149. Memorandum From Richard Pipes of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark)1


  • Statement of U.S. Strategy Toward Soviet Union

Over the past several weeks (ever since the introduction of sanctions toward Poland and the USSR) more and more Europeans are demanding to know what the long-term purpose of our hard-line actions toward the Communist Bloc is. Do we intend to provoke a confrontation? Do we want to isolate the Soviet Bloc? Do we have some other purpose in mind? Or are we being merely impulsive? There is absolutely no hope of securing cooperation for our sanctions from our Allies, who are recalcitrant to follow us anyway, unless our objectives are clearly and persuasively spelled out. And unless such cooperation is forthcoming we will either produce a final split in the Alliance or else have to abandon our current policies, either of which would be a tragedy. The matter was well put by the French Minister of Commerce, Michel Jobert, the other day, when he told a group of Americans at the American Enterprise Institute: “You are asking us to go with you on a journey but you are not telling us where you are heading and where we will end up”. (S)

It seems to me, therefore, quite imperative that a decision be made on what our long-term policy toward the Communist Bloc is (i.e., what we expect to result from our hard-line policies) and then to make the broad outlines of these objectives public. The first and most critical step can be accomplished through an NSDD on the Soviet Union (there is no PD on the subject to revise, strange as it may seem). Once this NSDD has been approved by the NSC and the President, a speech could be drafted: ideally, the President could make a major statement on this subject in the context of his June trip to Europe. Time is of some urgency in this matter. (The NSDD on the Soviet Union could be submitted for NSC consideration concurrently with one on Eastern Europe, which is being worked on presently.) (S)

Norman Bailey, Jim Rentschler and Bill Stearman concur.2

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That you authorize NSC staff members to draft the Terms of Reference for a NSDD on the Soviet Union, to be followed by interagency consideration on the subject, chaired by State, and submission to NSC, the process to be completed no later than April 30.3 (S)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Pipes Files, Soviet NSSD I [NSSD 11–82]. Secret. Sent for action. An unknown hand wrote “URGENT” in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. All three initialed next to their names.
  3. Clark initialed his approval.