December 6, 2021

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Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1981–1988, Volume IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985

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Office of the Spokesperson

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1981–1988, Volume IV, Soviet Union, January 1983–March 1985.

This volume is part of a subseries of volumes of the Foreign Relations series that documents the foreign policy decisions of the administration of President Ronald Reagan. The focus of the volume is on the development of the Reagan administration’s policies toward the Soviet Union from January 1983 to March 1985.

The documentation demonstrates how administration officials developed a four-part agenda to deal with the Soviet Union on arms control, human rights, regional issues, and bilateral relations, and then promoted U.S. positions on these various issues during meetings with Soviet officials. The volume documents several Cold War flashpoints during the contentious months of 1983: the announcement in March 1983 of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), the downing of the KAL 007 airliner by the Soviet Union on August 31, 1983, and the deployments of INF missiles to several NATO allied countries in late November 1983, which led to the Soviet walkout of arms control negotiations in Geneva. The volume also presents selective documentation related to the 1983 Soviet “War Scare” and the November 1983 NATO nuclear exercise, Able Archer (see Appendix A). Even with these challenges, Secretary of State George Shultz and others pressed to keep moving ahead with the four-part agenda and promote greater dialogue in U.S.-Soviet relations. This culminated in an agreement to open new arms control negotiations, the Nuclear and Space talks, on three tracks: START, INF, and Defense and Space, starting in March 1985.

This volume was compiled and edited by Elizabeth C. Charles. The volume and this press release are available on the Office of the Historian website at https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1981-88v04. Copies of the volume will be available for purchase from the U.S. Government Printing Office online at http://bookstore.gpo.gov  (GPO S/N 044-000-02705-4; ISBN 978-0-16-095828-1), or by calling toll-free 1-866-512-1800 (D.C. area 202-512-1800). For further information, contact history@state.gov.

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