93. Memorandum From Dennis Blair of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark)1
- Strategy for Building Democracy in Communist and Non-Communist Countries
Al Haig earlier sent you a memorandum (Tab II)2 proposing the idea of a bipartisan, government/private institute to work openly to build democratic institutions in countries that do not now have them. You sent the idea to the President, who asked for more study.3
State’s response is at Tab A.4 The concept now is for the President in his June 6 London speech to announce a bipartisan study to make specific recommendations on structure and organization of the institute. The basic idea is to give the United States an additional foreign policy instrument for dealing with authoritarian regimes. For right-wing dictatorships we currently have no choice besides propping them up until they fall, and then watching helplessly while left-wing replacements take over; for communist and other left-wing governments we are long on rhetoric and provide limited covert assistance to opponents. We need a way to operate openly in support of moderates who are trying to build the structure of democracy—political parties, trade unions, media, etc.
The NSC staff is split in its recommendations on this idea: Rentschler, Shoemaker, Meyer and Childress and I are in favor. Bailey thinks the concept deeply flawed (his views at Tab III).5 Stearman and Lord [Page 341] think the concept is appealing, but impossible to implement: the body will be “tainted” as an arm of the U.S. government, yet the government will not have complete control.
Other officials are enthusiastic about the idea—in addition to Haig, Bill Casey likes it as does Bill Brock and Chuck Manatt of the Democratic National Committee. Irving Brown, International Director of the AFL/CIO, is enthusiastic. I think the concept is worth a try—especially as a study.6 It would provide a good initiative for the President’s London speech, which is devoted to the future of democracy, and will spark further ideas on how to build democracies.
|_____||_____||That you sign the memo for the President at Tab I.7|
- Source: Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5). Confidential. Sent for action. A stamped notation in the top right-hand corner of the memorandum reads: “SIGNED.”↩
- Not attached. For Haig’s March 8 memorandum to the President, see Document 84.↩
- Not attached. See footnote 3, Document 87.↩
- Not attached. The April 13 memorandum from Bremer to Clark is the Department’s response to Clark’s April 2 memorandum to Haig (see Document 89). The memorandum is in the Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5).↩
- Not attached. In an April 14 memorandum to Blair, Bailey characterized the Department memorandum (see footnote 2, above) as “entirely unsatisfactory” as it ignored democracy building in communist countries, included “suggestions as to maintaining the myth of independence from the government,” that were “ludicrous” and “dangerous,” and failed to answer the question as to how “labor leaders, journalists and others from friendly dictatorships” would be trained without damaging our relationships with those dictatorships.” He concluded, “I reiterate my belief that the idea should be classified with perpetual motion and anti-gravity devices.” (Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5))↩
- Clark circled the word “study.”↩
- Clark wrote below the “OK” option: “as modified.” Tab I was not attached. For the final version of Clark’s memorandum to the President, see Document 98.↩