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Masterpieces of History

Svetlana Savranskaya
Thomas Blanton
Vladislav Zubok


Document No. 74: Record of Concluding Conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and François Mitterran, July 6, 1989

Traduction de Svetlana Savranskaya

Texte intégral

1In this conversation, Gorbachev shares with Mitterrand his concern about Bush’s statements during his recent visit to Warsaw calling for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Poland. He warns against a situation where “someone would try to behave like an elephant in a china shop” at such a sensitive time in Europe. Mitterrand promises to raise these issues with Bush at their forthcoming meeting. Gorbachev also informs the French leader that his negotiations with the Americans on the 50 percent strategic weapons reductions will not affect French and British nuclear weapons.


2Gorbachev: It is good that you and I are discussing this topic now, in the context of the current deep changes. It is very important now, when responsibility and large-scale thinking are necessary.

3I am not inclined to overdramatize the situation. I can tell you that we are going to continue taking the initiative in conducting our relations with the United States. I merely thought it was necessary to share with you our latest observations and thoughts about how the United States looks at the world, and moreover, how they act. To go to Poland and to talk about restoration of the 1939 borders in Europe, and to call for the withdrawal of Soviet troops—all this looks very strange to me.

4Mitterrand: (Asks his assistant, J. Musitelli, when Bush made those statements.)

5Frankly, I am also surprised by those statements, which do not take into account the experience of 45 years of post-war development. I do not think that we can open a new era in Europe if we begin with this type of proposals. I can only hope that that was a conclusion, not a preamble.

6Gorbachev: It is important, Mr. President, to avoid a situation where in these times, which are marked with signs of big changes and common hopes, someone would try to behave like an elephant in a china shop.

7Mitterrand: I am going to have a meeting with Bush in the near future and, of course, I will raise the issues that we discussed here. I promise that it will be a substantive conversation.

8Gorbachev: I would like to touch upon the issue of French and British nuclear forces. We understand and take into account the specific nature of these weapons. I would like to ask you, Mr. President, to see that this situation does not affect French actions in the context of the processes unfolding now in Europe, in Geneva. I have in mind, for instance, the Soviet-American negotiations about a 50 percent reduction in strategic offensive weapons. This is all I would like to ask you about. However, it is not a small request.

9[Source: Archive of the Gorbachev Foundation, Fond 1. Opis 1. On file at the National Security Archive. Translated by Svetlana Savranskaya.]

© Central European University Press, 2010

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