98. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark) to President Reagan1


  • Strategy for Building Democracy in Communist and Non-Communist Countries

Issue: Should you approve Al Haig’s idea of a study on building democracy in other countries?

Facts: Al earlier sent you a memorandum on his idea for establishing a government/private body to work openly building democratic institutions in other countries.2 You were interested in the proposal, but wanted some more thinking done on it before you approved.

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Discussion: Attached is a follow-up memorandum from State explaining the idea more fully.3 The concept is a government/private group which would provide training to potential leaders in non-democratic countries—both non-communist and communist—in building the elements of the democratic process: media, trade unions, political parties, etc. This body would not only provide practical and theoretical training here in the United States for those leaders, but might also provide assistance when they returned to their countries. Right now our foreign policy tools in this area are limited to government to government aid, and covert activities. This institute would enable us to nurture democratic institutions but without being as susceptible to the vicissitudes of our bilateral relationships.

There are many more questions to be answered about this concept before it becomes reality. State therefore recommends that it be initially announced as a concept and study in your speech in London on June 6.4 It will be one of the new initiatives of this speech, whose overall theme will be the bright future of democracy. There is already enthusiasm for this idea in both Republican and Democratic national parties, within Congress and in organized labor. Once you approve the concept, State would do the necessary behind-the-scenes work to set the stage for your London speech.


_____ _____ That you approve the proposal by State for a study on a “Strategy for Building Democracy.5

  1. Source: Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5); NLR–170–8–44–8–8. Confidential. Sent for action. Copies were sent to Bush, Meese, and James Baker. Darman initialed the top right-hand corner of the memorandum. Blair sent Clark a draft of the memorandum to the President under an April 19 covering memorandum; see Document 93.
  2. Not attached. For Haig’s March 8 memorandum to the President, see Document 84.
  3. Not attached at Tab A. Reference is to Bremer’s April 13 memorandum to Clark; see footnote 4, Document 93.
  4. For the President’s address to members of the British Parliament on June 8, see Document 104.
  5. The President initialed “RR” and placed a checkmark next to the “OK” recommendation. In a May 10 memorandum to Bremer, Wheeler indicated that the President had “approved the concept of such a study,” adding: “He has not decided on the form of public announcement of this initiative, whether it will be in his speech to Parliament, or in some other fashion. The Department is therefore directed to form the study group and draw up terms of reference. A decision on the method of formally announcing the initiative is pending.” (Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC Records, Subject File, Democracy (Democratization of Communist Countries) (1 of 5); NLR–170–8–44–6–0)