Soviet-American Agreements

Soviet-American Agreements


Diplomatic relations between the USSR and the USA were established Nov. 16, 1933, although trade between the two countries had been conducted since 1924 through Amtorg (seeAMTORG TRADING CORPORATION). A tariff agreement was signed July 13, 1935, and a trade agreement Aug. 4,1937. On Aug. 2,1941, after the fascist German attack on the USSR, the US government announced its decision to render economic assistance to help strengthen the Soviet Union in its struggle against armed aggression. By an exchange of letters between Oct. 30 and Nov. 4,1941, agreement was reached for an American interest-free loan of arms and matériel worth up to $1 billion, with the provision of certain Soviet deliveries to the USA. Upon the agreement of June 11,1942, concerning the principles to be applied in helping one another in the war against aggression, the USA made additional military deliveries to the USSR. On the initiative of the leading powers of the anti-Hitler coalition—the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain—the Declaration by United Nations was signed in 1942 by 26 nations; the declaration became the basis for the United Nations.

Of the greatest importance in resolving the problems of wartime collaboration and of the postwar organization of peace were the Tehran Conference of 1943, the Yalta Conference of 1945, and the Potsdam Conference of 1945, which were attended by the heads of government of the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain.

In the postwar period the cold war policy pursued by ruling circles in the USA disrupted normal US-Soviet relations and led to a heightening of international tensions. On June 23, 1951, the USA renounced the trade agreement of 1937. Beginning in 1958, Soviet-American relations developed on the limited basis of two-year agreements on exchanges in the fields of science, technology, education, and culture. The USSR never rested in its efforts to achieve a relaxation of tensions.

The memorandum of June 20,1963, established a direct line of communication (the “hot line”) between the USSR and the USA; this line is for use in exceptional circumstances. Other agreements signed between the two countries in the 1960’s were a consular convention (June 1, 1964), an agreement on air transportation (Nov. 4, 1966), and several agreements on fishing in various parts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. On Sept. 30, 1971, an agreement was signed on measures for reducing the danger of nuclear war between the USSR and the USA.

The USSR, the USA, and Great Britain were among the several signatories of the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963, the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968, the Seabed Treaty of 1971, the Convention on Bacteriological Weapons of 1972, and the Act of the International Conference on Vietnam of March 2, 1973. Negotiations between the USSR, the USA, Great Britain, and France, held on the initiative of the Soviet government, led to the signing on Sept. 3,1971, of the four-power agreement on West Berlin.

As a result of summit meetings and talks between 1972 and 1974 a series of mutual undertakings in the most important spheres of relations between the Soviet and American governments were worked out, including the prevention of nuclear war, the limitation of strategic arms, and disarmament. These meetings led to an agreement on preventing incidents in and over international waters (May 25,1972), a treaty to limit antimissile defense systems (May 26, 1972), a provisional agreement on the limitation of strategic offensive weapons (May 26, 1972) and a protocol to that agreement (May 26, 1972), a memorandum recording agreement concerning the creation of a permanent consultative commission (Dec. 21, 1972), an agreement on the prevention of nuclear war (June 22,1973), a protocol to the treaty to limit antimissile defense systems (July 3,1974), and a treaty limiting underground testing of nuclear weapons and a protocol to that treaty (July 3,1974).

Agreements were also concluded concerning economic relations and scientific, technical, educational, and cultural cooperation. On May 23, 1972, two agreements—one on cooperation in environmental protection and one on cooperation in medicine and public health—were signed. Also concluded were an agreement on the study and use of space for peaceful purposes (May 24, 1972), an agreement on science and technology (May 24, 1972), an agreement on certain problems of maritime shipping (Oct. 14, 1972), and an agreement on the handling of claims arising from injury to fishing vessels or equipment and on the prevention of commercial fishing disputes (Feb. 21, 1973). Agreements on cooperation in agriculture, transport, and océanographie research were signed on June 19, 1974, as was a general agreement on contacts, exchanges, and cooperation. The USSR and the USA also signed a convention on questions of taxation (June 20,1973), an agreement on scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy (June 21,1973), agreements on cooperation in energy, housing and other types of construction, and research and development of artificial hearts (June 28, 1974), and a long-term agreement on economic, industrial, and technical cooperation (June 29,1974).

The May 29, 1972 document entitled The Basic Principles of Relations Between the USA and the USSR particularly applauds the principles of peaceful coexistence, respect for each other’s position, mutual benefit, equality and security, and renunciation of the use of force. At the same time, however, the discriminatory trade policy of the USA has prevented a trade agreement (Oct. 18, 1972) and an agreement on lend-lease, mutual assistance, and claims regulation (Oct. 18, 1972) from going into effect.

A joint declaration of Nov. 24,1974, expressed the intention of both countries to reach a new agreement on limiting strategic offensive weapons before 1985. In a joint communiqué agreed to at the same time, the two countries expressed their desire to broaden peaceful cooperation and to find ways of regulating unresolved international problems in the interest of world peace.


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