23. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Allen) to President Reagan 1

SUBJECT

  • Brezhnev’s Speech (U)

The NSC concurs with Secretary Haig’s assessment (Tab A)2 of Brezhnev’s speech, namely that “it contains no major changes in basic Soviet positions and little evidence of flexibility on key issues” but “includes elements which could cause us problems with the allies.” His estimate of the individual aspects of the speech is also in line with NSC Staff thinking. (C)

Three points call for additional comment:

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—The very moderate tone Brezhnev assumed in discussing Central American affairs, especially his significant omission of any promises of aid to Cuba from “imperialist threats”. This apparently is intended to avoid adding fuel to the fire in view of determined U.S. moves.

—Omission of reference to “world revolution” as an objective of Soviet policy—another element in the “moderate”, “realistic” self-image.

—The overall effort to depict the Soviet Union as a reasonable, accommodating power is in vivid contrast to the Reagan Administration’s alleged belligerency and non-cooperation—a ploy designed to influence foreign public opinion, especially in Western Europe. (C)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC: Records, 1983–89, Haig, Secretary of State (1). Confidential. Sent for information. Printed from an unsigned copy.
  2. Not found attached. See Document 22.