In 1991, As the Iron Curtain Pulls Back, President George H. W. Bush Rejoices in the Success of a Diplomatic Conference in Newly Liberated Poland

A rare ALS of Bush as President, relating to the fall of Communist Russia and its aftermath

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At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Joseph Stalin was able to present his western allies, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, with a fait accompli in Poland. His armed forces were in occupation of the country, as they had driven the Germans out, and his agents, the Communists, were in control...

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In 1991, As the Iron Curtain Pulls Back, President George H. W. Bush Rejoices in the Success of a Diplomatic Conference in Newly Liberated Poland

A rare ALS of Bush as President, relating to the fall of Communist Russia and its aftermath

At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Joseph Stalin was able to present his western allies, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, with a fait accompli in Poland. His armed forces were in occupation of the country, as they had driven the Germans out, and his agents, the Communists, were in control of its administration. Moreover, the USSR was in the process of incorporating the lands in eastern Poland that it had occupied between 1939 and 1941.

Rumbles of revolution that led to the overthrow of Communist began in the early 1980s. In Poland, labor turmoil led to the formation of the independent trade union, Solidarity, led by Lech Wałęsa, which over time became a political force. This was the harbinger of things to come. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev took over as Communist Party General Secretary of the Soviet Union. He was a reformer who wanted to implement changes to improve the Soviet economy, and this could only be accomplished by cooling down the temperature of the Cold War. As his program moved forward, the subject countries in the Soviet bloc saw an opportunity for self-exertion, and grassroots organizations, such as Poland’s Solidarity movement, rapidly gained ground. In 1989 the Communist governments in Poland and Hungary became the first to negotiate the organizing of competitive elections. On June 4,1989, Solidarity won an overwhelming victory in an election in Poland, leading to the peaceful fall of Communism in that country in the summer of 1989. The tidal wave of change culminated with the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, which ended the Iron Curtain divide of Europe. In 1991 the final Soviet troops left Poland, old monuments began to crumble, and the rudiments of civil non-communist society began to develop.  The first fully free elections in Poland were held, and Poland would soon begin to integrate into the western diplomatic and political structures.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe traces its origins to the détente phase of the early 1970s, when the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) was created to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West.

Until 1990, the CSCE functioned mainly as a series of meetings and conferences that built on and extended the participating States’ commitments, while periodically reviewing their implementation. However, with the end of the Cold War, the Paris Summit of November 1990 set the CSCE on a new course. In the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the CSCE was called upon to play its part in managing the historic change taking place in Europe and responding to the new challenges of the post-Cold War period, which led to its acquiring permanent institutions and operational capabilities.

In May-June 1991, members of CSCE met in Krakow, Poland, to discuss the building and safeguarding of cultural organizations and norms, and to pledge that such efforts would be instrumental in future peace efforts.  Among the US representatives there was Nancy Clark Reynolds, assistant press secretary to Ronald Reagan during his governorship of California (1967-1975), then for two years his special assistant. Reagan appointed Reynolds US representative to the Commission on the Status of Women of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in September of 1981.

Autograph letter signed, June 25, 1991, to Nancy Clark Reynolds. “Dear Nancy – Thanks for the Krakow report. Glad you went. Glad it was a success.  Yes they Poles are trying hard.”

This is a very scarce and apparently unpublished autograph letter signed of Bush as President.

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