]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]        "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