Declassified documents reveal why US snubbed Russian ‘allies’ suggestion – Reuters
Then-US President George HW Bush cited unresolved issues when rejecting a proposal by Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in 1992.
The United States rejected Russian suggestions to describe the pair as “alliesat a meeting of the then-presidents of the two nations in 1992, recently declassified transcripts revealed. George HW Bush explained to his counterpart Boris Yeltsin why he was reluctant to use the word, saying not all issues between the countries had been ironed out.
On Monday, the US National Security Archive released a trove of declassified minutes from several meetings between the two presidents just over three decades ago. After the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of December 1991, the new Russian leaders hoped that the old rivals could become friends.
One such conversation took place on February 1, 1992, during the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland, during Yeltsin’s first state visit to the United States.
Towards the end of the meeting, the Russian president asked Bush:Are we still adversaries or not?”
“No we are not,“, replied the American leader, adding that a press release had been prepared which moves “us away from the old days.He then suggested the Russian head of state take a look at the message.
In doing so, Yeltsin remarked: “You don’t have anything here that says we are no longer adversaries and we are becoming allies.”
“It says friendshipexclaimed Secretary of State James A. Baker.
However, the Russian president insisted that the document specify that the United States and Russia “move from the stage of adversaries to that of allies.Such formulation, according to Yeltsin, would add anew quality” to the message.
President Bush, in turn, made it clear that his administration was “use this transitional language because we don’t want to act like all our problems are solved.”
Adding to the episode, Yeltsin told his American counterpart that while the Russian government was committed to democracy and market reform, the country was going through “difficult times.“He argued that Washington”should helpto former Soviet republics, including Russia, unless it wants to see a return of “conservative forces [and] falconsin power in Moscow. Yeltsin warned that this would lead to Russia becoming a “police state,” with “repression” And one “arms race” restart.
The Russian leader also made a number of bold nuclear arms reduction proposals that Bush did not accept, with the US president refusing to give up on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which formed the core of the US strategic triad. .
Yeltsin’s idea of creating a common global missile defense system was not met with enthusiasm by the Americans either.
Despite the differences of opinion, the two leaders described the meeting as extremely positive at the time.
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