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


  • Soviet Active Measures

The attached special unclassified report, published by State, depicts the boldness and intensity by which the Soviets pursue a broad range of deception (“active measures”) against us.

Significant examples include:

—Fabrication of two US Embassy Rome telegrams portraying press coverage of the possible “Bulgarian connection” in the assassination attempt against the Pope as a US-orchestrated campaign.

—Implicating Ambassador Thomas Pickering, by means of a forged US Embassy Lagos document, as ordering the assassination of a principal Nigerian presidential candidate.

—A forged West German document by which Ghana accuses the US of plotting to overthrow the Rawlings government.

—A fabricated audiotape of an alleged transatlantic conversation between you and Prime Minister Thatcher.

We continue to closely monitor Soviet active measures and employ appropriate counterintelligence to lessen their impact and expose their deceptive techniques.2


That you read the enclosed Department of State special report.3

  1. Source: Reagan Library, Kenneth deGraffenreid Files, Subject File, [Active Measures: 1983–1985]. Confidential. Sent for action. Prepared by deGraffenreid. Reagan wrote in the upper right-hand corner: “Could I have the attached for possible use in Sat. Radio broadcasts? RR.” On an attached routing slip, Poindexter wrote to Linhard: “Bob, See President’s note. Judge would like to have a radio address prepared for Pres that talks about Soviet active measures in a general way. JP.”
  2. In an October 19 memorandum to McFarlane from Sims, Lehman, and Fortier, they commented that with pending INF deployments and European demonstrations, a more appropriate focus for Reagan’s Saturday address would be arms control. They suggested that “deGraffenreid’s ‘active measures’ theme should be saved for another talk, when it could be fully developed as the main theme.” (Ibid.) Reagan did not give a Saturday radio address on active measures and counterintelligence activities until June 29, 1985. For the text, see Public Papers: Reagan, 1985, Book II, page 885–886.
  3. Reagan initialed the “ok” option. Department of State Special Report No. 110, “Soviet Active Measures, September 1983,” is attached but not printed. For the text, see the Department of State Bulletin, October 1983, pp. 60–67.