Dear Prime Minister
I know that you have followed our successful efforts to develop a bipartisan consensus behind US policy toward Central America. Jim Baker will be writing to Brian
Lenihan shortly with more details on the subject.
I wanted to take this
opportunity, however, to let you know that I have sent Mikhail Gorbachev a letter on the eve of his departure for Havana outlining our concerns about – and urging a change in – Soviet policy toward Central America.
In particular, I underscored the difficulties we have reconciling the language of Soviet "new thinking" with continuing high levels of Soviet and Cuban assistance to Nicaragua. As you know, there is no conceivable military threat that justifies that assistance (which last year totalled almost one billion dollars).
I noted further that this assistance is almost certain to be used to undercut diplomatic efforts, as evidenced by Nicaraguan and Cuban
use of Soviet aid to support violent destabilisation of the
government of El Salvador.
I also left no doubt that Soviet actions in the region will necessarily affect the prospects for US0-Soviet relations. The leadership of both houses of Congress from both parties agree with me on this.
In conclusion, I expressed my hope that, during his visit to Cuba, chairman Gorbachev would reflect seriously on the opportunity now before us to pursue peaceful solutions in Central America.
Moreover, an initiative by the Soviet Union and Cuba to shut off the assistance pipeline feeding armed conflict in the region would pay large dividends in American goodwill and would suggest that Soviet "new thinking" was to be taken seriously.
As Jim Baker told you during your recent visit to
Washington, we will judge the Soviet Union's regional initiatives by their results which should include ending military assistance to Nicaragua.
Given Ireland's interest in promoting democracy in Central America, I hope that when you see general
secretary Gorbachev at Shannon you will urge him to support diplomatic efforts to bring peace to the region by stopping the shipment of weapons to the region.
Thank you for dropping
by to see me on St Patrick's Day.
I enjoyed your visit very much and look forward to other such pleasant occasions.
The Honourable George Bush
The White House,