21. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Allen) to the Counselor to the President (Meese) and the White House Press Secretary (Brady)1


  • Presidential Telephone Call to Heads of Allied Governments

On January 21, the President completed calls to six Allied Heads of State: Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada, Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani of Italy, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom, President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany and Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki of Japan.

The calls lasted uniformly less than five minutes, and during the course of the conversation the President indicated that he looked forward to working with the Allied leaders on problems of mutual concern to the United States and the respective countries. Highlights of the calls are:

Canada—Our countries share an historic friendship. The President attached great importance to close relations between the United States and Canada, with cooperation between the two countries a priority for the Administration. The President looks forward to meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau at an early date.

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Italy—The Administration intends to consult closely and regularly with friends such as Italy. The common heritage and shared values of the people of the United States and Italy are very close, and it is the responsibility of leaders to see that the relationship remains close and cordial.2

United Kingdom—Emphasizing the special importance that is attached to the relationship between our countries, the President thanked Mrs. Thatcher for her message of congratulations.3 It is necessary to work closely on mutual problems, and the President said that he and Mrs. Reagan are especially looking forward to welcoming the Prime Minister to Washington next month (February 25–28).4 The President also asked the Prime Minister to thank the Queen for the message in connection with the release of the hostages.5

France—The relationship between France and the United States is vital for the two countries, and a close and cooperative relationship is of central importance to our security. It is hoped that an early meeting will take place, but in the meantime, “We can use the telephone for any conversation.” The President indicated he looks forward to the opportunity to meet with Prime Minister Barre and Foreign Minister Francois-Poncet, who will be paying an official visit to Washington on February 21–23 to meet with Secretary Haig.6

Germany—The President conveyed to Chancellor Schmidt that the Senate had confirmed Secretary Haig 93–6, noting that Secretary Haig is a close friend of the Chancellor. He expressed his intention to work closely with Chancellor Schmidt, to build on the close ties between our governments and peoples. He indicated that Secretary Haig had told of Foreign Minister Genscher’s plans for a visit in March, recalled meeting with him in November, said he would look forward to seeing him when [Page 83] he was here.7 There was brief mention of the forthcoming Economic Summit Conference in Ottawa (July).8

Japan—The President’s five minute discussion with Prime Minister Suzuki stressed the close alliance between Japan and the United States. The President indicated he looks forward to working with and seeing Prime Minister Suzuki.9

These highlights are for your background, and it would seem appropriate for you to characterize the calls in general terms without reference to the specifics mentioned here.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Subject File, Memorandums of Conversation President Reagan [Phone Calls:] (01/20/1981–03/30/1981) (1). Confidential. The President’s Daily Diary does not contain an entry for January 21; there is no indication as to when precisely the telephone calls took place. (Reagan Library, President’s Daily Diary) The memorandum is also scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VII, Western Europe, 1981–1984.
  2. In telegram 1590 from Rome, January 22, 1700Z, the Embassy transmitted a synopsis of the President’s January 21 evening telephone conversation with Forlani. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D810033–0339)
  3. The text of Thatcher’s message to the President is included in telegram 41253 to London, February 18. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D810077–0395)
  4. See Document 30.
  5. The Queen’s message has not been found. On Inauguration Day, the 52 remaining hostages in Tehran were released. Speaking at the beginning of the January 21 Cabinet meeting, the President stated: “But in case no one has given you an update, President Carter and Mondale, Muskie, and the others he took with him are due to land in Germany within the hour to greet our returning POW’s. All last night I got out of the habit of calling them hostages. I called them prisoners of war.” (Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, January 26, 1981, vol. 17, no. 4, p. 30)
  6. In telegram 51076 to Paris, February 27, the Department transmitted a synopsis of Haig’s February 23 meeting with Francois-Poncet. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, [no N number])
  7. Haig met with Genscher on March 9. In telegram 63158 to Bonn, March 12, the Department transmitted a summary of the meeting, stating that it “focussed as expected on questions of East-West relations, with particular emphasis on arms control issues.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D810118–0560)
  8. Reference is to the G–7 Economic Summit meeting scheduled to take place in Montebello and Ottawa July 19–21; see Document 57.
  9. In telegram 1127 from Tokyo, January 22, 1028Z, the Embassy reported: “Following President’s 5-minute phone conversation with Prime Minister Suzuki this morning, chief Cabinet Secretary Miyazawa briefed media on its contents, highlighting President’s wish to continue cooperating and consulting with the U.S. key ally and Prime Minister’s belief that new U.S. administration would further promote mutual confidence and understanding between two nations as well as peace and security in Asia. Miyazawa said Prime Minister told President he would like to visit U.S. for talks at earliest mutually convenient time and President replied he hoped to see Suzuki as soon as possible in order to discuss many issues of common interest.” (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D810032–0934)