87. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark) to President Reagan 1
- Al Haig’s Recommendation Concerning Endorsement of the Establishment of an Institute for Democracy
Should you endorse the establishment of an “Institute for Democracy”?
Al Haig has written you (Tab A)2 suggesting that you endorse the establishment of an “Institute for Democracy” to train and partially fund democratic leaders from the Soviet Bloc and the LDC’s.
It is difficult to know how Soviet Bloc “democratic” leaders would be brought over for training or how they would be re-introduced to their countries. As for the LDC’s, such an effort would be seen by friendly but authoritarian regimes as an attempt to destabilize them. Choice of participants would be difficult, if not impossible; political hopefuls always claim to be “democratic” until they take power. Finally, dictatorship can be imposed; democracy cannot—it must develop organically or not at all.
|_____||_____||That you disapprove Al’s suggestion to establish an “Institute for Democracy.”3|
- Source: Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5). Secret. Sent for action. Prepared by Bailey. Clark signed “Bill” next to his name in the “From” line. In the top right-hand corner of the memorandum, an unknown hand wrote: “President has seen.” A stamped notation on the back of the memorandum indicates that it was received on March 15 at 11:24 a.m.↩
- Not attached; see Document 84.↩
- The President did not check either option under Recommendation. However, in a March 19 handwritten note to Wheeler, Poindexter stated that Clark had shown the President Haig’s memorandum, adding: “The President has decided he wants State to study the matter in more detail. Please have prepared a memo from the Judge to Haig. John.” (Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5)) Under an undated covering memorandum, Blair sent Clark for his signature a draft memorandum to Haig. In the covering memorandum, Blair wrote: “Admiral Poindexter’s note says that the President wishes State to study further the proposal on establishing an Institute for Democracy. Norm Bailey is not enthusiastic about the whole idea; I am, so I have taken over staffing responsibility.” (Ibid.) For the President’s response to the proposal, see Document 89.↩