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Masterpieces of History

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton
Vladislav Zubok


Document No. 18: Telegram from Rozanne Ridgeway to All European Diplomatic Posts, “Eastern Europe: Invitation to the Dance”, December 1987

Texte intégral

1The CIA’s Robert Gates was not alone in his reluctance to advocate a reassessment of U.S. strategy in response to Gorbachev’s new initiatives. In this cable from the State Department to European posts, Assistant Secretary Rozanne Ridgeway coins an attention-getting title—“invitation to the dance”—but includes little substance other than a mention of Vice President Bush’s earlier trip to Poland. Similarly, the various cables and discussions mentioned here apparently produced few changes in actual U.S. policy. In a January 19, 1988, speech entitled “The U.S. Approach to Eastern Europe: A Fresh Look,” Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead would simply restate the old policy of differentiation (treating each socialist country according to its maverick tendencies, meaning Stalinist Romania became the U.S. favorite), and would assert, “Let us be clear, the long-run Soviet interest in maintaining a hegemonic relationship with Eastern Europe has not changed.”



  • (S[ecret]- Entire Text).
  • This is to invite you to the discussion of Eastern Europe by cable which [Deputy Assistant Secretary of State] Tom Simons suggested at the end of his presentation in Oslo December 14.
  • The focus is the prospects of change in Eastern Europe and the implications for U.S. policy over the near and middle term. The purpose is to clarify our thinking about the issues preparatory to discussion within NATO as early as mid-February. As some of you will recall, when the vice president reported to NATO on his late-September visit to Poland, he suggested a ministerial-level exchange as early as December. The Washington summit made this impracticable, but we continue to believe such an exchange would be useful to us and other allies, and we are pursuing options for scheduling it.
  • By now you will have received both ambassador [to the GDR Francis J.] Meehan’s very thoughtful cable (refer), and embassy Oslo’s record of Tom Simons’ remarks in Oslo. While I regret not having been able to attend the session, I understand that his presentation was well received, and produced solid, stimulating discussion. So you may wish to take these two cables. […]

3[Source: U.S. Department of State. Obtained through FOIA. On file at the National Security Archive.]

© Central European University Press, 2010

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