas was prepared to
contribute troops, "perhaps as many as 100."  While the
preferred mechanism is the United Nations, Zonicle confirmed
Mitchell's view that any outside intervention would be
preferable to continued and increased chaos. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

5) (C) Ambassador to CARICOM Leonard Archer sought Charge's
insight on the relationship between the rebels and the
opposition, but in the exchange of views it became clear that
all sides knew about the same.  Several rebel leaders have
connections with the former military.  While the opposition
may currently feel that they are the beneficiaries of rebel
activity, they may soon learn that "the enemy of my enemy is
not always my friend."  Archer is an experienced diplomat who
has studied Haiti at length. 

- - - -
- - - - 

6) (C) As reported reftels, The Bahamas is seized on the
Haitian crisis.  It is certainly Foreign Minister Mitchell's
dominant preoccupation.  It is also clear that The Bahamas
regards U.S. leadership and engagement on Haiti as crucial to
any peaceful outcome.  As has also become increasingly
explicit in Mitchell's recent statements, while The Bahamas
and CARICOM lobby for peace, they have concluded that a
peaceful outcome without international intervention is
increasingly unlikely.


Tom Moak: Der große Unterschied zwischen Aufarbeitung und Aufklärung

Aufarbeitung oder Recycling bedeutet Gewinnung von Rohstoffen aus Abfällen,ihre Rückführungin den Wirtschaftskreislauf und die Verarbeitung zu neuen Produkten (stoffliche Verwertung).

Zur Aufarbeitung Recycling geeignet sind vor allem Lumpen, Eisen, Papier, Glas, Pappe,

Kartonagen, Nichteisenmetalle und Kunststoffe. Voraussetzung für die stoffliche Verwertung

ist eine möglichst sortenreine Sammlung der Wertstoffe oder ihre leichte Abtrennung (Sortierung,Abfalltrennung.)

Es hat den Anschein, einige der nach der deutschen Wiedervereinigung etablierten Institutionen, die angeblich das Unrecht

in der DDR aufarbeiten wollen oder sollen, wollen mit ihrer “Aufarbeitung” genau so den politischen Müll und die Abfälle

aus der ehemaligen DDR, das Unrecht und ihre Aktivisten zur Wiederverwendung recyceln und in unserer Gesellschaft installieren.

Dazu gehört auch eine mangelnde Aufklärung der Öffentlichkeit,(Desinformation) eine Verheimlichung der Täter und deren Untaten, die

zum Teil immer noch in verantwortlichen Funktionen Platz genommen haben und als Krönung des ganzen sogar in Parlamente eingeschleust wurden.

Aufklärung ist die vollständige Offenlegung des Unrechts, und die vollständige Information über die Schuldigen

und deren Entfernung aus verantwortlichen Funktionen.

Wahlspruch in 2011   zum Jahr der Demokratie

Aufklärung ist der Ausgang des Menschen aus seiner selbst verschuldeten Unmündigkeit.

Unmündigkeit ist das Unvermögen des Menschen,  sich

seines Verstandes ohne Leitung eines Anderen zu bedienen.
Selbstverschuldet ist diese Unmündigkeit,  wenn die Ursache derselben

nicht am Mangel des Verstandes,  sondern der Entschließung und des

Mutes liegt,  sich seiner ohne Leitung eines anderen zu bedienen.
Sapere aude!
Habe Mut,  dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen

ist also der Wahlspruch der Aufklärung……
Immanuel Kant  –  Was ist Aufklärung?   Anno Domini 1783

. . und hier sind Beispiele der

Bock zum Gärtner gemacht
TOP 1…sollen hier schon wieder Akten vernichtet werden ?

Na aber Hallo!…. die Nummer kennen wir doch schon “Lieber Politiker”


Aufklärung ist die vollständige Offenlegung des Unrechts, die vollständige Information über die Schuldigen

und deren schonungslose Entfernung aus verantwortlichen Funktionen und dem öffentlichen Leben.

“Die öffentliche Diskussion über das Unrecht einer Diktatur wird diesmal unter Lebenden stattfinden!”

Wer seinerzeit für das MfS gearbeitet hat, war Helfer der öffentlichen Verwaltung,
mag er in der Diktatur das auch im verborgenen getan haben,

seine “Spitzeltätigkeit” gehört nicht zu seiner schützenswerten Privatsphäre.

” Die Betroffenen Opfer und die Öffentlichkeit haben ein Recht auf die Wahrheit! “

Somit bleibt nun zu hoffen das endlich alles klar ist!
Beispielhaft für die Aufklärung halten es die neuen Mitglieder in der Europa Union u. a. wie,

  • die Regierungen der Tschechischen Republik die auf der Homepage des Innenministeriums

in Prag die Namen der Täter und der Schuldigen per Gesetz zum Download bereit hält.

Evidenční podklady, zveřejněné podle §7 zák 107/2002Sb Download

·           und die Slowakischen Republik  die auf dem Regierungsserver per Gesetz

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Bernd Pulch, Magister Artium (MA)


C O N F I D E N T I A L OTTAWA 002023 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2010


1. (C) DCM and PolOff shared reftel talking points with FAC
Director General for Latin America and the Caribbean Jamal
Khokhar and Caribbean and Central America Director Christian
Lapointe.  Khokhar said "we are on the same sheet" with
regards to Aristide, and Canada's consistent message has been
that "he is of the past and Haiti needs to move forward."
Khokhar said the GOC understands there is a plan by his
followers to bring Aristide back to Haiti on July 15th, but
does not have any clear signals of how it will be done.  Desk
Officer Caroline Ouellet clarified that the date is based on
rumors and there are no more signs than usual that it is
reality.  Still, they have heard the date from enough sources
to consider it credible.  Even before these recent rumors,
she said, Canada had a clear position in opposition to the
return of Aristide. 

2. (C) Khokhar said Canada has been conveying this message to
all parties, stressing the need for the international
community (especially the Caricom countries), to invest in
the future for Haiti and not remain stuck in the past.
Canadian officials note the call by SYG Annan for
reinforcements to provide security for the election and are
in agreement that the UN mission must be reinforced to be

3. (C) Lapointe said that Canada has discussed the return of
Aristide with South African officials during consultations in
May.  The South Africans reportedly questioned whether it is
fair to encourage Lavalas to participate in the elections
without their most important leader being on the ground.
They are not convinced of the good will of those who would
exclude him being there.  The GOC reportedly urged the South
Africans to encourage Lavalas to move beyond Aristide, and
stressed the importance of finding a new leader in Haiti that
can unite the country rather than divide it.  Lapointe said
there may be an opportunity for FM Pettigrew to meet on the
margins of the G-8 meeting with the South African FM and
further stress these points. 

Visit Canada's Classified Web Site at 


Afghanistan Déjà vu? Lessons from the Soviet Experience

Bernd Pulch, MA (Magister Artium)

Washington, D.C., July 29 th 2011 – The debate over U.S. policy in the Afghanistan war features striking and troubling parallels with the choices faced by Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s, according to Soviet documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive. The documents have sparked a series of recent articles by Rodric Braithwaite (“New Afghan Myths Bode Ill for Western Aims,” October 15, 2008) in the Financial Times, Peter Beaumont (“Same Old Mistakes in Afghanistan,” October 18, 2009) in the Observer, Mark Thomson (“Soviets in Afghanistan … Obama’s Déjà vu?”, October 19, 2009 in Time, and Victor Sebestyen (“Transcripts of Defeat,” October 28, 2009) in the New York Times.

The documents obtained by the National Security Archive from the Russian archives show that even if history does not repeat, it almost certainly rhymes—more than 20 years later, U.S. policy makers are encountering very similar choices and analyses as they discuss the options for prosecuting or ending the war.

In terms that parallel those offered to President Obama by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Soviet military told their leaders in the mid-1980s that the war was not winnable by purely political means and that the initial analysis on the basis of which the troops were introduced did not take into account the historical and religious context of the country. Most strikingly, the Soviets complained that the top leader they helped to install lacked political legitimacy and probably would need to be replaced.

The Soviet military bemoaned the fact that even though every single piece of land was at some point controlled by the Soviet military, the moment the Soviet troops moved on, the territory was immediately re-taken by the armed resistance.  Even after Babrak Karmal was replaced by Najubullah and the policy of national reconciliation was introduced, the internal resistance kept intensifying.  In January 1987, for example, Defense Minister Marshal Sokolov reports that “the military situation has deteriorated sharply.  The number of shelling of our garrisons has doubled.  […]  This war cannot be won militarily.” The growing numbers of Soviet casualties are cited in every report and discussion.

The choice between putting in more troops and delaying the withdrawal or withdrawing decisively and on schedule eventually put a rift between Gorbachev and his Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, who argued for a delayed withdrawal and providing more military support for Najibullah.  In the end, the Soviets withdrew on February 15, 1989, fully anticipating the fall of Najibulah government. A major factor mentioned repeatedly in the internal Soviet exchanges was the need for comprehensive international mediation with Pakistan and the United States at the center of any such process – a condition that did not exist at the time of the Soviet pullout and would not come to pass.

Read the Documents

Politburo Session, November 13, 1986
(Full text also available from the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issues 8-9, Winter 1996/1997, pp. 1787-181)

The first detailed Politburo discussion of the process and difficulties of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, which included the testimony of Marshal Sergei Akhromeev.

Politburo Session, January 21, 1987

The Politburo discusses the results of Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and Head of the Central Committee International Department Anatoly Dobrynin’s trip to Afghanistan. Shevardnadze’s report is very blunt and pessimistic about the war and the internal situation. The main concern of the Politburo is how to end the war but save face and ensure a friendly and neutral Afghanistan.

Colonel Tsagolov Letter to USSR Minister of Defense Dmitry Yazov on the Situation in Afghanistan, August 13, 1987

Criticism of the Soviet policy of national reconciliation in Afghanistan and analysis of general failures of the Soviet military mission there are presented in Colonel Tsagolov’s letter to USSR Defense Minister Dmitry Yazov of August 13, 1987. This letter represents the first open criticism of the Afghan war from within the military establishment.  Colonel Tsagolov paid for his attempt to make his criticism public in his interview with Soviet influential progressive magazine “Ogonek” by his career—he was expelled from the Army in 1988.


Magister Bernd Pulch


DE RUEHROV #0011/01 0201644
O P 201644Z JAN 10
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 VATICAN 000011 


E.O. 12958: DECL:  1/20/2035

REF: A. A) STATE 4807
     B. B) STATE 4854
     C. C) VATICAN 10
     D. D) KELLY-NOYES EMAILS 1/16-19/10
     E. E) STATE 5277 

VATICAN 00000011  001.2 OF 002 

CLASSIFIED BY: Julieta Valls Noyes, DCM, EXEC, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.  (S) Summary:  While devastating, the Church suffered fewer
losses in the Haiti earthquake than initially reported in the
media.  The death of the Archbishop and many seminarians were
especially painful but the Vatican is already reviewing how to
regroup: Bishop Pierre Dumas, President of Caritas Haiti, could
become the new Archbishop.  Meanwhile, the Nuncio in PAP is
working with Haitian bishops, and with international missionary
and other Catholic organizations, to provide humanitarian aid
and pastoral care to the victims (see also ref c).  Catholic aid
organizations have already pledged over $50 million in aid and
raised over $13 million in donations; these numbers will
increase.  On a related note, the Vatican is concerned about
future operating funds for the Haitian embassy accredited to the
Holy See.  On the political front, the Vatican believes the
return of deposed Haitian leader (and former priest) Aristide
would be disastrous and is trying to get a quiet message to him
and/or his confidantes to this effect.  Holy See officials have
repeatedly thanked Embassy Vatican for USG response to the
earthquake and for coordination with the Church on relief
efforts.  End summary. 

(SBU) Church Suffers Tragic but not Incapacitating Losses
--------------------------------------------- ------------ 

2. (U) According to FIDES, the media arm of the Holy See's
Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (which oversees
the Church's work in Haiti), while Catholic congregations and
organizations in Haiti suffered deeply tragic losses during the
earthquake, these were not as overwhelming as initial media
reports indicated.  Specifically, the known losses to date

-- Archbishop Serge Miot
-- Monfort Missionaries:  11 dead; infrastructure damaged
-- Salesians: 3 dead priests plus 500 students or seminarians
killed; infrastructure destroyed or damaged
-- Daughters of Wisdom: 3 dead, 3 missing and presumed dead
-- Spiritan Fathers: 1 dead
-- Oblates: 1 dead; damage to buildings and centers
-- Holy Cross Fathers: 1 dead
-- Dominicans: no deaths, 1 nun injured
-- Franciscans: no known deaths or injuries; convent and schools

However, the Council of Latin American Bishops Conferences
reports over 100 members of religious orders still missing and
presumed dead.  The good news is that the Christian Brothers and
Camillan order had no losses, and the Jesuits also lost no-one
and suffered no damage to their buildings.  (Note:  For context,
the Vatican has informed the Embassy that before the earthquake,
the Haitian Church had eighteen bishops in ten dioceses, 486
diocesan priests, 306 religious orders priests, 332 non-priest
male religious (monks and friars), 1,851 female religious
(nuns), and 421 seminarians.) 

3. (SBU) The Vatican's Secretariat of State official in charge
of Central America, Monsignor Francisco Frojan, told polchief on
January 19 that the death of the Archbishop of PAP had been a
hard blow to the Church.   Embassy understands that Bishop
Pierre Dumas, President of Caritas Haiti, could become the new

4. (C) The earthquake also killed the sister of the Cardinal
Archbishop of Sao Paolo: she was in PAP giving a conference when
the earthquake hit.  (Some seminarians and other religious
personnel at that event were also killed.)  At the same time,
Frojan added that the Vatican was fortunate the Nunciature had
not been damaged, and thus has become a shelter and meeting
point for bishops, clergy and missionaries.  No Vatican official
other than the Nuncio himself were in PAP at the time of the

(U) Vatican Is Responding to Crisis

5. (U) Polchief delivered refs A and B points to Frojan on
January 19 and offered USG support should the Vatican require
assistance in getting humanitarian supplies to Haiti.  While the
Vatican does not own any planes, Frojan had received questions
about flights to Haiti from organizations wishing to assist, and
thanked polchief for the information.  Frojan said Cor Unum --
the Vatican's umbrella organization for humanitarian work -- and
Caritas Internationalis have the lead on relief efforts (ref C),
and are coordinating donations from a wide range of Catholic
charities.  For example, U.S.-based Catholic Relief Services (a
Caritas organization) has already pledged $25 million and raised
over $13 million in donations for Haiti, and Caritas
Internationalis is contributing an additional $25 million.
These numbers will go up. 

6. (SBU) Beyond the influx of new aid, Frojan noted that before
the earthquake the Catholic Church throughout Haiti had managed
26 hospitals, 213 health dispensaries, 4 leprosy health centers,
23 homes for the elderly and the chronically ill and 39
orphanages.  Many of these institutions are still functional in
the affected areas and are providing assistance.  The Camillan
priests and nuns, for example, ran a hospital in PAP that was
undamaged and they are now treating the injured.  Operating
information on other institutions is trickling in to the
Vatican, but it is still incomplete.  (Note: According to the
Vatican, there are about 7 million Catholics in Haiti - 70% of
the population.  Another 23% of the population adheres to other
Christian denominations.  End Note) 

7. (C) The Vatican's Chief of Protocol, Msgr. Fortunatus
Nwachuku, raised another concern with Ambassador Diaz regarding
Haiti.  The Haitian Embassy to the Holy See, probably like those
elsewhere, has a very tight budget and cannot sustain operations
for long without renewed funding from Port au Prince.  Moreover,
the Haitian Ambassador has confided to his Canadian colleague
here that the embassy can get by for a little longer, but the
embassy's situation is unsustainable for long.  Nwachuku asked
whether any aid programs currently included funding for Haitian

(S) Aristide's Return Would be Disastrous

8. (S) In discussions with DCM over the past few days (ref d),
senior Vatican officials said they were dismayed about media
reports that deposed Haitian leader -- and former priest -- Jean
Bertrand Aristide wished to return to Haiti.  (Aristide now
lives in South Africa.)  The Vatican's Assesor (deputy chief of
staff equivalent), Msgr. Peter Wells, said Aristide's presence
would distract from the relief efforts and could become
destabilizing.  Following a conversation with DCM, the
Undersecretary for Relations with States (deputy foreign
minister equivalent), Msgr. Ettore Balestrero, conferred with
the Vatican nuncio in Haiti.  Archbishop Auza agreed
emphatically that Aristide's return would be a disaster.  He
said he would ask local bishops if any of them still had
positive enough relations with Aristide to persuade him to stay
away.  Balestrero then conveyed Auza's views to Archbishop
Greene in South Africa, and asked him also to look for ways to
get this message convincingly to Aristide.  DCM suggested that
Greene also convey this message to the SAG.  Embassy will report
the results of this Vatican outreach once they are available. 

(U) Comment: The Church is On the Case

9. (C) Normally contemplative and deliberately slow to act in
political crises, the Vatican and Church-related organizations
are responsive and effective when dealing with humanitarian
disasters.  Its global network of aid organizations and local
Church entities provide a well-organized and reasonably
well-funded structure to deliver assistance.  Moreover, despite
concerns elsewhere (ref e), the Vatican is very appreciative of
USG aid to Haiti.  Holy See officials have thanked Embassy
Vatican officials repeatedly this week for USG assistance to
Haiti and for the Embassy's close coordination with the Holy See
and Church organizations on relief efforts.  They say on-the
ground liaison with Caritas and with the nuncio would also be
useful.  Embassy Vatican will continue outreach at all levels to
continue to get out the message about USG efforts. 



Magister Bernd Pulch


DE RUEHKL #0806/01 2561240
O 121240Z SEP 08



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/12/2018


Classified By: Political Section Chief Mark D. Clark, reason 1.4 (b and

1.  (C) Summary:  Malaysian police on September 12 arrested
controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under the
Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention
without trial.  Raja Petra's arrest came days after Prime
Minister Abdullah threatened to use the ISA to clamp down on
those allegedly stoking racial and religious tensions.  The
arrest stands as a warning to the growing Internet media, but
also sends a signal to the political Opposition, which has
vowed to topple Abdullah's coalition later this month, that
the UMNO-led government could take stern measures to defend
itself.  End Summary. 

2. (SBU) Malaysian police detained Raja Petra Kamaruddin,
prominent blogger and editor of the controversial website
"Malaysia Today", under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on
September 12.  The ISA allows for detention without trial.
This is the first time the Act has been implemented for
blogging.  Raja Petra's detention came days after Prime
Minister Abdullah Badawi told reporters that the government
would use the ISA on those who stoke racial and religious
tensions, following inter-racial feuding in this coalition
and mounting challenges to Abdullah's authority and political
position (Septel). 

3. (U) Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who approved Raja
Petra's ISA detention order, told reporters that the blogger
was detained under Section 73(1) of the ISA because he was
deemed a threat to security, peace, and public order.  The
Minister explained that Raja Petra's detention came in the
wake of various statements published by him in his blog
"Malaysia Today," the latest being a commentary which
allegedly ridiculed Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.  Syed
Hamid stated, "We have called and advised him many times
following the publishing of his statements but he has
continued to write, so much so that they (the statements)
could pose a threat (to security and public order)."  The
Minister added that under Section 73(1) of the Act, Raja
Petra would be detained for 60 days and the police will do an
assessment during the period.  Syed Hamid added "if they feel
he should be held more than 60 days, the police will then
refer to me".  Traditionally the minister will accept the
recommendations made by the police and sign the order under
Section 8(1) of the Act, which allows the person to be
detained for renewable two-year periods.
4. (U) This is the second time Raja Petra has been detained
under the ISA.  The government of then Prime Minister
Mahathir detained Raja Petra under the ISA in April 2001 for
his involvement in former DPM Anwar Ibrahim initiated
"reformasi" movement.  He was held for 53 days before being
unconditionally released, reportedly due to pressure from the
King, the late Sultan of Selangor who was Raja Petra,s
uncle.  The current Sultan of Selangor is his cousin. 

5. (U) Raja Petra's arrest came a day after the Cabinet
ordered the Multimedia and Communications Commission (MCMC)
to re-instate access to all blocked websites, including Raja
Petra's "Malaysia Today" website (which was blocked on August
27).  Energy, Water and Com-mu-nications Minister Shaziman
Abu Mansor stated on September 12 that the Cabinet ordered
the move because there were other "harsher" laws in the
country, including the ISA, to "control the irresponsible
dissemination of information over the Internet and to bring
those irresponsible websites and blogs to book." 

6. (C) Comment:  Malaysia's on-line news sources and blogs
have blossomed over recent years as an alternative to the
government dominated mainstream media.  This trend has only
increased after the March 8 elections, in which Abdullah and
his UMNO party suffered a major setback.  Raja Petra is
considered the most outspoken and controversial Internet
journalist, and is often a proponent of opposition views.
Aside from his ISA arrest, Raja Petra faces sedition charges
for articles implicating Deputy Prime Minister Najib in an
ongoing high profile murder case.  Raja Petra's
arrest is another sign of insecurity on the part of Abdullah
and the UMNO party.  The government's use of ISA sends a
strong warning to other opposition bloggers to curb their
activities.  This arrest may intimidate some activists, but
it also could result in a backlash by the independent media
and bloggers, and increase public disaffection with
Abdullah's leadership. 

7.  (C) As PM Abdullah and his UMNO party become increasingly
concerned over threats to bring down their government through
the crossover of 30 more BN members of Parliament, Raja
Petra's arrest also will be interpreted here as a warning to
the political opposition and its leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Opposition officials consistently have expressed concern that
the government could invoke ISA if they advance too far.
While not determinate given the fluid political situation and
UMNO's disarray, today's arrest of Raja Petra lends support
to the view that the UMNO-led government will take stern
measures to defend itself.  End Comment. 

8.  (U) The Embassy offers the following draft "if asked"
press guidance. 


A:  We understand from press accounts that Malaysian police
detained Raja Petra, who is associated with the "Malaysia
Today" website, under an article of the Internal Security Act
covering threats to "security, peace, and public order". 

We cannot comment further on the specific grounds for the
Malaysian government's actions. 

We are aware that Raja Petra also faces legal complaints and
charges of sedition related to information posted on the

The United States firmly believes that freedom of the press
and freedom of speech are fundamental components of a vibrant
democracy.  Freedom of expression is a basic right embodied
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

The peaceful expression of political views is a cornerstone
of democratic rights and practice, as is the impartial
application of the rule of law. 


A:  As a matter of principle, we hope that countries refrain
from using national security laws to curtail the peaceful
expression of political views and media freedom. 


TOP-SECRET: Fall of Berlin Wall Caused Anxiety More than Joy at Highest Levels

Magister Bernd Pulch

Fall of Berlin Wall Caused Anxiety More than Joy at Highest Levels

Secret Documents Show Opposition to German Unification

Washington, D.C., July 29th, 2011 – The fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago generated major anxiety in capitals from Warsaw to Washington, to the point of outright opposition to the possibility of German unification, according to documents from Soviet, American and European secret files posted on the Web today by the National Security Archive.

Solidarity hero Lech Walesa told West German chancellor Helmut Kohl on the very day the Wall would fall that “events in the GDR [East Germany] are developing too quickly” and “at the wrong time,” that the Wall could fall in a week or two (it would be a matter of hours) and then Kohl and the West would shift all their attention and aid to the GDR, leaving poor Poland “in the background.” And indeed, Kohl cut short his visit to Warsaw and flew back to Germany as soon as the news arrived of the breach of the Wall.

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher earlier had told Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev that “Britain and Western Europe are not interested in the unification of Germany. The words written in the NATO communiqué may sound different, but disregard them.” Top Gorbachev aide Anatoly Chernyaev concluded that Thatcher wanted to prevent unification “with our hands” and not her own.

Former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski informed Soviet Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev, “I openly said that I am in favor of Poland and Hungary remaining in the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Both blocs should not be disbanded right now. I do not know what will happen if the GDR ceases to exist. There will be one Germany, united and strong. This does not correspond to either your or our interests.”

One of the few highest-level expressions of joy over the fall of the Wall actually occurred in Moscow, in the diary of Gorbachev aide Chernyaev, who wrote on November 10, “The Berlin Wall has collapsed. This entire era in the history of the socialist system is over… That is what Gorbachev has done. And he has indeed turned out to be a great leader. He has sensed the pace of history and helped history to find a natural channel.”

The new documents, most of them appearing in English for the first time, are part of the forthcoming book, “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989, edited by the National Security Archive’s Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton, and Vladislav Zubok and published by the Central European University Press (Budapest/New York) in the Archive’s Cold War Reader series edited by Malcolm Byrne.

Read the Documents

Document 1: CIA Intelligence Assessment, “Gorbachev’s Domestic Gambles and Instability in the USSR,” September 1989

This controversial assessment from the CIA’s Office of Soviet Analysis separates SOVA from the consensus of the rest of the U.S. intelligence community regarding Gorbachev and his chances for success, or even survival. (Note 1) The document carries a scope note calling it a “speculative paper” because it goes against the general view that would soon be expressed in a Fall 1989 National Intelligence Estimate. That NIE would predict that Gorbachev would survive the coming economic crisis of 1990-91 without resorting to widespread repression (only targeted acts of suppression, as in Tbilisi)–a relatively optimistic conclusion that would play a major role in the Bush administration’s embrace of Gorbachev at Malta in December.

In the assessment below, authored by senior analyst Grey Hodnett, SOVA takes a much bleaker view, essentially concluding that Gorbachev’s reforms will fail, precipitating a coup, a crackdown, and perhaps even the piecemeal breakup of the empire. The United States “for the foreseeable future will confront a Soviet leadership that faces endemic popular unrest and that, on a regional basis at least, will have to employ emergency measures and increased use of force to retain domestic control.” The paper further predicts that “Moscow’s focus on internal order in the USSR is likely to accelerate the decay of Communist systems and growth of regional instability in Eastern Europe, pointing to the need for post-Yalta arrangements of some kind.” What exactly “post-Yalta” means is unclear, but may simply be a reference to the new non-communist government in Poland (installed in August), that explicitly chose to remain a part of the Warsaw Treaty Organization.  Under any circumstances, orchestrating such an arrangement would be a major challenge for the United States.

Document 2: National Security Directive (NSD) 23, “United States Relations with the Soviet Union,” September 22, 1989

This National Security Directive, representing the formal expression of U.S. foreign policy at the highest levels, was apparently drafted as early as April 1989, and its conclusions duly reflect how divorced U.S. policy in this period is from the radical transformations occurring in Eastern Europe. Among the document’s hesitant predictions: “[t]he character of the changes taking place in the Soviet Union leads to the possibility that a new era may be now upon us. We may be able to move beyond containment to a U.S. policy that actively promotes the integration of the Soviet Union into the existing international system.”  First, however, “Moscow must authoritatively renounce the ‘Brezhnev Doctrine’ and reaffirm the pledge of signatories to the U.N. Charter to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” It is almost as if the authors never read Gorbachev’s United Nations speech in December 1988, much less his Strasbourg address in July 1989. Perhaps the most sterile prescription in the document is the president’s directive to the secretary of state to eliminate “threatening Soviet positions of influence around the world.” Precisely what positions were these in the latter half of 1989? Again reflecting a sense of caution that willfully ignores the events on the ground in Eastern Europe, the authors declare hopefully: “[w]e may find that the nature of the threat itself has changed, though any such transformation could take decades.” These policy recommendations would perhaps be appropriate for 1986, but they are completely outdated in 1989.

Document 3: Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher, September 23, 1989

These notes of Margaret Thatcher’s conversation with Gorbachev contain the British leader’s most sensitive views on Germany–so confidential that she requests no written record be made of them during the meeting. Chernyaev complies but immediately afterwards rushes outside and writes down her comments from memory. The talks open with a candid exchange in which Gorbachev explains the recent (September 19-20) Party Plenum’s decisions on ethnic conflict, and why he does not believe in the Chinese model:  “how can you reform both the economy and politics without democratizing society, without glasnost, which incorporates individuals into an active socio-political life?” Thatcher replies, “I understand your position [on Eastern Europe] in the following way:  you are in favor of each country choosing its own road of development so long as the Warsaw Treaty is intact.  I understand this position perfectly.”

At this point, the prime minister asks that note-taking be discontinued.  Her words are indeed forceful, and imply a certain tradeoff–I understand your position on Eastern Europe, please accept mine on Germany:  “Britain and Western Europe are not interested in the unification of Germany. The words written in the NATO communiqué may sound different, but disregard them. We do not want the unification of Germany.” Of course, “[w]e are not interested in the destabilization of Eastern Europe or the dissolution of the Warsaw treaty either … I can tell you that this is also the position of the U.S. president.” No doubt the Russians took note that the U.S. reassurance only applied to Eastern Europe and not to German unification; but the vehemence of Thatcher’s opposition to the idea of unification provides a certain comfort to Gorbachev that he would rely on until it was too late for him actually to prevent the merger.

Document 4: Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev regarding German Reunification, October 9, 1989

This diary entry reflects the overestimation, by Gorbachev and his top aides, of the strength of West European opposition to German reunification. Chernyaev notes with approval the chorus of French official voices that have spoken quietly against “one Germany,” as well as the earlier Gorbachev conversations with Margaret Thatcher (see Document No. 3). But a note of realism emerges as Chernyaev concludes that the West Europeans want Moscow to do their dirty work: “they want to prevent this [reunification] with our hands.”

Document 5: Record of Conversation between Vadim Medvedev and Kurt Hager, October 13, 1989

Just a week after Gorbachev’s visit to Berlin, senior GDR party leader Kurt Hager and the Soviet Politburo member in charge of ideology, Vadim Medvedev, meet for several hours in Moscow. This memorandum provides an ample dose of the kind of party jargon that was the staple of such “fraternal” conversations in the Soviet bloc.  Rote invocations of eternal Soviet-East German friendship are followed by rhetorical commitments to continuing the building of socialism. But the real problems of the day continually force their way into the discussion.  Hager admits that an “inconsistency” between “everyday experiences” and “official reporting” has led to the spread of “a justifiable discontent” across society. Yet, the two party loyalists conclude, all this is really the result of “a massive campaign by the enemy” of “psychological warfare against the GDR, the SED, and socialism.” For them, the campaign has been a “complete failure,” notwithstanding the thousands of recent East German émigrés, the church dignitaries joining the political opposition, the street demonstrations, and all the other visible evidence of the GDR’s imminent collapse.

Document 6: Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Willy Brandt, October 17, 1989

In this conversation, Brandt and Gorbachev discuss changes under way in Eastern Europe and Germany and note the closeness of Soviet-West German contacts after Gorbachev’s visit to Bonn in June 1989. The Soviet leader calls for stability and gradual character of processes, informing Brandt that “I said to Mitterrand, Kohl, and Thatcher: it would be unacceptable for someone to behave like an elephant in a china shop right now.” In the one-on-one portion of the conversation Brandt and Gorbachev talk specifically about unification of Germany but set it in the framework of the “all-European process,” in other words, building of the common European home comes first and then within that home gradual unification could take place.

Document 7: Record of Telephone Conversation between George H.W. Bush and Helmut Kohl, October 23, 1989

Not only does Helmut Kohl initiate this telephone call, he also leads the entire conversation, giving the American president a detailed briefing, country-by-country, about the changes in Eastern Europe. Kohl says he is supporting the Hungarian reform communists “quite vigorously,” and that “our Western friends and partners should be doing more” to aid Poland. He foresees more than 150,000 refugees from the GDR by Christmas, and reaffirms his commitment to NATO. Bush’s response shows his concern from media stories “about German reunification resulting in a neutralist Germany and a threat to Western security”–“we do not believe that,” he insists–and he almost plaintively seeks credit for the $200 million that the U.S. will contribute to a Poland stabilization fund (hardly the new Marshall Plan that would be called for by, among others, Lech Wałęsa in his November 15 address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress). But Bush, characteristically, is determined not to move “so fast as to be reckless.”

Document 8: Record of Conversation between Aleksandr Yakovlev and Zbigniew Brzezinski, October 31, 1989

The leading Soviet reformer on the Politburo finds surprising agreement on the German question in this meeting with the Polish-American observer, Zbigniew Brzezinski, whom the Soviets had vilified as an enemy of détente when he served as President Carter’s national security adviser in the late 1970s. (Cementing his reputation for iconoclasm, Brzezinski would subsequently endorse Ronald Reagan for re-election in 1984.) In a tribute to glasnost, Brzezinski thanks Yakovlev for permitting a ceremonial visit to Katyń, the site of the World War II massacre of Polish officers by Stalin’s NKVD, which Soviet propaganda had long blamed on the Nazis.

This frank discussion of the future of Europe features Yakovlev’s repeated notion of the mutual dissolution of NATO and the Warsaw Pact versus Brzezinski’s argument that the blocs should remain stable, and even the new governments of Poland and Hungary should remain part of the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Like Gorbachev’s quotation of Giscard d’Estaing, Yakovlev foresees a Europe with “a common parliament, common affairs and trade relations,” along with open borders. He warns against any intervention by the U.S. or Western Europe in the processes underway in the East; and he declares that the lesson of Afghanistan is that “not one Soviet soldier should be in a foreign country with the purpose of conducting warfare.” Yakovlev wants the “same understanding” from the American side.

For his part, Brzezinski makes a number of prescient observations, contrasting the state of reform in the USSR (a “rift” between political and economic reform, with the former much further along) to that of China (economic but not political change), predicting that Czechoslovakia would soon follow the path of Poland and Hungary (this would happen only seven weeks later), and warning that any crumbling of the East German regime would soon lead to German unification–a development that “does not correspond to either your or our interests.” Here we see the Polish nationalist worried about “the Prussians” and preferring to keep Europe divided into two blocs rather than deal with “one Germany, united and strong.” The next day at a Politburo meeting, Gorbachev would compliment Brzezinski for possessing “global brains.”

Document 9: Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Egon Krenz, November 1, 1989

Here the Soviet leader receives the new East German replacement for Honecker, Egon Krenz. As interior minister, Krenz had declined to use force to suppress the Leipzig and other demonstrations, yet he would later serve time in unified German jails (unlike Honecker, who would be excused for health reasons) as punishment for the GDR’s policy of shooting Berlin Wall jumpers. Krenz tells Gorbachev, in effect, that his country’s policy has changed, citing “orders to our border troops not to use weapons at the border,” as part of an attempt to address the pressing refugee crisis.

Apparently meeting with Gorbachev’s approval, Krenz mentions in passing a new draft “law on foreign travel” that would loosen restrictions. This proposed law would figure directly in the most dramatic moment of the entire period. On November 9, a party spokesman’s unplanned announcement of the new law’s immediate effect (rather than the gradual change intended by the SED) at a Berlin press conference would lead to huge crowds pressing through checkpoints at the border with West Berlin culminating later that night in the actual tearing down of the Wall itself.  Perhaps at this point Gorbachev is already resigned to the refugee exodus and this presages Moscow’s relative calm when the Wall would fall.

With such developments as yet unimagined, the two leaders commiserate about the failures of Krenz’s predecessor. Gorbachev even claims that Honecker might have survived had he reformed earlier, but Krenz says Honecker was too threatened by Gorbachev’s own popularity. They frankly discuss their mutual economic problems, including Soviet resentment over providing the raw materials for the GDR’s factories, and Moscow’s sense of Eastern Europe as a burden. The Soviet general secretary also tells a remarkable story about the Politburo’s own ignorance of economic matters, describing an episode in the early 1980s when Gorbachev and Ryzhkov tried to obtain some budget information only to be warned away by then-leader Yuri Andropov.

On the German question, both the Soviet and the East German take comfort that “the majority of Western leaders do not want to see the dissolution” of the blocs nor the unification of Germany. But within a month the East German parliament would revoke the leading role of the communist party, and Krenz himself would resign on December 6.

Document 10: Notes of CC CPSU Politburo Session, November 3, 1989

In this excerpt of the Politburo notes, head of the KGB Vladimir Kryuchkov makes an accurate prediction about the rallies that would take place next day in Berlin, showing that the Soviet leadership had a pretty good understanding of the developments on the ground. They also realize that they need the help of the FRG to “keep the GDR afloat.” In an surprising proposal, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze suggests that the Soviets should take down the Wall themselves.  Gorbachev shares his view that “the West does not want unification of Germany, but it wants to prevent it with our hands.”

Document 11: Cable from U.S. Embassy in Sofia to the State Department, “The Nov 10 CC Party Plenum: Little Prospect for Major Changes,” November 9, 1989

On the day the Berlin Wall would fall, few could imagine that dramatic events were about to take place across the bloc. Typical of the cautious diplomatic discourse only hours before the ultimate Cold War symbol cracked is this cable from the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria predicting calm and continuity, no “major personnel changes” and no “major change towards a more reform-minded system” as a result of the communist party plenum about to meet in Sofia. The Embassy’s information comes from limited sources–two Party officials and a published plenum discussion paper. In fact, at this moment, the 78-year-old Bulgarian party boss Todor Zhivkov is trying to fire his more moderate foreign minister, Petar Mladenov, who within a day would take Zhivkov’s job, promise a “modern, democratic, and law-governed state” and receive effusive public congratulations from Gorbachev.

Document 12: Notes of CC CPSU Politburo Session, November 9, 1989

On this historic day featuring the breaching of the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Politburo pays no attention at all to Eastern Europe.  The leadership’s regular weekly meeting mentions not a word about the changes in East Germany, but the reason becomes understandable when one realizes that the subject is the even more chilling prospect of the dissolution of the USSR itself.  There is a sense of fatalism in the air about the inevitability of the Baltic countries seceding, and even Gorbachev can propose only a media strategy to try to convince the Balts that separating from the USSR will “doom their people to a miserable existence.”  As he often does, Prime Minister Ryzhkov plays the role of the panicked Cassandra:  “What we should fear is not the Baltics, but Russia and Ukraine.  I smell an overall collapse.  And then there will be another government, another leadership of the country, already a different country.”  This time, his prediction would come true.

Document 13: Record of Conversation between Helmut Kohl and Lech Wałęsa, November 9, 1989

When the Berlin Wall is breached, West German Chancelor Helmut Kohl is out of the country–visiting the new democratic leaders of Poland. The Poles, represented by Solidarity hero and Nobel Prize winner Lech Wałęsa, are not at all eager for more change in East Germany. Wałęsa is virtually the only major political figure who foresees the Wall coming down soon–“he wonders whether the Wall will still be standing in one or two weeks”–and is anxious that “events in the GDR are developing too quickly.” He even suggests to Kohl that “one must try to slow them down” because “what would happen if the GDR completely opened its border and tore down the Wall–must the Federal Republic of Germany rebuild it [East Germany] again?” The problem for Poland, Wałęsa explains, is that West Germany “would be compelled to direct its gaze toward the GDR as a top priority” and no longer help Poland with its reforms. Kohl demurs and reassures Wałęsa that no matter what, Poland’s reforms would remain a priority. Besides, he adds, “[t]here is no military alternative [in the GDR]–either involving their own or Russian soldiers.” So events in the GDR, he declares, would remain under control. Within hours, however, the news of the Wall would arrive and Kohl would scramble back to Berlin–and ultimately fulfill Wałęsa’s prophecy.

Document 14: George H. W. Bush Remarks and a Question-and Answer Session with Reporters on the Relaxation of East German Border Controls, November 9, 1989

In this press conference, which took place just as first reports on the fall of Berlin Wall started coming in President George H. W. Bush expresses his cautious and uneasy reaction to the developments in Berlin. To the question why he does not seem “elated,” he responds, “I am not an emotional kind of guy.”

Document 15: Diary of Anatoly Chernyaev regarding the Collapse of the Berlin Wall, November 10, 1989

This extraordinary diary entry from inside the Kremlin on the day after the Wall’s collapse captures the “snapshot” reaction of one of the closest and most loyal of Gorbachev’s assistants. Chernyaev practically cheers “the end of Yalta” and the “Stalinist legacy” in Europe, and sees “the shift in the world balance of forces” towards ideas like the common European home and the Soviet Union’s integration with Europe. All of this he attributes to Gorbachev leading, not standing in the way.

Document 16: Record of Telephone Conversation between George H.W. Bush and Helmut Kohl, November 10, 1989

This memorandum of conversation reads as if the agenda had been set before the Berlin Wall fell. The West German chancellor leads off with a report on his trip to Poland, where the new leaders are “fine people” but with “too little professionalism” because they “spent the last couple of years in prison, not a place where one can learn how to govern.” Only after the president says he has no questions about Poland does Kohl launch into a description of the extraordinary scene in Berlin, “a dramatic thing; an historic hour,” “like witnessing an enormous fair” with “the atmosphere of a festival” where “they are literally taking down the wall” and “thousands of people are crossing both ways.”  Kohl hopes that the opening will not lead to more brain drain since 230,000 East Germans have already moved to the West this past year alone. Bush especially appreciates the political gesture Kohl mentions of publicly thanking “the Americans for their role in all of this;” and the president emphasizes his wish to be thoroughly briefed by Kohl before the upcoming Malta summit with Gorbachev. Bush repeats his recurring refrain about wanting “to see our people continue to avoid especially hot rhetoric that might by mistake cause a problem.” (In other words, no dancing on the Wall).

Document 17: Record of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Helmut Kohl, November 11, 1989

With the tearing down of the Wall, the West German chancellor takes the initiative in Europe, reaching out to both Moscow and Washington with assurances of stability in the two Germanys–the epicenter of the Cold War–while simultaneously pursuing his ultimately successful campaign for German unification. Here Kohl calls Gorbachev to express some of the same points made in the previous day’s telephone conversation with Bush: the need for more dynamic reforms in the GDR, the crossing back and forth of hundreds of thousands through the open Wall, and the potential impact of high numbers of East Germans migrating to the FRG. But Kohl’s core message is that he opposes destabilization in the GDR, and he indicates that he will check in with Gorbachev on all relevant topics immediately after his upcoming trip to Poland.

This appears to reassure the Soviet leader, who mentions their previous “philosophical” discussions about “relations between our two peoples” and how “mutual understanding is improving” as “we are getting closer to each other.” Gorbachev also applauds what he calls “a historic turn toward new relations, toward a new world;” but his worries show through when he urges Kohl to “use your authority, your political weight and influence to keep others within limits that are adequate for the time being … ” On a day when banners calling for German unification are billowing on both sides of the former Wall, Gorbachev resorts to euphemisms about this touchy subject, and hears what he wants to hear in Kohl’s commitment to stability.

Document 18: Record of Telephone Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterrand, November 14, 1989

Alarmed by “all the excitement that has been raised in the FRG around the issue of German unification,” Gorbachev reaches out to the French president to confirm that “we have a mutual understanding” on this issue. Mitterrand’s tone is reassuring: “There is a certain equilibrium that exists in Europe, and we should not disturb it.”  But his words are more equivocal than Gorbachev would have wanted. The French position is to “avoid any kind of disruption,” but Mitterrand does not think “that the issue of changing borders can realistically be raised now–at least until a certain time.” When that time would be, however, he does not say.  Gorbachev believes he has assurances from Kohl that he will “abide strictly by the existing agreements” and that “the Germans should live where they are living now;” but such categorical commitments are not in evidence in the actual texts of Kohl’s conversations.


1. The background for this document comes from Lundberg, “CIA and the Fall of the Soviet Empire.”




E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/26/2014

Classified By: Rick Holtzapple, PolOff, Reasons 1.4. (B/D) 


1. (SBU) The EU's March 25-26 Summit ran quickly through a
series of foreign policy issues during dinner on March 25,
followed up by a lunch discussion on Cyprus March 26 that
lasted less than one hour.  The final Conclusions (available
on at news) consisted of language largely
repeating earlier positions on Iraq, the Middle East, Cyprus,
Kosovo, and Afghanistan.  Two topics added to the agenda at
the last minute were Russia and Cote d'Ivoire, but even on
those the language essentially reiterated earlier positions.
On some topics, particularly Cyprus, however, the fact that
the Conclusions say nothing new does not mean they weren't
the subject of lengthy debate at the working level.  END


2. (C) A British source told us the Conclusions on Iraq had
been drafted by the UK together with the Irish Presidency.
They were "carefully worded to be as helpful to the Coalition
as possible."  The Conclusions harshly condemn the recent
terror attacks, particularly the targeting of civilians as a
method of attempting "to disrupt the process of restoring
sovereignty and stability to Iraq."  The Conclusions make
repeated reference to the EU's desire for "a strong" or
"vital and growing" UN role in the political transition
process, but dances around the issue of any further UNSCR by
saying the EU looks forward to having the UN's role
"endorsed" by the UNSC.  Asked during a press conference if
he felt a new UNSCR was necessary, French President Chirac
noted France's "consistent" position that the only way to
bring stability to Iraq was by putting in place a
representative government with full powers, but on a UNSCR
would only say that "France's position continues to be that
it would be useful."  European Parliament President Pat Cox,
in a separate press conference, underlined the EU's interest
in a "core and central role" for the UN, but added, in what
appeared to be an indirect reference to Spain and others,
that if such a role could be secured in time, then the EU's
June 17-18 EU Summit "would have to deliver." 


3. (C) The language here is largely a repetition of past
GAERC or EU Summit Conclusions.  One sentence, highlighted in
press reports, makes a reference that we do not recall seeing
in earlier Conclusions, but which is consistent with standard
EU policy: "the EU will not recognize any change to the
pre-1967 borders other than those arrived at by agreement
between the parties."  The Conclusions also repeat the March
22 GAERC's objections to the "extra-judicial killing of Hamas
leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin."  But, asked by the press about
the EU's views on the vetoed UNSCR condemning the Israeli
attack, Irish FM Brian Cowen commented that the draft
Resolution failed because it was "unbalanced" and failed to
condemn suicide bombings as well.  Asked in his press
conference about whether Yassin's death would torpedo the
U.S. Greater Middle East initiative, Chirac said that the
project had been "bouscule" (which can be loosely translated
as either "shoved" or "knocked over").  Still, in the Summit
Conclusions the EU leaders recalled "the readiness of the EU
to work with the US and other partners in cooperating with
the region."  Irish PM Ahern noted that he and FM Cowen would
be traveling to the Arab League Summit next week, and meeting
with Egyptian President Mubarak on March 29. 


4. (C) Our British contact stressed that the Conclusions say
"absolutely nothing that has not been said before."  He noted
that drafters had argued all through the night of March
25-26, only concluding their negotiations at 6 a.m. this
morning.  While the final version says the Summit "welcomes
the Commission's continued willingness to offer assistance
for a speedy solution within the framework of the acquis,"
our contact said the Greek delegation had argued "endlessly"
for tougher language that would stress that any settlement
must conform to the acquis, or that no EU citizen could be
treated differently than another.  He said that after the
negotiations the Greeks were irritated by the British
insistence on sticking strictly to old texts, while the Turks
were annoyed the Conclusions included any reference at all to
the "acquis."  "The Turks should be pleased there is nothing
new in the text, and that it is not worse," he added.  We
also note that the Conclusions include a sentence saying the
Summit "welcomes the Commission's offer to organize a
high-level international conference in Brussels on 15 April
to prepare a donors conference." 


5. (C) Reportedly, over the past of couple of weeks the EU
has gone back and forth about whether to include specific
reference to Russia in this Summit's Conclusions.  In the end
the Summit took the opportunity to not only congratulate
President Putin on his re-election, but, more substantively,
to reiterate to Russia that the EU expects its Partnership
and Cooperation Agreement with Russia "to be applicable to
all Member States without pre-condition or distinction as
from May 1, 2004."  A Russian colleague observing at the
Summit with us, acknowledged that Russia had been taken by
surprise by its inclusion in the Conclusions, and speculated
that it was Poland that most likely pushed for the language
on the PCA to be included. 


6. (U) Presumably at French request, the Summit added a short
paragraph on March 26 to its Conclusions regretting the
recent violence and stressing that "full implementation of
the Marcoussis agreements is essential for returning peace in
the country." 



DE RUEHNP #0119/01 3241638
R 201638Z NOV 07



E.O. 12958: N/A


Sensitive but unclassified - handle accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Although the accumulation of garbage in Italy's Campania region has declined significantly since it grew to crisis proportions earlier this year, continued national and even international press coverage have made it a symbol of everything that is wrong with the Italian South: ineffective public services, failed leadership, lack of civic responsibility, and entrenched organized crime. While politicians continue to argue and blame each other, Naples Prefect Pansa, the government's Waste Commissioner, has identified new dump sites and landfills that, when opened, should bring relief. An incinerator in Acerra should begin operating in 2008, and will also contribute to a solution. A U.S. Navy assessment of health risks to its personnel in the region is being undertaken, and will examine how long-term contamination may have affected the air, water and soil quality (note: close hold). Post will continue to monitor the situation closely as our warden message on potential health hazards expires December 31. End summary.

2. (U) While the waste emergency in Campania is not as severe as it was several months ago (reftel), it has not yet been resolved. Trash goes uncollected for days and sometimes weeks in some parts of Naples and outlying suburbs and towns. As landfill space has become scarcer, some 300 to 500 metric tons of waste have accumulated in Naples Province alone, according to media reports. One report indicated that, were the garbage bales to be piled end to end, they would stretch from Naples to Scotland, while another predicted it would take fifty years to incinerate just the current accumulation. Regarding the separate issue of sewage treatment, one former Naples academic who now lives in the U.S. told the CG it is sheer luck that the city has not had a cholera epidemic in years.

3. (U) On November 13, Pol-Econoff and Econ specialist toured some of the affected areas. Particularly hard-hit by the crisis is suburban Pozzuoli, just west of Naples, where garbage piles stretch as long as 200 meters. At one site, Roma children picked through a five-foot high heap; at another, smoke billowed from a massive pile -- despite a huge sign announcing ""dumping prohibited."" Other areas choked with refuse include the Naples neighborhoods of Fuorigrotta and Bagnoli (near the NATO base), and several roads running on the ocean side of Mt. Vesuvius not far from the archaeological site of Herculaneum. Interestingly, there are no piles of uncollected trash in most tourist areas, in the Chiaia neighborhood where the American Consulate is located, or in Posillipo, the upscale neighborhood where Regional President Bassolino lives.

4. (SBU) Residents of some of the worst affected areas have staged several demonstrations over the past few weeks, some to protest that the garbage has not been collected, and some to object to the possible establishment of new dumps in their towns. As foreshadowed in reftel, a number of local mayors have opposed new dumps. Following increasing media attention, on November 7, Prime Minister Prodi called several local authorities to Rome to try to broker an agreement. The next day, Naples mayor Rosa Iervolino privately expressed her frustration to the CG, noting that both politics and geography were hindering a solution. Naples does not have much open space nearby, she said, ""and I can't dump the garbage into the sea!"" Later on November 8, a site near a cemetery in the city's Poggioreale district was selected as a new city dump. Yet although Iervolino acknowledged that the northern Italian city of Brescia successfully converted trash into energy, there is apparently no imminent plan to copy this model in Naples.

5. (SBU) In July, Prodi appointed Naples prefect Alessandro Pansa to be the new Commissioner for the Waste Emergency, replacing Guido Bertolaso, who continues in his role as national Director of Civil Protection. A member of Pansa's team (a nuclear waste specialist from Italy's Geological Survey) told us November 15 that he is optimistic the waste problem will be over soon, though this view is not widely shared by all observers. Two new major landfills in Caserta and Avellino (the former ""a done deal,"" the latter strongly expected) should mean an end to the space problem, he said. In addition, a modern incinerator, designed to convert non-toxic waste into energy, should be completed in Acerra in 2008. Many of the bales of waste that have been through processing plants and stored temporarily around the region will be deposited into some of Campania's caves, and in some instances covered with cement.

6. (U) Naples' recycling program (established two or three years ago) is not working well. Most politicians with whom we have discussed the issue bemoan the fact that Italians, in particular Southern Italians, do not share the discipline and civic responsibility of their northern European counterparts. However, even those who do attempt to recycle may be doing so in vain, according to the waste expert. Glass, cardboard and metal, which are in demand, get recycled, but the paper and plastic that many Neapolitans work to separate often get mixed back in with the rest of the garbage because recycling them is not economically viable. Mayor Iervelino asked the CG for possible U.S. interlocutors experienced in large-scale recycling. As part of the Mission's ""green"" initiative, the Consulate General recycles paper, plastic and toner.

7. (U) As for dealing with the ""not-in-my-backyard"" syndrome, our contact told us that Pansa's role as Commissioner gives him the authority (and funding) to issue and enforce decrees. On November 16, Naples media reported that Pansa had warned local authorities that if they do not accept their responsibility to deal with the waste problem, a solution would be forced on them. Indeed, politics seems to be a greater obstacle to resolving the problem than geographical or other factors, and reflects a broader leadership paralysis that extends well beyond the garbage crisis. Pansa's term as Commissioner expires on December 31; he will be replaced by Regional President Bassolino, who has already served as Waste Commissioner, and who is under indictment for fraud relating to cost and time over-runs on the incinerator project.

8. (U) The situation is further complicated by finger-pointing by various political leaders, and ongoing, unsubstantiated rumors that somehow organized crime is behind the waste crisis. Our contact in Pansa's office reported that he has not seen evidence of Camorra involvement, although he had noticed some ""suspicious"" people observing the unloading of waste at various dump sites. Organized crime's links to illegal toxic waste dumps in the region have been described in annual reports by leading Italian environmental group Legambiente, as well as in the recently published best-seller mafia expose ""Gomorra."" A major Camorra boss told judges a few years ago that toxic waste ""is like gold"" -- one of the most lucrative and less risky activities for the Camorra. Half of the industrial waste produced in Italy each year falls into the hands of organized crime groups who dispose of it illegally for record profits, according to Legambiente's most recent study.

9. (SBU) The U.S. Commander of Navy Region Europe has commissioned an assessment, being conducted by Navy experts with the collaboration of host-country officials, of the health risks of waste and pollution in the area. (NOTE: This assessment is sensitive and has not yet been made public, though both the GOI and local authorities are on board -- please hold close. End note.) Though prompted by this year's garbage crisis, its focus will be much larger, and the team will look at the effects of waste on the quality of soil, water and food throughout the region. According to members of the assessment team, initial indications are that the garbage burning, while unpleasant and possibly dangerous in certain areas, is not likely to be a serious general health risk. (An ongoing GOI study should shed more light on this.) A potentially more serious concern is the effect of decades of improper hazardous waste disposal in Campania. (The results of a GOI study were presented at an international conference in September, and should be published soon.) The key question regarding both trash burning and buried waste is if there is an overlap between specific local areas of concern and where Navy employees live or work, something the assessment team will be focusing on using geospatial data.


10. (SBU) Despite high-profile media attention (newspapers continue to call it a ""crisis"" and an ""emergency""), the waste situation has improved significantly since the summer, and further progress appears to be in sight, despite the characteristically inefficient bureaucracy and the tendency of both politicians and the public to complain rather than to offer solutions. Most city districts are not overflowing with burning rubbish, as was the case several months ago. The Department's warden message, issued earlier this year in response to the more urgent situation, expires on December 31. Post will continue to monitor the situation, and will coordinate closely with local authorities (both health and political) and U.S. military personnel before making any final recommendation.


CONDIDENTIAL: East German Refugee Crisis in Embassies in Prague Turned Hardliners into Advocates for Change

Magister Bernd Pulch

Prague 1989:

Washington, D.C., July 28th, 2011 – Just before the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago, even the hardline Czechoslovak Communist leaders called for the opening of the German border, according to documents from high-level archives in Berlin, Bonn and Prague published for the first time in English and posted on the Web today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Czech police try to stop wall jumpers

Compiled and edited by Czech historian Vilem Precan and translated by Todd Hammond, the documents show that waves of East German refugees fleeing to the West through Czechoslovakia (more than 62,000 just in the period from November 4 to 10, 1989) so alarmed the Czechoslovak Communist authorities – who previously had resisted the reforms under way in Poland, Hungary and in Moscow – that they asked the East German leadership on November 8 to allow its citizens to go directly to West Germany, in effect to open the border.

The documents posted today include the secret diplomatic exchanges between the West German foreign ministry and its embassy in Prague where thousands of refugees took shelter, between East German diplomats in Prague and their bosses in East Berlin, between Czechoslovak diplomats and Party officials and their counterparts, and eyewitness accounts by dissident Charter 77 spokespeople about the refugee crisis.

The posting also includes contemporaneous photographs of the scene at the West German embassy in Prague, Czech police attempting to prevent refugees from scaling the embassy walls, the tent city that arose in its courtyard, and rows of abandoned Trabant cars in the streets of Prague.

The detailed essay by Vilem Precan, “Through Prague to Freedom,” that accompanies the documents cites the Czechoslovak government’s demarche to East Berlin on November 8 as “a kind of ultimatum” that forced the East German Communists into a rapid “modification of rules for permanent exit” – a reform famously announced and flubbed by an East German Politburo member at a press conference on November 9.  The statements by Gunter Schabowski led Western TV reporters to declare the Berlin Wall open when it was not, but the televised news brought crowds of East Germans to the checkpoints in East Berlin that evening who eventually forced their way through and made the media reports ultimately accurate.

Partners of long standing with the National Security Archive, the Czechoslovak Documentation Centre also acknowledges the generous support of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation specifically for the intensive archival and translation efforts involving in researching and compiling the previously secret history of the refugee crisis of 1989.

Through Prague to Freedom
The Exodus of GDR Citizens through Czechoslovakia to the Federal Republic of Germany, September 30 – November 10, 1989
An introductory essay by Vilém Prečan (PDF version)

East Germans line up in Prague

Document 1
August 22, 1989, Bonn – Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany to the embassy in Prague. Orders dealing with the temporary closing of the Prague embassy to the public.

PA AA Berlin, Record group B85, Vol. 2346E. Drahterlass No. 402.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 2
September 12, 1989, Prague – Statement from Czechoslovak Press Agency on the alleged anti-Czechoslovak campaign by the media and some political circles in the Federal Republic concerning the “illegal emigration” of GDR citizens.

CTK (Czech Press Agency), Prague. Archival database, 9/12/1989.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 3
September 14, 1989, Prague – Charter 77 spokepersons to the CSSR government. Letter on the situation of East German refugees at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Prague.

Informace o Chartě 77, Vol. 12 (1989), No. 17, p. 2.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 4
September 20, 1989, Prague – GDR Ambassador Helmut Ziebart to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin. Reports on measures taken by the Czechoslovak authorities against attempts by citizens of the GDR to cross into Hungary, and the situation at the Federal Republic embassy in Prague.

BStU Berlin. MfS, ZAIG, 22477, Fol. 17 f.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 5
September 21, 1989, Berlin – Memorandum of conversation between GDR Foreign Minister Oskar Fischer and director of the fourth territorial department of the Czechoslovak Foreign Ministry Kadnár. With the authorization of the General Secretary of the CPCz Central Committee and the CSSR Government, Kadnár relays the Czechoslovak position on the question of the GDR citizens at the Embassy of Federal Republic in Prague. “The Czechoslovak side asks that the GDR consider the possibility of solving the problem in Prague with a one-time measure explicitly described as a great exception.”

SAPMO-BArch. Berlin. DY 30, 11621.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

In the courtyard of the West German embassy

Document 6
September 29, 1989, Prague – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to CSSR Permanent UN Mission in New York. Report of the territorial department IV for Minister Johanes on the newest Czechoslovak proposals and other steps to resolve the situation at the embassy of the Federal Republic in Prague. “The GDR must take a more active part in the interest of easing the entire set of problems…”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams sent, 1989, vol. 9, ref. no. 3335
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 7
September 29, 1989, Prague – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the CSSR Permanent UN Mission in New York. Report by the Territorial Department IV for Minister Johanes on the meeting between Soviet ambassador Lomakin and Secretary of the CPCz Central Committee Jozef Lenárt over the issue of the GDR citizens at the Federal Republic embassy in Prague.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams sent, 1989, vol. 9, ref. no. 3338.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 8
September 29, 1989, 16:35, Prague – GDR Ambassador Helmut Ziebart to the SED Central Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin, relaying his observations from conversations with officials of the CPCz and the CSSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

BStU Berlin, MfS, HA II, 32922, Fol. 5 – 7.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 9
September 30, 1989, Prague – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the CSSR Permanent UN Mission in New York. Report of the Territorial Department IV for Minister Johanes on proposals by the GDR leadership for transport of GDR citizens from the Prague embassy of the Federal Republic, and agreement by CSSR officials with this solution.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams sent, 1989, vol. 9, ref. no. 3340.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 10
October 2, 1989, Prague – Embassy of the Federal Republic in Prague to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonn. Summary report on the one-time transfer of citizens of the GDR to the Federal Republic on the night of September 30 – October 1 after intervention by Foreign Minister Genscher, and another wave of refugees on the embassy grounds.

PA AA Berlin. Record group AV, Vol. 20.682E. Drahtbericht  No.2294.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Outside the West German embassy

Document 11
October 3, 1989, 17:40, Prague – GDR Ambassador Helmut Ziebart to the GDR Foreign Ministry and the SED Central Committee, conveying a plea by the CPCz leadership and the CSSR Government to have some understanding for Czechoslovakia’s difficult situation resulting from the mass influx of GDR citizens; expressing the CSSR Government’s thanks for finding a solution; and informing the GDR Foreign Ministry of the Czechoslovak intention to stand behind the GDR position.

BStU Berlin, MfS, HA II, 38061, Fol. 110 f.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 12
October 3, 1989, Prague – CSSR Government statement about the gathering of citizens of the GDR at the Embassy of the Federal Republic, and their departure to the Federal Republic, with criticism of the allegedly irresponsible measures taken by the Federal Republic.

CTK (Czech Press Agency), Prague. Archival database, 10/3/1989.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 13
October 3, 1989, Berlin – CSSR Ambassador to the GDR František Langer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague. Reports on the decision of the SED leadership to temporarily suspend private travel by GDR citizens to Czechoslovakia, and resolve the situation at the Federal Republic embassy in Prague as was done on September 30.

Foreign Ministry Archive, Prague. Telegrams received, 1989, vol. 35.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 14
October 4, 1989, Berlin – First Deputy Foreign Minister Herbert Krolikowski to General Secretary of the SED Central Committee and Chairman of the GDR State Council Erich Honecker. Relays information from Ambassador Helmut Ziebart with urgent inquiries and messages from CSSR officials. “Comrade Jakeš asks that Comrade Honecker himself be told that the situation in Prague is highly critical.”

BStU Berlin. MfS, Sekr. des Ministers, 63, Fol. 23 f.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 15
October 4, 1989, Berlin – Resolution by the SED Politburo on measures to be taken in regard to the emigration of GDR citizens gathering at the embassy of the Federal Republic in Prague, further limitations on the visa- and passport-free travel regime with the CSSR, and increased patrolling of the GRD’s border with Poland.

SAPMO-BArch. Berlin. DY 30, 5195, Fol. 14 f.  Also SAPMO-BArch. Berlin. DY 30, J IV/2/2, 2530, Fols. 1–3.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Abandoned East German Trabants
line the streets of Prague

Document 16
October 5, 1989, Prague – Czechoslovak State Security Headquarters, Second Department. Information on the exodus of GDR citizens from the Prague embassy of the Federal Republic through GDR territory, and the situation in and around the embassy on October 1–4, 1989

Security Services Archive, Prague. Object file reg. no. 845 (“Obora”), Fols. 209–212.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 17
October 5, 1989, Berlin – Summary of information by the GDR Ministry of State Security about the transport to the Federal Republic of East German citizens taking refuge at West German embassy, and related events, occurring on the territory of the GDR, especially in Dresden.

BStU Berlin, MfS, Arbeitsbereich Neiber, 613, Fols. 22-27.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 18
October 5–6, 1989, Prague – Report from Charter 77 signatory Jan Urban on the second exodus of GDR citizens from Prague to the Federal Republic, published in the independent samizdat bulletin Information on Charter 77.

Informace o Chartě 77, Vol. 12 (1989), No. 18, 9—11 pp.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 19
October 19, 1989, Prague – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the CSSR embassies. Summary from the department of information and documentation on the situation in the GDR and personnel changes in the SED leadership.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams sent, 1989, vol. 9, ref. no. 3550.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 20
October 23, 1989, Berlin – CSSR Ambassador to the GDR František Langer to the Foreign Ministry in Prague. Reports on politics of the new SED leadership, and the political situation in the country. “The Party and state leadership is now being pressured into a number of reforms in a wide range of areas, beginning with travel and ending for example with revising the results of local elections.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams received, 1989, vol. 38.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 21
October 24, 1989, Berlin – Resolution of the Politburo of the SED CC, concerning the rescinding of the temporary suspension of travel to the CSSR without a passport or visa, effective November 1, 1989.

SAPMO-BAr Berlin, DY 30, 5195, Fols. 275-277.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 22
October 25, 1989, Berlin – CSSR Ambassador to the GDR František Langer to the foreign ministry in Prague. He reports on the intention of the GDR to reopen the border for private travel to Czechoslovakia. “The GDR intends to issue the decision on the allowing of tourist traffic to the same extent as it was in the past.”

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams received, 1989, vol. 38.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 23
November 3, 1989, Berlin – GDR Minister of Foreign Affairs Oskar Fischer to General Secretary of the SED Central Committee Egon Krenz. Relays a telephone message from Prague with proposals by General Secretary Jakeš about the situation at the FRG embassy in Prague, and proposes to resolve the situation by allowing direct travel by citizens of the GDR from Czechoslovakia to the Federal Republic without formal release from GDR citizenship. (Below the address on the letterhead is the handwritten note, “Einverstanden [I agree], Egon Krenz”.)

SAPMO-BArch, Berlin. DY 30, 5196, Fols. 17–19; also DY 30 IV/2/2.039 (Bureau Egon Krenz), Vol. 342, Fols. 155–157.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 24
November 3, 1989, Berlin – CSSR Ambassador František Langer to the Foreign Ministry in Prague. Reports on the fecklessness of SED officials in the face of the situation created after the reopening of the border for free travel from the GDR to Czechoslovakia. Langer tells East Berlin officials that “no one in the CSSR understands why citizens of the GDR must travel to the FRG through the CSSR”.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams received, 1989, vol. 39.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 25
November 4, 1989, Prague – Embassy of the Federal Republic to the Foreign Ministry in Bonn. Direct travel by 4600 GDR citizens from Czechoslovakia to the Federal Republic of Germany, organized by the embassy. “The third mass departure through the Prague embassy organized over the past few weeks is now largely at an end.”

PA AA Berlin. Record group B85, Vol. 2347E. Drahtbericht No. 2578.
Translation by Todd Hammond

Document 26
November 5, 1989, Prague – GDR Ambassador Helmut Ziebart to the foreign ministry in Berlin. Reports on the numbers of GDR citizens who departed from Prague to the Federal Republic on November 3–5 with only GDR personal identification card, and problems that the new arrangement is causing on the Czechoslovak side. “The Czechoslovak comrades are asking more and more often when citizens of the GDR will be permitted to use the border crossings between the GDR and FRG under the same conditions they can do right now through the territory of the CSSR.”

BStU, Berlin. MfS, HA II, 32922, Fol. 22.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 27
November 8, 1989, Prague – GDR Ambassador Helmut Ziebart to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin. Ziebart was asked “to relay the request that departures by citizens of the GDR to the FRG be handled directly, and not through the territory of the CSSR.”

BStU Berlin. MfS, Arbeitsbereich Neiber, 553, Fol. 2
Translation by Todd Hammond..

Document 28
November 9, 1989, Prague – Information summary from the CPCz Central Committee to the various branches of the CPCz apparatus about the emigration of GDR citizens to the Federal Republic through the territory of the CSSR on November 1– 8, 1989.

National Archive, Prague. Record Group ÚV KSČ (CPCz CC), Documentation 1989 (unsorted). Teletext messages and letters of the CPCz Central Committee.
Translation (extract) by Todd Hammond.

Document 29
November 10, 1989, Berlin (West) – Chief of the CSSR Military Mission in West Berlin Sochor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague on the situation after the opening of the Berlin Wall in the night of November 9–10, 1989.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Archive, Prague. Telegrams received, 1989, vol. 40.
Translation by Todd Hammond.

Document 30
November 10, 1989, Prague – Statement by the Federal Ministry of the Interior press officer, on the number of East German citizens who emigrated through Czechoslovakia to the Federal Republic during November 4–10, 1989.

CTK (Czech Press Agency), Prague.  Archival database, 11/10/1989.
Translation by Todd Hammond.


Deutsche Reichsbahn: the name adopted by the GDR for its railway system from 1949 to 1994; PA AA Berlin (Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes): Archive of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Berlin; BStU (Bundesbeauftragter für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen DDR): Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Archives; Drahtbericht: an encrypted telegram from the Embassy of the Federal Republic; Drahterlass: an encrypted telegram from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bonn; MfS: Ministry of State Security, Berlin (East)

MERKWÜRDEN-MAIL VON “GoMoPA” und/oder mutmasslich “Peter Ehlers” zwecks Desinformation und Spionage

Magister Bernd Pulch


Stalking gegen Sie
Date:   Thu, July 28, 2011 10:18 am
Priority:   Normal
Options:   View Full Header | View Printable Version  | Download this as a file
Guten Tag Herr Pulch,

unser Kontakt kam damals leider nicht zustande. Nochmals der Versuch jetzt!
Ich kann Ihnen nachweisen, wer hinter zum Teil welchen Mails und Webseiten gegen Sie
und Herrn Schramm steckt.
Man kennt seine Schweine am Gang. Ebenso habe ich erhebliches Hintergrundwissen über
verschiedene Personen und Institutionen. 

Übrigens sind Sie auf dem Holzweg was Siegfried Sievers angeht. Den gibt es
wirklich, ich kenne den Klarnamen der verkrachten Existenz, die früher bei der BZ
gearbeitet hat. 

Also melden Sie sich doch mal bitte oder lassen Sie es bleiben


TOP-SECRET: The Soviet Origins of Helmut Kohl’s 10 Points

Magister Bernd Pulch

Documents show secret messages from Moscow sparked West German chancellor to announce German unification plans on November 28, 1989

Unintended consequences – the backchannel backfires: shock in Moscow and dismay in Washington

Washington, D.C., July 28th 2011 – Secret messages from senior Soviet officials to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl after the fall of the Berlin Wall led directly to Kohl’s famous “10 Points” speech on German unification, but the speech produced shock in both Moscow and Washington, according to documents from Soviet, German and American files posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive.

Published for the first time in English in the Archive’s forthcoming book, “Masterpieces of History,” the documents include highest-level conversations between President George H.W. Bush and Kohl; the text of the letter Kohl had delivered to Bush just as he announced the “10 Points” to the Bundestag on November 28, 1989; excerpts on Germany from the transcript of the Malta summit between Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Gorbachev’s own incendiary meeting with the German foreign minister after Kohl’s speech; and more.

The documents show the American administration’s devotion to stability and “reserve” while the West German leader rushes to get out in front of the rapid changes in the East, at the same time that neither Bush nor Kohl expects unification to happen so quickly.  Most strikingly, the documents and related accounts by Kohl’s aide, Horst Teltschik, and Gorbachev’s aide, Andrei Grachev, show that Kohl’s famous “10 Points” speech was based in large part directly on secret messages from Moscow – but unbeknownst to Gorbachev.

The new history of the “10 Points” speech hinges on a back-channel communication from Soviet Central Committee expert Valentin Falin (head of the International Department and former Soviet ambassador to West Germany in the 1970s), through long-time Soviet interlocutor Nikolai Portugalov, to Teltschik, on November 21, 1989, about the idea of “confederation” between West Germany and the rapidly collapsing East German regime – a way to prop up the East by getting some equal status for the two states before the bottom fell out.  According to Grachev, Falin’s rivalry with top Gorbachev assistant Anatoly Chernyaev had prevented Falin from getting his ideas to Gorbachev directly, so he decided to use a long-standing “confidential channel” through Portugalov to Teltschik, anticipating that Teltschik would then persuade Kohl to call Gorbachev and discuss the idea of confederation while reassuring the Soviets that it would only take place in the context of the “common European home.”

Falin drafted two position papers, an “official” one, cleared with Chernyaev, that mostly reaffirmed the pledges made by Kohl to Gorbachev and stated that if they were kept, then “everything becomes possible;” and an “unofficial” one, which declared that the idea of confederation was something the Soviets were already discussing at the level of the Politburo and were prepared to accept in principle.  But when Portugalov delivered these messages on November 21, Teltschik and then Kohl did not realize they were supposed to call Gorbachev and bring him along, but thought the messages were coming from Gorbachev and that he was already on board.  Furthermore, if Moscow was thinking this way, Kohl needed to go public quickly just to keep up and regain the initiative.  Teltschik therefore drafted the “10 Points” on the basis of the Soviet positions, leading with a commitment to the pan-European process (Gorbachev’s core vision) and making the idea of confederation (however gradual) the center of the German unification discourse.

The now-available documents show that Kohl did not inform either Bush, his allies, or his own foreign minister before delivering his speech in the Bundestag on November 28.  In fact, Kohl arranged for Bush to receive his letter combining advice for the forthcoming Malta summit and a summary of the “10 Points” just as Kohl was actually speaking in Bonn.  The result was consternation in Washington.  Bush aide Brent Scowcroft commented, “If he was prepared to go off on his own whenever he worried that we might object, we had very little influence.”  At the Malta summit on December 2 and 3, Gorbachev complained to Bush that “Kohl does not act seriously and responsibly,” while the American reassured Gorbachev that “[w]e are trying to act with a certain reserve” and couched his position on Germany in double negatives.

Bush’s reserve seemed to change after he actually met with Kohl on December 3 in Brussels, when the West German leader outlined a gradual process towards federation and predicted a timeline of more than two years.  (Unification would actually happen within just 10 months).  But Gorbachev’s ire rose to a crescendo in his meeting with German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher on December 5 – just as the East German Communist Party was resigning en masse and the government collapsing, and just after the NATO allies including Bush had publicly announced support for Kohl.   Gorbachev told Genscher that the West Germans were preparing a “funeral for the European process” while Shevardnadze even invoked a comparison with Hitler!

After Genscher reported the conversation back to Bonn, Teltschik hastened to do damage control, writing a memo to Kohl on December 6, attaching the Portugalov positions, specifically telling Kohl that the “10 Points” were based directly on the Soviet messages, and emphasizing that Kohl needed to talk to Gorbachev.  But the Soviet leader would decline such overtures until February 1990.

Teltschik first mentioned the story of the Soviet messages in his memoirs published in 1991, and the new book by Mary Sarotte (1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe) includes a colorful recreation of the Portugalov mission, but without the Soviet backstory.  The Soviet context as well as Falin’s role in originating the Soviet messages are detailed for the first time in Andrei Grachev’s book, Gorbachev’s Gamble (2008) and were personally confirmed to the authors of this posting by Teltschik and Grachev.

Read the Documents

Document No. 1: Record of Telephone Conversation between George H.W. Bush and Helmut Kohl, November 17, 1989

Only nine days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West German leader initiates this telephone conversation with President Bush.  Here, Kohl reports on his talks with Gorbachev and with East German leader Egon Krenz, and promises “we will do nothing that will destabilize the situation in the GDR.”  Bush responds: “The euphoric excitement in the U.S. runs the risk of forcing unforeseen action in the USSR or the GDR that would be very bad.”  But he assures Kohl that “[w]e will not exacerbate the problem by having the President of the United States posturing on the Berlin Wall.”  Kohl’s initiative also shows in his offer to match a U.S. contribution of up to $250 million for a proposed Polish stabilization fund; (earlier in 1989, Bush had offered only $125 million for Poland over three years).  Bush tells Kohl “I am absolutely determined to get advice and suggestions from you personally before I meet with Gorbachev [at Malta]… so that I can understand every nuance of the German Question… [and] nuances of difference in the Alliance.” But Kohl remarks that “[w]ith the developing situation, I would like to stay here.”  Kohl would give his advice on Gorbachev in the same November 28 letter to Bush that tells the American president about the “10 Points.”  Ultimately Bush and Kohl would meet face to face only after Malta.

Document No. 2: Letter from Helmut Kohl to George H.W. Bush, November 28, 1989

This remarkable letter arrives at the White House at the very moment that Chancellor Kohl is surprising both the allies and the Soviets with his “10 Points” speech at the Bundestag in Bonn, pointing towards reunification.  The letter is couched as a response to Bush’s repeated entreaties to Kohl (for example in phone calls on November 10 and 17) for his input before the Malta meeting with Gorbachev; in fact, Bush had practically implored Kohl to meet in person, but the chancellor demurred in order to tend to his domestic political situation.

The letter has a much more formal tone than the telephone transcripts convey, likely due to the participation of Kohl’s aides in drafting and editing it.  Here, the German leader encourages Bush to engage with Gorbachev across the board, but uses the president’s own mantra of “stability” to emphasize that “the most important decisions over stability or destabilization will be made by the countries in Central and Eastern Europe.  The duty of the West on the other hand must be to support the ongoing reform process from the outside.”  Kohl emphasizes that “Western help is coming far too slowly” to Poland and Hungary in particular–a rebuke to Bush’s caution.  Kohl also pays quite a compliment to Gorbachev, telling Bush that for the reform changes in Eastern Europe, “we have General Secretary Gorbachev’s policies to thank.  His perestroika loosed, made easier, or accelerated these reforms.  He pushed governments unwilling to make reforms towards openness and towards acceptance of the people’s wishes; and he accepted developments that in some instances far surpassed the Soviet Union’s own standards.”

But all the Malta advice is really secondary to the letter’s final section laying out the “10 Points,” along with a personal appeal in which he attempts to cover his bases with Bush.  Kohl had informed neither the Americans nor the NATO allies (nor his own foreign minister) in advance of his speech.  In his joint memoir with Scowcroft, Bush writes that Kohl was “[a]fraid of leaks, or perhaps of being talked out of it” and that “I was surprised, but not too worried,” because Kohl “couldn’t pursue reunification on his own.”  Scowcroft was more concerned:  “If he was prepared to go off on his own whenever he worried that we might object, we had very little influence.”  Scowcroft commented that in his telephone conversation the next day, November 29, Kohl over and over “pledged that there would be no going it alone–only one day after he had, in fact, ‘gone it alone.'” (Note 1)  These phrases, such as “little influence” and “support … from the outside” provide further testimony of how American policy lagged, instead of led, the miracles of 1989.

Document No. 3: Excerpts from the Soviet Transcript of the Malta Summit, December 2-3, 1989

While the U.S. transcript of Malta is not yet declassified, the Gorbachev Foundation has published excerpts of the Russian version, and the most complete version may be found in “Masterpieces of History.”  Posted here are the parts of the summit conversation in which the two leaders focused on the German question.  Interestingly, neither leader expects events to move as fast as they would the following year.  Just days earlier, on November 28, Helmut Kohl announced his “10 Points” towards confederation in a Bundestag speech that the Soviet Foreign Ministry denounced as pushing change in “a nationalist direction;” and here, Gorbachev attributes the speech to Kohl’s domestic politics and says Kohl “does not act seriously and responsibly.”  But then Gorbachev asks whether a united Germany would be neutral or a member of NATO, suggesting that at least theoretically he imagines the latter, although he may simply be acknowledging the U.S. position.  His clear preference is for the continuation of two states in Germany and only very slow progress towards any unification:  “let history decide.”  The president is not eager for rapid progress either; he says “I hope that you understand that you cannot expect us not to approve of German reunification.  At the same time … [w]e are trying to act with a certain reserve.”

Document No. 4: Memorandum of Conversation of George H.W. Bush, John Sununu, Brent Scowcroft, and Helmut Kohl, December 3, 1989

This conversation immediately after the Malta summit marks a turning point in the process of German unification, where President Bush effectively joins Chancellor Kohl’s program–yet neither man expects unification to happen even in two years, much less by October 1990 when West and East would actually join .  Bush gives Kohl a rundown on the conversation at Malta, describing Gorbachev as “tense” during talks about Germany and convinced that Kohl is moving too quickly:  “I don’t want to say he went ‘ballistic’ about it–he was just uneasy.”  Both men agree to reassure Gorbachev and “not do anything reckless.”

The key moment here comes when Kohl tells Bush the opposite, in effect, of what Bush told Gorbachev about the inviolability of borders under the Helsinki Final Act.  Kohl reminds the American that Helsinki actually allows borders to be “changed by peaceful means;” and this seems to be the first time Bush internalizes this possibility.  At the same time, Kohl outlines three deliberate steps: first, a free government in the former GDR, second, “confederative structures, but with two independent states,” and finally a “federation; that is a matter for the future and could be stretched out.  But I cannot say that will never happen.”  Kohl scoffs at predictions that this will take only two years: “It is not possible; the economic imbalance is too great.”  Here his language is similar to Gorbachev’s–“the integration of Europe is a precondition for change in Eastern Europe to be effective”–but he says that European resistance to unification really comes from envy over Germany’s economic growth (“[f]rankly, 62 million prosperous Germans are difficult to tolerate–add 17 million more and they have big problems”).

Bush asks about GDR opinions on unification, and neither he nor Kohl foresees the rush to reunify that would dominate the March 1990 elections there.  As for European views, Kohl gives a candid summary, calling Mitterrand “wise” for disliking unification but not opposing it, while “Great Britain is rather reticent.”  Bush exclaims, “That is the understatement of the year”–referring to Thatcher’s total opposition.  Kohl says, “She thinks history is not just.  Germany is so rich and Great Britain is struggling.  They won a war but lost an empire and their economy.”  The German version of this conversation contains more detail than the American version below, including an interesting discussion of Gorbachev and values (12 lines in the German, but only a parenthetical comment below) where Bush says “the entire discussion about economic issues had an unreal aspect to it more because of ignorance on the Russian side rather than narrow-mindedness.  For example, Gorbachev took offense to the expression ‘Western values.'”

Document No. 5: Record of Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and Hans Dietrich Genscher, December 5, 1989

A week has passed since Helmut Kohl announced his “10 Points” in a Bundestag speech, and Gorbachev, unlike his demeanor regarding Germany at Malta (see reference in Document No. 4), does go “ballistic” in this conversation.  This is perhaps because he is receiving the German foreign minister, Hans Dietrich Genscher, who heads a separate political party from Kohl but participates in the coalition government, but more likely it is because Bush has apparently weighed in on Kohl’s side, despite the cautious talk at Malta, and the government in East Germany has collapsed.  Gorbachev angrily remarks: “Yesterday, Chancellor Kohl, without much thought, stated that President Bush supported the idea of a confederation. What is next? …What will happen to existing agreements between us? … I cannot call him [Kohl] a responsible and predictable politician.”  Gorbachev says he thought Kohl would at least consult with Moscow, but “[h]e probably already thinks that his music is playing–a march–and that he is already marching with it.”

From the Soviet view, the “10 Points” are “ultimatums” and “crude interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.”  Gorbachev is personally offended because “[j]udging from all this, you have prepared a funeral for the European processes”–i.e., his own vision of the common European home.  Genscher tries to defend the “10 Points” as requiring “no conditions” and representing “just suggestions,” and that “the GDR should decide whether they are suitable or not.”  Gorbachev rebukes Genscher for becoming Kohl’s “defense attorney” and raises the rhetorical attack to the point of making a reference to the Nazi era: “You have to remember what mindless politics has led to in the past.”  Genscher responds, “We are aware of our historical mistakes, and we are not going to repeat them.  The processes that are going on now in the GDR and in the FRG do not deserve such harsh judgment.”  (Shevardnadze is even more blunt with his comparisons, mentioning Hitler by name.)  As a final debating point, Gorbachev notes that Genscher himself only heard about the “10 Points” for the first time in the Bundestag speech.  The German confirms it–“Yes, that is true”–but then deftly slips in a rejoinder to the new champion of non-interference that “this is our internal affair.”  Gorbachev replies, “You can see that your internal affair is making everybody concerned.”

Document No. 6: Horst Teltschik’s Memorandum for Chancellor Kohl, Bonn, December 6, 1989

In this memorandum, foreign policy adviser Horst Teltschik confirms to the chancellor that the “10 Points” program did not disagree with the Soviet proposals presented to him through the confidential channel, but rather was based on those positions, which he attaches to his memo.  The actual memos that CPSU Central Committee staff member Nikolai Portugalov brought to Teltschik on November 21, 1989 are not known to exist in other copies, except for these.  Apparently, the reason Teltschik writes his memorandum to Kohl on December 6 is that the Germans are perplexed by the vehemently negative Soviet reaction to the “10 Points” (especially in Gorbachev’s conversation with Genscher on December 5).  In his memorandum, Teltschik recommends that Kohl meet with Gorbachev and discuss the situation, but the Soviet leader puts off any such discussions until February.

Document No. 7: British Ambassador to the USSR Sir Rodric Braithwaite’s Telegram to Douglas Hurd, December 8, 1989

In this confidential telegram the perceptive British Ambassador describes the “suspicious and emotional mood” of the Soviet leadership regarding Kohl’s “10 Points” and German unification.  Braithwaite is not aware of the Portugalov mission, but he vividly describes the author of the ploy – Valentin Falin – as having “the depressed air of a man whose life’s work was crumbling.”  Falin, according to Braithwaite, was “strikingly bitter about Kohl’s alleged failure to warn Gorbachev about the 10 points.”  That bitterness probably explains the fact that there is no mention of this story in Falin’s memoirs.


1. Bush and Scowcroft, A World Transformed, 194-196.

Bush and Gorbachev at Malta – Secret Documents from Soviet and U.S. Files

Soviet and American leaders at the dinner table during the Malta Summit

Washington, D.C., July 28th – President George H.W. Bush approached the Malta summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev 20 years ago this week determined to avoid arms control topics and simply promote a public image of “new pace and purpose” with him “leading as much as Gorbachev”; but realized from his face-to-face discussions that Gorbachev was offering an arms race in reverse, according to previously secret documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive (www.

Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev with Pope John Paul II, December 1, 1989

The documents include the most complete transcript of the Malta summit ever published – excerpted from the forthcoming book, “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989 (edited by Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton, and Vladislav Zubok for the Central European University Press). The transcript is a translation of the Soviet record from the Gorbachev Foundation, since the U.S. memcons remain, astonishingly, still classified at the George H.W. Bush Library in Texas.

The posting also includes the transcript of Gorbachev’s historic meeting before Malta with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, featuring remarkable agreement on values and the “common European home,” including the Polish pontiff’s statement that “Europe should breathe with two lungs.” From the American side, the documents include the before-and-after National Security Council talking points prepared for Bush, the preparatory memos to Bush from Secretary of State James Baker and other top aides, intelligence briefings for Bush from the CIA and the State Department, and the Bush script and briefing book contents list for Malta itself – all obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents show profound misjudgments of Gorbachev on the American side, including the President’s assumption that the Soviet leader would press for the removal of U.S. troops from Europe, not realizing until talking to Gorbachev directly that, just as Gorbachev had already announced publicly on multiple occasions, he believed the U.S. presence along with the NATO alliance to be a stabilizing force in Europe, particularly against any danger of German revanchism.

The documents signal a major missed opportunity at Malta to meet Soviet arms reductions proposals halfway, and suggest that the Bush “pause” in U.S.-Soviet relations during 1989 effectively delayed both strategic and tactical demilitarization for at least two years (the START treaty would not be signed until 1991, and only in September 1991 would Bush withdraw tactical nuclear weapons from U.S. Navy ships), at which point Gorbachev had effectively lost the domestic power to deliver on his side.

Gorbachev had sought to engage president-elect Bush as early as the Governor’s Island meeting in New York in December 1988, but Bush demurred, instead launching a strategic review of U.S.-Soviet relations that cloaked the reality that the transition from Reagan to Bush was one from doves to hawks, that is, disbelievers in Gorbachev as a true reformer. Throughout 1989, judging by the candid memoir authored by President Bush with his national security adviser Brent Scowcroft (Note 1), the Bush mentality was marked by insecurity and anxiety that Gorbachev was more popular globally and had the initiative on proposing new departures in security policy – never quite recognizing that Gorbachev’s proposals might well be in the U.S. national security interest. (Note 2)

Not until Bush went to Eastern Europe himself in July 1989, where he heard the reform Communists like Jaruzelski in Poland and Nemeth in Hungary plead with him to reach out to Gorbachev because that created political space for them to make change – and even more importantly, where he met the dissidents and oppositionists like Lech Walesa in Poland, who called U.S. aid proposals “pathetic,” (Note 3) or Janos Kis in Hungary whom Bush quickly concluded should not be running his country – did Bush overrule his advisers and ask Gorbachev for a meeting, meaning to slow down the process of change in Eastern Europe. Bush wrote in his memoir:  “I realized that to put off a meeting with Gorbachev was becoming dangerous. Too much was happening in the East – I had seen it myself – and if the superpowers did not begin to manage events [!], those very events could destabilize Eastern Europe and Soviet-American relations… I saw that the Eastern Europeans themselves would try to push matters as far as they could.” (Note 4)

Minister Genscher presents Bush with a piece of the Berlin Wall during his visit to Washington on November 21, 1989

Characteristically, on the plane ride home from Europe in July when Bush sent a note to Gorbachev inviting the Malta meeting, the President spent more time (and far more space in his memoir (Note 5)) reaching out to the Communist dictators in China who had murdered their pro-democracy demonstrators in 1989, than to the Communist reformer in Moscow who had refused to do so.

Gorbachev’s own frustration with the Bush “pause” and review of policy made the Soviet leader more than eager for such a meeting; but between the July idea and the December reality, Eastern Europeans rushed in and took apart the Stalinist empire including the Berlin Wall. Originally intended as an “interim” meeting to prepare for a full-scale summit in 1990, the Bush-Gorbachev meeting at Malta would take on a life of its own, symbolically closing the Cold War.  Stormy weather and raging seas in Malta would play havoc with the meeting planners’ idea of alternating U.S. and Soviet ships as picturesque sites for the meetings – thus providing something of a metaphor for the rush of events in Eastern Europe that ran out of the control of both superpowers.

Going into the Malta summit, the Bush team was determined to do the opposite of what Ronald Reagan had so successfully achieved in relieving the Soviet sense of threat through substantive arms control discussions, including remarkable commitments to the abolition of nuclear weapons. Instead, as the NSC preparatory points make clear, Malta was meant to avoid any substantive discussion of arms control, and simply convey, as Secretary of State Baker wrote in his briefing memo on November 29, “a public sense, here and abroad, of a new pace and purpose to the U.S.-Soviet dialogue with you leading as much as Gorbachev” – public relations in place of substance. The briefing memo from arms negotiation advisor Gen. Edward Rowny described the START treaty as having “potential risks and few gains” and any reductions in naval weapons “all losers for us” – recommending that Bush should say up front that the “US Navy is not on the bargaining table.”

Bush’s briefing book for Malta betrays the administration’s actual priorities – Eastern Europe and its revolutionary changes were way down the contents list, along with arms control. Pride of place was Central America, where Bush’s right flank in domestic politics believed Castro was the devil, the Nicaraguan Sandinistas were a Communist beachhead pointed at Texas, and Gorbachev himself was merely a new glove around the iron fist. In the Malta discussions, the Soviet leader called the American presumptions laughable: “It is not quite clear to us what you want from Nicaragua. There is political pluralism in that country, there are more parties than in the United States.  And the Sandinistas – what kind of Marxists are they? This is laughable. Where are the roots of the problem?  At the core are economic and social issues.” Likewise on Cuba: “The issue now is how to improve the current situation. There is a simple and well-proven method: one has to speak directly to Castro. You must learn: nobody can lord it over Castro.”

Malta’s most significant outcome would simply be the reassurance it provided to the two leaders through a face-to-face meeting, and the building of a personal relationship on which both would rely in the difficult next two years. Gorbachev, for example, told Bush: “First and foremost, the new U.S. president must know that the Soviet Union will not under any circumstances initiate a war. This is so important that I wanted to repeat the announcement to you personally. Moreover, the USSR is prepared to cease considering the U.S. as an enemy and announce this openly.”

Gorbachev also made an impact on Bush in the discussion of values. He bristled at Bush’s repeated reference to “Western values” (a phrase found throughout the U.S. briefing materials for Malta) and argued that the U.S. approach of “exporting ‘Western values'” would cause “ideological confrontations [to] flare up again” in “propaganda battles” with “no point.” Just before Malta, Gorbachev had found agreement on this point with Pope John Paul II, when the two of them discussed “universal human values” and the Pope commented, “it would be wrong for someone to claim that changes in Europe and the world should follow the Western model.” Even though Bush told Helmut Kohl on December 3 that Gorbachev did not understand Western values, the American president subsequently adopted Gorbachev’s phrasing, saying in his Brussels remarks immediately after the summit that the need to end the division of Europe was in accord with “values that are becoming universal ideals.”

After Malta, the Americans raced to catch up with the arms control opportunities on offer from Gorbachev.  NSC aide Condoleezza Rice wrote the preparatory memo for the NSC meeting on December 5, 1989, saying “The President has now committed himself to an ambitious arms control agenda before the June 1990 summit” and “the bureaucracy must not get in the way of the completion of the treaties” – yet the START deal would not be done until 1991 because of recalcitrance from Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and the U.S. Navy over on-site verification (the Soviets were willing to be more open than the American sailors) and cherished weapons like submarine-launched cruise missiles (in a classic contradiction between actual national security interest and the parochial interest of the military service involved, the U.S. had far more coastal metropolises that could be threatened with these weapons than the Soviet Union did).

DocumentsDocument 1
Department of State, U.S. Embassy Moscow, “Preparing for Malta: Trade Policy Toward the USSR,” [cable from Ambassador Jack Matlock], November 14, 1989

The U.S. Ambassador to Moscow starts his recommendations for Malta with the objective that “we should be searching for ways in which we can, in a practical way, signal U.S. support for perestroyka.”  At the same time, he finds that this support should be the mission of primarily the private sector because “the United States government can have little direct economic impact, since there is no way in which we can or should practically or politically mount an economic aid program for the USSR.”  While expressing his preference that the Jackson-Vanik amendment limiting aid to the USSR should be waived, he realized that it would probably not be done before Malta.  In this situation, he suggests that even before the formal waiver of the amendment, the President should send a signal of encouragement to the U.S. business community to “enter trade and investment relations with Soviet firms.”

Document 2
Department of State.  Information Memorandum to Secretary Baker from Douglas P. Mulholland (INR). “Regional Issues at Malta:  Gorbachev’s Agenda.”  November 17, 1989

This assessment of Gorbachev’s positions on regional issues, from State’s Intelligence and Research bureau, is quite accurate in pointing out that regional issues, apart from Afghanistan, do not represent priorities for the Soviet leader, and that he would prefer to discuss arms control and Eastern Europe instead.  On Afghanistan, the memo correctly states that “Gorbachev will probably claim Pakistani and at least implicitly US violations of the Geneva accords” and draw implications for the ability of the US and the USSR to work together on other regional issues.  The memo underestimates Gorbachev’s willingness to engage in constructive discussion on Central America.  However, one prediction comes very close—Gorbachev does seem to “decide that the best approach [on Central America] is to go on the offensive”—which he does during the summit, questioning the US use of force in Colombia, Panama and the Philippines.

Document 3
Department of State. Information Memorandum to Secretary Baker from Gen. Edward L. Rowny [Special Adviser for Arms Control].  November 17, 1989

This concise memo sums up the American position going into Malta, that “the meeting must not become an ‘arms control summit'” – since the Bush administration believed that Reagan had gone much too far in embracing Gorbachev and major arms reductions.  Long-time SALT negotiator and retired Army general Rowny even goes so far as to recommend “If Gorbachev says that Malta should move arms control forward, we should focus the discussion on process and not engage on substance…” since “there are potential risks and few gains in discussing START,” various potential Gorbachev offers such as “moratoria on fissionable materials and production of strategic weapons” “are all losers for us,” and naval arms control is a “no-win situation.”  By 1991, of course, Bush would reverse course on almost all these positions, but too late to help Gorbachev demilitarize the Soviet Union.

Document 4
National Intelligence Estimate 11-18-89. The Soviet System in Crisis: Prospects for the Next Two Years

This consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community two weeks before Malta helps explain the lack of urgency on the part of the Bush administration to wrap up arms control deals with Gorbachev.  This Estimate assumes that the current crisis in the USSR would continue even beyond the two-year timeframe, that “the regime will maintain the present course,” that Gorbachev was “relatively secure” in his leadership role, and there was a less likely scenario of “unmanageable” decline that would lead to a “repressive crackdown.”   In hindsight, the dissenting view from the CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence, John Helgerson, is more correct, predicting more progress towards a “pluralist – albeit chaotic – democratic system” in which Gorbachev’s political strength would “erode” and he would “progressively lose control of events.”

Document 5
Department of State. Information Memorandum to Secretary Baker from Douglas P. Mulholland (INR). “Soviet Thinking on the Eve of Malta.” November 29, 1989

This prescient memo clearly draws on reporting from recent interlocutors with Gorbachev such as Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, and predicts Gorbachev’s agenda at Malta as “a chance to polish his image and probe US thinking” on such issues as arms control and Eastern Europe.  The assessment of Gorbachev’s substantive priorities is generally accurate, as well as the prediction of the Soviet leader’s push for faster START and CFE negotiations and concrete results.  In contrast to the Cold War suspicions that dominated thinking in the Bush White House, Mulholland is aware that Gorbachev is not trying to push the United States out of Europe, but in fact “is more likely, however, to argue that US and Soviet forces in Europe have a stabilizing effect.”  He correctly predicts that Gorbachev would insist that German unification “can only occur in the context of the creation of a “common European home,” but misses the point in suggesting that “given the Kohl [10 point] proposal, Gorbachev might raise the eventual creation of a German ‘confederation.'”

Document 6
Department of State. Memorandum for The President from Secretary of State James Baker. “Your December Meeting With Gorbachev.” November 29, 1989

This five-page memo from President Bush’s most trusted long-time friend and adviser provides a scene-setter and a provisional script for the President to use with Gorbachev.  Baker’s summary details the limited expectations on the American side for the Malta meeting, merely “to gain a clearer understanding” and to “probe Gorbachev’s thinking” while kicking the major issues down the road to a full-scale summit in 1990.  Perhaps most interesting is the third sentence of the first paragraph, which reveals the underlying public relations concern of the Bush administration about Gorbachev’s popularity and criticisms of Bush’s “pause”: “Further, Malta could promote a public sense, here and abroad, of a new pace and purpose to the U.S.-Soviet dialogue with you leading as much as Gorbachev.”

Document 7
The White House. Memorandum to The President from National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. “National Security Council Meeting, November 30, 1989.” [With attachments: Agenda, Points to be Made, List of Participants]

This preparatory memo for the NSC meeting just before Bush went to Malta is perhaps most interesting for the contrast with the NSC meeting that occurred when Bush returned (see Document 12 below).  Here the focus is to “put a damper on expectations” about Malta, to stop people from “getting carried away” given the changes in Eastern Europe, and to reiterate that the President is determined not “to negotiate arms control; the future of Europe; or economic issues.”

Document 8
Transcript of Gorbachev-John Paul II Meeting, Vatican City, December 1, 1989 [Transcribed notes by Aleksandr Yakovlev.]

On the way to the Malta summit, Mikhail Gorbachev stops in Vatican City for his historic meeting with Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff from Krakow who had been such an inspiration to the Solidarity movement. Only the second time a leader of Russia had met with a pope, the first being the meeting between Tsar Nicholas I and Pope Gregory XVI in 1845, (Note 6) here the Soviet leader and his wife Raisa would hear the Vatican band performing the Internationale first and then the Papal Hymn. In this conversation, transcribed from notes by Politburo member Aleksandr Yakovlev (and published here for the first time in any language), the Pope raises concerns about religious freedom in the Soviet Union and the Vatican’s relations with various Orthodox and Catholic denominations, while the Soviet leader talks about issues that he planned to discuss with President Bush in Malta, such as the concept of universal human values, particularly objecting to the use of the phrase “Western values” as the basis for world order. Gorbachev describes his vision of Europe and the new world where “universal human values should become the primary goal, while the choice of this or that political system should be left up to the people.” That vision would also include gradual change of structures with respect for human rights and freedom of conscience. The Pope responds by saying he shared Gorbachev’s vision, especially as far as values are concerned—”[i]t would be wrong for someone to claim that changes in Europe and the world should follow the Western model. This goes against my deep convictions. Europe, as a participant in world history, should breathe with two lungs.”

Document 9
The President’s Meetings with Soviet President Gorbachev, December 2-3, 1989, Malta [Briefing Book for the President]. Excerpts (contents pages, selected released pages). Source: George H.W. Bush Library, FOIA request 99-0273-F

The table of contents for President Bush’s briefing book going into the Malta meeting provides a useful summary of American priorities for the discussions with the Soviet leader. The highest priority does not go the revolutionary changes in Eastern Europe, which come second on the American list to regional issues and specifically developments in Central America and Cuba – issues of greatest interest to President Bush’s conservative critics in the Republican Party, not to mention his electoral base in Florida. And arms control issues, where Gorbachev is ready and eager to move forward, rank sixth on the list. The complete set of background papers has not yet been declassified, but included in this package are several interesting summary papers, including the first three on Central America and Cuba, two on U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe and the GDR, one on the Soviet domestic situation, and one on the conventional forces negotiations.

Document 10
Transcript of the Malta Meeting, December 2-3, 1989. Source: Gorbachev Foundation, Fond 1, Opis 1

The Soviet record of the Malta meeting has been available to scholars at the Gorbachev Foundation in Moscow starting in 1993, and the Foundation’s documents books as well as memoirs by Gorbachev aides and the former Soviet leader himself have published a variety of lengthy excerpts amounting to an almost complete transcript of the Malta meeting from the Soviet side, while the American transcripts still have not been declassified at the George Bush Library (Texas A & M University) despite Freedom of Information requests that date back at least 10 years. Here, National Security Archive experts combine the various published and unpublished excerpts to produce and translate the most complete transcript yet available anywhere.

The transcript shows little trace of the fierce winter storm that disrupted the planned back-and-forth between U.S. and Soviet ships as the meeting venues at Malta, but instead demonstrates the growth of personal reassurance between the American and Soviet leaders, along with a few tempests over issues like “Western values” (see discussion above) and American pressures on Central America. Interestingly, in an extended discussion with Baker and Shevardnadze, the two sides approach agreement on a negotiation to end the protracted war in Afghanistan, where the Soviets had already completed their withdrawal but the Najibullah government had not fallen as the Americans had expected.  Baker bluntly remarks, “Stop your massive assistance to Kabul” – to which Gorbachev responds, “Leave this empty talk behind” and tells the Americans that tribal leaders are already talking with Najibullah, that the Afghan “dialogue itself will clarify this issue” in a “transition period” and “If the Afghans themselves decide that Najibullah must leave – God help them. This is their business.”

Apparently the biggest surprise to the Americans is Gorbachev’s insistence that the U.S. should stay in Europe, that the U.S. and USSR “are equally integrated into European problems” and that they need to work together to keep those problems from exploding. (Note 7) The American president responds with classic expressions of reserve and prudence, insisting that he does not intend to posture over East Germany even though he was under severe domestic political pressure to “climb the Berlin Wall and to make broad declarations.” Bush affirms his support for perestroika, and reassures Gorbachev that they both remember the Helsinki Final Act’s pronouncements on the inviolability of borders. In general, the American wants to talk about practical details, such as specific congressional amendments on the U.S. side or arms deliveries in Central America from the Soviet bloc, while Gorbachev initiates broader philosophical discussions: “The world is experiencing a major regrouping of forces.”

But both men are clearly uneasy about the dramatic transformations taking place. Bush frankly pronounces himself “shocked by the swiftness” while Gorbachev says “look at how nervous we are.” After warning Bush not to provoke or accelerate the changes, the Soviet leader in particular seems to ask what kind of collective action they should take. He stresses the Helsinki process as the new European process and also mentions the Giscard d’Estaing comment in January 1989 about a federal state of Western Europe: “Therefore, all of Europe is on the move, and it is moving in the direction of something new. We also consider ourselves Europeans, and we associate this movement with the idea of a common European home.” Gorbachev hopes for the dissolution of the blocs – “what to do with institutions created in another age?” – and suggests that the Warsaw Pact and NATO become, to an even greater degree, political organizations rather than military ones.

On the German question, neither leader expects events to move as fast as they would the following year. Just days before Malta, on November 28, Helmut Kohl announced his “10 Points” towards confederation in a Bundestag speech that the Soviet Foreign Ministry denounced as pushing change in “a nationalist direction.” At Malta, Gorbachev attributes the speech to politics and said Kohl “does not act seriously and responsibly.” But then Gorbachev asks whether a united Germany would be neutral or a member of NATO, suggesting that at least theoretically he imagined the latter, although he may simply have been acknowledging the U.S. position. His clear preference is for the continuation of two states in Germany and only very slow progress towards any unification:  “let history decide.” Bush is not eager for rapid progress either: “I hope that you understand that you cannot expect us not to approve of German reunification.  At the same time … [w]e are trying to act with a certain reserve.”

Document 11
Directives for the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the USSR and the United States. Draft by Soviet delegation at Malta. December 3, 1989. Source: George H.W. Bush Library, FOIA request

This draft prepared by Gorbachev’s aides envisions quick progress across the entire spectrum of U.S.-Soviet relations, starting with the proclamation that the Presidents at Malta “came to a common conclusion that the period of cold war was over and that the emerging era of peace opened up unprecedented opportunities for multilateral and bilateral partnership.” The draft calls for preparation for a full-scale “watershed” summit in 1990, and puts “harmonizing national interests with universal human values” as a top priority for the two countries. The Soviet proposal outlines a comprehensive program of arms control with the goal of “creating a fundamentally new model of security.” In addition to quick progress on START and “radical reduction of Soviet and U.S. stationed forces in Europe,” the Soviet draft calls for discussion of “Open Skies, Open Seas, Open Land and Open Space” proposals. This draft shows that the Soviet side came to Malta with an ambitious arms control program – exactly what the Bush administration was trying to avoid – but the Malta discussions would lead directly to a growing Bush embrace of the arms reduction possibilities on offer.

Document 12
National Security Council. Memorandum for Brent Scowcroft from Condoleezza Rice. December 5, 1989. [With attachments: Memo to the President. Points to be Made. List of Participants (for NSC meeting on December 5, 1989). Agenda.]

The contrast between the NSC meetings before Malta (“dampen expectations,” no negotiating arms control) and after Malta comes through clearly in this concise cover memo from Soviet specialist Condoleezza Rice to her boss, the national security adviser, enclosing the briefing memo and talking points that Scowcroft would then forward to President Bush. “The President has now committed himself to an ambitious arms control agenda before the June 1990 summit” and “bureaucracy must not get in the way,” Rice writes. If such urgency had been present at the White House earlier in 1989, perhaps it would not have taken two more years to finish the START treaty or make the withdrawals of nuclear weapons that would not be accomplished until the month after the August 1991 coup against Gorbachev.

Document 13
Excerpt from Anatoly S. Chernyaev’s Diary, January 2, 1990

In this entry Gorbachev’s senior foreign policy aide reflects on Gorbachev’s meeting with the Pope and the legacy of the Malta summit, since in the press of events, he had not managed to write down his commentary in the moment. The main point Chernyaev sees about Malta, a month later, is the “normalcy” of the summit, the shared understanding that the Soviet Union and the United States are partners and nobody would attack the other, therefore, the threat of nuclear war is a thing of the past, as is the Cold War itself. Chernyaev sees Gorbachev making an intentional effort at Malta to discard this old reality of the Soviet threat, of the “terror” projected by the Soviet Union in Europe as a result of its invasions and repressions. In Malta, according to Chernyaev, Gorbachev and Bush “gave hope to all humanity,” and at the Vatican, Gorbachev and the Pope “spoke like two good Christians.” The world has changed indeed.


1. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), see for example pp. 40, 43, 71, 78, 114.

2. For extended analysis of the Bush administration’s characteristic insecurity, see Thomas Blanton, “U.S. Policy and the Revolutions of 1989,” in Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton and Vladislav Zubok, eds., “Masterpieces of History”: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989 (Budapest/New York: Central European University Press, 2010).

3. For the colorful details of these uncomfortable meetings, see Victor Sebestyan, Revolution 1989:  The Fall of the Soviet Empire (New York, Pantheon Boooks, 2009), pp. 303-305.

4. Bush and Scowcroft, p. 130.

5. Bush and Scowcroft, p. 132 compared to pp. 156-159.

6.Victor Sebestyen, Revolution 1989:  The Fall of the Soviet Empire, (New York, Pantheon Books, 2009), p. 401.

7. Condoleezza Rice subsequently called Gorbachev’s position at Malta on the U.S. staying in Europe “revolutionary change” and “something I never imagined I would hear from a Soviet leader” (see Victor Sebestyan, Revolution 1989, p. 403), but Gorbachev had explicitly made such assurances to the Trilateral Commission delegation in January 1989 in answering a question from Henry Kissinger, repeatedly in conversations with Margaret Thatcher and Helmut Kohl, among other leaders, and publicly in his famous Strasbourg speech on June 6, 1989.  The Americans were apparently not listening, and as late as November 21, 1989, President Bush had suggested to West German foreign minister Genscher, much to the latter’s surprise and disagreement, that Gorbachev would propose at Malta the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany and Europe – the old American fear that the Soviets were attempting to “decouple” the U.S. from Europe.  See Bush-Genscher memcon, November 21, 1989, George Bush Library, released under 2007-0051-MR.


Bernd Pulch

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 CARACAS 000692 




CARACAS 00000692  001.2 OF 004 


1. (C) Summary.  President Chavez's efforts to concentrate more power in his hands and undermine the democratic opposition have been met in Venezuela with more acceptance and resignation than outrage and resistance.  There are numerous, credible theories to explain Venezuelans' acquiescence to an increasingly authoritarian government ranging from Chavez's charismatic leadership and popular social programs to the fear, fatigue, and ineffectiveness that prevail among government opponents.  Moreover, the majority of Venezuelans, long reliant on their petro-state's largesse, appear to prioritize "social rights" and self-preservation over abstract civil liberties.  The enormous, corporatist Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (GBRV) is for many citizens both an irreplaceable provider and exclusive source of information. Finally, Chavez has also effectively and systematically squelched any opposition to his rule either from within his ranks or from other political parties.  While Chavez's popularity may gradually erode as he radicalizes and the local economy worsens, the Venezuelan president still appears well positioned to keep accelerating his Bolivarian revolution at the expense of remaining democratic institutions.  End Summary. 

--------------------------- Increasing Authoritarianism --------------------------- 

2. (C) Since winning the February 15 referendum eliminating term limits, President Chavez has accelerated his Bolivarian revolution, further undermining political and economic freedoms in Venezuela.  In recent months the Chavez government has clamped down on leading opposition members while simultaneously using the National Assembly to close off any possible avenue for the opposition.  The GBRV pressed a corruption case against former Defense Minister Raul Baduel and Maracaibo Mayor and 2006 consensus opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales.  Baduel is awaiting trial in a military prison; Rosales fled to Peru.  The National Assembly passed laws that allowed the central government to take control over highways, ports, and airports previously controlled by state governments.  The Chavez government selectively applied the measure in states run by opposition governors. 

3. (C) In addition, the National Assembly created a new presidentially appointed position to run Caracas, removing virtually all responsibilities and funding from the recently elected opposition mayor of Caracas.  A law expanding this model to opposition-led states is reportedly in the works. The National Assembly is also actively considering a law that would give Chavez's PSUV party a significant advantage in the allocation of seats in legislative elections.  Moreover, the National Electoral Council intends to suspend any elections until work on the draft law is complete.  Chavez recently threatened to close Globovision, the only remaining opposition-oriented television network, and GBRV officials are pressing charges against Globovision's president.  The GBRV also nationalized over 50 oil service companies and has not yet offered swift and equitable compensation.  The GBRV has also intervened in the food industry, nationalizing a plant owned by U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill and occupying a second, as well as nationalizing land owned by FEMSA, the Mexican company that bottles and distributes Coca-Cola in Venezuela. 

4. (C) The opposition's response to these measures has been muted.  On May 1, the Caracas Metropolitan Police quickly dispersed a relatively small crowd of opposition marchers with tear gas.  There were far more Venezuelans stuck in beach traffic during that long weekend than took to the streets in defense of their liberties.  University students and faculty led an inconsequential march of several thousand to the Ministry of Education on May 20 primarily to protest higher education budget cuts.  Fewer than five thousand persons participated in a May 27 protest against the threatened shut down of Globovision.  Moreover, Chavez continues to enjoy considerable support in the polls, despite growing public dissatisfaction with key issues, such as crime and inflation.  Prominent pollster Alfredo Keller told us recently that Chavez is slipping in the polls, but still enjoys roughly 60% support; Luis Vicente Leon of Datanalisis put Chavez's popularity at over 54% as of April.  Edmond Saade of Datos also confirmed recently that Chavez enjoys majority support and far more support than any other public figure. 

------------------------- Hope and Purchasing Power ------------------------- 

5. (C) There are numerous reasons why Venezuelans are acquiescing to Chavez's anti-democratic measures.  The charismatic Venezuelan president conveys far more hope to voters than any of his competitors.  State media outlets constantly laud government initiatives, social programs, and "achievements of the revolution."  Chavez himself regularly launches building projects, opens government cooperatives, or announces expropriations on his weekly "Alo, Presidente" radio and television talk show.  While government critics rightly point out that many of the GBRV's projects are unsustainable, inefficient, or corrupt, local pollsters point out that Venezuela's poor report that they have more money in their pockets.  Large numbers of Venezuelans also avail themselves of GBRV social programs, most commonly shopping at subsidized Mercal or Pdval stores, or receiving medical care courtesy of the Barrio Adentro program.  "At least Chavez has given us something," is prevalent local sentiment among sectors of society long reliant on government largesse ("Papa estado"). 

---------------------------------- Class Resentment and Social Rights ---------------------------------- 

6. (C) Chavez has also reaped political gains by stoking class antagonisms in stratified Venezuela.  Railing against local "oligarchs," the Venezuelan president aims most of his economic "reforms" at large, and often foreign, enterprises. Although the vast majority of Venezuelan still support private property protections, there is little popular sympathy for big business in Venezuela, and as yet, little public recognition of the long-term economic effects of driving out foreign investment.  Moreover, Chavez's core supporters believe that they would lose anything gained over the last decade if Chavez were to fail.  Chavez has sought to reassure his base that he is not undermining their economic freedoms.  One week after seizing large tracts of farmland in his native state of Barinas, Chavez distributed property titles last week to urban squatters in a televised ceremony. Local pollsters note that in this context most Venezuelans prioritize "social rights" over civil liberties.  They tend to be more attracted to Chavez's promises of redistribution of wealth than alarmed by his concentration of power. 

-------------------- Frog in a Teflon Pot -------------------- 

7. (C) To explain Venezuelans' relative docility, many pundits also cite the analogy that a live frog placed in boiling water will try to escape, but if placed in water gradually heated up, it will die unsuspectingly.  The Venezuelan president reportedly leans heavily on polls and has carefully calibrated the pace of change so as not to get too far in front of public opinion.  Chavez has paused in the face of opposition to politically charged education overhaul, a Counterintelligence Law, and the proposed anti-NGO Law of International Cooperation.  He accepted a narrow electoral defeat in the December 2007 constitutional referendum, but later enacted many of the proposed reforms through a compliant legislature.  He also subsequently won acceptance for the elimination of term limits in the February 2009 referendum. 

8. (C) With full control over all other branches of government, Chavez usually succeeds in imposing his will through ostensibly "legal" means.  Constitutional experts' arguments to the contrary tend to get lost on most voters. For example, most Venezuelans are far more concerned about obtaining good government services than they are interested in a debate as to whether the central government or state and local governments should provide such services.  When Venezuelans do express dissatisfaction with the government, they tend to blame Chavez's ministers and other senior officials rather than Chavez himself.  This holds true despite the fact that Chavez selects all senior GBRV officials and generally rotates a small, closed circle of confidants to key positions. 

---------------- What Opposition? ---------------- 

9. (C) Some local pundits call the political opposition Chavez's best ally.  Ten years after Chavez was first elected, the democratic opposition is still talking about the need to articulate a politically attractive, democratic alternative.  Opposition parties regrettably are still mostly personalist vehicles with no discernible party platforms. Moreover, almost all opposition parties are relatively strong in specific regions and lack a genuine nationwide presence. With few exceptions, most opposition leaders have focused on criticizing Venezuela's Teflon president rather than engage in much-need grassroots organizing among Venezuela's poor. Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) enjoys a virtual monopoly in Venezuela's countryside.  Moreover, opposition parties continue to squabble among themselves, and there is currently no single opposition leader who enjoys anything approaching the popularity of Chavez. 

10. (C) Opposition parties failed to unite in a few key gubernatorial and numerous mayoral races in November 2008, allowing Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to win races the PSUV otherwise would have lost.  Opposition parties have not yet agreed on a methodology to pick unified candidates for the 2010 parliamentary elections (they foolishly boycotted the 2005 elections).  At the same time, the central government is actively hampering opposition-led states and municipalities to prevent elected opposition leaders from building democratic alternatives to Chavismo. The student movement injected new life into the opposition Q 2007, but student politics are inherently transitory. Numerous student leaders have formally entered politics and visible student activism has declined.  Pro-Chavez dissidents, for their part, have not made much of a dent at the polls so far. 

------------ Fear Matters ------------ 

11. (C) Chavez has also spun what pollster Luis Vicente Leon calls a "web of fear."  Rather than engage in wholesale repression, the GBRV has made examples of prominent sector leaders that have had a chilling effect on the rest of civil society.  For example, the GBRV closed RCTV, launched investigations into electoral NGO Sumate, and recently sentenced three former Caracas police commissioners to 30-year prison terms for their alleged role in the short-lived 2002 coup.  Chavez regularly vilifies selected Catholic bishops and personally announced that Manuel Rosales would be jailed even before charges were brought against him.  Opposition activists receive pointed, threatening phone calls (one former ambassador was told, "We know you have only one kidney."). 

12. (C) The GBRV also allows pro-Chavez thugs, most notably the "La Piedrita" and "Alexis Vive" collectives, to engage in political violence with impunity.  In a society awash in conspiracy theories, Venezuelans are inclined to believe the GBRV is omnipotent.  Moreover, the GBRV has relied heavily on "litmus lists."  Whether you signed the presidential recall referendum drive ("Tascon List") or are among the five million voters who purportedly registered with Chavez's PSUV party can determine whether or not you have access to government services, loans, scholarships, or can even obtain a passport. 

--------------------- Been There, Done That --------------------- 

13. (C) Opposition leaders concede that only a small minority of Venezuelans are inclined to attend protest marches or political rallies.  They note that many Chavez opponents are discouraged by the fact that street protests have done little to change Chavez's decisions or undermine his popularity. Massive opposition rallies in 2002, the 2002-2003 general strike, and the presidential recall referendum drive did not succeed in forcing Chavez from power (except for three days during the April 2002 interregnum).  Rosales' 2006 presidential campaign mobilized large opposition rallies, but Rosales polled only 37% of the vote.  Student-led protests in 2007 did not dissuade the GBRV from shuttering RCTV, nor do they appear to be deterring the GBRV from going after Globovision.  Student leaders recently conceded to us that their street power is only "effervescent." 

------------------------ Accommodation and Plan B ------------------------ 

14. (C) In the absence of hope for change, many Venezuelans, including business and professional elites, have found ways to accommodate themselves to the Bolivarian revolution, or at a minimum, to avoid political risks.  Because the GBRV regulates and dominates the domestic economy so much, private sector leaders argue they have little choice but to find ways to "get along" in order to survive and prosper.  Opposition political parties report that contributions from the private sector have virtually dried up.  Moreover, large numbers of well educated and skilled Venezuelans have chosen flight over fight.  The Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese embassies have all experienced a boom in citizenship claims.  Millions of Venezuelans have claims to citizenship in EU countries due to massive European immigration in the 1950's.  These Venezuelans tend to be middle class, multilingual, and better-educated, making emigration a viable alternative to confronting Venezuela's political and economic problems. There is a six-month backlog for U.S. non-immigrant visa interview appointments.  Jewish community leaders report that their small community has been devastated by the emigration of the younger generation. 

------------------ The Media Monopoly ------------------ 

15. (C) Many Venezuelans appear to be unaware of Chavez's concentration of more power in his hands because the GBRV exerts a virtual monopoly over the news.  Chavez closed RCTV, the only free-to-air network critical of the GBRV in May 2007, and opposition-oriented cable news network Globovision is only free-to-air in Caracas and Valencia.  Six state television channels laud Chavez and cheerlead his Bolivarian revolution while the remaining free-to-air networks exercise considerable self-censorship.  The GBRV also controls a wide network of community radio stations and sustains a continued socialist ideology campaign via thousands of specially trained promoters.  Chavez has also presided over 1200 hours of obligatory TV and radio broadcasts ("cadenas").  Local polling firms all tell us that public opinion is decidedly against further centralization, but most Venezuelans profess to be unaware of Chavez's efforts to undermine elected opposition governors and mayors.  Pollsters also note a marked tendency for Chavez's strongest supporters to give unconditional support to their president. 

------- Comment ------- 

16. (C) Despite controlling all branches of government, centralizing economic activity in the government's hands, controlling the information fed to the majority of the population, and enjoying majority support, President Chavez may yet be confronted by new political challenges.  Public support for him is likely to erode if the ongoing radicalization of the Bolivarian revolution or an economic downturn begin to erode the purchasing power of his political base.  Venezuelans still prefer social democracy to Chavez's ill-defined "Socialism of the 21st Century" by a wide margin and are tired of political polarization, according to local polls. 

17. (C) Nevertheless, Chavez right now appears to be squarely in the driver's seat.  He has recouped personal popularity and survived tough economic times before, including during the 2002-2003 national strike.  Moreover, the Venezuelan president has carefully taken the necessary steps to eliminate any real political challenger, and the opposition has yet to present a concrete, attractive alternative to Chavismo.  He also fully controls the legislature and judiciary, and with parliamentary elections at least 18 months away, Chavez has plenty of time to develop the legal framework to try to stay in power for as long as he wishes. 








Classified By: Political Section Chief Mark D. Clark for reasons 1.4 (b  and d). 

SUMMARY ------- 

1. (C) Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has seen his political position eroded during a tumultuous week of mounting challenges from within his United Malay National Organization (UMNO), his coalition partners, and the opposition.  While struggling to regain cohesion within his National Front (BN) coalition in the face of inter-racial tensions, UMNO leaders have raised new questions over Abdullah's 2010 transition to his deputy Najib Tun Razak, creating fresh doubts that Abdullah can gain his party's reelection in December. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim dispatched his lieutenants to Taiwan with the avowed aim to complete talks with BN members of Parliament who would crossover to bring down Abdullah's government.  At the same time, the Opposition alliance stated the September 16 deadline to topple the government could slip.  The chief of the armed forces clarified that the military would remain apolitical, but could be called out via proper legal channels to assist with internal security. Abdullah emerged from an UMNO meeting to state that the government could use the Internal Security Act (ISA), and its detention without trial provisions, to preserve internal security; on September 12 the government made good on this threat by detaining controversial blogger Raja Petra.  End Summary. 

RACIST COMMENTS PROMPT UMNO LEADERS MEETING ------------------------------------------- 

2. (SBU) To quell growing animosity and tension between UMNO and its ethnic Chinese partners in the National Front coalition resulting from caustic racist comments from Penang UMNO division leader Ahmad Ismail, PM Abdullah was forced to hold a meeting of the BN Supreme Council on September 9 and a gathering of the UMNO Supreme Council on September 10.  The BN leaders referred the matter to UMNO to take action against its own member.  After a three hour meeting, the UMNO Supreme Council decided to suspend Ahmad from the party for three years, stripping him of all of his official duties.  Despite this ruling, Ahmad remained defiant and suggested his Penang division quickly would create a new role for him.  Some of Abdullah's detractors in the party, like Selangor warlord Khir Toyo, came to Ahmad's defense.  The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and the Chinese-dominated Gerakan party voiced their appreciation for UMNO's decision, but also called for a stop to further racially incendiary remarks. 

2010 TRANSITION UNRAVELING? --------------------------- 

3. (C) As Abdullah and UMNO attempted to douse heated racial tensions that damaged the BN coalition, this week also witnessed the fraying of UMNO's acquiescence to Abdullah's plan to hand over power to DPM Najib in 2010.  The most direct blow came from International Trade and Industry Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, an UMNO Vice President who is considered a potential candidate for Deputy Prime Minister should Abdullah step down.  Muhyiddin stated on September 10 that Abdullah should resign well before the June 2010 transition date.  Muhyiddin noted that the initial promise of this two-month old proposal, meant to assuage concerns about Abdullah's sagging popularity and party support, had now "sunk away".  Reacting during a televised press encounter, Abdullah was visibly angered by Muhyiddin's comment. Abdullah questioned why Muhyiddin would challenge the transition plan when the UMNO Supreme Council had already approved the transition and its timing.  On September 12, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak appeared to contradict Abdullah and shift his position away from Abdullah's deal, stating that delegates at the December UMNO party elections should approve the transition and its timetable.  Other important UMNO leaders have revived their calls to eliminate high quotas for the number of nominations needed to contest leadership positions in the party polls, a system which now heavily favors Abdullah. 

MAHATHIR SEEKS RETURN TO UMNO ----------------------------- 

4. (SBU) Complicating matters further for Abdullah, former PM and former UMNO President Mahathir, who quit UMNO on May 19 after expressing disgust with Abdullah's leadership, is considering returning to the party.  A smiling UMNO Vice President Muhyiddin told reporters September 9 that Mahathir was persuaded by him, Tengku Razaleigh and several other veteran UMNO leaders at a private meeting at Mahathir's residence on September 6 to rejoin UMNO to help "fix the problems" afflicting the party.  Foreign Minister and senior UMNO official Rais Yatim later joined other party leaders in welcoming Mahathir's proposed return to the fold.  Mahathir reportedly is now backing his former nemesis, Tengku Razaleigh, to unseat Abdullah in the December UMNO party elections.  Commenting tersely on the possible return of Mahathir, whose harsh criticisms of the Prime Minister continue unabated, Abdullah stated September 11 that the UMNO Supreme Council will decide on the issue as "this is a party matter." 

THE OPPOSITION ATTEMPTS TO COUNTER TAIWAN PLOY... --------------------------------------------- ---- 

5. (SBU) Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim meanwhile sought to keep the pressure on UMNO and BN by dispatching four senior officials from this Peoples Justice Party's (PKR) to Taiwan, supposedly to meet with BN MP's who may crossover to bring down Abdullah's government.  BN had hastily arranged a "study tour" to Taiwan for BN members of Parliament, September 8-17, in what is widely viewed as a ploy to thwart September 16 crossovers.  PKR said their officials would attempt to finalize the crossovers (the opposition requires 30 to claim the majority and topple Abdullah's government). 

OPPOSITION ADMITS SEPTEMBER 16 COULD SLIP ----------------------------------------- 

6.  (SBU) As PKR announced its officials were going to Taiwan to finalize crossovers, the opposition People's Alliance (Pakatan) also issued a statement suggesting that the September 16 deadline for toppling BN could slip.  The three-party alliance of PKR, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS), in a September 11 release, explained that the September 16 deadline may have to be postponed due to the Taiwan trip by the BN MPs. However, the coalition expressed confidence that a change of federal government "would happen soon."  Subsequently, BN officials announced that many of the MPs would be returning early from Taiwan, hinting that this should eliminate excuses for Anwar not meeting his September 16 deadline. 

ARMED FORCES TO STAY OUT OF POLITICS, BUT STILL ON CALL --------------------------------------------- ---------- 

7. (SBU) Malaysian Armed Forces Chief General Abdul Aziz Zainal stated at a press conference September 11 that the armed forces have been and will remain apolitical.  The General gave his assurance following questions and criticism from opposition and civil society quarters over his statement on September 9, urging the government to take stern action against anyone stoking racial sentiments in the country and thereby threatening national unity.  "The armed forces are highly professional and apolitical", Abdul Aziz clarified on September 11, and would only get involved in internal matters if requested through the legal process by the authorities or police.  He explained, "Our (the military's) secondary role is to support the police and government agencies in any form of operations where our presence is requested -- such as for internal security, humanitarian and disaster relief operations.8  General Abdul Aziz refused to comment when asked by reporters whether he would support a new government, adding "I do not know of any (impending) changes in government." 

ABDULLAH THREATENS USE OF THE INTERNAL SECURITY ACT --------------------------------------------- ------ 

8. (SBU) PM Abdullah stated September 10, following the UMNO Supreme Council meeting, that he did not rule out the possibility of invoking the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows detention without trial for those who threaten national security.  He added that the Home Minister, who has the authority to approve ISA detentions, would "think twice or even three times" before deciding to take that step, but "if the minister thinks that it is an appropriate action to be taken, then he will take it." 

9. (SBU) The Prime Minister said that in the September 10 Cabinet meeting, his Ministers expressed concern and described race relations in the country as showing "not so good signs," and that a number of sensitive issues which were not openly discussed before were being raised. Although the government has managed to control the situation thus far, he added that "we cannot allow a fiery situation to prevail as it could jeopardize the peace and security of our country." Responding to a question on whether the government would curtail freedom of speech in the country, the PM explained that there was no such thing as absolute freedom anywhere in the world, noting "People cannot just say whatever they like, in the name of free speech, to the extend that it can offend and hurt others and jeopardize security." 

MAKING GOOD ON THE THREAT ------------------------- 

10.  (SBU) Abdullah's government made good on the threat by arresting controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin at his home on September 12, using the ISA.  Home Minister Syed Hamid confirmed to reporters that police had detained Raja Petra under the ISA provision for persons who pose threats to "security, peace and public order."  Raja Petra has repeatedly enraged the BN government by, among other things, blunting attacking senior political leaders, connecting DPM Najib to a murder scandal, and condemning the sodomy allegations against Anwar.  Raja Petra currently faces sedition and defamation charges.  Septel provides more details of the arrest and provides suggested press guidance. 

COMMENT ------- 

11.  (C) Abdullah has endured a rough week, one that has eroded his political strength.  The current tone of the direct and indirect challenges to his position are similar to those he faced in the first six weeks after the March 8 election debacle when his continuation in office was an open question.  Two factors are increasing the pressure on Abdullah at this point.  First, UMNO has become unnerved in the face of Anwar Ibrahim's threat to bring down the government this month, and the greater Anwar's menace, the more UMNO elites consider replacing Abdullah with a stronger figure.  Second, the UMNO divisional elections, which select delegates to the December party polls, begin on October 9 almost immediately following the Muslim holidays at the end of the Muslim fasting month.  Those leaders who wish to challenge Abdullah's reelection and his two-year transition to Najib must stake out their positions now and maneuver for support, or the opportunity quickly will be lost. 


TOP-SECRET: The Glasnost tours – Breaking Down Soviet Military Secrecy

Bernd Pulch
A Soviet cruise missile warhead photographed on the glasnost tour July 5, 1989 aboard the Slava, a Soviet warship [Photo courtesy Thomas Cochran, Natural Resources Defense Council]

Washington, D.C., July 27th, 2011 – Previously unpublished documents from inside the Kremlin shed new light on how Soviet and American scientists breached the walls of Soviet military secrecy in the final years of the Cold War.

The documents and the book show how a progressive Soviet physicist, Yevgeny Velikhov, challenged the Soviet military and security system, throwing open the doors of glasnost with a series of unprecedented tours of top-secret weapons sites. Velikhov took American scientists, experts and journalists on these tours just as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was accelerating his drive to slow the arms race.

These glasnost tours punctured some of the myths and legends of both sides. They showed that the Reagan administration had exaggerated Soviet capabilities and also that the Soviet military machine was not as technologically advanced as had been thought.

The book is based in part on thousands of pages of documents obtained by Hoffman detailing key decisions about the Soviet military-industrial complex and arms control in the 1980s. The documents were collected by Vitaly Katayev, a professional staff member of the Central Committee, and are now deposited at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The book is also based on extensive documentation of the final years of the Cold War in the collection of the National Security Archive.

Glasnost Tour No. 1: Semipalatinsk, 1986

In his first year in power, 1985, Gorbachev imposed a unilateral moratorium on Soviet nuclear tests, but Reagan refused to go along, citing doubts about verification. By the spring of 1986, Gorbachev was under pressure to resume testing. Velikhov backed the moratorium, and arranged to bring a team led by Thomas Cochran of the Natural Resources Defense Council to the closed Soviet testing site at Semipalatinsk. The goal was to help demonstrate the feasibility of seismic verification, thus supporting the rationale for the testing moratorium.

Velikhov pushed hard to persuade Gorbachev and the military to allow the experiment. The military was strongly against it.

The team began to set up the first station on July 9. It was an amazing moment, a toe into a closed zone, accomplished by an environmental group, not by the United States government. And it demonstrated that scientists could, on their own, break through the Cold War secrecy and mistrust.

Document 1 and Document 2This is the Central Committee’s formal instruction giving permission for the experiment, and ordering the propaganda department to exploit it. Also, the agreement between Velikhov and Cochran which, to satisfy the military, stipulated that the monitors would be turned off if testing resumed.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Velikhov Request to the Central Committee, 1987

In Washington, both the Defense Department under Caspar Weinberger, and the CIA under William Casey, were deeply skeptical of Gorbachev. The Pentagon published a glossy annual booklet, Soviet Military Power, a propaganda piece designed to help boost congressional support for Reagan’s military spending. The fourth edition, published in April, 1985, contained the claim that the Soviets had “two ground-based lasers that are capable of attacking satellites in various orbits.” Deputy CIA Director Robert Gates renewed the allegations in a speech in San Francisco in November, 1986.

Document 3 – In Soviet Military Power, the Pentagon included an artists’ conception, a black-and-white pencil sketch, showing what purported to be the Saryshagan proving ground. A building with a dome on top was shown firing a white laser beam into the heavens.
[Source: Soviet Military Power, 1985]

In fact, the long, expensive search to build laser weapons against targets in space had, up to this point, totally fizzled. The Soviets had not given up hope, but the glossy Pentagon booklet took old failures and hyped them into new threats.

Document 4In this memo, dated February 7, 1987, Velikhov writes to the Central Committee defense department proposing to challenge the misleading American statements about Soviet laser weapons. Velikhov suggested: what if Gorbachev himself announced at an upcoming conference that the Soviet Union would open up the top secret test facility at Sary Shagan that was so often at the center of American propaganda? What if the Americans were invited to see for themselves that Gates and Soviet Military Power were wrong?
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Document 5 – This document is the Central Committee staff report on Velikhov’s idea, which immediately commanded the attention of top security and defense officials, including Lev Zaikov, the Politburo member for the military-industrial complex; Chief of the General Staff Sergei Akhromeyev; and the head of the KGB, Viktor Chebrikov. The staff report dumped cold water on Velikhov’s idea, saying the American visitors would quickly realize the Soviet equipment was really quite old. The only thing to hide at Sary Shagan was the painful truth: Soviet technology was way behind.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Document 6 – On February 12, 1987, the Central Committee answered Velikhov: Proposal rejected. No Americans could see the secret test range.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Glasnost Tour No. 2: The Krasnoyarsk Radar, 1987

Yevgeny Velikhov (second from left) leads a group to visit the Krasnoyarsk Radar site, 1987 [Photo courtesy Thomas Cochran, Natural Resources Defense Council]

With small steps, those around Gorbachev began slowly to reverse the secrecy and deceit so deeply woven into the hypermilitarized Soviet system. The new thinking—honest, but still cautious—was evident in the detailed reference papers that Vitaly Katayev prepared for his superiors in the Central Committee defense department. Katayev deputy head of the department.

Document 7 – This document is a December 24, 1986, memo by Katayev carefully dissecting the points in the speech by Gates, the deputy CIA director, in San Francisco the previous month. One of those points was the U.S. allegation that the Krasnoyarsk radar was a treaty violation. Katayev candidly acknowledges that the radar was a violation of the ABM treaty.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Document 8 – “The Krasnoyarsk Radar: Closing the Final Gap in Coverage for Ballistic Missile Early Warning,” CIA, Directorate of Intelligence, June 19, 1986, released in part. An internal CIA report at the time accurately reported the purpose of the radar (to close a gap in the early warning system) and the reason it was located in the wrong place (near transportation and to save money.) But this report was only declassified in 2000.
[Source: CIA, declassified]

In early September, 1987, Velikhov struck another hammer blow against Soviet military secrecy. He won permission to take a group of members of Congress, Cochran, and some journalists to see the Krasnoyarsk radar.  Velikhov was attempting exactly the kind of glasnost gamble the Central Committee had ruled against in February. What was most remarkable was that the congressmen got an eye-witness look at a top-secret site. The team took over 1,000 photographs and made an hour of video, and no one tried to interfere. Velikhov’s openness undercut both the American propaganda and the Soviet lie.

On October 23, 1987 Gorbachev told Secretary of State George Shultz that there would be a one-year moratorium on construction. Shultz replied that the United States would accept nothing short of dismantlement.

Document 9This memo, dated Nov. 21, 1987, signed by the “Big Five” ministers  who handled Soviet military and arms control policy, suggests that Moscow should continue to attempt to press the United States for some concessions in exchange for action on the radar.
[Source: Katayev collection, Hoover Institution]

Measuring radiation from a Soviet cruise missile aboard the Slava [Photos courtesy Thomas Cochran, Natural Resources Defense Council]
The Americans visit Sary Shagan, 1989 [Photo courtesy Thomas Cochran, Natural Resources Defense Council]

Velikhov’s campaign for openness paid one of its most surprising dividends in 1989 when the Soviet leadership finally admitted that the Krasnoyarsk radar was a violation of the ABM treaty. Shevardnadze made the acknowledgement in a speech to the Soviet legislature, saying, “It took some time for the leadership of the country to get acquainted with the whole truth and the history about the station.” This was a dubious claim, since Shevardnadze had signed the Big Five document two years before.

Glasnost tour No. 3 – Black Sea Experiment, and Sary Shagan, 1989

In July, 1989, Velikhov brought a group of American scientists, led by Cochran, to the Black Sea to conduct a verification experiment involving a Soviet cruise missile, armed with a nuclear warhead, on a Navy ship. It was rare for Americans to get so close to a Soviet warhead. The point was to determine if radiation detectors could spot the presence or absence of a nuclear warhead. Velikhov wanted to pierce the veil of secrecy, in hopes it would reduce the danger of the arms race.

On a sunny July 5, 1989, the Americans, joined by a group of Soviet scientists, lugged their radiation detectors aboard the Slava, a 610-foot Soviet cruiser at Yalta on the Black Sea. At that moment, the ship held a single SS-N-12 nuclear-armed cruise missile, NATO code-named “Sandbox,” stored in the forward, exterior, starboard launcher. The Soviets were so nervous about the visit that they had rehearsed it for weeks. They feared the Americans might learn too much about the design of the warhead. In one extraordinary glasnost moment, the hatch was opened and the Americans took photographs of the dark, menacing tip of the cruise missile, lurking just inside the cover.

No sooner were the scientists back in Moscow on July 7 than Velikhov bundled them off to the airport to see another secret installation. They flew 850 miles east to Chelyabinsk-40, near the town of Kyshtym, a nuclear complex built in Stalin’s day, where reactors had churned out plutonium for nuclear weapons. The complex was top-secret, but when Velikhov appeared at the gates, they swung open. The last stop on Velikhov’s glasnost tour was the most daring, the one he had first suggested to the Central Committee, and which they had rejected: the Sary Shagan laser test site. This was the facility that was subject of the ominous illustration in Soviet Military Power showing a beam shooting straight up into the heavens.

The Soviet leadership knew the claims were untrue, but had been embarrassed to admit it. Velikhov brought the Americans to see for themselves on July 8.

Frank Von Hippel, a physicist at Princeton University, quickly realized the U.S. claims had been vastly exaggerated. “It was sort of a relic,” he said of the lasers he saw there, which were the equivalent of industrial lasers, easily purchased in the West. There was no sign of the war machine the Reagan administration had conjured up. “These guys had been abandoned, a backwater of the military-industrial complex. It was from an earlier time. It was really pitiful.” The one “computer” consisted of transistor boards wired together — built before the personal computer. “They had been trying to see whether they could get a reflection off a satellite,” he recalled. “They never succeeded.”


DE RUEHSF #0430 0821429
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2011










TOP-SECRET: Cracking open the Soviet biological weapons system

Washington, D.C., July 26th 2011 – Internal documents reveal that in the final years of the Cold War the top leadership of the Soviet Union debated the cover-up of their illicit biological weapons program in the face of protests from the United States and Great Britain.

The documents, first disclosed in a new book by David E. Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, are being posted in English translation today by the National Security Archive.

The records, along with other evidence reported in the book, show how the Kremlin rebuffed the protests from the West over the massive germ warfare effort. Even after a top Soviet scientist defected to Britain in 1989 and began to reveal details of the program, the Soviet officials decided to continue the concealment. The Soviet program was a violation of the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, which Moscow had signed.

The documents show that Eduard Shevardnadze, the foreign minister, Dmitri Yazov, the defense minister, and Lev Zaikov, the Politburo member overseeing the military-industrial complex, among others, were aware of the concealment and actively involved in discussing it in the years when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was advancing his glasnost reforms and attempting to slow the nuclear arms race.

Zaikov reported to Gorbachev about biological weapons in a key memo on May 15, 1990. A translation of the memo is included in the documents being posted today.

The book, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, examines the final years of the superpower competition and explores what happened to the weapons and the weapons scientists after the Soviet collapse. The book was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction.

The book is based in part on thousands of pages of documents obtained by Hoffman detailing key decisions about the Soviet military-industrial complex and arms control in the 1980s. The documents were collected by Vitaly Katayev, a professional staff member of the Central Committee, and are now deposited at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. The book is also based on extensive documentation of the final years of the Cold War in the collection of the National Security Archive.

The germ warfare system – a Kremlin struggle, 1989-1990

An anthrax epidemic in the city of Sverdlovsk in 1979 raised suspicions in the West that the Soviet Union was working on offensive biological weapons, in violation of the treaty. Just upwind from the affected neighborhood was a military biological weapons facility. Soviet officials had repeatedly insisted that the Sverdlovsk outbreak had natural causes, such as tainted meat. The true reasons for the outbreak remained hidden.

Starting in the mid-1970s, the Soviet Union had built a massive research organization for biological weapons, known as Biopreparat, which was concealed by a cover story that it was for civilian purposes.

In late October, 1989, Vladimir Pasechnik, one of the leading institute directors in the system, defected to Great Britain.  He began to describe to the British the enormous scope and ambition of the Biopreparat system, which included developing new genetically-engineered pathogens. His revelations were quietly shared with the United States as well.

The Berlin Wall fell November 9, and on December 2-3, President Bush met Gorbachev at the Malta summit. There were many pressing issues, including the future of Germany and Gorbachev’s waning power at home. Bush did not discuss with Gorbachev the disturbing reports about a Soviet biological weapons program.

At the same time, Soviet officials realized that Pasechnik could unmask many of their secrets, and they began to steel themselves for questions. Weeks after the Malta summit, a conflict broke out among Soviet officials about how much to say to the West about the Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak.

Document 1 – A reference note, or spravka, on the reasons for the Sverdlovsk outbreak.  This draft internal memorandum, dated Dec. 19, 1989, notes the persistent questions from abroad and at home about Sverdlovsk. The memo says there was a high-level discussion about how to respond, and the decision was made to keep up the cover story that the anthrax outbreak had natural causes. However, the memo hints at the possibility that the military compound was linked to the outbreak.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

On January 5, 1990, the Soviet Foreign Ministry, under Shevardnadze, made a very modest effort to bring some more openness to the issue. The ministry circulated a draft Central Committee resolution to 15 people. The ministry proposed telling the West that the Sverdlovsk accident was under investigation and suggested exchanging some information with the United States about this and other questions surrounding biological weapons.

Document 2 – Ministry of Defense strongly objects. In this January 10, 1990 memo Defense Minister Dmitri Yazov objects to the Foreign Ministry’s proposals for more openness about Sverdlovsk and biological weapons.  Yazov says there was no accident at the military compound and there should be no exchange with the Americans, because this would contradict all the Soviet claims that it never had biological weapons.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Document 3 – Foreign Ministry retreats. In this memo, dated January 11, 1990, Viktor Karpov, a deputy Foreign Minister, pulls back, saying that the language in the resolution was “unfortunate ambiguous wording.” It is stricken from the resolution.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

Document 4 – Central Committee staffers comment.  An excerpt from a memo in which two Central Committee staffers, one of whom is Katayev, comment that Karpov should not have circulated the draft resolution and claim that he had “no right to disclose” information about biological weapons.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

The United States and Great Britain, now in possession of Pasechnik’s disclosures, quietly confronted the Soviets. On May 14, 1990, the British and American ambassadors in Moscow, Sir Rodric Braithwaite and Jack F. Matlock Jr., delivered a joint démarche, or formal protest. Among others, they took it to Alexander Bessmertnykh, Shevardnadze’s First Deputy.

Document 5 – The Bessmertnykh notes. These are the detailed notes made by Bessmertnykh about the U.S.-British demarche. The two ambassadors said that they had information the Soviet Union had a large-scale, secret program in the field of biological weapons.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

The demarche got the Kremlin’s attention. The next day, May 15, 1990, Lev Zaikov, the Politburo member for the military-industrial complex, sent a typewritten letter to Gorbachev and Shevardnadze. Although Gorbachev’s role in the biological weapons program is not clear up to this point, the Zaikov letter shows that he was informed of some details on this date.

Document 6 – The Zaikov letter to Gorbachev. In this important memo, which he wrote at Gorbachev’s request, Zaikov puts a very selective spin on the history and activities of the Soviet germ warfare program. It is evident from the letter that Soviet officials lied not only to the world, but to each other, including the president of the country.
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

For more analysis of the letter, see The Dead Hand, pp. 346-348.

Two days later, U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III was invited to join Shevardnadze on a sightseeing trip to Zagorsk, a town forty-three miles northeast of the Kremlin with a famous Russian Orthodox monastery. Baker had prepared a short paper outlining what the United States knew.

As they cruised to Zagorsk in Shevardnadze’s ZIL limousine, flying Soviet and American flags on the front, with no aides but two interpreters in the car, Baker raised the issue of biological weapons and handed the paper to Shevardnadze. Baker recalled that Shevardnadze said, in the present tense, “he didn’t think it could be so, but he would check it out.”

The issue of biological weapons came up again at the Washington summit. On Saturday, June 2, 1990, President Bush and Gorbachev had a private discussion about it at Camp David.

And in July 1990, Baker gave Shevardnadze yet another paper outlining American concerns about biological weapons.

Shevardnadze was scheduled to meet Baker in August at Lake Baikal. On July 27 and again on July 30, 1990, a group of officials gathered at Zaikov’s office in Moscow to draft the talking points that Shevardnadze would use to respond to Baker.

Document 7 and Document 8: Shevardnadze’s talking points for Baker on Aug. 1, 1990.  Shevardnadze essentially continues the cover-up. He says, “We have no biological weapons.” Document 7 is a draft, and Document 8 consists of Shevardnadze’s actual talking points.  In his memoirs, Shevardnadze alluded to this moment: “If anything, Jim could have had some doubts about my honesty, in connection with an unpleasant story I do not intend to tell here.” He added, “Lying is always unproductive.”
[Source: Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Katayev collection]

The Shevardnadze response was followed by a long negotiation which resulted in the first U.K.-U.S. visits to the Soviet biological weapons complex in January, 1991. But the Western experts who visited came away with even deeper suspicions that a massive germ warfare program existed.

The stonewalling would continue even after the demise of the Soviet Union in December 1991.

For more, see The Dead Hand.


DE RUEHSF #0981 2211411
R 091411Z AUG 07
E.O. 12958: N/A 
Ref: Sofia 924 
1. On August 2, the GOB approved forgiving USD 56.635 million of communist-era debt owed by Libya. This debt forgiveness was Bulgaria's contribution to the deal brokered by the EU for Libya to release five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor. Whatever else may be murky in the deal, Bulgaria's debt forgiveness is both public and completed.
2. Since the nurses' July 24 return home, Bulgarian government and society have been working to reintegrate them into a country that has substantially changed over eight years. The Palestinian doctor, who announced he wishes to remain in Bulgaria, has also been warmly welcomed. After their return the nurses spent two weeks at the government's VIP residential compound outside Sofia. The GOB promised to find all the medics jobs, and a number of hospitals have offered positions. The GOB gave each medic 10,000 leva (USD 7,000), is covering their medical bills (two of the nurses needed unspecified surgery), and covered pension and medical insurance payments for the past eight years. Phone company MTEL is providing each with an apartment and cell phone, a local newspaper owner gave each another 10,000 leva, and a local construction company is renovating one nurse's rural house. Two nurses have been provided with hotel rooms in Bulgaria's premier ski resort as they readjust to life in Bulgaria. Sofia's mayor offered to pay for language classes and to help the Palestinian doctor settle in Sofia.
3. Although a few groups complained the nurses were getting more than ordinary citizens facing economic problems, the aftermath of the medics' return has seen surprisingly little rancor and recrimination. Bulgaria has, for the most part, moved on. When one nurse's son demanded 100,000 euros from the GOB as compensation for its failure to free the medics, the medics themselves announced they had no claim on the government. Most Bulgarian press, always eager to jump at a scandal, have stated the GOB did what it could. The only scandals have been minor blips in the press, caused by France's Avocats sans Frontieres (ASF). International press quoted ASF lawyer Stephane Zerbib as claiming the medics were being held prisoner in the presidential residence and would seek political asylum in France. Another ASF lawyer, Emmanuel Altit, reportedly arrived in Sofia shortly after the medics and tried to persuade them to sue the GOB. The medics deny any intent to seek asylum abroad or sue the GOB. The Palestinian doctor is apparently seeking to take Libya to court on torture charges, but this is unlikely to be a hot button issue here.
4. All in all, jubilation at the nurses' return has segued to near matter-of-fact normalcy. If the nurses speak out about their experience, that could change. For now, the mood is one of relief and recuperation.


DE RUEHKL #0765/01 2410943
P 280943Z AUG 08



E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2018



1. (C) Summary.  Anwar Ibrahim, still savoring his landslide
by-election victory, was sworn into Parliament on August 28
after being officially confirmed as leader of the Pakatan
Rakyat (PR) opposition alliance.  His first intervention was
to question the merits of  the DNA identification bill which
the ruling coalition planned to pass later that day.  Some
key Anwar aides seemed to be hedging on their leader,s
stated pledge to oust the Government by September 16 and
neutral observers were even more skeptical, but most agreed
that Anwar is now enjoying a surge of  momentum.   A suddenly
more assertive mainstream media is portraying  the BN as
mired in old thinking and old methods, in contrast to the
more cutting edge tactics effectively employed by the
opposition in Permatang Pauh.  End Summary. 

2.  (C) Parliament was the center of attention on August 28
as Anwar Ibrahim, followed by a large media entourage,
entered to be sworn in by Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia at the
beginning of the session.  The Speaker also formally
announced that the PR parties had unanimously selected Anwar
as Opposition Leader in Parliament.  Star newspaper chief
editor Wong Chun Wai, (recalling a conversation with  PM
Abdullah a few days before) told Poloffs that PM Abdullah
himself had overruled underlings who wanted to delay Anwar,s
entry into Parliament and ordered that the newly-elected MP
be sworn in as soon as possible.  Anwar, again mobbed by
reporters upon re-emerging from the chamber, chided the BN
for spending "billions" in Permatang Pauh but failing to win
over voters with its negative race-based campaign.  Having
harshly criticized the media over the past several weeks,
Anwar told the assembled journalists that he knew "your
hearts were in the right place even though you have to write
what your bosses order."  In that regard, state-owned RTM
(Radio-Television Malaysia), which normally broadcasts the
first 30 minutes of every Parliament session, began its
coverage only after Anwar,s swearing in. 

3. (C) The mainstream media, with the notable exception of
Malay language publications, has exhibited uncharacteristic
boldness in the wake of the by-election, with a number of
articles sharply critical of the BN,s campaign in Permatang
Pauh and expressing grudging admiration for the opposition
alliance,s operation.  Star editor Wong told us he had
resisted pressure to downplay Anwar,s triumph and insisted
on reporting it in banner headlines.  Such  openings have
appeared in the past only to be slammed shut, and the GOM
sent a message on August 27 by ordering all 21 Internet
Service Providers (ISPs) in the country to  block access to
Rajah Petra,s controversial  Malaysia Today website
((   The site remains accessible,
however, through an alternate link.  Raja Petra charged that
the GOM had breached its own commitment not to censor the
internet during the promotion of Malaysia,s own version of
Silicon Valley, the Multimedia Super Corridor. 

4.  (C) While Anwar held court outside, in the chamber
opposition MPs voiced their objections to the DNA
identification bill, which Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid
was pushing to pass by the end of the day.  Anwar himself
returned to make his first intervention, questioning the
Government,s motives for trying to rush through the bill,
widely seen as targeted at Anwar's own ongoing sodomy case
(Ref C).  Opposition MPs acknowledged to us that they had no
hope of delaying the legislation and expected it to pass, but
as noted (Ref A), the bill must pass through the upper house,
not scheduled to meet until December 1, before becoming law. 

5.  (C) Anwar,s Political Secretary Sim Tze Min and PKR
electoral chief Saifuddin Nasution  told Poloffs that the
opposition plan to achieve a majority in Parliament by
September 16 remains "on" but others, including PKR Vice
President Azmin Ali  were more cautious, noting "we,ll see."
 More detached observers remain highly skeptical of Anwar,s
ability to meet his self-proclaimed deadline, but do not
deny, given his present momentum, that the opposition leader
could eventually prevail.  Saiffudin maintained that  Anwar
is now clearly winning the electoral game, but what remains
is winning over the critical institutions, especially the
police and the military.  He claimed, however, that  compared
to ten years ago, Anwar and the opposition are in far better
shape in this regard to having, won over a number supporters
within the various key state institutions.  He acknowledged
that the Police Special Branch was especially critical in
this regard, expressing the hope that SB personnel, better
than anyone else, knew which way the political winds were
blowing and would want to emerge on the winning side or at
least hedge their bets. 

6.  (C) Our PKR interlocutors continued to exhibit  some
nervousness about PAS's reliability as a coalition partner.
While gratified with what they saw as a sterling PAS
performance in supporting Anwar in Permatang Pauh, they worry
that elements within PAS, especially its youth wing, will
continue to issue extreme  pronouncements that alienate other
coalition partners.  They also concede that any new balance
of power resulting from MPs crossing over to Anwar,s side
must include sufficient numbers of Malay/Muslims to avoid
alienating PAS.   In addition to the fragility of the PR, of
course the next serious obstacle for Anwar is his upcoming
sodomy trial.   GOM sources continue to suggest that  they
have what they see as some sort of convincing  evidence up
their sleeve.  This presumably would be revealed  upon the
beginning of the trial, the date of which will be determined
when the court reconvenes on September 10. 


The Washington/Camp David Summit 1990: From the Secret Soviet, American and German Files

Bush and Gorbachev in the Red Room of the White House, June 1, 1990.

Washington, D.C., June 13, 2010 – The Washington summit 20 years ago this month between Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail S. Gorbachev brought dramatic realization on the American side of the severe domestic political pressures facing the Soviet leader, produced an agreement in principle on trade but no breakthrough on Germany, and only slow progress towards the arms race in reverse which Gorbachev had offered, according to previously secret Soviet and U.S. documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

The largely symbolic achievements of the Washington summit memorialized in the documents contrast with subsequent published accounts claiming that the summit was a crucial turning point for German unification. (Note 1) The documents suggest other (non-American) points were more important, such as the March 1990 elections in East Germany, and the July 1990 meeting between Gorbachev and West German chancellor Helmut Kohl, in which Kohl offered significant financial aid and support for the Soviet troops in East Germany during a multi-year withdrawal process. (Note 2)

The documents show that Gorbachev came to the Washington summit in May 1990 under severe constraints from his own Central Committee (in marked contrast to previous summits). His marching orders, published here for the first time, reflect the dismay within leading Soviet circles over the loss of the Eastern European empire, resistance to Gorbachev’s demilitarization policy, and opposition to the unification of Germany.

Retrenchment on the Soviet side found something of an echo on the U.S. side, as a combination of the U.S. Air Force desire for thousands of air-launched cruise missiles (conventional warheads only, but the Soviets saw the possibility of nuclear conversion in a crunch), and U.S. Navy resistance to on-site inspections for mutual verification on ship-board nuclear warheads, prevented real progress on major arms cuts proposals such as the 50% ballistic missile cut discussed by Gorbachev and President Reagan at Reykjavik four years earlier. In fact, completing the START treaty – which Gorbachev originally sought to sign at the Washington summit – would take an entire additional year.

The documents show that Gorbachev came to Washington determined to make one final push for his idea of a European security structure, or the “common European home.”  He envisioned a gradual transformation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact into political organizations and their subsequent dissolution as the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) would become institutionalized and subsume NATO security functions. For Gorbachev, this was the answer to Soviet Union’s pressing issues—modernization and integration into Europe. At the same time, the Soviet leader was not going to alienate Germany as a potential friend and donor by opposing German unification—even in NATO if other alternatives did not work.

This situation created a strange dichotomy, where Gorbachev showed surprising flexibility on the issue of German unification—proposing, in fact, that Germany should be allowed to choose alliances herself, but at the same time he wanted to slow down the pace of unification to let the European processes come first. At the Washington summit, Gorbachev says that he would prefer to see “united Germany as the mediator of the European process,” that his preferred model of unification would be “a model that would include some length of time and be synchronized with the European processes.” The documents show Gorbachev being painfully aware of the reverse connection between German unification and the European process—fast unification would negate his vision of the common European home. Although Baker for the first time states that the United States now accepts the idea of building European security structures, and the Americans would go on to lead a NATO summit focused on altering alliance policy in ways that would help Gorbachev, here Bush emphasizes that “unification is unfolding faster than any of us could have imagined,” and that “united Germany is right around the corner.”

In his conversations with Bush, perhaps for the first time in the history of U.S.-Soviet summits, the Soviet leader talks about his parliament almost as much as his American counterpart—and in a similar fashion as well.  Partly, Gorbachev sincerely admits that political pressures from the Supreme Soviet do impose severe limits on his freedom of maneuver on most of the issues of the negotiations, but also he uses this issue as leverage with the U.S. President. However, especially on the issue of the Lithuanian drive for independence, Gorbachev is truly under fire from the left and from the right in the Supreme Soviet. He also badly needs to show the summit as his success, which domestically would hinge on signing the trade agreement, securing Western credits, and a fast signing of START. The transcripts show that Gorbachev repeatedly addresses the looming economic crisis in the Soviet Union and the need for support of the Soviet reform by the West.

The two leaders’ very first one-on-one discussion on May 31 (according to the memoirs, but unfortunately largely missing from the available documentary record) spends significant time on economic reform in the Soviet Union, and requests for assistance. During that discussion, the Soviet leader asks his American counterpart what kind of Soviet Union would the U.S. want to see in the future. He in turn emphasizes that the new Soviet Union would be a democratic, open and stable state with market economy, but that change would have to come gradually. Gorbachev finds Bush very sympathetic regarding Soviet domestic problems but unable to deliver what he wants most—credits to support investment and purchase consumer goods. Instead, Bush goes ahead with the trade agreement, despite political criticism over the Lithuania issue, to make sure Gorbachev has at least one success to point to. After the trade agreement is signed, the Camp David discussions feature a true tour d’horizon of the regional issues and show a genuine cooperation between the Soviet and American leaders.

The documents posted today include Soviet memcons of the Washington summit itself (the American memcons remain classified today, in a surreal testimony to the decrepitude of the U.S. secrecy system), the preparatory documents from both Soviet and U.S. files for the preceding ministerial meeting in Moscow between Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze (and Gorbachev), the National Security Directive signed by George H.W. Bush defining the American arms control goals and limits, the transcript of Kohl’s call to Bush just before the summit on May 30, 1990, and the U.S. Embassy cables from Moscow about Gorbachev’s political crisis before the summit and Soviet reaction afterwards, including the observation that the summit played in Moscow as if it were a political campaign against insurgent Russian politician Boris Yeltsin.


Read the Documents

Document 1. “Gorbachev Confronts Crisis of Power,” Moscow 15714, Cable from U.S. Embassy Moscow to U.S. Department of State, 11 May 1990.

This remarkable cable from U.S. Ambassador Jack Matlock in Moscow just weeks before the Washington summit describes for the summit planners in Washington the severe “crisis of political power” facing Gorbachev, who seems “less a man in control and more an embattled leader.” The cable details the many signs of crisis, which is “of Gorbachev’s making, if not of his design” because “[f]ive years of Gorbachev’s perestroika have undermined the key institution of political power in the Soviet Union, the Communist Party” without replacing it with any coherent, legitimate governance system. Full of specifics about “the powerful social forces his reforms have unleashed” and prescient about the various possibilities to come, the Matlock cable implicitly signals that Gorbachev would be coming to Washington on the downward curve of his power and his ability to deliver any of the items on the American agenda. In effect, the arms race in reverse that had been on offer from Gorbachev at the previous summits with Presidents Reagan and Bush now would be slowed to a crawl.

Document 2. “Draft U.S.-Soviet Summit Joint Statement,” U.S. Department of State, R.G.H. Seitz to the Secretary, 14 May 1990.

The State Department prepared this CONFIDENTIAL nine-page script two weeks before the Washington summit, summarizing what the U.S. government expected from the meeting, in prose that reads preemptively in the past tense. The cover memo from the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Raymond Seitz, proposes giving the draft to the Soviets at the very beginning of Secretary Baker’s ministerial meeting in Moscow, or alternatively waiting to “gauge the tone of the ministerial” and “adjust[ing] our draft accordingly before handing it over.” Notable are the passages that propose, related to START and to CFE, that “all major substantive issues have been resolved” yet kick the can for completing these agreements until “the end of 1990” (for START, this moment would not come until July 1991). Also interesting is the absence of any mention of NATO, at a time when a unified Germany’s prospective membership in that alliance was at the center of the political debate (and of the Americans’ concerns); and instead, the draft emphasizes the CSCE processes that most appealed to Gorbachev’s vision of a common European home.

Document 3. National Security Directive 40, “Decisions on START Issues,” 14 May 1990.

The language in this SECRET five-page Directive signed by President Bush takes the reader back to the intricacies of Cold War arms control negotiations between the superpowers, with a profusion of acronyms, subceilings, devilish details, and not-so-hidden agendas. The story behind the very first item on the list, the non-nuclear air-launched cruise missile Tacit Rainbow, reveals the real reason why it took so long to complete the START treaty (it wouldn’t be signed until July 1991). Tacit Rainbow, at the time of this Directive still in development and not yet in production, was intended to be a jet-powered mini-drone that could hover over enemy targets (assuming massive air attacks were on their way), wait for enemy radar to light up, then destroy those air-defense radars. This system would be cancelled in 1991 before even entering production in part because of cost overruns and also because of audit findings that decoys would be more effective against ground radars. Yet the hard line taken by U.S. START negotiators attempting to leave open this kind of U.S. option for developing non-nuclear cruise missiles added years of delay on overall cuts in strategic weapons. Likewise, the language on submarine-launched cruise missiles – allowing 875-1000 of them to be deployed without any on-board verification procedures – was more the product of U.S. military service rivalries for new weapons systems than any real assessment of U.S. national security. After all, many more U.S. cities were on the coasts and thus vulnerable to Soviet SLCMs than were Soviet cities vulnerable to U.S. SLCMs – a zero option would have made the U.S. more secure.

Document 4. Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, “On the directives for negotiations with the U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in Moscow on May 16-19th, 1990,” 16 May 1990.

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.

Document 5. Record of conversation, M.S. Gorbachev and U.S. Secretary of State J. Baker (with delegations), Moscow, 18 May 1990 [excerpts].

The fascinating excerpt presented here covers the arms control portion of the Gorbachev-Baker conversation, in preparation for the Washington summit, while the full text of this memcon includes extensive but inconclusive discussion of the issues of German unification and of tensions in the Baltics, particularly the standoff between Moscow and secessionist Lithuania. Following the official directives, Soviet negotiators are trying to avoid making further concessions while agreeing with the U.S. insistence on making an exception for Tacit Rainbow missile, which exceeds the Soviet-sought range limit on cruise missiles, and by accepting – after some debate – the U.S. demand that the issue of inspection of SLCMs on naval ships be resolved by a separate non-binding political statement and not be part of the treaty. Here we find the Soviet leader channeling President Ronald Reagan’s famous proverb, “trust but verify,” while the Americans duck any verification measures. Baker even rejects Gorbachev’s proposal for what would be purely symbolic inspections of “two ships a year,” something that would help Gorbachev with his domestic critics. When Gorbachev retorts, “does your position consist of the condition that an alien foot should never be able to step on an American ship?”, Baker finally admits, “We, of course, would prefer precisely this solution. We do not want to start movement on this slippery road.” Gorbachev’s frustration is evident when he points to the START “concession that the American side did not even anticipate. I am talking about the agreement to cut the number of our heavy missiles by half.  We agreed to that in Reykjavik.  Compared to that, American concessions are just sunflower seeds.” For his part, Shevardnadze laments that “two days will not be enough to list all our concessions” during the recent negotiations. For perhaps the first time in such negotiations, the Soviets match the U.S. concern for how the Congress will view the treaty in ratification debates with their own references to the Supreme Soviet’s consideration – perhaps reflecting the new opposition groups from right and left in that body.

Document 6. Talking Points, Secretary Baker’s Briefing to Members of the White House Press Corps, 22 May 1990.

Back from Moscow, the Secretary of State appears in the White House press briefing room to set the stage for the summit, outline the issues, and shape the press coverage going forward.  The cover memo from Baker’s senior aide, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Margaret Tutwiler, gives Baker the scenario and the 30-minute time limit for the briefing. The Talking Points in outline format express cautious hopes for completing the START treaty (“In Malta the Presidents set a goal of resolving all major substantive START issues by the summit. Progress at the Moscow ministerial has certainly put them in a position where that is possible.”). At the very end is the summary of the potential trade agreement that would become the primary (although primarily symbolic) outcome of the summit.

Document 7. “Press Fact Sheets for the Summit,” U.S. Department of State to Brent Scowcroft, The White House, 28 May 1990.

This 28-page set of CONFIDENTIAL drafts provided by the State Department to the White House gives one-page summaries of each of the agreements expected at the summit, together with those “that could be signed or announced if political decision made” and those “not yet fully negotiated” – the latter including START as well as “Bering Sea Fisheries.” The package gives a detailed sense of what kept both countries’ bureaucracies busy before and during the superpower summits.  Even though ultimately intended to turn into public press statements, these drafts contain some insider insights, including in the cover memo reporting that “[i]n cases where texts are still being negotiated with the Soviets, we have tried to predict the result and drafted the fact sheets on that basis.”

Document 8. “Status Update on Agreements and Joint Statements for the Summit,” U.S. Department of State to Brent Scowcroft, The White House, 29 May 1990.

This memo from the State Department to the White House updates where each of the proposed agreements stand, with candid language about each, including the fact that emigration legislation is unlikely to pass in Moscow before the summit – which was one of the original U.S. conditions for a new trade agreement. For the uninitiated, the memo helpfully explains that “agreement texts must be conformed (U.S. and Soviet sides agree the English and Russian texts are the same) and then certified (State interpreter confirms the final texts are identical) before signature.”

Document 9. “Telephone Call from Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany,” Memorandum of Telephone Conversation [with President Bush], The White House, 30 May 1990.

The West German chancellor rings President Bush to make three points before Gorbachev arrives in Washington for the summit. First was the joint Kohl-Bush position on the “future membership of a united Germany in NATO without any limitations.” Second was Kohl’s intention to “find an sensible economic arrangement” with Gorbachev because he “needs help very much” – meaning major West German financial aid and credits. Third, “it is of immense importance that we make further progress in disarmament.”  Interestingly, in the Bush-Scowcroft version of this conversation that would be published in their joint memoir, A World Transformed, Kohl’s third point about disarmament is left out altogether (p. 278). And the memcon is circumspect on Bush’s side about Gorbachev’s need for financial aid, with Bush saying only that he “remember[s] your private conversation with me.  Subsequently, that has been raised, with Jim Baker. We have problems with that, related to Lithuania.” The U.S. was also running its own budget deficit, and Bush had no intention of providing major financial support to Gorbachev – that would be up to Kohl.

Document 10. Record of Conversation, M.S. Gorbachev and G. Bush, Washington D.C., The White House, 31 May 1990 [First One-on-One, Excerpt].

The documentary record of the first one-on-one (actually with translators) meeting in the Oval Office between the U.S. and Soviet leaders remains incomplete, since the Gorbachev Foundation has only published the two pages of excerpts translated here, and the American memcons of the entire summit remain ridiculously classified, even though President Bush published lengthy quotations from them in his 1998 memoir co-authored with Brent Scowcroft. Bush’s memoir (p. 279) describes this discussion as “largely philosophical, the kind each of us had hoped to have at Malta.” This first conversation of the summit went significantly longer than planned, forcing the cancellation of the first plenary session, but the tone between the leaders is striking, direct and candid. They assure each other of their commitment to cooperation and further arms control negotiations. Bush draws Gorbachev’s attention to the situation in Lithuania and how difficult it is for him politically to sustain the position of supporting perestroika while Moscow is putting pressure on Lithuania to stay in the Soviet Union.  Bush says he will try to continue to show patience, but he mentions that the Lithuanian opposition leaders were comparing him to Chamberlain, the appeaser of Hitler, “for supporting you [Gorbachev] and not the great American principles of democracy and freedom.”

Document 11. Record of Conversation, M.S. Gorbachev and G. Bush, Washington D.C., The White House, 31 May 1990 [Plenary with delegations, Excerpts].

In this famous “two anchor” discussion, the U.S. and Soviet delegations discuss the process of German unification and especially the issue of united Germany joining NATO.  Bush is trying to persuade his Russian counterpart to reconsider his fears of Germany based on the past, and encourage him to trust the new democratic Germany. Baker repeats the nine assurances, a package of various American pledges put together for maximum impact, including the one that the United States now agrees to support the pan-European process and transformation of NATO to remove the Soviet perception of threat. Gorbachev’s preferred position is Germany with one foot in both NATO and the Warsaw Pact—the “two anchors”—in some kind of associated membership, which Bush calls “schizophrenic.” After the U.S. President frames the issue in the context of the Helsinki agreement, Gorbachev proposes the formulation that German people would have the right to choose their alliance—which he in essence already affirmed to Kohl during their meeting in February 1990. In stating and then reaffirming this position, Gorbachev significantly exceeds his brief and incurs the ire of other members of delegation, especially the Soviet official with the German portfolio, Valentin Falin, and Marshal Sergey Akhromeev. On the future of NATO itself, the Soviet leader suggests that if NATO becomes “a genuinely open organization,” then the Soviet Union “could also think about becoming a member of NATO”—surprisingly, he already suggested it to Vaclav Havel on May 21, during the Czechoslovak president’s visit to Moscow. The key warning about the future comes in Gorbachev’s caution that “if the Soviet people get an impression that we are disregarded in the German question, then all the positive processes in Europe, including the negotiations in Vienna [over conventional forces] would be in serious danger. This is not just bluffing. It is simply that the people will force us to stop and to look around.” This is a remarkable admission about domestic political pressures, from the last Soviet leader.

Document 12. Record of Conversation, M.S. Gorbachev and G. Bush, Washington D.C., The White House, 1 June 1990 [Excerpts from One-on-One and from the Plenary with delegations].

These brief excerpts published by the Gorbachev Foundation are translated here for the first time. After showing flexibility on German unification during the previous day’s discussions, the Soviet leader is trying here to achieve his major political goal—to get Bush to agree to sign a trade agreement with the Soviet Union in the absence of the expected law on emigration. Gorbachev explains how important for him this agreement would be and asks the U.S. President for a “political gesture” in the one-on-one conversation. In the plenary portion of the talks on strategic arms control, Gorbachev states his ultimate goal—“we have a firm intention to reach a signing of this treaty already in this year. This is the most important [thing].” But no breakthroughs on either issue are reached until later in the day when Bush decides to sign a trade agreement by finessing the emigration law requirement and adding a secret codicil requiring the USSR to suspend its blockage of Lithuania and begin serious dialogue.

Document 13. Record of Conversation, M.S. Gorbachev and G. Bush, Camp David, Maryland, 2 June 1990 [Excerpts from Camp David discussions].

The only publicly available excerpt, published by the Gorbachev Foundation, shows Gorbachev thanking Bush for agreeing to sign the trade agreement. The Soviet leader is satisfied with this outcome that gives him a victory to take home, to allay the criticism of the conservatives, and at least symbolically to address the economic crisis at home. He is also very sensitive to the public assessment of the summit and wants to pronounce it a victory.  Bush and Gorbachev together discuss what they would say at the press conference the next day, especially on reaching the trade agreement. What the excerpt leaves out is the discussion on biological weapons that took place during Gorbachev’s visit to Camp David, during which Bush confronted Gorbachev with information that the U.S. received from their British partners after the defection of Soviet biological weapons expert Pasechnik in the fall of 1989. Only two weeks earlier, on May 14, the British and American ambassadors to Moscow, Rodric Braithwaite and Jack Matlock, had presented a demarche on biological weapons to the Soviets, according to David Hoffman’s pioneering research.

Document 14. “Washington Summit Briefing Points,” U.S. Department of State to Deputy Secretary [Lawrence] Eagleburger, 4 June 1990.

Immediately following the summit, the State Department sends these SECRET talking points to the Deputy Secretary, Lawrence Eagleburger, away from Washington in Paraguay. The cable notes that separate (and presumably more expansive) Presidential letters are being sent to U.S. embassies in NATO countries as well as in Warsaw, Prague, Berlin and Budapest. Here we see the basis for subsequent accounts claiming that the meeting “was essentially different from any previous U.S.-Soviet summit” – “beyond containment to an era of enduring cooperation.”

Document 15. “Soviet Reactions to the Summit,” U.S. Embassy Moscow to U.S. Department of State, Moscow 19444, 12 June 1990.

This remarkable summary of Soviet assessments of the summit points out that “for the average Soviet, the summit story could not compete with concerns over food supplies and the election of Yeltsin to the RFSFR [Russian republic] presidency.” The cable goes on to remark, “From here, especially judging from the television coverage, the summit seemed part of a Gorbachev political campaign to gain support at home.” Bizarrely, the entire section headlined “Dissenting Voices” – giving a “more jaundiced view of the summit” – is blacked out by State Department declassification officers, claiming “B1” which means damage to U.S. national security.

Document 16. “Briefing Allies on Washington Summit,” U.S. Department of State to U.S. Embassies in NATO Capitals, Tokyo, Seoul, Canberra [and info to Moscow], 15 June 1990.

This 13-page cable two weeks after the summit provides the Bush administration’s fullest version of the summit results in the form of briefing points for U.S. diplomats to deliver to the allies. Classified SECRET (or one level up from the CONFIDENTIAL version sent to all diplomatic posts), this briefer includes several additional paragraphs of description just for the allies, as well as quotes from the “candid” exchanges with Gorbachev. For example, the cable quotes Gorbachev as saying were it not for the development of close working relations with Washington, the “rapid pace of change in Europe could have provoked a real clash of interests between the two countries, like “putting a match to a bonfire.”



1. Citing an interview with Anatoly Chernyaev by the scholar Hannes Adomeit, Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice call the summit “a turning point. From this time on, Gorbachev never again voiced adamant opposition to Germany’s presence in NATO.” Zelikow and Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995), p. 283. Robert Hutchings goes even further, catching the reader’s attention early in his narrative by writing, “The Bush-Gorbachev Summit thus emerged as the most important U.S.-Soviet meeting ever held. It was a summit essentially unlike any that had gone before.” Yet Hutchings is too scrupulous a scholar to sustain this argument, and by the end of this section he consigns the Washington summit, along with its trade agreement and the London NATO summit, to the status of “essential backdrop for the dramatic meeting in the Caucasus between Kohl and Gorbachev.”  Robert Hutchings, American Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War: An Insider’s Account of U.S. Policy in Europe, 1989-1992 (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1997), pp. 131-137.

2. The best recent explication of these dynamics, based in significant part on the National Security Archive’s collections, may be found in Mary Elise Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009), see specifically pp. 167-169 on the Washington summit. For the long view of Gorbachev’s vision for Europe, see Svetlana Savranskaya, “The Logic of 1989,” in Savranskaya, Blanton, and Zubok, eds., Masterpieces of History: The Peaceful End of the Cold War in Europe, 1989 (Budapest/New York: Central European University Press, 2010), pp. 1-47.

Eight Federal Agencies Have FOIA Requests a Decade Old, According to Knight Open Government Survey

Washington, D.C., July 25, 2011 – Forty-five years after President Johnson signed the U.S. Freedom of Information Act into law in 1966, federal agency backlogs of FOIA requests are growing, with the oldest requests at eight agencies dating back over a decade and the single oldest request now 20 years old, according to the Knight Open Government Survey by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (

The Knight Survey of the oldest requests utilized the FOIA to examine the actual copies of the oldest requests from the 35 federal agencies and components that process more than 90 percent of all FOIAs.  It shows that the oldest requests in the U.S. government were submitted before the fall of the Soviet Union.  These unfulfilled requests – some are for documents that are themselves more than 50 years old – are victims of an endless referral process in which any agency that claims “equity” can censor their release.

The Freedom of Information Act requires agencies to process and respond to a request within 20 business days, with the possibility of a ten-day extension under “unusual circumstances.”  In his March 19, 2009 government-wide memo on FOIA, Attorney General Eric Holder declared that “long delays should not be viewed as an inevitable and insurmountable consequence of high demand.”  Despite this, the Knight Survey shows that some FOIAs remain marooned for decades.

The two previous Knight Open government surveys conducted during the Obama administration have also shown that, despite a clear message from the President, government agencies have been slow to improve their Freedom of Information processes.  The 2010 Knight Survey, “Sunshine and Shadows,” showed that only 13 of 90 agencies implemented concrete changes in response to President Obama and Attorney General Holder’s early memoranda calling for FOIA reforms.  The March 2011 Knight Survey, “Glass Half Full,” showed improvement but still revealed that just 49 of 90 agencies had followed specific tasks mandated by the White House to improve their FOIA performance.  As Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, put it, “At this rate, the president’s first term in office will be over by the time federal agencies do what he asked them to do on his first day in office.”

In 2003, concerned with the tremendous age of its outstanding FOIAs, the National Security Archive created the “Ten Oldest FOIA Request” metric to illustrate the quantity of unfulfilled requests held by government agencies.  In 2006, the Department of Justice directed all agencies to include the date of their oldest pending request in their annual FOIA report.  The OPEN Government Act of 2007 codified the requirement that all agencies report their oldest open requests.  Now, under the Obama administration, the public can easily search the “Ten Oldest” statistic for all agencies at

But seeing just the dates of the oldest requests –not their subjects or who requested them– does not tell the whole story. To get a fuller illustration of the dire backlog, the National Security Archive requested copies of the actual ten oldest requests from the top 35 agencies or components.

Selected topics of the marooned FOIA requests include:

* A 1993 request to the National Archives for 1943 documents about the Sicilian Mafia and Sicilian Separatist movements.
* A 1995 request to the Air Force for documents relating to Pakistani surface to air missiles.
* A 1995 request to the Reagan Presidential Library for documents about “whether American POWs and MIAs were left in Southeast Asia.”
* A 1998 request to the George H.W. Bush Library for documents pertaining to the 21 December 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103.
* A 2000 request to the Kennedy Presidential Library for documents relating to “politics and the Internal Revenue Service.”
* A 2004 request to the Nixon Presidential Library for documents about the nuclear consultation between the United States and United Kingdom before the use of submarine-launched nuclear missiles.
* A 2004 request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for documents about Enron’s energy sales to California.
* A 2005 “urgent request” to the Department of Transportation for whistleblower complaints to be used in an upcoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration hearing.
* A 2005 request to the Federal Aviation Administration for information about the tracking information of an airplane which crashed off the Massachusetts coast in December 2005.
* A 2006 request to the Consumer Protection Bureau for documents about the recalled “Polly Pocket Dolls.”
* A 2006 request to the Clinton Presidential Library for documents relating to the US role in the 1994 transfer of power in Haiti.
* A 2009 request to the Johnson Presidential Library for documents related to the 1965 Coup staged by Joseph Mobuto in the Congo.

None of the above requests should have taken years to fulfill; most were for easily identifiable materials that should have been relatively simple to locate.  Several relate to areas of U.S. foreign policy that might include sensitive materials, but the FOIA provides well-established ways to protect truly delicate information, so the extraordinary delays are unjustified.  Finally, several of these requests are for subjects like whistleblowers, consumer protection, and business – issues of obvious social interest, where the government’s duty to be answerable to its citizens would seem to be most apparent.

In addition to identifying the specific subjects of FOIA requests that the government has not responded to, the Knight Survey also serves as a FOIA competency test.  The requests we sent should have been easy to fulfill.  They went to the very FOIA offices that were responsible for inspecting the oldest requests and including them in their federally mandated Annual FOIA reports.  Troublingly, six months after the National Security Archive filed its requests, nine agencies – almost one-quarter of those polled – still have not responded.

Agencies which have not provided documents in response to our request:

* Army
* Central Intelligence Agency
* Department of Energy
* Department of Justice
* Department of State
* Department of Health and Human Services
* Drug Enforcement Administration
* Office of Personnel Management
* Transportation Security Administration

Because of this inexplicable failure to respond, the National Security Archive has taken the unusual step of filing “constructive denial” appeals – which interpret the agencies’ non-response as an effective denial and opens the door to future legal action.

Some agencies are not reporting accurate data to the Justice Department

Perhaps even more disquieting, the Knight Survey also shows frequent discrepancies between the oldest requests agencies have reported to the Department of Justice in the Annual FOIA report and the actual copies of requests provided to us.  Some agencies appear to have outstanding requests years older than what they reported to the Department of Justice.  In the most egregious case, the Defense Intelligence Agency responded to our FOIA request with a document four years older than what it reported to the Department of Justice.

At the heart of the problem – the “referral” process

Each agency examined by the Knight Survey has a backlog older than two years.  Most are substantially older.  Fourteen agencies –more than half– are losing ground on their backlog; their current oldest request is older than it was a year ago.

The key reason for these growing backlogs is the referral process.  Each of the oldest requests held by NARA –including the oldest request in the United States– has been referred to at least one other agency for release.  NARA stores the documents, but cannot declassify them.  It must refer them to any agency which claims partial ownership of, or “equity” in, the information in the records.  This daisy chain of referrals can often result in decades-long delay.  Re-review of the same document by multiple agencies is redundant, costly, and inefficient.  Every FOIA professional is well trained at protecting sensitive material regardless of which agency employs them.  Thus, these bureaucratic “declassification turf wars” do not further protect secrets; they merely impede the public’s access to information.

There is hope that the National Declassification Center, recently on its feet at NARA, will ameliorate this problem for documents housed at the Archives, but it will do nothing to fix the problem of equity and referrals for documents “possessed” by other federal agencies.

Forty five years ago, the birth of the Freedom of Information Act established the profoundly American commitment to open government and access to information.   Yet these decades-old FOIA requests show that US government agencies must do much more –including tackling the problem of equity and referrals– to make that commitment a reality.

45 FOIA News Stories in 2011

“New Prize in Cold War: Cuban Doctors,” The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2011, Saturday, at A1.

Documents obtained through FOIA by The Wall Street Journal showed that the Cuban Medical Professional Parole immigration program allowed some Cuban doctors and health workers to enter the U.S. as refugees.

“Medicaid pays more, kids get less, audits show,” The Daily News Leader (Staunton, Virginia) January 23, 2011 Sunday, by David Ress/staff.

Documents obtained through a FOIA request identified $14.9 million of questionable payments in 70 insurance providers’ 2008 operations. The state attorney general’s office prosecuted three cases involving more than $4.6 million of fraud. Children were not properly assessed and treated by the qualified staff.

“A murder probe gone awry; Report rips handling of investigation into Riley Fox slaying Chicago Tribune January 25, 2011 Tuesday, at C 7, By Kristen Schorsch, Steve Schmadeke contributed reporting.

A report by a security firm, Andrews International, obtained through a FOIA request of Chicago Tribune showed that Will County Sheriff’s Police made mistakes in Riley Fox murder investigation including mismanagement and “highly questionable evidence. Detectives wrongly pinned Riley’s murder on her father, Kevin Fox. Riley’s parents, Kevin and Melissa Fox, eventually won $8 million in a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office.

“DPS ID system raises concerns” The Detroit News (Michigan) January 27, 2011 Thursday, at A8, by Jennifer Chambers.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Detroit Public Schools regarding screening system in certain Detroit Public School. The new security system instantly scans driver’s licenses and state ID cards, then cross-checks the information with sex-offender registries in the United States and Canada. The DPS started using this program without parental or school board input.

“Nine judges in region get both salary, pension,” The Journal News (Westchester County, New York) January 30, 2011 Sunday at AWPR1, by Joseph Spector, Sean Lahmanand Jonathan Bandler.

Documents obtained by a FOIA request from the state Comptroller’s Office showed that nine New York judges received double compensation. They collected public pensions and salaries simultaneously. In response, state lawmakers suggested ways for eliminating these legislative loopholes.

“Report finds fraud in AmeriCorps,” Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City) February 7, 2011 Monday, by Gregory Korte USA Today.

Documents obtained through a FOIA request showed that inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service had found several cases of fraud in AmeriCorps, the national service program. In some cases, the alleged fraud involved the misuse of more than $900,000.

“Baxter County sheriff’s deputy fired” The Baxter Bulletin (Mountain Home, Arkansas) February 8, 2011 Tuesday, by Josh Dooley.

According to documents obtained through FOIA, Baxter County sheriff’s deputy, Aaron Brown was fired after a series of incidents which resulted in disciplinary actions against him. Brown was placed on administrative leave a total of three times and was forced to take three weeks of remedial training.

“AP finds few states follow mental health gun law,” The Times of Trenton (New Jersey) February 18, 2011 Friday, at A07, by Greg Bluestein.

According to records obtained by the Associated Press through FOIA, fever that half of US states comply with a post-Virginia Tech shooting law that required them to share the names of mentally ill people with the national background-check system to prevent them from buying guns.

“Conclusions on Yucca lacking” Las Vegas Review-Journal (Nevada), February 18, 2011 Friday, at 8B, by Steve Tetreault.

Documents obtained through a FOIA request showed that The Nuclear Regulatory Commission scientists were evaluating whether tunnels carved in Yucca Mountain could safely hold radioactive particles from decaying nuclear fuel for up to a million years.

“Traffic-pix tix blitz –Stoplight cams nail more than 1M Drivers,” The New York Post February 27, 2011 Sunday, at 2, by Reuven Blau.

FOIA documents obtained by the New York Post showed that for the first time ever, New York City ticketed more than 1 million vehicles for running red lights and getting caught on camera. The city’s 150 secret cameras – 50 were installed in 2009 – nabbed an average of 2,741 drivers a day in 2010.

“FAA Moves to Limit Blockout System Hiding Private Jet Flights,” ProPublica, March 7, 2011, 12:12 p.m.

FOIA documents obtained by ProPublica, showed that The Federal Aviation administration was blocking private flights from real-time tracking data made available to the public. According to the ProPublica investigation, a number of individuals and companies requested the FAA not track their flights after receiving bad publicity. Among them was a televangelist facing a congressional inquiry, governors questioned about personal trips on state planes and Fortune 500 companies that had received government bailouts.

“24 at SEC dealt with over porn Documents show workers at seven regional offices, including Denver’s, were “counseled or disciplined,” The Denver Post, March 9, 2011, Wednesday, at A-01, by Andy Vuong.

According to documents obtained through a FOIA request, twenty-four U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission employees at seven offices, including Denver’s, were counseled or disciplined for accessing pornography sites on government computers.

“Overtime pay climbs. Top earners took in close to 8M in 2010,” Daily News (New York) March 12, 2011 Saturday, at 17, by Adam Lisberg.

Documents obtained by the Daily News through a FOIA request showed that the top 100 overtime earners in city government collectively raked in $7,961,400 in 2010, 6.8% more than in 2009. They were routinely working an extra two to four hours a day, every day – plus working full shifts on Saturdays or Sundays.

“Group warns EPA ready to increase radioactive release guidelines,” The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) March 16, 2011 Wednesday, by, Anne Paine.

The EPA was preparing to increase the standards of permissible radioactive releases in drinking water, food and soil in March, 2011. Documents obtained through FOIA showed that those relaxed standards were opposed by public health professionals inside EPA.

“Wood Dale mayor ran up tab with city; for 2 years, leader repeatedly failed to pay for his health insurance coverage,” Chicago Tribune, March 20, 2011 Sunday, at C7, By Bill Ruthhart.

Records obtained through FOIA showed that from June 2008 until September 2010, Wood Dale Mayor Ken Johnson failed to pay for his health insurance, without informing the City Council. His debt grew as high as $9,283.

“Probe into ethics panel looks at director’s time sheets Newsday (New York) March 31, 2011 Thursday, at A06, by Sandra Peddie.

According to documents obtained through a FOIA request executive director of the Suffolk county Ethics Commission had not worked full time since 2005 and had an arbitration business.

“The Antisocial Network,” Popular Mechanics April 1, 2011, at 58 Vol. 188, by Caren Chesler.

According to documents obtained through FOIA by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Internal Revenue Service monitored social media. The Internal revenue Service’s 38-page training manual outlines “Internet tools and searches that will be useful in locating taxpayers and determining their online business activity.”

“TB in elephants called ‘a gray area’; animal-rights group says circus elephant is a danger,” The Baltimore Sun, April 7, 2011 Thursday, at 2A, by Laura Vozzella.

FOIA documents obtained by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals showed that  an elephant performing in Baltimore with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus  posed a health risk to the public because she has tested positive for tuberculosis.

“New trucking firm, same violations, Logbook problems uncovered during audit of JTL,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin) April 17, 2011 Sunday, at D1, by Rick Romell.

According to records obtained through a FOIA request, the trucking firm, Franklin’s JDC Logistics Inc. was fined for logbook violations totaled about $155,000 from 2004 into 2006.

“Hospitals’ overtime overboard; County’s nurses stretched thin, raising risk to patients,” Crain’s Chicago Business, April 18, 2011, at 1 Vol. 34.

FOIA documents obtained by Crain’s Chicago Business and the Better Government Association showed that nearly $40 million a year is routinely spent on overtime pay by Cook County hospitals and health clinics. 182 county health staffers worked more than 624 overtime hours in 2010.

“Special Report: Calhoun County teachers’ pay trails state average,” Battle Creek Enquirer (Michigan) April 18, 2011 Monday, by, Justin A. Hinkley.

According to documents obtained by The Battle Creek Enquirer, the average Calhoun County teacher and the average Calhoun County superintendent were paid below the state average in 2009-10 school year. The average Calhoun County teacher salary was $52,218 in the 2009-10, about 9 percent less than the $57,327 the National Education Association said was the state’s average salary.

“Opponents criticize Tomblin spending; Records show acting governor’s outlays for signage, travel, other items total $64,000,” Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia) April 19, 2011, Tuesday, at P7A, by Rivarr, Daily Mail Capitol reporter.

According to documents provided by the governor’s office in response to a FOIA request, West Virginia has spent at least $64,000 paying stationery and signage costs as well as travel expenses for acting governor Earl Ray Tomblin, first lady Joanne Tomblin and their security detail.

“Pentagon clears general over profile in magazine,” The New York Times April 19, 2011 Tuesday, at A16, By Thom Shanker; Elisabeth Bumiller contributed reporting.

According to a document obtained by the New York Times through a FOIA request, an inquiry by the Defense Department inspector general into a Rolling Stone Magazine profile of General McChrystal has found no proof of wrongdoing by McChrystal, his military aides or his civilian advisers.

“City defends staff salaries; Citizen suggests cuts are in order,” Mukilteo Beacon (Washington) May 4, 2011, by Sara Bruestle.

Records obtained through a FOIA request showed that Mukilteo, city of about 20,000 had been spending $11 million on salaries and benefits. A majority of the city’s salaried employees and all of the management positions were at or above the maximum of their pay ranges. Six in management were getting paid above their defined ranges.

“Eight lawmakers signed a letter for Renco,” Sunlight Foundation, By Keenan Steiner, May 04 2011

According to documents obtained by the Sunlight Foundation through FOIA, eight members of Congress signed on to a letter asking the heads of the Treasury and State Departments to take measures to intervene on behalf of Renco Group in the middle of a controversial dispute with Peru. Renco Group is owned by billionaire mining magnate Ira Rennert, who has spent more than $300,000 lobbying Washington politicians.

“Lawyer’s career unravels in wake of broken pledges” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock) May 8, 2011 Sunday, at front section, by C.S Murphy.

FOIA documents obtained by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette showed that Former Little Rock attorney Elgin Clemons promised the Arts Center a $500,000 gift from a client, architectural company, Al Abbar. The Arts center faced a financial crisis in the spring of 2010 when the Alabbar donation didn’t materialize.

“Let’s quit fed program that ousts immigrants,” Daily News (New York) May 8, 2011 Sunday, at 34, by Albor Ruiz.

Records obtained through a FOIA request showed that nearly 79% of individuals deported nationally through the Secure Communities program from October 2008 through June 2010 had no criminal record or were arrested for minor offenses.

“Release the Iranian ‘hostages’; Obama’s sanctions against PJAK are unjustified gift to Tehran regime,” The Washington Times May 9, 2011 Monday, at B4, by Kenneth R. Timmerman.

A memorandum obtained by the lawyer of “Free Life Party of Iranian Kurdistan” (PJAK) in response to a FOIA request showed that the Treasury placed PJAK on its list of international terrorists only because the group was allegedly “controlled by the KGK” – another name for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Larcomb says evaluation was late, not signed,” The Marion Star (Marion, Ohio) May 10, 2011 Tuesday, by, Kurt Moore.

Documents obtained through a FOIA request showed that Pleasant Local Schools’ board evaluated its superintendent and put on indefinite paid leave. The documents indicated that the school board perceived the superintendent as “weak.”

“State’s raises for 17 follow frugality talk; Transit unit says duties changed” The Boston Globe May 13, 2011 Friday, at 1, By Noah Bierman.

FOIA documents obtained by the Boston Globe showed that two months after state Transportation Secretary Jeffrey B. Mullan said the economy was too weak to increase salaries for public sector executives he began handing out raises to 17 managers in his department.

“New Study Casts Light On SEC ‘Revolving Door’ Claims,” Dow Jones Business News, May 13, 2011 Friday, By Jessica Holzer.

According to FOIA documents obtained by Project on Government Oversight over the past five years, 219 former the Securities and Exchange Commission employees sought to represent clients on issues before the commission after leaving the agency. The former employees filed 789 notices with the agency on their intent to represent various clients.

“US State Department sued for pipeline lobbyist documents,” Reuters News, May 18, 2011 Wednesday, By Ayesha Rascoe.

A lawsuit was filed by green groups after the State Department denied a FOIA request. Green groups were requesting communications regarding a planned $7 billion TransCanada oil sands pipeline between Paul Elliott, who was national deputy director for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, and the State Department. Groups were seeking the communications which could expose whether Elliott’s ties to Clinton had resulted in bias in the permitting process.

“Des Plaines police officer gets $125,000 in settlement,” Chicago Daily Herald May 18, 2011, Wednesday, C3 Edition, at 3, by Madhu Krishnamurthy

Documents obtained through FOIA showed that Des Plaines paid veteran police Sgt. Matthew Hicks $125,000 to leave the police force and drop all claims of wrongful discharge against the city.

“Oil spill in Greer creek more extensive than thought, DHEC reports,” The Greenville News (South Carolina) May 19, 2011 Thursday, by, Anna Lee Staff Writer.

Records obtained through a FOIA request showed that the spill into a tributary of Frohawk Creek was more extensive than cleanup officials had originally estimated. According to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, 10,000 gallons spilled. The city engineer and an EPA coordinator first estimated that between 1,000 to 1,500 gallons had leaked.

“Police escorts not limited to dignitaries, records show,” Washington Post May 19, 2011 Thursday, at Metro, B06, by Eric Tucker.

Records obtained by the Associated Press through a FOIA request showed that Washington, D.C. police escorts mostly intended for top government officials and foreign dignitaries have been provided to celebrities, including Charlie Sheen.

“Nursing home abuse, neglect up 33 percent; Government report shows violence, sleeping on the job” Chicago Sun-Times May 21, 2011 Saturday, at 13, by Carla K. Johnson.

FOIA documents obtained by Associated Press showed that across Illinois in 2010, more than 130 cases of abuse and neglect were investigated and confirmed in group homes for adults, a 33 percent increase from 2006.

“What price, jobs? Illinois tax incentive packages growing larger,” Associated Press, May 21, 2011 Saturday, at 1 by David Mercer

Documents obtained through a FOIA request showed that Illinois’ government agreed in 2010 to give $272.7 million in tax breaks and other incentives to 67 companies that had received invitations from other states to move jobs elsewhere.

“Report: Securities and Exchange Commission broke procurement law,” Washington, May 27, 2011 Saturday, at A16

SEC Inspector General’s report released in response to a FOIA request by Reuters showed that the agency violated procurement law in 2008 when, without proper testing, it spent about $1 million buying computer equipment from Apple. The SEC violated federal regulations by awarding the contract without competitive bidding and by telling Apple its budget in order to tailor its offer precisely to the budgeted amount.

‘Statehouse beat; Resigned experts of panel have a lot to say,” Charleston Gazette (West Virginia) May 30, 2011, Monday, at P5A, by Phil Kabler.

FOIA documents obtained from the governor’s office showed that expert members of the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission found themselves exasperated that their efforts and vision for the anniversary were being undermined by the state officials on the panel.

“Sarah Palin’s e-mails show her going to bat for state-owned creamery,” Washington Post, June 11, 2011, by T.W. Farnam.

Emails of former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin obtained by FOIA show that she fought to use government funds to keep an Alaskan creamery open after it racked up $1.5 million in losses and was forced to close.  More than 13,000 emails were released.

“Student visa program: New rules, same problems,” Associated Press, June 20, 2011, by Holdbrook Mohr.

A FOIA request by the Associated Press shows that the Department of State did not begin tracking complaints about the exploitation of students in the United States on the J-1 visa program until 2010.  An AP investigation found abuse of hundreds of students with J-1 visas in more than a dozen states.

“A style guide for spooks,” Washington Post, June 23, 2011, by Lisa Rein. used the FOIA to win the release of the National Security Agency’s style guide.  The266-page manual which listed the meaning of acronyms such as “lnu” (last name unknown), “nfi” (no further information), and “FROG” (Free Rocket Over Ground).

“FBI records show late Gov. Ned McWherter never entangled in corruption cases,” Associated Press, June 26, 2011, by Erik Schelzig.

The 217-page FBI file on the late Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter shows that “at no time was a subject, witness, or a target in the Rocky top investigation.”  Rocky top was an investigation into widespread abuse of gambling licenses in Tennessee which led to the arrest of several state politicians.  The report was released under FOIA.

“Report: Feds downplayed ICE case dismissals; Documents show agency had approval to dismiss some deportation cases,” Houston Chronicle June 27, 2011, by Susan Carroll.

A Freedom of Information Act request by the Houston chronicle shows that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s chief counsel in Houston prioritized deportations of illegal immigrants who were a danger to public safety or national security.

“FOIA docs expose DHS agency irradiating Americans cover-up,” Washington Examiner, 29 June 2011, by Deborah Dupre.

Documents obtained through FOIA by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) show that Transportation Security Administration employees working enclose Proximity to radiation-firing devices may have higher risk of developing cancer strokes, and heart disease.