The Letter of President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia to United States Secretary of State James Baker

News | Memory and Disinformation Studies | Publications | Article 20 March 2017

One of the main directions of IDFI is study of open archives and modern Georgian history. For this reason, IDFI cooperates with many of the world’s leading research institutions and scientific organizations. In 2010, IDFI’s partner organization the National Security Archives at George Washington University, on behalf of IDFI, requested declassification of documents kept in US archives concerning Georgian independence and following events. A part of these documents was published in articles IDFI - Confidential Documents on April 9 and IDFI - Classified Document on Georgia's Independence.


IDFI continues to publish declassified documents kept in US archives. This time, we are publishing a letter of the Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia to US Secretary of State James Baker dated December 12, 1991. This letter is a response to the criticism expressed by the US towards President Gamsakhurdia. It is probably also a response to the US diplomatic protest note delivered to the permanent representative of Georgia in Moscow on November 23, 1991regarding the political situation in Georgia (arrest of opposition leaders and armed conflict in South Ossetia). 


The Letter of President of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia to United States Secretary of State James Baker


December 12, 1991


Your Excellency,


It is for the second time that the United States Embassy in Moscow answers the Republic of Georgia’s President Mr. Z. Gamsakhurdia’s address to you. We explain this by your utter engagement in searching the ways of peace in various regions of the world, and specifically, in the Near East. But we strongly believe that as a result of irreversible historical processes, your and the international attention will shift to the Caucasus region, geographically neighboring the Near East, where due to the long-lasting imperial policy we have no less tense and explosive situation.  The countries of the Caucasus region have already declared restoration of their state independence, and it is paradoxical that the imperial Center tries to act as a neutral arbiter between them. This is the Center whose disintegration the United States government so strongly resists. We deeply believe that no government or political leader can reverse this historical process.


In your letter it is noted that the United States government is pleased by the fact that the political situation in Georgia has calmed down and the threat of using the force has been greatly reduced.  Let me assure you that this was largely because of the ability of the Georgian government and the president, Mr. Z. Gamsakhkurdia, to conduct negotiations on the basis of compromise and dialogue with the armed opposition that has marched against the legitimate and democratically elected government, although authorities in any democratic country confront such elements with armed forces.


Wewould like to inform you that the Georgian authorities use the same peaceful approach to solve problems in the so-called South Ossetian region which usually appears in the list of accusations presented to Georgia.  The conflict, according to the Ossetians themselves, is political not ethnic one.  It is symptomatic that Ossetians do not protest against Georgian discrimination but strive to unite indigenous Georgian territory to the new Soviet Union or Russian Federation using their own and the Soviet armed forces for this purpose.  This contradicts the principle of unacceptability of forceful alterations of the present borders, stated in your letter.


Theletter   mentions Ossetians killed by Georgians, yet it says nothing about the Georgians who were killed, savagely tortured or maimed by the Ossetians; nothing is said about 20 thousand people who, thanksto the Ossetian extremists, became refugees in theirown country; nothing is said about the Georgianvillages Nikozi, Eredvi, etc., bombed by the Sovietarmy and about the Afghan tactics the Soviet internaltroops use against the peaceful Georgian population.In these circumstances, the Georgian population ofthe so-called South Ossetia (in reality Samachablo)has to defend their land and interests.  Although weagain repeat that we support a peaceful solution ofthe crisis.


As for your preoccupation with the opposition leaders, we would like to note that like other democratic nations, we in Georgia have legal parliamentary opposition. It has every possibility to express its own views that differ from the official ones, not only in the parliament but in the mass media as well.  On the other hand, the personsmentionedin the letter represent armed criminalgroups, that do not recognize the republic sconstitution and the government, refuse to registeras political parties, according to the law onpolitical parties.  It should not be disputable that our position is analogous to that of any government of a democratic country. Mrs. G. Chanturia and G. Khaindrava were detained not for their political views but for organizing mass disturbances and causing armed excesses, considered everywhere as criminal acts (several people died as a result of the attacks on state institutions organized by these persons).


We should like to inform you that events in the Soviet Union unfold according to a more or less similar scenario.  In reality this means activation of those ethnic and political time bombs that the empire had placed in the republics. Unfortunately, we have to mention again that Georgia was the first Soviet republic to hold the first democratic, multi-party elections and form democratic state institutions.  It is clear, from the above mentioned, that connection of your demands with the objective reality of Georgia is not adequate.


It is unfortunate that your attempt to influence Georgia economically are identical of the Center and the so-called Democratic Russia, which can not relinquish imperial ambitions.


And finally, we believe that the shortest way to solve all the mentioned problems is to recognize Georgia as the subject of international law, which means inevitable realization of the principles of the Helsinki Final Act, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Paris Charter in Georgia. The same can be said about the problems of security, namely, the questions of nuclear non-proliferation and reduction of the conventional arms.  As you well know from the first letter, Georgia can only formally join these treaties, and thus its responsibility towards the international community is also formal, although our aspirations to declare the Caucasus region nuclear free zone should not raise doubts. The U.S. recognition of the Georgian independence, of course, would solve all these problems.  The United States, on its part, would have considerably greater opportunity to influence the Caucasus region in humanitarian aspects as well as security wise. Let me also assure you that it will be a guarantee for strengthening the internal stability, the newly formed democratic institutions and Georgia’s responsibility to the rest of the world.  We think it is acceptable to send to Georgia American observers who will stay for a sufficiently long time to assess the real situation in the above mentioned spheres. Let me assure you that this will enable you not to have distorted information about our country which the imperial media and the political opponents of the present Georgian leadership supply you with.


Your Excellency, I am again using this opportunity and invite you, or any representatives of the Administration, or the Congress, to discuss any problems and plan the ways of developing the mutual cooperation.  




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