Statement on U.S. Measures Taken Against the Soviet Union Concerning Its Involvement in Poland

December 29, 1981

The Soviet Union bears a heavy and direct responsibility for the repression in Poland. For many months the Soviets publicly and privately demanded such a crackdown. They brought major pressures to bear through now public letters to the Polish leadership, military maneuvers, and other forms of intimidation. They now openly endorse the suppression which has ensued.

Last week I announced that I had sent a letter to President Brezhnev urging him to permit the restoration of basic human rights in Poland as provided for in the Helsinki Final Act. I also informed him that, if the repression continued, the United States would have no choice but to take further concrete political and economic measures affecting our relationship.

The repression in Poland continues, and President Brezhnev has responded in a manner which makes it clear the Soviet Union does not understand the seriousness of our concern, and its obligations under both the Helsinki Final Act and the U.N. Charter. I have, therefore, decided to take the following immediate measures with regard to the Soviet Union:

-- All Aeroflot service to the United States will be suspended.

-- The Soviet Purchasing Commission is being closed.

-- The issuance or renewal of licenses for the export to the U.S.S.R. of electronic equipment, computers and other high-technology materials is being suspended.

-- Negotiations on a new long-term grains agreement are being postponed.

-- Negotiations on a new U.S.-Soviet Maritime Agreement are being suspended, and a new regime of port-access controls will be put into effect for all Soviet ships when the current agreement expires on December 31.

-- Licenses will be required for export to the Soviet Union for an expanded list of oil and gas equipment. Issuance of such licenses will be suspended. This includes pipelayers.

-- U.S.-Soviet exchange agreements coming up for renewal in the near future, including the agreements on energy and science and technology, will not be renewed. There will be a complete review of all other U.S.-Soviet exchange agreements.

The United States wants a constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with the Soviet Union. We intend to maintain a high-level dialog. But we are prepared to proceed in whatever direction the Soviet Union decides upon -- towards greater mutual restraint and cooperation, or further down a harsh and less rewarding path. We will watch events in Poland closely in coming days and weeks. Further steps may be necessary, and I will be prepared to take them. American decisions will be determined by Soviet actions.

Secretary Haig has been in communication with our friends and allies about the measures we are taking and explained why we believe such steps are essential at this time.

Once again I call upon the Soviet Union to recognize the clear desire of the overwhelming majority of the Polish people for a process of national reconciliation, renewal, and reform.