The Kremlin Minutes "Why Commit Ourselves?"

+++ Note from advisor Chernyayev to Gorbachev on Oct. 28, 1988

Mikhail Sergeyevitch!

I have learned that it has been suggested that Honecker be given the transcripts of your discussions with Kohl.

My opinion is that we should not do this. First, it would establish a precedent. Second, it is not even the content that concerns me, although even in this respect it is not necessary that he be aware of everything, especially not the atmosphere of the talks. Honecker could draw some sort of "ideological" conclusions that we can absolutely do without (his mistrust when it comes to "orthodoxy"), but also pragmatic conclusions ("I too can take a bolder approach now"). Sending an abridged version is dangerous, because there could be a leak in West Germany (for which we, of course, are not responsible).

And besides, we determine our policy, which is by no means identical to Honecker's. This is obvious when you consider what we told Kohl and, even more importantly, how we told him. And why commit ourselves?

Bondarenko* is flying to (Berlin to visit) Honecker today. I have instructed him to send him greetings from you.

* A Germany specialist in Moscow's Interior Ministry

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