85. Memorandum From Norman Bailey of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark)1


  • Secretary Haig’s Recommendation Concerning the Establishment of an Institute for Democracy

Secretary Haig has written a memo to the President (Tab A) in which he urges that the President “. . . endorse the establishment of an Institute for Democracy.”2 The purpose of this Institute, which would be private, would be to train and help finance democratic leaders from the Soviet Bloc and the LDC’s.

His suggestion has serious problems, such as:

How would the Institute get hold of “democratic leaders” from the Soviet Bloc for training, and how would they be reintroduced into their countries?
The Institute, if sponsored by the government, or “endorsed” by it, would be seen by all as a government initiative.
Friendly authoritarian governments among the LDC’s would see it as an attempt to destabilize them.
Finally, and most important, dictatorship, whether authoritarian or totalitarian, can be imposed, democracy can’t. The Soviets can be sure that if a Communist coup is successful, a Communist government will result. No one can know what will result from a “democratic” coup, as several centuries of history testify.

Incidentally, under Clif White’s leadership, the Republican Party is beginning to get more involved in international cooperation. This process should be encouraged.

Carnes Lord and William Stearman concur with my recommendation that the President disapprove the suggestion in Secretary Haig’s memo.

Al Myer, Dick Childress, Chris Shoemaker, Dick Pipes and Jim Rentschler believe that further exploration of the concept is necessary on an interagency basis to address the numerous aspects of this idea prior to the establishment of a specific program. Myer, Childress [Page 316] and Shoemaker have provided an alternative memo to Secretary Haig (Tab II) suggesting that the proposal be examined in greater detail.3


That you sign the memorandum to the President at Tab I recommending that he disapprove the suggestion in Secretary Haig’s memo.4

Alternatively, that you sign the memorandum to Secretary Haig at Tab II suggesting that the proposal be examined in greater detail before the establishment of a specific organization.

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC Agency File, Department of State (02/13/1982–05/25/1982). Secret. Sent for action. A stamped notation reads: “SIGNED.” Wheeler initialed the top right-hand corner of the memorandum.
  2. See Document 84.
  3. Not attached.
  4. Clark placed a checkmark on the “Approve” line. Tab I, Clark’s memorandum to the President, is Document 87.