]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] "I WAS STUNNED" [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ by Jeane Kirkpatrick (6/3/88) [The following is taken from Jeane Kirkpatrick's syndicated (Los Angeles Times) late column, as reprinted in Human Event,6/4/88.] It's kiss-and-tell time in Washington, and I want to join the game. Mike Deaver and I assuredly would never have kissed, but we did have an extraordinary conversation that I think ought to be shared as final preparations for the Moscow supersummit get under way. The conversation took place at the Gridiron Dinner in 1983. George Shultz had already settled in as secretary of state and the President's longtime associate, Bill Clark, was national security adviser. I was representing the US at the U.N. in New York, but came to Washington frequently to attend meetings of the National Security Planning Group, where the most important decisions in foreign policy were discussed with the President. Deaver rarely attended these meetings, and I rarely saw him. So I could not have been more surprised when, at the intermission at the Gridiron Dinner, Deaver began the following conversation (which was so remarkable that I made elaborate notes on it at the time). "I may as well tell you this, you'll have to find out sometime," Deaver began. The President may have an opportunity to make peace for our times. I think he will have the opportunity to make peace for our times." "That would be wonderful," I responded. Deaver continued, "Everyone notices the influence you have with the President." I demurred. "No, no," he said. Everyone notices. The President listens when you speak. He looks at you. He doesn't listen to everyone that way. There are just a few people he listens to like that. I don't know why he listens to you. Maybe it's because you're a woman." "Maybe it's because he is really interested in foreign policy, and I am too," I interjected. "Anyway," Deaver said, "when the time comes that the President has the opportunity to make peace, we can't have you and Bill Clark around raising questions." "Wait a minute, Mike," I said, "I'm for peace too. I would never stand in the way of an agreement that met the President's standards." "We just can't have you and Bill Clark around raising questions," Deaver reiterated and turned away. The conversation was finished. It was never again alluded to between us. I was stunned. Even in retrospect, I find it incredible that this presidential aide with no known role in foreign affairs had decided that two senior officials had to be moved out to prevent them from "raising questions" when the time came for negotiating with the Soviets. I did not know what to make of this extraordinary conversation. I still don't. But it had manifest relevance to rumors circulating in Washington at the time that Deaver was working with Armand Hammer, the mutimillionaire pal of Soviet rulers, to change Ronald Reagan's views about the Soviet Union and to bring about a new, expanded detente between the Unites States and the Soviet Union. Shultz, who in 1973 co-signed the protocol establishing the US- USSR Trade and Economic Council, was said to be all for it. The First Lady, according to the rumors, had already been enlisted in this project by "best friend" Mike Deaver, who had reportedly made promises of a favorable press and had alluded to a Nobel Prize for her husband. The principle obstacles to the plan were said to be Reagan's own deep-felt convictions that the Soviet government was committed to repression at home and expansion abroad and -- less important -- the advisers who shared and reinforced these views. Deaver would later write that he played a role in bringing about the resignation of Bill Clark as NSC adviser. He may or may not have contributed to various spurious and unpleasant charges concerning me that came from always-unidentified, always-anonymous "official sources." In any case, I left the Administration at the end of the first term, as I had planned, to return to Georgetown University. In the intervening years, I have wondered from time to time what questions Deaver and his associates didn't want us to raise. And now that the President is about to travel to Moscow to enter the highest- stakes talks of all, I have thought about the concerns I WOULD raise with him if I were present in those smallest groups where the most important issues are aired. Here they are: First, I would like to remind the President of what he already knows -- that in the START negotiations he is dealing for the first time with a question of great importance to US security. The INF treaty concerns the vulnerability of Western Europe and the Soviet Union. START involves American security and American defenses. Second, I would ask if he has had a recent briefing by the experts on the Soviet Union extensive system to survive a nuclear war, including their incredibly extensive system of deep underground shelters and facilities, their recently improved antiballistic missile defenses around Moscow and their huge investment in the development of other missile defenses. Third, I would ask him if he has been provided a careful briefing on the effects of 50% reductions in strategic weapons and the overall offensive capabilities of the United States and the Soviet Union. Does he believe such reductions would leave the Soviet with more offensive and defensive capability than us? Finally, I would express confidence that provided adequate briefings by the experts, he would make wise judgments that would leave our freedom more secure. And I would mean it. The juicy details of kiss-and-tell memoirs have nearly obscured the huge domestic and foreign successes this passive president has managed to achieve -- as much despite as because of his advisers.
Return to the ground floor of this tower
Return to the Main Courtyard
Return to Fort Freedom's home page