16. Paper Prepared by the Interim Foreign Policy Advisory Board1


Ronald Reagan conveyed his views on foreign and defense policy during the election campaign through many speeches and statements. The voters who elected him to be President were aware, in general terms, of what he stands for on national security and foreign policy.2 [Page 61] President-elect Reagan, in his press conference on November 6,3 reiterated that he stood by the policies for which he campaigned—including the Republican Platform.

Hence, the overall philosophy and basic principles of President Reagan’s foreign policy have already been articulated. The main task before us now is to apply these principles to specific issues that must be decided, particularly those that are time urgent.

In addition, we should consider whether a reaffirmation of President Reagan’s foreign policy will be needed early on, and if so, how the principles of his policy should be elaborated. Several options are available for such a reaffirmation or elaboration:

a foreign policy section in the Inaugural Address
a State of the World Message to Congress to be delivered a few weeks after Inauguration
Shorter Presidential messages combined with statements by the Secretary of State
Messages to Soviets, PRC, key allies, etc.

[The second page of the paper is missing in the original.] tolerable basis, this is only possible if we first restore deterrence and containment. Then and only then, can some genuine cooperation be achieved in U.S.-Soviet relations.

“America is still number one”

The President-elect has felt it his duty to explain to the American people the facts of the present military weakness of the United States. His Administration will pay close attention to the realities of the balance of power and will keep the American public fully informed of these realities, in order to sustain its expressed determination to remedy the severe shortcomings of our military posture.

“North-South” relations and the “New International Economic Order”

The President-elect refuses to see the world through false symmetries. There is no uniform “south”, or “third world” but rather a whole [Page 62] variety of countries, some very rich and others very poor; their individuality cannot be submerged under misleading slogans.

A Reagan Administration will do nothing to give further currency to the myth of a North-South division, and will see no need to formulate a broad policy towards the mythical entity called the “south” or the “third world”.

Instead there will be bilateral policies, country by country, conducted in full recognition of their individuality and our own interests, moral as well as material. The key to good relations with the countries now lumped together [as] the third world is to have good relations which [with] each, on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocal good will.

As for the “New International Economic Order” and the claims made upon us on the basis of that slogan, again the Reagan Administration will repudiate the false concept while striving to achieve substantive results on a bilateral basis.4 The United States has done much to help the poor countries and we will do more. But we should flatly reject the notion that the less productive have some sort of claim on those more productive, based on the myth of past exploitation. The Reagan Administration will not hesitate to note that the countries which made the best economic progress are those that encouraged free market economies and capitalist principles.

Additional ideas and principles on foreign policy can be found in Governor Reagan’s principal5 foreign policy speeches. (Enclosed below)6

  1. Source: Reagan Library, 1980 Transition Papers, Foreign Policy (Richard Allen), [Foreign Policy Advisory Board—Meeting, 11/21/1980—Participant Binders—Allen]. No classification marking. Eyes Only. The paper printed here is Tab I of Allen’s binder, prepared in advance of the Board’s first meeting on November 21. An agenda, a press release, and Tabs II and III, consisting of undated papers outlining issues requiring a position prior to the inauguration and policy initiatives requiring reorganization, are attached but not printed. Tab IV, a report for President-elect Reagan, is not attached. No minutes of the meeting have been found. An October 25 news release issued by the Reagan-Bush Committee announced that Reagan had appointed an interim foreign policy advisory committee designed to “monitor and assess international developments through the inauguration on January 20.” The board members were: Allen, Howard Baker, Casey, Clements, Ford, Haig, Kirkpatrick, Kissinger, McCloy, Eugene Rostow, Rumsfeld, Shultz, Tower, and Weinberger. (Reagan Library, White House Office of Speechwriting, Research Office, 1980 Campaign File, Campaign and Pre-Presidential Speeches, 1979–1981, 10/25/1980 Interim Foreign Policy Advisory Committee)
  2. An unknown hand crossed out the word “as” and wrote “on” above it.
  3. Reagan and Bush took part in the November 6 press conference, held in the ballroom at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. See Douglas E. Kneeland, “Triumphant Reagan Starting Transition to the White House, Executive Team is Appointed, But Victor Says He Won’t Intrude in Hostage Talks, Stressing Carter Is Still President,” New York Times, pp. A1, A14, and Don Oberdorfer, “Reagan Plans More Assertive Soviet Policy,” Washington Post, p. A13; both November 7, 1980. The transcript of the press conference is printed in the New York Times; see “Transcript of Reagan News Conference With Bush on Plans for the Administration,” New York Times, November 7, 1980, p. A15.
  4. At the Sixth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, April 9–May 2, 1974, the General Assembly approved two resolutions: UN Resolution 3201 (A/RES/S–6/3201), Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order and UN Resolution 3202 (A/RES/S–6/3202), Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order. (Yearbook of the United Nations, 1974, pp. 324–332) For information concerning the planning of the special session and the U.S. response to the UN resolutions, see Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXXI, Foreign Economic Policy, 1973–1976, Document 257.
  5. An unknown hand crossed out the word “principle” and wrote “principal” above it.
  6. Enclosed but not printed are copies of Reagan’s March 17 address to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations; August 20 address at the American Legion national convention in Boston; August 25 statement on China made in Los Angeles (see Document 9); September 3 address at the B’nai B’rith Forum in Washington; and October 19 television address (see Document 14).