208. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Clark) to Secretary of State Shultz, Secretary of the Treasury Regan, and Secretary of Defense Weinberger1


  • Enforcement of U.S. Sanctions Against the Soviet Union

On August 26 the Commerce Department, on the President’s direction and in response to the shipment to the Soviet Union of compressors covered by our sanctions, issued a temporary denial order barring the [Page 680] firms Dresser France and Creusot-Loire from access to U.S. technology, materials or equipment. Should other companies in the near future ship to the Soviet Union oil and gas equipment which has been denied by U.S. sanctions issued on June 18, the United States will be taking further actions to enforce the President’s policy.

There has been considerable press speculation, both in the U.S. and abroad, about the Commerce Department actions and the policy on which they are based. The effect has been to call into question the consistency and steadfastness of U.S. policy. In coming weeks, in discussions with the press and with representatives of foreign governments, the President wishes to reaffirm that it is absolutely imperative that all U.S. officials convey the same message:

—U.S. sanctions of December 29, 1981, and their extension on June 18, 1982, and the imposition of enforcement penalties on August 26, are a consistent and measured response to Soviet actions in Poland. U.S. policy is fully consistent with Western policy announced by the January 11 North Atlantic Council communique.

—The U.S. is prepared to moderate its sanctions against the Soviet Union if significant progress is made in Poland on the three conditions specified by the January 11 communique: lifting martial law, releasing those detained, and resuming the dialogue among the government, Solidarity and the Church.

—Meanwhile, the U.S. intends to implement the sanctions consistently and fairly and continues to hope that the allies will cooperate to the best of their ability.

—The U.S. regrets that the sanctions on the Soviet Union will cause some economic hardship to its allies, as they have and will to the U.S. We are willing to consult on proposals by the allies for actions which would advance Western objectives for Poland while minimizing the economic penalty to the West.

—The President fully understands the allied governments’ objections to U.S. policies. He has not found them persuasive enough to change U.S. policies, and is by no means looking for an excuse to withdraw U.S. sanctions or penalties.

I also attach my memorandum of August 2,2 which outlines in more detail the basis for the President’s actions of June 18. I would appreciate it if you would make it clear to all officials in your depart[Page 681]ments that these points are the basis for U.S. policy as it is to be conveyed to the press and other governments.


William P. Clark3
  1. Source: Reagan Library, Meese Files, “US Sanctions v. USSR.” For Official Use Only. Also sent to Block, Baldrige, Edwards, Casey, and Brock. Copied to Meese, Baker, and Deaver.
  2. Attached but not printed is an August 2 memorandum from Clark to Shultz, Regan, Weinberger, Block, Baldrige, Edwards, Casey, and Brock, entitled “Poland and the President’s June 18 Decision on Sanctions Extension.”
  3. Clark signed the memorandum “Bill Clark” above his typed signature.