Skip to main content

tv   Working in the Reagan Administration  CSPAN  March 19, 2017 8:00pm-9:40pm EDT

8:00 pm
and the transformation of global politics in the 1980's. it is about one hour 40 minutes. for therector inboden: cameras, name's will in bowden, one of your host for today -- hosts for today, and i am honored to be here for the panel discussion. if we honored on my view reagan administration, so this one will be more informal recollections about what it was like working in the administration for president reagan and the atmosphere at the time. each of our panelists will offer about 15 minutes of comments and we will adjourn for a q&a. my fellow historians, this is your time to do the expert interviews you have been wanting to do. introducing my three panelists,
8:01 pm
this is the man who needs no introduction, because i introduced him three hours ago. adelman. for our purposes here, he served as one of president reagan's ambassadors to the u.n. and was also a troubleshooter in another way. i want to talk to you about your role in helping put that together. in the middle here, again, a man to those of us who here in need no direction, bob inman. a very important alumni of the reagan administration as well. and washe nsa director referenced by one of the speakers in the earlier panel,
8:02 pm
that was the deputy director of central intelligence for the first two years of the administration. and admiral, i do not know of i have told you this before, but a couple of years ago i came off a debt came across a letter from session urging president-elect inman to appoint admiral cia. the director of the now,ur purposes, dr. henry one of the, directors of economic affairs for the first several years. and we have a tremendous breadth of expertise represented on the panel. they all spam the first and
8:03 pm
second term, so we have a experience.eath of i will be, as henry his sixth wife, i will be brief. i will mostly react to things that were said. let me say and react first to the panel. before, there was a wonderful, wonderful panel. kudos for everybody and it and will for putting it together here the clements center. the whole question of agency and how much of president actually does -- a president actually does. the time persons of the year since 1927, because i believe that people really do make history.
8:04 pm
do change things, and the study of the flow of the times is a good excuse for those getting in and flowing. there is a big difference presidentsnsactional and transformational presidents. a transactional president is an inbox president. and a transformational president is one who really wants to make a change. as i said in the talks, the fact is there were four pillars of ronald reagan's strategy. whether he thought this was a strategy or not, i have no idea. whether he really put this together, i have no idea. but they were very distinct. was thene delegitimization of the soviet leadership. that was his first press conference as president. toy lie, cheat, steal
8:05 pm
further their aims, and ended with his speech through the nation when he left office. the suspicion about the soviet leadership and the system was prevalent. no other president had done anything like that. had donerter, nobody anything like that. it was not done. it was brand-new. second, the overall defense buildup. that, i concede, was a republican beard -- view than anything at that time. --ould a that the closest say that that was the closest anyone would have done was as ever public and president. one of her three -- number three is at -- is the fbi. that would not have happened without ronald reagan. people ask all the time is right best if other people or to talk reagan into
8:06 pm
accepting that the fbi. tell you the truth, issue never came up. i think reagan it knew what he wanted. bedid not want the fdi to [indiscernible] in any respect. that was will set with him. these factors were from reagan and from his thoughts. point was the real reduction in nuclear weapons. not the limitation of increases. again, nothing that carter ever thought of her wanted -- or wanted or advocated. nothing that makes record ever wanted or advocated. -- that nixon or ford ever wanted or advocated, but reagan insisted on it. three -- at least three and a
8:07 pm
half of them are unique to ronald reagan. the second overall point i would make is on a very good panel before us, which i learned a lot from, the question of the human rights. a very nice job on that. i would make three overall points. rap donald the reagan -- ronald reagan, in retrospect, gets for going after human rights against communism, not against authoritarian, south african, south american bad guys around the world. i think it was totally justified. authoritarian dictators never massacred tens of millions of able -- people of communism did. canoritarian governments change. south korea goes from authoritarian government to a three government -- free government. taiwan does the same.
8:08 pm
goes to an authoritarian government to a four-year government. communism never changes. idea -- let's really stress human rights against communism rather than against authoritarianism. i think it is justified. second overall point on human -- i am sure it is in your paper, but this is a gigantic factor. it is iran. the shot was a bad guy. in, he isgan comes , and that0 years ago was the day that the hostages were released from ron -- you run -- iran.
8:09 pm
there was a trauma in the united states about that. there was a clear evidence that if you go, like carter dead -- the leader, you would get something a lot worse. and you got something a lot worse. people said it could not be worse, but it was. i was fortunate at the inauguration. i had a black-tie party at my own house, and the night of the inauguration i had my parents in town, my brothers, my wife, rumsfeld, cheney, all kinds of evil. -- of people. night, i left my own black-tie party and went over with jimmy carter, who welcome to the x hostages -- and who welcome to the x hostages, who
8:10 pm
had just been released. so the experience in iran was a gigantic overhang for the human rights situation. make isd point i would you have the grade on the curve on human rights. spoke about the human rights policy, and i do not know if it was any different than reagan's. iran as a island of area.ity in a turbulent i do not think that was human rights. i do not remember him taking a stance on south africa, south america, or other places in not radically different from the reagan situation. he get you more speeches than reagan did on human rights, but i do not see any policy. -- only big difference that
8:11 pm
i don't see any differences and other presidents. that's president obama talked about human rights -- president obama talked about human rights. acceptances had certainly the most horrendous human rights violations since syria, of which obama did nothing. i can't imagine a human rights situation where you have over half a million people in a situation and an american president is basically doing nothing but mentioning it a few times. not actually doing anything. i think that is the most tremendous human rights record i have seen since world war ii. those are my views on the past. really quickly, i would have to
8:12 pm
say that working for ronald reagan was a delight. i was very lucky because he was interested in certain things and not interested in a lot of things. most things he was not interesting -- interested in were not interesting. there were not situation that he cared about, i was lucky. he cared enormously about my feeling. -- my view. when i was sworn in as arms control director leading into the united nations, 1983, a very eventful year, there were no talks ongoing. 38ent to the white house times to meet with him. almost once a week. it beimagine what would like if we had ongoing talks, but it was always something. or because ronald
8:13 pm
reagan was interested. he liked to talk about it. if you look at a thousand or so broadcast to did before coming -- he did before becoming president, you think of the hot button issues people used to get elected. to get the nomination of the republican party. they were god, guns, and gays. the 3g's. ronald reagan spoke practically of none of them in radio broadcasts. he mentioned that i think abortion was one out of 1000, may have been one, and gays were none. issues to hot button the electorate. school prayer, but they were not to ronald reagan. over half of his talks about
8:14 pm
soviet affairs or arms control. to choose them, and made a good choice. i was lucky he was interested in this field. he knew what he knew, and knew what he did not know. remark, he asked us to get together that night. he gives the overall view, trying to the soviets to go along. and heeliminate this, was happy with whatever solution we came up with as long as it was doing that and the overall guidance that he had. and fdi, the really hot button issue, he did not have or need our opinion. he had his own opinion. that was his program rather than
8:15 pm
our program. thank you. -- really after mr. inman: admiral? mr. inman: gerald ford does not -- the credit he does years deserves on the issue. he included that. when we talk later to those who survived the time, they said it is what gave them hope that there was external support that would eventually lead to the communist losing power. mine areiniscence -- reminiscence of a very long individual who is very approachable, likable, easy to work with. at ast encountered him place called bohemian grove.
8:16 pm
i was the guest of george h.w. bush, who is making a lakeside appearance. this is critical if you are aiming toward hoping to run for the presidency. they were both pushing reagan and were longtime members. there was a launch after the speech -- lunch after the speech, and the three of us , whend as his guest governor reagan spotted us. story about the barbary pirates in standing up to fight them, and when he finished, mr. president bush turned to him and said dam, he is good. fast-forward. governorunter with the
8:17 pm
was after he had taken the oath of office. the day after. late been approached in november. what i consider being the deputy director of central intelligence, and it was easy. i said hal, no. i was getting ready to retire. up promotion opportunities for people i had helped along. i went out to australia for a visit, got pulled out of a meeting, and he said you have to take this job. i said i was not going to. and then i got back from that trip and i had my first encounter with weinberger. to theuaded me to go dci, he army a job in the prop
8:18 pm
-- offered me a job in the process. i thought it was exciting until my wife center are you crazy? i turned it down and thought things were behind us. i was so immersed with president carter on the final negotiations for getting the hostages out. fact, my last conversation as therter as president president-elect is sitting next to him in the limo was to tell were in thestages aircraft but not permitted to take off until carter was no longer president. morning, the secretary runs in and says the president is calling. i thought it was carmen -- carter following up, but it was the president. he could not have been more charming. he batted that she invited bill casey digitized political
8:19 pm
campaign. to runnvited bill casey his political campaign. he asked me what job i would like the administer -- he asked him what job you would like any administration, and casey said the director of selling droll -- central intelligence. they laughed, go forward to , heday night in november has one. turns to bill and says are you ready to be director of central intelligence? about an hour later, the phone rang. congratulations for winning the elections. he's utterly at one request.
8:20 pm
i have a candidate for the director of central intelligence. i birdied given the job to bill casey. there was a long silence. they thought about how to deal saidit, and the president i got more calls generated by you than anyone else running. and someone suggested doing a shotgun marriage where inman was the deputy. now we are in office, and speaking as your commander in chief, i need you and want you to take the job is bill casey's
8:21 pm
deputy. under the circumstances, mr. president, i would be honored. hopefully no more than 18 months, two years. so that is how this ersatz career ended up. it was very strange. i was confirmed on the 13th of february. i was still the director of the national security agency until , and we sawmarch more problems between those two agencies in that six weeks. i like about sending letters back and forth by the doe. casey wanted to run totally different than any past director. normally, the director deals with the outside world, the deputy runs the agency. that was not what he wanted to do. he wanted to personally run the
8:22 pm
clandestine service, covert operations, and the olympic -- analytical side. he did not want to do anything with a science, technology, administration, any of the communities of. -- stuff. i had been in the. six days and the president wanted to see me -- job six days and the president wanted to see me. i go down and it was very simple and direct. it was the first time he ever called me by my first name. he said bob become a bill told me you were going to do everything with regard to , rebuildnd the rest the intelligence community, and spend whatever you need to spend. frank, you decide where to put it in the defense budget to make it happen. you could not have had clearer or similar guidance -- simple or guidance.
8:23 pm
we made a five-year plan and found that the drawdowns have limited the training establishments and had no real limits and how much it could rebuild and at what pace. because he had asked for cabinet status, bill had been granted that, which meant i was subcabinet. casey never went to a cabinet meeting or an nsc meeting in the last 18 months. i went all of them. the only thing he went to was the national security planning group, where they had the approval of covert offenses that were done. it was fascinating to sit up angle and watch the president. he was an amazingly relaxed man when people were talking.
8:24 pm
what i picked up by the second or third session was the role enemies was playing. playing.was you had 10 minutes ago, and he would ask questions. the president would pick up his the president would summarize the meeting. what he summarized what answer his questions. he had not bothered with all the other does she knew he was going to get the essence of what was important -- he knew he was going to get the essence of what was important from ad -- and -- ed. there were so many encounters. he loved to tell jokes. not meet joke writers. he was natural. early on, there was still separate men and women's press cores for the white house press
8:25 pm
corps, women had six new members of congress on trying to be funny. cider from rhode island wearing mustache.marx the senator from new york said that the president knew i was going to solve the budget's show his old movies at the white house. they all finished, the president goes up, looks down at them, and says if my movies made that kind of money, i wouldn't he here. [laughter] mr. inman: that was just his nature and his ease. he was not interested in the details unless they were pertinent to something that was on his mind, and he would pursue them, grasped them, and hold onto them. we were meeting about a year in, and he made a comment that
8:26 pm
nothing useful to the u.s. had ever come from arms control agreements. president, i would like to suggest maybe sometimes there were. what? i talked about how they made the doision, given the limit, to more mobile missiles as you came to deal with. he said no one has ever told me that. he picked it up and used it. .t was classic when he saw something, he would change his mind if he accepted the plausibility, and move with it. the shift in his dealing with the soviet union posed a substantial debt to margaret thatcher.
8:27 pm
the years were finally behind and thatcher was the first one to meet gorgeous. she called the president and said ronnie, this is someone we can work with. that began a process. this point, i was out, but my departing week mrs. thatcher had .alled they had concluded that they urgently needed to be able to stage two ascension island to be able support foreign deployment. it was an island that had been leased out to the nsa for collection purposes. this, anding told ambassador kirkpatrick at the
8:28 pm
u.n. said oh, mr. president, you cannot approve that. it would destroy the hemisphere solidarity. again, one of those unfortunate hemisphericat solidarity? the british have been with us since the war of 1812. he turned and said sorry, tell maggie she can move ascension island. and one final note, it was clear from the beginning he focused on people and what motivated people and what the influences were on people. head fore was going to dialogue with the soviets, i introduced a character into the mix called suzanne massie. she was the former wife of a naval officer, and had written a
8:29 pm
book called "the land of the fiber." it is a magnificent book on russian art history. paid they didn't get near a credit -- hated they did not get any credit for it. i recommended they bring her in to brief him. it, and havewith her back several times before going, and she was the one who was insistence that the intelligence committee was totally wrong, especially on religion. .ommunism has wiped it out she says it is still alive, it is submerged in the process. to george w. bush with prudent. he had been briefed that in fact, putin were across that his
8:30 pm
mother had given him. wore a cross that his mother a given him. when george asked him, putin showed him the cross. we had a year were things worked and one where they didn't. i am rambling too long, but what ofeant convey was the warmth the individual. and byrp the mind was, and large, how little interest he had in details a broad policy. the contrast with president carter could not be more to distinct. carter wanted every detail. attitude when he first got in office, during the brought thethey
8:31 pm
head of the french certain age a toe west coast -- search the west coast. he told reagan that he was going to be challenged military only by the -- militarily by the soviets in his first year in office and i would probably occurrence enteral america. that was why when they came to central america got a great deal more prominence because they believed it was not just castro, but it was the soviets. a cautionary note about who gets access to a president-elect and talks to him during that transition. i better stop there. when will told me about six months ago that he was thinking about a conference on
8:32 pm
reagan, i simply said to him how long can i stay? there aren't that many such events going on in the academic world, certainly not at our annual conventions in any case. i think this is extremely worthwhile opportunity. i am also humbled to be on this with these distinguished gentleman. it is probably the reason why i am not wearing a tie. but let me make a few comments about my impressions of reagan when i was in the white house. in the transition team, and then in the beginning of the reagan administration through the fall of 1983. we ran a small shop, about five people on the international, economic side of things, and dealt largely with his economic
8:33 pm
policy. the summit process at that time, g7, was extremely important for us to thinkg systematically about our own domestic policies and try to project to the other allies, and an effort to coordinate the policy. those did not occur once a year, but about 6-8 times a year. we had meetings once a month and exchanges back and forth. team undere american the secretary of economic affairs in the treasury department. i did not meet reagan until the , february, when he came to washington after i had been asked to serve on the foreign policy advisory board. my first impressions were very
8:34 pm
favorable. this was a meeting at the csi s on k street, and we had assembled maybe 50 of us, and the minute radian -- reagan walked -- i had never seen him personally -- but when he walked into the room, i often wondered what was it that struck me about him? he served -- surveyed the room when he walked in. he never just went to his seat. he walked in, looked around, made eye contact, and had a stature. i've thought about that a lot over the years in writing about him, and i think one of his attributes as a leader at in this kind of situation was his presence and the concept of his presence. it is an actor's concept. and cave, he filled the room. that was to some extent part of his charisma. he made a comment that meeting
8:35 pm
that endeared him to me as well, because he told us -- we were specifically about the policy aspects of what he would be inng if you was elected february 1980. he said look, i have plenty of people helping me with the campaign. i want you to think about what i should be doing once i get to the white house. he said you know what? if i do not get into the white house, who needs it at my age? that could have been interpreted as a flippant comment, but i as this was not about ronald reagan. this was about the country. there was some kind of selflessness. he was self-confident, but not narcissistic in any way. very comfortable in his own skin, and genuinely because of what he believed, the ideas he had developed over the years. this strauss -- sounds strange
8:36 pm
when you think of ronald reagan, because his image is one of an amiable dunce. that was how he was identified when he came to washington and his critics. but he was extremely bright. i would urge people to examine the record and go back and look at his days in college. he was a very bright guy who had a voracious -- very good memory and was interested in lots of things. he read lots of things, in some ways unusual things. and one of the things i'm working on currently is to put together what he read when and look at memoirs of people he was dealing with at that time, like in his early hollywood years to see if they remember any of the conversations they had with him because he was reading so much
8:37 pm
and was so interested in political questions when he was in hollywood in the early years that bill holden tells a story during those years that when he came into the cafeteria, people would try to sit someplace where he would not join them, because they did not want to have just and the debate and talk about politics during the course of the meal. the man was a good deal more intellectually active, and i think the record -- what we have now discovered in terms of the writings that he did, the speeches in the 1960's, the letters that he wrote, so far there have been more than 10,000 lazard -- letters collected that ronald reagan wrote. handwritten. all handwritten. jefferson only wrote 18,000 that was feeling way you can communicate.
8:38 pm
reagan had other ways to communicate. lotaid a man who writes a thanks a lot, and someone who thinks a lot has probably run a lot -- read a lot. there were a number of time for reagan's press secretary asked if he would release the books he was reading? reagan refused. have been put together by people over the years. but i mention this and emphasized that because for those of you who are looking at the archival records and so on -- and be aware or at least double check any time you want to reach the conclusion it was not reagan who was doing this or have these ideas, but one of his staff people, because reagan had a unique way of interacting with his staff. if you look at the issues he was concerned about, and in my case the economic issues, reagan needed every one of his staff
8:39 pm
people when thinking about economic policy. he did not need anyone. he needed them all. he was the only one who put together the pieces. when you think about economic policy, he had supply sliders, he at monitors, here fiscal , tradeatives, trade liberalization, all of these groups. his strategy had a way of putting those things together, and that story has been told. i have told it, by the way in a book that was published in 1990 by oxford called "the myth of america's decline. " it is a detailed account. there was a strategy. the most important thing to read when you are looking at those early years with reagan policies, whether it is economic policy or energy policy or anything, go into these.
8:40 pm
bill clark did in a norma's job as the national security adviser for ronald reagan because he organized more than 100 national security directives that were done during that times. a 3-4ne of those with month process will be brought together the agencies and try to integrate and organize reagan's ideas with the details and responsibilities with the different agencies, and some of those, especially with one's with respect to the soviet union, are getting some attention, but there are a lot more in there. on the summit, i would urge them to read the memos that went to the president before those major summit meetings. there were three of them i was involved in. and there was a first summit with developing countries, which was a pretty cursor -- precursor of the g 20. it was the developing countries in cancun of october of 1820 -- in october.
8:41 pm
this started with an intense, wonderful book. you have to read it. the williamsburg summit. stomach --reykjavik summit of economic policy. we had very severe conflicts of the allies that versailles, but williamsburg was where we got together. we began to see where we were going. from that summit, which had an annex, and details the kind of policy we were going to pursue. the french, within six months, or pursuing many of those policies. it became the basis for the washington consensus, which became the foreign act for economic policy in 18 -- in the
8:42 pm
80's and 90's. and that set out a very coherent set of economic policies that more or less sped to the other countries -- spread to the countries and many other developing countries, and coincided with one of the biggest booms that i call the great expansion. not the great moderation. the great expansion that took place between 1980-2010. we have real, annual gdp growth during at that point in the world. this includes the 2008-2009 recession. the chinese cap rowing -- cap growing very effectively. -- kept growing very effectively. you have to ask yourself the question, how did this happen? and will heredy tomorrow and the next day about all the factors that could have
8:43 pm
perhaps caused this. i would urge us to think hard mentioned, maybe the first question ought to be do theyhese outcomes cause? don't look for factors come because there are hundreds out there. don't look for those that might account for why these things would have occurred, even without those agents. ask questions about what the agents did and what did they think? theird they implement thoughts, and here you need to trace reagan's ideas into the policies he put in place. ?ow do those change structures changed circumstances? in the case of the information revolution, which some people regard as the reason why the economy came back in the 1980's, the question is what it have come back if we had not revitalize the economy that
8:44 pm
existed in the industrialized countries and the developing world in the 1970's? remember that? that was the whole decade of stagnation. no growth and high inflation, increasing trade protectionism, commodity pricing out of control. thaty bad era, and somehow got turned around. i think you could make a case, i do make this case, that reagan's policies as of the to do with that. so tracing how agents think about a policy, whether or not the policies they can lament are consistent, and whether or not they can be linked in some reasonable way with outcomes. you can develop a nation which just is not depend upon this notion of things happening this way anyway.
8:45 pm
why is it important, i suppose of,ay attention to the role in this case, ronald reagan, who had some very clear ideas he formulated over a long stretch of time, but the policy just put them into policy, and they coincided with outcomes we might have predicted on the basis of those policies. every time we have had. moments where we have implemented policies like reagan did, monetary stability, efforts to try and manage inflation, some deregulation nasa deregulation and trade liberalization, every time where we had policies like that, we have extraordinary growth. under harding, we had growth of 14% in 1922. if you look at william harding's policies that he put into place in 1921, took over a very stagnant economy and wilson.
8:46 pm
in the course of the 1920's. it happened again under kennedy, and under reagan. will happen again under trump? there is a good question for us to think about. there are many reasons it doesn't look like it will. nevertheless, they try to make that case for agency before you revert destruction. , justason for doing that to make policy accountable, , agentsof things happen are not important in terms of what happens, if you cannot hold leaders accountable. you have to look to faith, i suppose, or whatever those developments are you are pointing to that leaders either adjust to and succeed or do not what thosend fail -- general and structural changes?
8:47 pm
where do they come from? reagan's legacy, a final thought about that. because ibout it know, from my own personal experience in the academic world, there are very few people in the academic world who served in the reagan administration. i contrast, there are a lot of people in the academic world who served in the clinton administration from earlier in the carter administration. there will be many coming out from the obama administration, who isng david axelrod, running institute for politics at the university of chicago. they will be turning out a lot of legacy stuff on obama. not much being done on reagan like that. --gan, in two ways, was in one of the most certain no president we have had in the history of the country. those twontify .actors
8:48 pm
first of all, he is one of five presidents who led the country through an existential crisis. you have washington, lincoln, wilson, roosevelt, all dealing with wars, and reagan dealing effect, the preemption of a war, the preemption of the cold war. much more difficult to do, by the way, than to manage in some sense, and much more commendable than to manage a war after it breaks out. reagan preempted a war. and second, he is one of a presidents who was reelected twice and turned over the white house to his own party, which suggests not only that he was able to engineer outcomes, but he was able to bring the public along with him.
8:49 pm
he retired, of course come with a 68% approval rating. those otherhree of eight, by the way, were founding fathers. anderson, madison, washington. included lincoln, mckinley, roosevelt, of course, and now reagan. in the 21st century, reagan is one of the old only president other than roosevelt was reelected twice and turned the white house over to his own party. i think that says something about both of those things in terms of what he accomplished and how he was able to bring along public opinion. it is the extraordinarily leadership of this.
8:50 pm
i will leave it at that. and i will open it up to questions. exec. director inboden: let's turn it over to the audience for questions. but really quick, to set in context the role of nancy --gan mr. inman: the norm slid close butloving relationship -- really quick, to set in context the role of nancy reagan. and in our monthly close and loving relationship. she was devoted to him, and determined to protect yourself. so the instruction, the day we began the 21st of january, 10 hours a day, the president is available. if there is an evening function, that comes out of the 10 hours. she was unbending on that. it does bring discipline, and that is the skill with which he brought management and time
8:51 pm
year,ment in the first many of the events were domestic. by the eighth year, 90% for international. -- for international. the impact of those two and the viewer around in which the policies and developed. we wouldector inboden: turn it over to questions. please identify your name and institution, for our friends at c-span. >> hi, good evening. thank you so much for the tradeking -- terrific talk. i'm from the hebrew university. on theuthored a paper reagan administration's reaction and thoughts to the israeli
8:52 pm
strike in june of 81. that are several questions interest me, and i will limit myself to one. how was a strike actually perceived by the president himself in the close advisers, because we have seen several accounts that seem to be clashing, and there is a which west account have our own take on, but i would be very, very much interested in hearing your thoughts on it. was it trained as a huge success, and savior of nonproliferation, or a stab in did not by an ally that consult before launching it? we will stop. so other people can have the time. thank you. mr. adelman: i couldn't hear the
8:53 pm
question. exec. director inboden: what did you observe up president reagan's response about israel's response to the iraqi nuclear attack in june of 81? >> there are competing accounts about what president reagan said about it. was he supportive of it? surprised. mr. adelman: the entire u.s. government was surprised. , theng at 800 miles absolute outer limits of the aircraft to reach, do the strike, and come back, that meant precision targeting information. only britain and israel could automatically requisition this. everyone else had to ask for it. the question then was what is
8:54 pm
israel doing in the last six months? it was in a whole lot of other potential targets as well. the decision i took was to constrain the automatic requisition. wasmiles, anything, that defending. for office of purposes, they had to ask. toron was so furious he came the u.s. to try and overturn that. it was weinberger's strong support that kept it in place. the actual dialogue with the president about it was from weinberger as well. but it was a reaffirmation of what we already knew, that if israel considered it to be
8:55 pm
potentially life-threatening, they would not ask for permission to ask. i do not think that has fundamentally changed to the present time. cracks mr. aleman, needing to add on that? it was a most of the great it was still something. it was a situation -- situation where she could not stand voting for because it was the most mild, almost conceivable -- unsuitable combination of israel, but it was still anti-israel. , if i hadnald reagan
8:56 pm
to guess, i don't know, thought that the attack was totally justified. that itthe argument was was a preemptive attack. the nuclear reactor, as you know very well, had not run critical -- on critical. why do you not just wait until they go critical? the counter argument was very simple. would you be happier if they went critical? that would have been blamed on israel for putting all the radiation in the air. i always thought that was kind of a stupid argument. i never heard ronald reagan say a word against it. iteard some speak against and vote against it though. exec. director inboden: henry, i know you were in the white house
8:57 pm
at the time. mr. nau: ivr do not remove or anything from that particular incident or. stretch of time, but i remember reagan's reaction of the versailles summit to be israeli invasion of lebanon, which occurred on the second day of that summit, i think it was, and later on, immediately he changed the subject of the conversation, and the europeans, one after the other, came out strongly against what israel is doing, and the president jumped in and said look, we need to look at the facts here. we need to see the kind of circumstances they were facing and not jump to can vision. protective, you could say, in that situation. but. director inboden: after a while, he turned against it? mr. nau: yes. exec. director inboden: other questions? and here comes the microphone.
8:58 pm
>> i would love to hear your thoughts about ronald reagan and the iran contra issue. [laughter] >> if i could add one thing on this, the timing is here he. as you may know, iran contra reaganhree weeks after took office, so you have this summit where administrations are rising high, john dexter were the picture, and he was governor quickly after that. i had the same question. and for the cameras, i am from the university of virginia. the president began his morning with the senior staff. rather than intelligence coming to brief, the national security advisor did, as does the left of
8:59 pm
the shift from mcfarland of .oindexter they ran through several items. the president was doing good, but jim baker would stop it to say how? when reppo what happened -- when? what happened? the president would listen very carefully, and then you would shift.e baker-reagan in reagan's reaction, if the president said good, he was a great. not asking questions are challenging. what the president lost in that change was somebody listening carefully as they are slipping pretty quickly through all of the things they are doing to raise questions. , and by theindexter way we found the solution for
9:00 pm
, and by the way we found the solution for funding. they would question the process, or let thingssed drift by. saturday, did and all night are, and then i was asked late in the afternoon on sunday to go on being press plane, and breed -- brief them the whole way back, which was a pain in the neck, to tell the truth. one of the reporter said, can i talk to a minute.
9:01 pm
everybody that it was just a subject not related to russia, the soviet union, or arms control at all, something totally different, so they let it go. i went and stood at the side of the plane, which was very noisy, by the way. she said, it had this report about exchanging arms for hostages in the middle east, it .ame out of lebanon newspaper i said, i don't know anything about it, don't take my word for anything, and, it sounds crazy. sorry, can't help you. i continue to think it was kind and could not make any sense. i we thought about bill casey -- i always thought about bill casey.
9:02 pm
it did not make any real sense put ronald reagan in the picture. he had a soft side to him. then, you see him, and think, oh my god, he is doing something. some people are being held hostage, what can i do? then, you roll in with poindexter and mcfarland, coming up with schemes about what they could do. to very bad things. i think it would not have happened had reagan been otherwise advise, had reagan had the whole story.
9:03 pm
poindexter was manipulative in his job. but mcfarland was looking for a way to be the henry kissinger of the middle east. a breakthrough with iran on it. as you said, i was in arms control business, good friends , who atnk gallucci ,hinks giving had called me up thanksgiving in north carolina, and said, the president last week to be national security advisor tomorrow. this was the monday after the giving. would you be my transition group? it was the worst job i have had in my life. what you did is you find out that the national security whole and nsa staff, which was then about 120. .ow it has ballooned up
9:04 pm
it was time for some new blood. a lot of them were responsible , that the jobions was not for the operations. right after thanksgiving for the next month, basically what i did .as guillotine work it was awful. i remember calling in person after person and said, why don't -- in essence, firing them. one afternoon was a heavy meeting schedule with very bad timing. think had come in to christmas carols. there i am busily firing people where christmas carols are being sung outside my door.
9:05 pm
it was absolutely horrendous. by the way, frank did not take because of various things. i was to lead the office when he got there. it was really a terrible, terrible position. i think it was the right thing to do, but for someone else to do, besides myself. to tell you the truth, in retrospect. the overall answer to the question is i think it was a real dark spot on the reagan demonstration, nothing to be proud of. i think the president was ultimately responsible, as was said time and time again, but it came out of this idea of, i have to do something for these people. we have a question back here in the back. hold on the second as the microphone is moving get away.
9:06 pm
again, please identify yourself. >> thank you for giving us this amazing talk. my name is brian gibson. i study u.s.-iraq relations. i know these questions seem to be focusing on iraq and iran. i have another one that is along those lines. starting in 1983, the iraqi started using chemical weapons against iran. they used it through war all the way up until the end. i really curious about how that affected your job, doing with arms control because of course chemical weapons falls under that purview. how doesn't really affect you? how did it affect president reagan? what were his thoughts, was ever brought to his attention? mr. adelman: yes, it affected everything. way and wanted
9:07 pm
to to be affected, to tell you the truth. there was clear evidence from intelligence committee -- community that this was taking place. saddam hussein was fighting with khomeini. khomeini had started it, basically, although that is in dispute, and the fact was anything was better than khomeini at that point because of his total hostility. saddam hussein was seen as a monster, but he was in some respects cooperative to the united states and various realms -- in various realms. control,ector of arms wanted to at least sanction our relationship with iraq because of chemical weapons. we were promoting a ban on chemical weapons. use. was always a
9:08 pm
this was production. something that did happen years after i left office, but we started in 1983. walker bush went to geneva with ideas on banning the production of chemical weapons. i thought it was just totally hypocritical to have -- proposing a ban on nuclear weapons that had been banned from use for 50 years, and agreeing -- not agreeing, but going along with iraq on the use of chemical weapons. i had argued about that with the state department. i personally argued with george scholz on the issue. he told me, nothing is worse isn khomeini, saddam hussein
9:09 pm
a terrible person, but has cooperated with us in several ways, so we will not abruptly change our policy. it was really a choice at that time between iran and iraq. you surely know a lot more about it than i do, probably a million people died in the war, something like that. 360,000 casualties were killed. [indiscernible] mr. adelman: much higher, one million, or something like that. the idea was you had to choose one or another, stanback, embedded happened. i was very much for shanks and -- sanctioning, or something. i remember there was even a and iraq, or iran about the middle east, where i made my case. there was a narrow case.
9:10 pm
i was arms control director looking at the use of bad weapons. scholz, who did not appreciate my views, and understandably so, count addicted what i said, and i was quite mad about it, i understand his point of view as well. largerlooking at a perspective than i was involved with. i think it was the right thing to do at the time. ember just that, i hope it was the right thing to do to have a stand on this that it was unacceptable behavior. >> thank you. im jonathan hunt of the arresting of southampton. another question for you, ambassador, if you do not mind. this is somewhat at risk of my
9:11 pm
own presentation on saturday which is the follow-up to reykjavik. i was curious if you could characterize the inter-agency squabbles that reykjavik set in motion. look at the documents in the renovated provincial labor, one of my favorite is the informational to the various dd 250.heads about ans the action is that it out on a friday afternoon with instructions to return it. if i can actually read from the thement, "to return it by subsequent monday." to only giving the weekend attempt down on the distinction between the government. and it even speak to help reykjavik wasow
9:12 pm
perceived. hazard a guess on white by the end of the mr. should, you do not have a start treaty. thank you for your questions, and especially for using the word squabble. it really was a squabble, and outright war, a bloody war at that. all of this was very heartfelt, argued in front of the president at great length, and none of it mattered. it was one of those great of options that did not matter at all. why did it not matter? a, the joint chiefs were absolutely furious that the head of the soviet military, chief of
9:13 pm
staff of the military, a wonderful man at reykjavik, spent his whole life in the army, in the soviet union, and committed suicide when the soviet union fell. in his office, at his desk, hanging himself from his chandelier, a chandelier that he showed me the year before. made off with there, he called after, asking me what had happened. his argument was do away with nuclear weapons when there was a europeional imbalance in , the same as maggie thatcher's argument. when she rolled into cap david thereafter,d,
9:14 pm
d presidentndbagge reagan, beat him over the head. there was the no nuclear weapons, a limiting all nuclear weapons that reagan and gorbachev had talked about for a brief amount of time. more controversy great more substance of -- substantive, to do away with nuclear weapons. ton, myself and another came a meeting afterwards, saying it was against the american fundamental interest were budget reasons and protection reasons. triadst two legs of the were on the base of the ballistic missiles. none of the other -- none of it
9:15 pm
e ever mattered. the ballistic missile proposal lasted 10 minutes of reykjavik. we went back to what we had done on saturday night which was a limit on strategic arms. and, sunday morning on the euro missiles. in europe, and europe and asia. your last question on why was -- i not a start agreement left the industry should two ins after gorbachev left december 1987. i left because i was actually sure there would not be a start agreement. why was there no started agreement? as opposed to,
9:16 pm
missiles, a lot more complicated. software categories to do. we had made a normative progress at reykjavik, but this was 1987. 1987 and partad of 1988 to do that. ever was no way you could get it done. i think two years into the bush administration, they wrapped it up. the subcategories, i have thought since that time, 30 thousands ofhave parts of my brain fills with these weapons systems that have no use for anybody, especially for me.
9:17 pm
get an what you need to arms control agreement. there is no way, no matter what happened, that we would get strategic arms control. there were a norm is of options in the government, very bad will coming, coming on the heels of iran-contra, almost at the same time. the place looks like it was absolutely putting apart. you had the aftermath of reallyik, iran-contra, questioning whether president reagan would make it through these crises. less thana lot iran-contra. the arguments faded, and we went back to what we had done on saturday night. it was a glorious conclusion because reagan could do the euro
9:18 pm
missile and leave to his predecessor the outlines. outlines.enduring it was not just bush. after george herbert walker bush, clinton had another arms control reduction based on those limits and categories. george w. bush did the same thing. and, lastly, obama did. each demonstration, we have taken the basic structure and strategicents on the realm. a wonderful legacy. heatedfication, a pretty topic in washington. mr. inboden: a number of hands i am seeing. here. >> thank you very much.
9:19 pm
very general question about transatlantic relations. how was reagan's general attitude to europe, and western europe in particular? you have all of these tensions, the pipeline, star wars, you name it, on the other hand, them as, did he regard helpful or, kind of annoying? [laughter] mr. nau: on the economic side and on the imf question, which was one of the new elements of the summit, of williamsburg, they issued a communique on the imf weapons. on the subject, reagan was rocksolid behind the lines. that was pretty clear from the beginning. he understood that he had the
9:20 pm
first -- to first revive american self-confidence, and of course, the american economy, but do his part in terms of military buildup. unhappy, in sort bucking up the-- allies. in the pipeline issue, which i was involved in peripherally -- i was dealing with mostly the western world economics -- part of his interest, reagan's interest, he made it very clear that it was to get the allies to understand and the u.s. congress understand that he was serious about his defense program and the imf department. he could not understand how cooperating with the soviets in the production and export of gas would somehow or other make the
9:21 pm
european publisher and the u.s. congress more willing to support a significant defense buildup and deployment. way,s very clear, by the clear from the very beginning -- he talked about in the campaign -- he was doing all of this to not defeat the soviet union and some kind of all out arms race, , which wouldverage convince them that they could not win any kind of a contest outside of negotiations, and therefore they would get serious within the negotiations. by the way, it was a strategy he talked about -- he laid out very early. he talked about in 1963. something i would encourage historians to do, not just focus
9:22 pm
hishat he laid out during administration. 1963, he said the following, and repeated it almost word forward in december 1981, before he went to europe, after the first site summit to meet with the pope. extraordinary. this is what i mean about strategy, and strategy can have an impact on events, if it is carried out with real convention. he said this in next and 63 -- said this in 1963. he said, "the only sure way to avoid war is surrender without fighting, but that way is based on wishing, not thinking. if the wish does not come true, the end -- then the enemy is much stronger. the other is based on the belief but allan all out race,
9:23 pm
race,aise, our system -- our system is stronger." emissariese pope's in 1981 the very same thing. could defeat the soviets with our ability to out fill them, which the soviets know we can do. then, we would ask the soviets to join us in the global economy." my goodness. i think that is extraordinary. an 18 year period. this man has some clear ideas he is implemented. one of the puzzles for me, and it relates to what ken is talking about with sdi, he was always clear about where he was
9:24 pm
going and what his goals were, but not always clear about his instructions. you can make that point in your book. why did he not ask, in the case of sdi, for instance, why did he not ask his staff or try to get some commissions on this. , buildingo protection up defense of weapons, you would then determine by mutual deterred protection. that was such an extraordinary idea. it needed all sorts of work. he was aware, by the way, i have comments from him in national security meetings. he was aware this would create a problem on the conventional side, but he talked about tactical nuclear weapons. he was wrestling himself with the implications of this. i was not, why didn't one of his
9:25 pm
staff pick that up, and get a committee going on it. a real odd thing about reagan. ideask you both had clear , the believe you had to move with thences in line ideas, but also this optimistic sense that everything would turn out all right. i can tell the story in a -- but iy will stop will stop. mr. inman: it was the image of it that attracted to him.
9:26 pm
it was the image of the. the key point of the, the soviets believed it would work. they had been doing some research on it. that is why i'm surprised a staff member did not say it would not work. mr. inboden: anything more on transatlantic relations, especially in the first term? mr. adelman: mrs. thatcher was key, as much as mrs. merkel has .een that continued in to the george
9:27 pm
h.w. bush time as well. came in and out. there were occasional conversations with mrs. thatcher, getting her assessment . she had a pretty dominant role about in influencing him what he thought about european leaders. they were a surprising number of disputes between all of them. they wanted rights for british airways, all of these things. wonderful episodes from the reagan years, to me, which says a lot about reagan's character.
9:28 pm
grenada invasion. senators, and for various members of the house of commons group dealing with foreign affairs. a fellow, i think the chairman of the committee, had just a few minutes with reagan to try to get him to understand the grenada thation on had already happened. the military operation that had already happened. he basically got nowhere. madderer got matter -- and madder. mike was on one end of the call,
9:29 pm
and she had her personal ascendant -- assistant on her end. and, there was one person on the call as heads of government were talking to each other. -- she said, you know, our countries are the closest, we have professional relationships, and she said, you , and wesolutely agree really went through so much together -- we did -- , but she is getting absolutely nowhere. [laughter] mr. adelman: consequently, being satcher, being very sensitive, and getting nowhere, she gets madder and madder.
9:30 pm
across the oval office, sitting reaganwhite couch, behind the desk, and she is handbag in him, going on. finally, they break the protocol and say, you are speaking with the president of the night states. he is going to do it, his face is red, getting shaky, and then .e looks over what is it mr. president? he says, is it he marvelous? [laughter] mr. adelman: he could not be mad
9:31 pm
at anybody. he did not interrupt her. eventually, about five minutes said, he abandoned, goodbye, hunger up the phone, and said, she is just wonderful. there was great affection there. a very interesting character, a socialist, far left, where reagan was far right, and he reaganomics. leaders.the individual saw, thateader i am a he really did not like was
9:32 pm
trudeau of canada. he would go at him, especially at williamsburg, and probably before. ronald reagan would show his , when he was sitting there, looking at things. ,. said, well pierre. it was like a class difference between them. trudeau would say, you are the first president since grover cleveland not to have a summit with the soviet leader. he would put down his glass and -- glasses, and say, well, pierre. he was the only one who really reagan out.
9:33 pm
he had a wonderful ability to shrug off opposition, not pay attention to opposition, and ofe everybody the benefit the doubt. it is 1984. the motorcade is going very slow. a guy near the motorcade has a reagan," "he is the worst leader we have had in american history." he turns to the person sitting next to him and says, frank, you there, he is
9:34 pm
butcided, probably leaning, undecided as of now. just a wonderful treat and wonderful to remember, especially now. i think a great trait of leadership. mr. inman: as we go into all of this, his respect for the presidency. he came back into the oval office. mr. adelman: he said, this is sacred territory. he just looked down.
9:35 pm
mr. nau: although he was very himteous, maybe once i saw a little heated. ofhad all of these ways letting these things go by. he was also at times very stubborn. very times proved to be important. here is this argument that 1983.ed himself in all of these events occurred in 1983. minute, i amait a enabled archer. there thattheory out
9:36 pm
these policies may cause world war iii, and he shifted. the time he would have shifted would have been 1982, the fall of 1982. the economy was completely in the doldrums. the walk in the what's proposal had been done away of. timeu want to look at a myen it was really bleak -- boss, i will say, parenthetically, do not exclude archival work. tried to lunch at
9:37 pm
trade round. a couple people were reporting on the situation in the soviet union. reagan sort of sat there, seemingly unaffected and said, i do not so, i think the soviet union, i think my plans are in place, we will see if they work or not. it was not until spring 1983 that the economic situation began to improve. the sovietshink will come around, let's just give it time. then, he looked at clark, rocked back in his chair, and said, what is the worst thing that will happen if none of this
9:38 pm
happens, if we go back to the ranch, what would be so bad about that? the guy had a commitment to his policies, in perhaps the worst time. nothing was working in the fall but he thought, if it does not work, i will be happy to go back to the ranch. mr. inboden: we are past our time. please join me in thanking this panel. interested in american history tv? visit our website. you can view our tv schedule, preview upcoming programs, and watch college lectures, archival films, and more. american history tv at
9:39 pm
c-span.org. this april marks the 100th anniversary of america's entry into world war i. american history tv will be live memorial ineum and kansas city. we will take you inside the museum that tells the world war i story. on c-span3. recently, american history tv was at the american historical association's annual meeting in denver, colorado. researchers and historians about the research. this interview is about 20 minutes. >> we are joined by sarah field, the associate a

13 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on