155. Memorandum From President Reagan to Secretary of State Shultz and Secretary of Defense Weinberger1


  • Goals and Priorities (C)

With 18 months of our first term remaining we have accomplished a great deal but have a considerable number of demands and opportunities before us. Now is an appropriate time to review the agenda, to evaluate the potential for progress in various areas, to set priorities, and [Page 619] to identify the resources and investments of time and effort essential to success. (C)

What has been accomplished. In the course of the past two and one-half years we have reversed perceptions abroad—by friend and foe alike—of the United States as a nation in decline, no longer able to define its interests and defend them. The catalyst for this evolution in perceptions has been the articulation of new policies in the following areas:

Firm commitment to the restoration of the military foundation of our national security policies.
Establishing a new relationship with the Soviet Union based upon the principles of reciprocity and restraint.
Restoring confidence and cohesion among our allies.
Defining a comprehensive and responsible policy for the reduction of strategic and general purpose armaments.
Establishing a new basis for the conduct of relations with developing countries.
Maintaining a firm commitment to lead in efforts to bring peace to troubled regions (Middle East, Southern Africa, etc.)

In addition, we have established a disciplined decision-making and policy-planning process through which we have conducted a number of broad regional policy studies. (C)

The Next 18 Months. Much remains to be done within this system to extrapolate from the broad regional policy studies to how we will conduct our affairs with individual countries (e.g., U.S. relations with Korea, Yugoslavia, etc.). One can say that we would leave a commendable legacy were we to do no more than to focus our efforts on completing an additional 75–80 country/issue studies thereby leaving on the shelf a coherent set of policies. But to do so would of course be to ignore the demands for U.S. leadership on the one hand and the opportunities on the other. Each Administration is also faced with ideas whose time has come and which require leadership to come into fruition. The purpose of this memo is to ask your help in taking a look ahead in your areas in an effort to define these demands and opportunities and begin to work together toward those three or four goals which is about the limit of what any President can realistically hope to achieve. (C)

Within the next two—three weeks, I would like to ask you to reflect on the demands and opportunities in your respective areas and submit as detailed a forecast of your recommendations as possible. By forecast, I intend your priority objectives together with your prescription of the actions/milestones along the way to meeting them. You should include specific elaboration of my involvement through public/congressional [Page 620] addresses and/or meetings, foreign travel and any major reallocations of resources necessary to the promotion of your proposed objectives. Below I list some of the more obvious items on our common agenda. It is by no means exhaustive. Still I want to emphasize that the intention of this request is to identify and begin to flesh out a strategy for achievement of those three or four goals which we can reasonably hope to achieve in the first term. (C)

Your proposals will inevitably include actions by others in receipt of this memo. Please include the fullest possible detail. (U)

I ask that Bill Clark convene a meeting soon to review our thoughts and then to seek your help in integrating these individual efforts into an overall strategic agenda by the first of July. (C)

Common Objectives:

The Middle East (withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon and agreement on autonomy arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza).
Arms Control (A START agreement? INF? Agreement of Confidence Building Measures?).
Launching of the MX program together with sustaining the strategic modernization program.
Forging improved cooperation among countries of the Western Hemisphere.
Pacific Basin Initiative. (C)

Ronald Reagan
  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/P Files, Memoranda and Correspondence from the Director of the Policy Planning Staff to the Secretary and Other Seventh Floor Principals: Lot 89D149, S/P Chrons 6/16–30/83. Confidential. Copies were sent to Casey and Regan. Under a June 13 memorandum, Shultz sent Bosworth a copy of the President’s memorandum, writing: “I look to you to organize a discussion of this important subject sometime within the next 10 days.” (Ibid.) Under a June 13 covering memorandum, Paul Boeker (S/P) sent Crocker, Enders, Wolfowitz, McCormack, Burt, Moore, Newell, Veliotes, Hughes, and Howe a copy of the President’s memorandum, noting that Shultz had asked S/P to respond “by preparing a paper with an overall strategic agenda for the remainder of the Administration. We want to work closely with you in responding to the President’s request for recommendations on the demands we may face and opportunities we could exploit in the foreign policy area. This will involve both substantive initiatives and damage limitation.” (Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/P Files, Memoranda and Correspondence from the Director of the Policy Planning Staff to the Secretary and Other Seventh Floor Principals: Lot 89D149, S/P Chrons 6/1–15/83) Under a June 16 covering memorandum, McNamar sent Regan a copy of the June 7 memorandum, writing: “I believe that Treasury should provide input to that process, since many of the most important problems and opportunities in the international arena are economic ones—e.g. achieving worldwide sustainable non-inflationary growth, the LDC debt problem, transfers of critical technology, etc.” McNamar recommended that Regan task Leland with preparing “a short memorandum on Treasury’s goals and priorities in the international arena.” (Washington National Records Center, RG 56, Department of the Treasury Records, Executive Secretariat, Official Files, 1983, 56–82–2, Memo to the Secretary June 83) Although Regan approved the recommendation on June 17, no record of such a memorandum has been found.