The Reagan Diaries

by: Ronald Reagan, read in 2017

13 "Watched some TV in bed and saw Gloria Steinem take me over the coals for being a bigot and against women. Either she is totally ignorant of my positions which I doubt or she is a deliberate liar."
18 "working lunch. Subject—the way the Bureaucrats are slipping in cost overruns which are increasing the '81 bud. deficit. There is no question but it is the usual warfare the perm. structure wages to protect its turf. It's a war we must win."
31 "Air Force One to Ottawa & then Marine One to Montebello—the largest log cabin in the world. The hotel is a marvelous piece of engineering, totally made up of logs."
36 "Not a big day. Met with Al Haig—the world is still exploding. The French Ambass. to Beirut was gunned down by terrorists doing the Syrians' work. Met with Jim Watt. He's taking a lot of abuse from environmental extremists but he's absolutely right. People are ecology too and they can't forage for food and live in caves.
47 "A very secret paper somehow made its way to the N.Y. Times. We have to find a way to end this endless & dangerous leaking. Called in Dick Allen & Al Haig and ordered a halt to the sniping—wherever it's coming from so we can stop this press obsession that we are having chaos & feuding in the admin."
54 "The press is beginning to charge that we are making up the Quadaffi threat because we won't tell them the sources of our information. I've come to the conclusion they are totally irresponsible and won't be satisfied (if then) until someone is gunned down by the "hit men.""
55 "Todays meeting with 4 professors—the Pope's Vatican study team on Nuclear War. Their findings—we must not have one."
60 "Dick [Allen] has been cleared. He came in & of course said he'd like to continue. Ed has already told him as I had to that we've learned the press is not going to let up if he's in that job and some Dem. Congressional committee chairmen are ready to start investigations—make that lynchings. He agreed to resign—we at same time will make him a consultant to P.F.I.A.B and look for other assignments."
62 "I've had complaints because the I.R.S. passed its own civil rights regulations & began harassing schools & colleges that didn't segregate but simply on the grounds of the I.R.S. wasn't satisfied with the number of minority students they had. In my view it was a classic case of bureaucracy pre-empting the function of Congress. So we shut I.R.S. off with the intention that Cong. would amend the laws. The press has carried on that I was reversing the govts. stand on civil rights. When we announced we wanted Cong. to handle it the press announced that as a retreat under fire. I'm burned up."
65 "A lot of briefing for a 2 hr. special with Dan Rather. Saw the show & wonder why we bothered."
65 "The press is dying to paint me as now trying to undo the New Deal. I remind them I voted for F.D.R. 4 times. I'm trying to undo the "Great Society." It was L.B.J.'s war on poverty that led to our present mess."
68 "Tip O'Neil still thinks I'm depriving the needy. Told the press I associate with the country club crowd. He plays golf & I don't."
69 "Ran "Inchon"—it is a brutal but gripping picture about the Korean War and for once we're the good guys and the Communists are the villains. The producer was Japanese or Korean which probably explains the preceding sentence."
70 "The press has done a job on us and the polls show its effect. The people are confused about ec. program. They've been told it has failed and it's just started."
71 "Lunched with George Will—hope I reassured him that I'm not a false front."
74 "Norman Podhoretz sent me his book on "Why We Were In Vietnam" personally inscribed: He wrote "To Pres. RR—Who always knew and still knows why we were in Vietnam and why it was indeed 'a noble cause.'"
75 "N.S.C. meeting to hear Sen. Buckley's report on Europe trip trying to get them to join us in shutting off credit to Soviets. I proposed a plan for consideration—that we explore if time hadn't come to confront the Russians and tell them all the things we could do for them if they'd quit their bad acting and decide to join the civilized world." (This was in 1982.)
79 "Al Haig is back. We really have a tough problem and it hasn't been made any easier by the press. In what I think is a most irresponsible act—engineered by Bernstein of the Post, they have charged that we are lending aid to Britain's Navy in the Falkland dispute. This of course has set the Argentinians on fire. The charge is false. We are providing Eng. with a communications channel via satellite but that is part of a regular routine that existed before the dispute. To have cancelled it would have been taken as supporting the Argentine."
81 "Last night C.B.S. did a special 1 hour documentary (Bill Moyers) on 4 cases of poverty and illness they laid to our ec. program. It was a thoroughly dishonest demagogic, cheap shot. They may have gone too far—some columns already have taken them on. We're going to reply—forcefully.
88 "There is a possibility the separate Lebanese factions can unite—get Syrians and Israelis out of their country and disarm the P.L.O. Al H. made great good sense on this entire matter. It's amazing how sound he can be on complex international matters but how utterly paranoid with regard to the people he must work with."
89 "This morning I addressed the U.N. General Assembly. Ambassador Gromyko did not applaud. I said some blunt things about the Soviet U. that needed saying. They were not well received by the large segment which usually votes against the U.S. and with the U.S.S.R. On the other hand, I think my talk added to the results of the trip to Europe & was a plus.
91 "He [Al Haig] gave only one reason [for resigning as Sec. of State] and did say there was a disagreement on foreign policy. Actually the only disagreement was over whether I made policy or the Sec. of State did."
103 "Spent afternoon getting ready for press conf. Have just had it and made it through O..K. Everyone says "best yet. My favorite ans. was to Sam D. who asked if I didn't think I had something to do with our ec. problems which I'd been laying on the Dems. over the past years. I said: "Oh my yes. I share the responsibility—I was a Dem. for years.""
103 "It's astounding to learn that 243 drug addicts over an 11 yr. period committed 500,000 crimes."
104 "The news—C.B.S. & Wash. Post described my trip to Ohio as a chilly reception. That is blatant falsehood. I've never been greeted with greater warmth and enthusiasm. I think their bias toward the Dems. is showing."
110 "a meeting with Jeanne [Jeane] Kirkpatrick. Jeanne says the U.N. is a miserable place. I thought she was about to resign—but, no, she'll stay with it. Expressed a thought though that deserves real consideration. We're the only major country that dispenses aid on the basis of need instead of using it to reward friends. We, therefore have no voting block in the U.N. beholden to us and loyal."
113 "Then an N.S.C. meeting about the MX and its basing mode. I know what my decision is but if I reveal it there will be a leak (d—n it) so I've taken it under study."
114 "On my Saturday broadcast or before it I should say I did a voice check & remarked the economy was in a h—l of a mess. The mike was opened to the press room—I'd been told it wasn't. That night on the news—there I was being quoted on NBC, even played a sound tape. It was a cheap shot on their part."
117 "Patti is here and I promised I'd meet Dr. Caldicott—the lady is a round the clock anti-nuke lecturer & writer. She seems like a nice, caring person but is all steamed up and knows an awful lot of things that aren't true. I tied but couldn't get through her fixation. For that matter, I couldn't get through to Patti. I'm afraid our daughter has been taken over by that whole d—n gang."
125 "Bill Casey came by—feels strongly we should have a p.r. office to get our story to the country. We certainly can't depend on the news media. I agree with him."
125 "Found I was wishing I could do the negotiating with the Soviets—They can't be any tougher than Y. Frank Freeman & Harry Cohen."
125 "We'd decided I should have a press availability today to straighten out the girls and boys of the press who are all preaching that our "arms policy" is in disarray over the resignation (firing) of Eugene Rostow. I opened by using all their words about them—that they were in Disarray, chaotic about to unravel into complete shambles. They got the msg. & seemed a little self-conscious. It was a good session. I enjoyed myself."
126 "Charley Wick brought in Rupert Murdock for a meeting. He is supportive of me which means some of the press is with us—his press."
135 "I'm going to take our case to the people only this time we are declassifying some of our reports on the Soviets and can tell the people a few frightening facts. The d—n media has propagandized our people against our defense plans more than the Russians have. We are still dangerously behind the Soviets & getting farther behind."
136 "Today was the aftermath of an E.P.A. 3rd act curtain last evening. Anne Burford resigned on her own so the agency could get back to work. This whole business has been a lynching by headline hunting Congressmen. I can't wait to get a question from the Press so I can say that."
136 "Brkfst. with our Soph. class (my class) of Congressmen. They are a fine young group who've been very supportive. I needed them this morning after reading Lou Cannon's story in the Washington Post. It was a vicious series of falsehoods and I was mad as h—l."
138 "Tip said it was a moral statement of Dem. beliefs. I think they've handed us an issue. They would reduce or repeal everything we have done. They'd cut defense more than $100 bil. over 5 yrs. but they'd increase social spending $181 bil. and increase taxes $315 bil. On Mon. Commerce will announce G.N.P. growth for 1st Quarter '83 as 4%—highest since 1st Q. of 81. Our program is working even better than we expected 2 months ago."
174 "Chad has fallen to the rebels & Quadafi's forces. France who says Chad is her special interest did nothing. A squadron of planes could have made the difference."
174 "lunch with Geo. Shultz. He's been taking a vicious beating in the press. He & I are going to have regular meetings every week. Part of the press attack is to the effect that he has lost standing with me. The h—l he has."
176 "the speech draft arrived at 9:30 A.M.—in fact 2 drafts. I didn't like either one so I spent the day til 5:15 P.M. rewriting. It turned out OK & everyone seems to think it was A. O.K."
180 "The Sun. panel shows were frustrating to me. Everyone talks about what should or should not be done but they don't know the real facts. Their opinions are based on their theories. I'm really upset with Geo Will. He has become very bitter & personal in his attacks—mainly because he doesn't think I've done or am doing enough about the Russians & the KAL007 massacre. He also believes I should ask for increased taxes."
185 "Jim Watt called from Calif. & tendered his resignation as Sec. of Interior. I accepted with real regret. He's done a fine job. True he has an unfortunate way of putting his foot in his mouth but he's really the victim of a 2 1/2 year lynching. He knows he no longer can be effective with Congress so he's being a bigger man than his detractors."
188 "Jim Watt came by. He's in good spirits. He knew that in carrying out my policies his days would be numbered. Actually he thought he would have had to leave sooner than he did. He gave me a report on his stewardship & it reveals the hypocrisy of the Environmental lynch mob. I don't think the Dept. of Interior or our Nat. Parks & wild lands have ever been in better shape."
189 "Henry Kissinger & the Commission on Central Am. came by. It's amazing how much consensus there is now that they've been there, that what we're doing is right & Nicaragua is the real villain."
191 "Everything is going well in Grenada. We're mopping up. We discovered a Cuban base barracks, H.Q., Warehouse full of weapons. They were really going to move in & take over. The speech must have hit a few nerves. I did my best to explain what our Marines were doing in Beirut & then explained Grenada. ABC polled 250 people before the speech, the majority were against us. They polled the same people right after the speech & there had been a complete turn around."
201 "Most of N.S.C. had to do with our going forward with research leading to a defense weapon against nuclear missiles. Some 50 scientists were persuaded to look at the problem after my March 23rd ('83) declaration. They started as skeptics & have wound up enthusiasts. We'll proceed."
204 "A sobering briefing on Soviet Power & plans for a protracted nuclear war. I wish some of our pacifist loud talkers could have access to this information."
215 "Dropped in for a minute on the TV anchor men & women who were being briefed on tonite's St. of the Union address. I cannot conjure up 1 iota of respect for just about all of them."
216 "Pres. Spilzak of Yugoslavia was here for a meeting & lunch. He's a personable & reasonable man. I picked his brains about the Soviet U. He was Ambas. there for a time. He believes that coupled with their expansionist philosophy they are also insecure & genuinely frightened of us. He also believes that if we opened them up a bit their leading citizens would get braver about proposing change in their system. I'm going to pursue this."
240 "A lot of old friends on hand plus NBC's Mr. Brokaw who recently dinged me good in an interview. He has voiced regret over that."
255 "Last nite the Dem. Convention opened—we didn't watch but this A.M. I read the speeches of Jimmy Carter & Gov. Cuomo. I couldn't believe the outright falsehoods & pure demagoguery of both. But I won't reply—yet."
258 "addressed our Am. team at Olympic Village & on to the Coliseum. The opening ceremonies were magnificent. My 2 sentences to open the games I thought were written in reverse. The applause line—"hereby declare open etc." was 1st followed by a second line about the 23rd Olympiad. I asked permission to change the order & did so. The press having a copy of the lines as written are gleefully tagging me with senility & inability to learn my lines."
264 "A full day—it always is when I've been away for a few days. The big event in the A.M. was an address to the Nat. B'nai B'rith Convention. I know I was following Mondale who it had been rumored was going to do a job on me. I was not going to make a pol. speech but talk about matters of interest to them—Israel etc. I was right & he was wrong. Reports are that he was coolly but politely rcvd. I have to say that my own reception was overwhelming—interrupted 18 times by applause. Come to the evening news—TV-ABC-CBS-NBC & you would never have known it. All 3 did a slick hatchet job."
277 "Wednesday, November 7 [1984] Well 49 states, 59% of the vote & 525 electoral votes. A short press conf. The press is now trying to prove it wasn't a landslide or should I say a mandate?"
277 "A long meeting with Sec. Shultz. We have trouble. Cap & Bill Casey have views contrary to George's on S. Am., the Middle East & our arms negotiations. It's so out of hand George sounds like he wants out. I can't let that happen. Actually George is carrying our my policy. I'm going to meet with Cap & Bill & lay it out to them. Won't be fun but has to be done."
301 "Just saw a fund-raising letter signed by Tip O'Neill for Dem. Cong. Committee. It is the most vicious pack of lies I've ever seen. It's aimed at Sr. Citizens & has me out to destroy Medicare & Soc. Security. We can't let him get by with this."
333 "Called Don Devine who withdrew his name from the Sen. confirmation process. This was another lynching. He did just what I wanted him to do in his appointed position & he'll be greatly missed. He saved the govt. $6 Bil.—something his Senate critics have never done.*[. . .] * Donald Devine had been nominated for a second term as director of the Office of Management and Budget. He was criticized in Congress for the extent of his cuts in the federal workforce."
336 "Then it was time to get ready for our sessions with Pres. Borguiba of Tunisia. They were good sessions & he is really a friend of America. Tunisia is the only Moslem or Arab country that practices Monogamy & gives women equal rights. The Pres. is also a declared enemy of Quadaffi."
337 "Well my heart is broken—we all agreed that in view of the hostage situation we should cancel our trip to the ranch. I can do everything there I could do here but the perception of me vacationing while our citizens are held in durance vile is something I can't afford—so no trip.
337 "A meeting with Armand Hammer [. . .] He [. . .] has had a strictly 1 on 1 with Gorbachev & feels I should go to Moscow for a meeting. He's convinced "Gorby" is a different type than past Soviet leaders & that we can get along. I'm too cynical to believe that."
341 "Another regional press luncheon—took Q's. I'm always impressed with the difs. between these press & media people from outside the beltway & the W.H. press corps. These people ask Q's. that are legitimate requests for news not traps."
411 "Met with Anatoly Scharansky. It was fascinating to hear the story of his imprisonment by the Soviets. I learned that I'm a hero in the Soviet Gulag. The prisoners read the attacks on me in Tass & Pravda & learn what I'm saying about the Soviets and they like me."
421 "A meeting with Clarence Thomas my man on the Equal Opp. board. I've nominated him for another term. He's done a h—l of a good job. The Lynch gang on the hill is after him."
450 "This whole irresponsible press bilge about hostages & Iran has gotten totally out of hand. The media looks like it's trying to create another Watergate. I laid down the law in the morning meetings—I want to go public personally & tell the people the truth."
450 "I did a 12 minute TV speech on the Iran incident & gave the facts to refute the firestorm the press is raising based entirely on unsubstantiated rumors & out right inventions. Several thousand phone calls came in & about 2/3 were favorable."
451 "The press continues to harp on the Iran situation to the point of writing & broadcasting pure fiction."
452 "Then a meeting with our Ec. Policy Advisory Bd. This is once a year thing. They are all top nationally known economists & it's surprising how many things they can disagree on."
453 "Ed M[eese] & Don R[egan] told me of a smoking gun. On one of the arms shipment the Iranians paid Israel a higher purchase price than we were getting. The Israelis put the difference in a secret bank account. Then our Col. North (NSC) gave the money to the "Contras." This was a violation of the law against giving the Contras money without an authorization by Congress. North didn't tell me about this. Worst of all John Poindexter found out about it & didn't tell me. This may call for resignations."
506 "Finally inside building several thousand people—mainly Am. mil. & family's etc. Again well received in a speech tailored for that audience. A birthday celebration with cake for Berlin's 750th anniversary. And then we flew to Bonn..." Speech at the Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987 – No mention of "Tear down this wall!" in the Diary.
534 "Staff meeting started with Bob Woodward's claim in his book & his interview last night on "60 Minutes" that he'd interviewed Bill Casey just before Casey's death. He's a liar & he lied about what Casey is supposed to have thought of me."
566 "Colin met with 4 Pres's in Central Am. they want us to keep supporting the Freedom Fighters but none of them want to come out & say so. Arias continues to ignore the Sandinistas intransigence. Colin told the 4—it was show time for the F.Fs if Congress is to give us the money for them"
574 "An early dinner then over to the Oval O. to broadcast speech on Contra Aid. Only CNN carrying it—the 3 majors refused which is an unprecedented affront & reveals where their sympathies lie—right with the Communist govt. of Nicaragua."
594 "Rcvd. an explanation of the ABC special event alleging—h—l they outright accused us (based on evidence from unnamed sources) of using planes in Contra aid in cahoots with Israel & those same planes then ran drugs into U.S. It's all a phony story & just never happened."
604 "The press have a new one thanks to Don Regan's book. We make decisions on the basis of going to Astrologers. The media are behaving like kids with a new toy—never mind that there is no truth in it."
604 "...some talk about this astrology mess Don Regan's book has kicked up. Some gal in L.A. claims she's a visitor to the W.H. & that she gives us frequent readings. She even claims she advised me on choosing Geo. B. for V.P. We've never seen her in our lives & don't know her at all."
606 "At the end Sam Donaldson yelled a Q. about the Regan book saying I made decisions by Astrology & was I going to continue. I said I can't because I never did."
674 "Woodward of the Wash. Post sprang a story that Israel's Nir had told him there was a secret intelligence agreement between Israel & the U.S. There is no such thing. Woodward wrote the story after Nir turned up dead in Mexico—a plane crash. It looks like a repeat of his story about Bill Casey—after Casey died."

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