119. Briefing Memorandum From the Director of the Policy Planning Staff (Wolfowitz) to Secretary of State Shultz1


  • Mid-Term Planning Exercise

Ed Meese hopes to meet with you soon to discuss the President’s foreign policy objectives for the last two years of the first term. Ed has noted the importance of this mid-term planning process for “presidential policy guidance as we prepare the FY 1982 budget, the State of the Union and the other messages the President will send to the Congress in early 1983”.

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Meese’s memo, which was sent to all Cabinet officers, is at Tab A.2 We have provided you at Tab B with summary of the information he requested on the President’s foreign policy objectives, accomplishments and remaining issues. The paper at Tab C covers major resource implications. You may wish to leave Tabs B and C with Ed.

Themes for Meeting with Ed Meese

  • The President has moved effectively to set a new direction in US foreign policy: more vigorous defense of US ideals and interests and more realistic approach to foreign policy problems.
  • As a result, we have made a good beginning toward reasserting US leadership and recapturing US credibility in world affairs. This is a long term effort and we must persevere.
  • To this end, it is essential that we sustain efforts to restore American military strength. That may prove increasingly difficult in view of the budgetary squeeze, the growing peace movement and rising political pressures to shift resources from defense to domestic programs.
  • We therefore should continue to meet the peace issue head on. Peace must be our issue. The President’s speeches on INF, START and MBFR,3 and the dramatic proposals he announced for each negotiation, have helped unite the alliance on arms control and frustrate the Soviets.We can maintain this political high ground by sticking to the President’s clear criterion of “militarily significant reductions to equal and verifiable levels,” while adjusting our tactics as needed.
  • US leadership and credibility also require close cooperation with our European allies. This means more than the pipeline. We currently have a number of policy differences—on East-West relations, strengthening NATO’s conventional defense, economic policy and approaches toward third world economics and crisis spots. Government changes in Germany, Denmark and Holland, together with policy changes in France, may offer opportunities to forge a stronger allied consensus.
  • In Asia our alliances (Japan, Korea, the Philippines, ANZUS) and relations with friendly countries (ASEAN) are in good shape, though [Page 455] the economic relationship with Japan continues to be troublesome. We have avoided a blow-up with the PRC over military sales to Taiwan but the Chinese are moving toward a more (at least publicly) even-handed approach to Washington and Moscow. A presidential trip to the Pacific could be very helpful in emphasizing our growing interests in that region.
  • As to regional hot spots, we need to counter adventurism by the USSR and its proxies, while seizing opportunities to play the role of peacemaker.
  • No area will involve more of our national interests over the next two years than the Mideast, where we must press ahead with the President’s peace plan,4 while managing the region’s seemingly daily crises in Lebanon. We also must persist in our complementary Southwest Asia security strategy.
  • Beyond the Mideast, crisis management now involves Central America, Poland, Afghanistan, Kampuchea and Libya. Crises also entail opportunities: we are making progress toward a Namibia peace settlement in Southern Africa.
  • Nuclear non-proliferation is a fundamental element of our peace policy. We will focus on strengthening international safeguards and will concentrate quiet but vigorous non-proliferation efforts on sensitive countries and regions. We will also seek ways to bring new exporters like the PRC into line with existing practices. We must show that unilateral nuclear trade restraints by the U.S. do not by themselves lead to a sound international non-proliferation regime.
  • Much of these efforts will depend on the success of the President’s domestic economic program. The drop in inflation and interest rates is encouraging. Continued progress is essential if we are to help revive the sick world economy which is plagued by mounting debt, growing protectionism and deepening mistrust between developed and developing countries. The November GATT Ministerial presents an early opportunity to deal with sensitive trade issues.
  • The President’s reassertion of US leadership urgently requires resources to finance our political goals, just as a stronger military posture requires increased defense budgets. We simply cannot run a first-class foreign policy with second class resources. The President will need to get involved to assure US congressional and public support for these resources. (See Tab C for major resource implications).
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Tab B

Paper Prepared in the Policy Planning Staff5


1. President’s Objectives

Reassert US leadership and recapture global credibility.
Restore American military strength and take command of peace issue.
Counter adventurism by USSR and its proxies.
Strengthen Atlantic and Pacific alliances and friendships with key Third World countries.
Bolster international (especially Western) cooperation on world economic problems.
Conclude peaceful settlements in Mideast and southern Africa.

2. Accomplishments to Date

Strengthening US defense posture and international leadership.
Proposed comprehensive arms control program concerning START, INF and MBFR, generating Allied support for US security policies.
Established multinational forces, facilitating Israeli withdrawal from Sinai and PLO withdrawal from Beirut, and Israeli departure from Beirut.
Presented dramatic Reagan peace plan for Mideast.
Achieved progress toward Namibia settlement.
Fostered free elections in El Salvador and stymied guerrilla takeover there.
Diplomatic resolution of Taiwan arms issue.

3. Key Remaining Issues

Sustain congressional/public support for strengthening the US defense posture.
Maintain support for US arms control program, thereby facilitating INF deployments and Western conventional defense improvements.
Strengthen Atlantic alliance and NATO solidarity, and seek resolution of pipeline dispute in a way that meets President’s objectives.
Press ahead on Reagan Mideast proposals and on withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.
Conclude Namibia agreement involving Cuban withdrawal from Angola.
Counter Soviet/proxy adventurism in Central America and regional hot spots.
Strengthen international cooperation on world economic problems, including global debt and trade issues.
Build support for our nuclear non-proliferation policy, which emphasizes strengthened international safeguards and which focuses on countries and regions of real proliferation risk.

Tab C

Paper Prepared in the Policy Planning Staff6


Without adequate foreign assistance funding it will be impossible to achieve the President’s foreign policy objectives. Reduction of the foreign aid program will force us to make decisions on which objectives to go forward on and which to neglect, since the notion of cutting everyone a little bit is not viable.

The Fiscal 1984 foreign assistance budget I am proposing will require approximately $14.2 billion. This budget includes no new policy initiatives or programs; rather it is the bare bones amount necessary to implement foreign policy objectives articulated during the President’s first two years in office. Major Strategic objectives include:

Middle East PeaceU.S. policy in the Middle East region is based on two mutually reinforcing goals: 1) the search for a just and lasting peace among all of the states in the area and 2) the urgent requirement that our friends in the region be able to assure their security against threats from the outside and from the pressures of Soviet surrogates and radical forces within the region. Our $4.7 billion FY 1984 assistance program is needed to promote economic and political stability, support development efforts, and to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to the Middle East peace process.

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European Strategic—The $1.7 billion request for FY 1984 will further U.S. policy in Europe by assisting NATO nations in acquiring the material and training needed to meet their NATO commitments. Assistance to this region supports our common defense against threats to the alliance and against challenges to our common interests beyond the geographic bounds of the alliance.

Caribbean Basin—The $960 million U.S. assistance programs in FY 1984 is designed to counter the challenge posed by attempted exploitation of socio-economic problems and military vulnerabilities. The assistance program will complement trade and investment initiatives which together will promote economic development, address underlying causes of socio-political instability and seek to re-establish security within the region as a whole.

Southwest Asia/Persian Gulf—Southwest Asia remains a critical source of energy for the free world and U.S. policy is to ensure our continued access to and presence in the region in time of crisis. Many of the countries in the area stretching from Pakistan to Morocco are economically troubled. Regional animosity and the potential for East-West conflict make Southwest Asia a potential flash-point that would have consequences far beyond the immediate area. Our $1.5 billion assistance program will help facilitate their economic development and military preparedness essential to implement U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives in the region.

Pacific—The Pacific region is of historic political, strategic and economic importance to the U.S. We have important treaty relationships with several countries in the region, including in the Philippines, where our bases support U.S. defense objectives in Southwest Asia. Our economic and commercial interests throughout the region are of increasing importance and we and our partners, like Japan, depend on keeping open the sea lanes connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans. An assistance program of $711 million is necessary to protect our objectives here in FY 1984.

Southern Africa—Our policy in southern Africa is designed to advance the peace process in Namibia, ensure continued Western access to sources of key strategic minerals, and to support the development process from Zaire to the Cape. In Zaire we and our allies are working together with the multilateral agencies to stabilize and protect one of the most economically valuable and strategic positions in Africa. Our willingness to provide $265 million in FY 1984 for the front-line states in southern Africa validates our political participation in the peace process. The alternative—a new escalation of conflict—would provide significant new opportunities for the Cubans and Soviets.

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/P Records, Memoranda and Correspondence from the Director of the Policy Planning Staff to the Secretary and Other Seventh Floor Principals: Lot 89D149, S/P Chrons PW Chrons to Secy SEP 1982. Limited Official Use. Drafted by Kaplan; cleared by Gompert. Kaplan initialed for Gompert. Bremer initialed the memorandum at the top and wrote “10/12.” In a September 18 note to Wolfowitz, Adams requested that he prepare “a briefing paper with talking points” for Shultz. (Ibid.) Wolfowitz sent the memorandum to Shultz under a September 24 covering note, indicating that it was “the briefing memorandum requested for your meeting with Ed Meese on mid-term foreign policy planning.” He continued, “Since your meeting with Ed is not for another month (October 20), you will want to regard this as a first cut. After the UNGA, and once you have a better idea of what he has in mind, you may wish us to provide other materials or to hold a meeting to discuss the subject.” No record of Shultz’s meeting with Meese has been found.
  2. Attached but not printed is Meese’s September 16 memorandum to multiple agency heads, in which he stated: “It is important that we move forward promptly on the mid-term planning exercise. My office will contact yours to arrange a mutually convenient time when we can meet to discuss the President’s objectives in the area covered by your department or agency.”
  3. Presumable references to the President’s November 18, 1981, address before the National Press Club, his May 9, 1982, commencement speech delivered at Eureka College, and his June 9 address before the Bundestag in Bonn. For the National Press Club and Eureka College addresses, see Documents 69 and 99. For the President’s Bundestag address, see footnote 5, Document 100.
  4. See Document 116.
  5. No classification marking.
  6. Confidential. Drafted by Feldstein on September 24.