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

SUBJECT

  • Brezhnev’s Health

[less than 1 line not declassified] interesting comments on Brezhnev’s health:

[Page 238]

• It is apparent that Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev’s health problems affect his ability to play a meaningful leadership role. Brezhnev is being propped up politically as well as physically by a group that is attempting to carry out Brezhnev’s policies and this group seems lacking in military representation.

• On more than one occasion Brezhnev had to be escorted from a meeting because of his incoherence or inability to sustain a dialogue. He occasionally had to be helped in his chair when he leaned forward and could not return to an upright position.

• There were times when Brezhnev’s interpreter responded [less than 1 line not declassified] without waiting for Brezhnev’s reply which [name not declassified] found very disconcerting. The Soviets offered no explanation or apology other to warn [name not declassified] that Brezhnev could not stand long negotiating sessions. (S)

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Executive Secretariat, NSC: Country File, USSR (9/23/81-9/29/81). Secret. Sent for information. Copied to Bush, Meese, Baker, and Deaver. A stamped notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “The President has seen.” Reagan wrote at the top of the memorandum: “OK, RR.”