The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War

By Raymond L. Garthoff | Go to book overview

A Commentary on Sources

THE ACCOUNT in this book has been extensively documented in footnote references, and a comprehensive bibliography would be redundant. It would also be too long to be useful, given the wide range of subjects covered because of their relationships to the overall theme. At the same time, it may be useful to discuss briefly the types of sources available and to note the most important ones dealing directly with the central subject of American-Soviet relations in the 1980s.

First is the public record, by which I mean the publicly reported course of events and published statements of various kinds primarily by leaders, official institutions, and other prominent speakers, commentators, and analysts of the two countries. In short, the record of events, of pronouncements, and of expressions of view on both sides. Contemporary and subsequent official compilations of statements and other documents are an important category of data. For example, in the United States, there are the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents and the Department of State Bulletin (until 1990, subsequently U.S. Department of State Dispatch), and numerous other official publications (such as the annual American Foreign Policy Current Documents), and congressional hearings. In the Soviet Union, many collections of documents and of statements by various leaders were published, including from 1987 through 1991 the official Bulletin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR (Vestnik ministerstva inostrannykh del SSSR). The press is of course an important source, although it is necessary to distinguish between established facts and attempts to determine facts, as well as between official and unofficial views.

A second source is the testimony of participants in the policy process, through memoirs or interviews. For the period covered in this book, the memoirs of President Ronald Reagan ( An American Life, Simon and Schuster, 1990); Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr. ( Caveat: Realism, Reagan, and Foreign Policy, Macmillan, 1984); and especially the memoir of Secretary of

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