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Head of State Files

The following memorandums of conversation and letters were found at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. 

*Letters between Reagan and the leaders of the Soviet Union are stored on a separate page and can be found be clicking here. 

**Letters between Reagan and Thatcher can be found by clicking here

Feb. 12, 1981: "Summary of the President's Meeting with Italian Prime Minister Emilio Colombo."

March 17, 1981: Memorandum of conversation: Reagan and Argentine President-elect Viola

April 2, 1981: Letter from Ceausescu to Reagan and draft response. 

May 21, 1981: Memorandum of conversation: President Reagan and West German Chancellor Schmidt.

December 1, 1981: Summary of President Reagan’s Meeting with President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire

The meeting opened: “President Reagan thanked President Mobutu for the handsome memento he presented. The President stated that he appreciated very much Zaire’s long time friendship with the US and looked forward to this friendship continuing. The President added that he was delighted to hear about President Mobutu’s plans and programs for domestic adjustment. The President also expressed appreciation for Mobutu’s cooperation in sending Zairian troops to Chad for the peacekeeping force."

Dec. 15, 1981: Memorandum of conversation: Ronald Reagan and Cardinal Casaroli.

(President Reagan and Cardinal Casaroli discuss Poland and the prospects for democratic reforms in eastern Europe.) 

Dec. 26, 1981: "Prime Minister Papandreou's Response to President Reagan." (Poland). (RL: Exec. Sec., NSC: Head of State, UK. (8106581-8200891) box 35.

January 4, 1982: Letter from Polish leader General Jaruzelski to President Reagan

“Mr. President, the opinions formulated by you are not in agreement with the real course of events, of which Poland has been the scene this last year.” 

Selected correspondences between President Reagan and Pope Paul II

(Photo Credit: Reagan Library. Reagan and Pope John Paul II, Fairbanks Alaska, 1984.)

Sept. 25, 1982: Former President Nixon’s Trip to China

President Nixon held talks with Deng Xioping, Hu Yaobang, Zhao Ziyang and Huang Hua. “Nixon’s report is quite interesting and useful as an indicator of Chinese thinking in the wake of the signing of the Joint Communique, and the prospects for both US-PRC relations and US-USSR relations.” 

Nov. 15, 1982: Bush-Andropov meeting, the Kremlin.

Andropov: “Please convey to the President that the most sincere wish of the Soviet leadership is to improve and strengthen the relations between the Soviet Union and the United States, since this would be in the interests of not only our two countries, but in fact of all mankind."

May 17, 1983: Memcon: President Reagan and Irish Prime Minister FitzGerald

Letter: President Reagan to German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. September 10, 1983.

In this important letter, in the aftermath of the recent downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007, President Reagan wrote to Chancellor Kohl to "seek your personal views before I reach any final decisions". Specifically, President Reagan lists three "substantive elements" that he proposes Ambassador Nitze propose at the next round of Geneva arms control negotiations in the hopes of gaining Chancellor Kohl's thoughts on the proposals before the Geneva negotiations resume. 

1. Retain the Pershing II system unless the Soviet Union accepts the zero-zero option, but be willing to proportionately reduce if called for; 

2. In the context of a global agreement on Long Range Intermediate Weapons, offer to not offset Soviet LRINF with American forces in Europe;

3. Consider proposals to limit longer-range INF aircraft…"to demonstrate U.S. flexibility in meeting a major Soviet concern while upholding our criteria for an INF agreement."

October 19, 1983Letter: King Hussein of Jordan to President Reagan

(Photo credit: Reagan Library. Pres. Reagan and King Hussein, Virginia, 1982.)

King Hussein, in this important letter to President Reagan on the deteriorating situation in Lebanon, tells Reagan that it is "vital" for Jordan "that we receive your commitment in unequivocal terms. It is vital to us to know in no uncertain terms that you, sir, the administration and the American nation are committed to the implementation of Security Council Resolution 242 as we both formulated it in 1967 and that the United States acts immediately to buttress Jordan's capabilities to meet all challenges, not after the fact, but immediately."

October 26, 1983Memorandum of conversation: President Reagan phone call to Australian Prime Minister Hawke

In this important memoranda of conversation, President Reagan explains to Prime Minister Hawke why the United States invaded the Caribbean nation of Grenada just days before. 

Nov. 17, 1983: "Brief Trudeau Meeting with the President" discussing "Trudeau's 'Peace Initiative'".

Feb. 14, 1984: Memorandum of Conversation: President Reagan meeting with British Opposition Leader Neil Kinnock. The Oval Office, 4:00-4:25 PM.

In this important memoranda of conversation, President Reagan and British Opposition Leader Kinnock discuss the important topic of nuclear weapons. President Reagan is unusually candid. "We have had thirty-eight years of peace and, perhaps, the existence of nuclear weaponary has been a contributing factor," Reagan told Kinnock. A few minutes later, Reagan added: "The existence of nuclear weapons has been a key factor in maintaing global stability and preventing war. I wonder if the U.S. would have seriously considered dropping the bombs on Japan if we knew that San Francisco or Chicago would be vulnerable to retaliation from Tokyo?" 

March 22, 1984: “Summary of President Reagan’s Cabinet Room Meeting with French President Francois Mitterrand.”

March 23, 1984: “Summary of President Reagan's Working Breakfast Meeting with French President Francois Mitterrand.” 

FM: The day that the risk had been highest that the French and Libyan armies would clash, Qadhafi sent a message that Mrs. Qadhafi and their children were coming to Paris and that he hoped they would be well-received, assisted with their shopping, and provided security. (Laughing.) Qadhafi must be taken seriously. Islamic fundamentalism is highly contagioius.

RR: Agreed. Terrorism is a major problem in the Middle East. Many of our friends are quite concerned.

FM: Yes, the head of the government of Algeria worries about both the Shiites and Qadhafi. Syria, perhaps, is also worried. Islamic fundamentalism is one of the important phenomena of our times. If it sweeps the Arab world, we will have to redraw the political and strategic maps. It has ramifications also in Africa, especially Nigeria, which is two-third Muslim.

May 31, 1984: “Summary of President Reagan’s Meeting with NATO Foreign Ministers.” 

Reagan: “Is it possible that we were concerned about the wrong issues when we analyzed the theories of Marx and Lenin? In fact, the Soviets have created their own aristocracy. They are primarily interested in maintaining the power of that aristocracy."

September 23, 1984: President Reagan’s Meeting with President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire

The meeting opened: “President Reagan expressed his pleasure at seeing President Mobutu again. He characterized bilateral relations as based on solid friendship and described them as excellent. He commended President Mobutu’s courage in dealing with his economic problems and maintaining the reforms. He also thanked President Mobutu for his positive contribution to the Chad problem. He stated that he personally held President Mobutu in the highest esteem for his courageous actions."


September 27, 1984: President Reagan’s Meeting with President Belaunde of Peru

Dec. 22, 1984: “Meeting With Prime Minister Thatcher.” 

Jan. 5, 1985: Draft Letter from Reagan to Allied Leaders.

Feb. 19, 1985: Briefing Memo for President Reagan’s Feb. 20, 1985 meeting with Prime Minister Thatcher.

This package of material includes: A) Memo from McFarlane to Reagan; B) List of Participants and Schedule; C) Memo from Shultz: “Terrorism — United Kingdom”; D) Cable from Amb. Price to Reagan.

Oct. 23, 1985: Gorbachev’s Oct. 12, 1985 letter to PM Thatcher

Nov. 15, 1986: Letter from President Reagan to Saddam Hussein. (RL: Burns, William. Iraq (1987-88) (1 of 2) Box 91849. 

Dec. 9, 1986: Memorandum of conversation between President Reagan and President Mobutu

President Reagan and President Mobutu, in this important memoranda of conversation, discuss all areas of U.S.-Zaire relations. Mobutu, importantly, tells President Reagan that he is very concerned that Libyan leader Qadhafi continues to target him over his support of Israel and Chad.  

July 7, 1987Letter: President Reagan to Prime Minister Thatcher (Syria)

President Reagan wrote to Prime Minister Thatcher to apologize that his letter to Syrian President Assad was leaked and that the leak "caused problems for you before the EC meeting." But, Reagan writes, "I am pleased to see that we have reached an agreed assessment of the importance of the recent moves by President Assad against the Abu Nidal organization. Also, we are, I believe, in complete agreement that any approach towards Syria should be cautious, deliberate and step-by-step." Reagan also told Thatcher that they should pressure Assad to: take action against Hizbollah; to close the Beirut International Airport; and to distance itself from Iran.

May 12, 1987: Telephone Conversation Between President Reagan and Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Federal Republic of Germany.

Chancelor Kohl, in this important conversation, gives President Reagan a tremendous amount of credit for improved East-West relations. Kohl told Reagan that he is in favor of an arms control treaty with the Soviet Union “and that he wants the President to have that success…the President deserves such success because without his position and efforts in the United States, it woiuld have been impossible for Europe to take the position that has been taken.” 

Oct. 23, 1987: “Today’s Conversation with Gorbachev.” 

This top-secret cable sent from Air Force One to the President summarizes Secretary Shultz’s (and Frank Carlucci’s) four-and-a-half-hour meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev, The cable shows that the U.S. and Soviet Union were very close to signing an INF Treaty (which they would in December), but that the two sides were still very far apart in START negotiations. The main point of difference being Gorbachev’s insistence on linking START negotiations to SDI. Carlucci responded that Reagan found linkage “totally unacceptable”, and that “as long as this type of linkage is maintained, I see little chance for progress.” 

December 11, 1987: Memorandum of conversation:(1) President Reagan Phone Call to Japanese Prime Minister Takeshita,  December 11, 1987; and (2) President Reagan phone call to French President Mitterand.

In this two important memorandums of conversation, President Reagan discusses his impression of General Secertary Gorbachev during the Washington Summit during which Reagan and Gorbachev signed the historic INF Treaty. Reagan says that he continued to pressure Gorbachev on setting a date for a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, progress was made on reaching a START agreement without sacrificing SDI, and Gorbachev continued to take a hard line on human rights.


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