64. Information Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Eagleburger) to Secretary of State Haig1


  • Western Political Offensive

Our strategy for a Western Political Offensive is off to a good start. We are getting the “critical mass” in September which we planned [Page 226] several months ago. With your speeches in Berlin,2 and at the UNGA,3 and the President’s letter to Brezhnev,4 we have taken the high ground for the first time in years. Gromyko’s speech was an unplanned but positive dividend.5 We are beginning to create favorable international conditions rather than simply reacting to events.

As you know, these are only the first events in our plan. We have many more initiatives for the coming weeks and months.

I. Security Dimension

Secretary Weinberger’s report on the Soviet military threat will be released on September 29th.6 This is the beginning of a major informational campaign to educate Western publics on the military threat.

—The other unclassified materials we will be giving to the Europeans early in October include: a good JCS paper on the East-West military balance; a set of CIA graphics on TNF and other systems; a paper relating nuclear deterrence to peace; and a TNF threat assessment.7

—All of this is leading up to the release of a NATO White Paper on the military balance at the December Ministerial. We’re beginning to look beyond December to the May Ministerial/Summit to devise ways to focus public attention on and generate support for specific alliance military needs.

—I’m also planning a major speech in Europe in October on the fundamental elements of Alliance security; to complement your Berlin speech on values.8

II. Soviet Covert Action and Reciprocity

—Timed to undermine the Oct. 10th demonstrations in Bonn, on October 7th we will be releasing to the press a major unclassified report on Soviet “active measures”

—disinformation, covert actions, propaganda, manipulation of Europeans on ERW, TNF, etc. We have encouraged the Allies to make public information of their own. We are placing stories on this in [Page 227] European papers. And we are hoping to surface in Europe for the press a former KGB specialist in “active measures”. The British are giving the Scandinavians a similar paper on Soviet efforts in that area and we’re trying to get it published.

—On October 23 experts are meeting in NATO to elaborate further steps to expose Soviet covert action, to discuss reciprocity initiatives, and prepare a report for the December Ministerial.9

III. North-South

—We must ensure that the President goes ahead with a speech on October 14 laying out the specific proposals on North-South policy deleted from your speech—most importantly our proposal for an international Conference on Growth.10 This will be a major sequel to your Berlin (political Idea) speech and UNGA address. We should go further with our economic “Idea” offensive: the key element here will be to stress the necessity of eliminating the internal and external barriers to growth. A new era of growth can come from private initiatives and incentives, upward mobility, freer trade, investment. This will subtly move the focus of development strategy from solely redistributionist solutions.

—The Cancun Summit where the President can keep on the offensive with the growth idea.

IV. Values and Soviet Aggression in Third World

—We need additional speeches by you and the President on Western values and institutions as the wave of the future to rival Marxist historical view so prevalent in Europe and Third World. Since the real thrust of our offensive is based on the conceptual framework defined by these values, such speeches (each with a slightly different focus) should remain a constant item on our agenda. They will continually remind our publics that we have values worth defending, show the world the superiority of our political order, and add the moral force that is essential to the credibility and strength of our deterrent. The Presidential trip to Europe next May-June which you have recommended, perhaps emphasizing the 35th anniversary of the Marshall Plan will provide a good forum for such speeches.

—We could give Western policies and publics a real boost by holding an Afghanistan and Freedom Day in the U.S., Europe and the Islamic countries. This could be done Saturday, May 15th—just before the President arrived in Europe. This could be a major exercise in mass [Page 228] politics—a field in which partisans of freedom and democracy have been seriously deficient. It’s impact would go far beyond Afghanistan to help create the right climate for defense spending, attention to other Soviet/proxy aggressions, etc. (see attached)

In sum, we have a number of initiatives underway to sustain momentum in our offensive. We will have further ideas to propose to you in the months ahead.


Paper Prepared in the Department of State11


Afghanistan Day is to be a major international expression of public outrage against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and moral support for the struggle of the Afghan freedom fighters. It is to be a day of many events that will attract the participation and attention of millions of people world-wide. Most important it has implications and utility going well beyond the Afghan issue.

We set forth here: 1) what it would achieve; 2) what would happen on such a day; and 3) what needs to be done to organize it.

Why Afghanistan Day is Important

—It is a much needed expression of mass public opposition to Soviet aggression, countering and offsetting recent and upcoming public demonstrations in Europe and elsewhere which are basically anti-American.

It will help create the right climate for other issues: defense spending, opposition to Soviet/proxy activities elsewhere, etc. At the same time, Afghanistan itself is the only example of Soviet aggression about which there is sufficient consensus to organize such a day.

—It will coopt large portions of the Left in Europe, America and elsewhere. The honest Left will be compelled to support it. Those members of the Left who profess adherence to freedom who fail to support it will expose themselves as dishonest and pursuing a double standard.

—It will be an essential element in our overall policy of reciprocity toward the USSR. Soviet propaganda and front organizations conduct [Page 229] similar massive public demonstrations against the U.S. It is time we responded in kind.

—Some will object that the exercise will be useless and will fail to force the Soviets out of Afghanistan, because the Kremlin is not subject to the same public pressure as are democratic societies. These objections miss the point. The Soviets can be deterred from further aggression and dissuaded from continuing the same levels of aggression in Afghanistan if they see that their actions are presenting them with political defeat and growing public support for defense spending and other concrete measures of opposition to Soviet aggression.

—Most important, such a day would be much needed tonic for the West. It would be a massive celebration of freedom and opposition to repression. It would unite the American people, Europeans and others and do so behind the basic foreign policy thrust of this Administration.

The Agenda for “Afghanistan Day”

Afghanistan Day should be observed in as many countries as possible. Most importantly, it should be observed in Europe and America, so as to strengthen the defense of the West. It would be highly desirable to see it observed all over the Third World—and especially in the Islamic world. It should involve the following elements and more:

Parades, concerts, theatrical events, symposia and academic conferences.
Corporate participation through funding of events and placing advertisements in newspapers and TV.
Op-ed articles, truth squads, Afghanistan information offices, church sermons, petitions, Congressional resolutions, etc.
TV specials: e.g., three-hour special covering the day’s events, President’s speech, concerts and films on Afghanistan.

How Afghanistan Day Will be Organized

Afghanistan Day will be a massive organizational challenge. It will require the cooperation of many countries and of many groups within each country.

The first step is to secure President Reagan’s support. We will draft a memo from Secretary Haig to the President for this purpose with interagency input and clearances.
Then we must get a private group in another country to take the public lead. We think an all-party group in the FRG could be formed for this purpose. Several members of the Bundestag suggested this approach and are willing to do it. Only after the Germans have visibly launched their organizing effort will we begin to do anything.
Then we need to get organized 1) within the USG; 2) within the US, including the Congress and private groups; and 3) internationally.
The national organizing committees would then “seek” the cooperation of their national governments in this effort. Appearances here must be that this is a collective private effort initiated in Europe and outside of the government. Hence, the American organizing committee would “approach” the President and request his support of the effort.
The focus of the effort must be more on the problem of the Soviet invasion than on the solutions, which may be divisive.
  1. Source: Department of State, P Files, Subject File—Lawrence Eagleburger Files: Lot 84D204, Chron—September 1981. Secret; Sensitive. Also scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. VII, Western Europe, 1981–1984.
  2. See Document 60.
  3. See Document 63.
  4. Reference is to the President’s April 24 letter to Brezhnev; see Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. III, Soviet Union, January 1981–January 1983, Documents 46 and 47.
  5. Gromyko addressed the UN General Assembly on September 22; see Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. III, Soviet Union, January 1981–January 1983, Document 88, footnote 4.
  6. See John F. Burns, “Moscow Says the Pentagon Booklet is Unbalanced,” New York Times, September 30, 1981, p. A13.
  7. None found.
  8. Eagleburger addressed the North Atlantic Assembly in Munich on October 15. For the text of his address, see Department of State Bulletin, January 1982, pp. 36–40.
  9. In telegram 6618 from the Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, October 26, the Mission transmitted information concerning the October 23 political committee meeting on active measures and reciprocity. (Department of State, Central Foreign Policy File, Electronic Telegrams, D810506–0218)
  10. The President delivered a speech on October 15; see Document 66.
  11. Secret. No drafting information appears on the paper.