The Lee Edwards Lecture in Conservative Leadership: How Reagan Won the Cold War

The Lee Edwards Lecture in Conservative Leadership: How Reagan Won the Cold War

The Heritage Foundation’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies is pleased to announce that Peter Robinson, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, will deliver the inaugural Lee Edwards Lecture in Conservative Leadership. The title of his speech is “How Ronald Reagan Won the Cold War.”

The Heritage Foundation established the annual Lee Edwards Lecture in recognition of Dr. Edwards’s long service as a Distinguished Fellow in Conservative Thought at Heritage, during which time he wrote most of his 25 books about the leading individuals and institutions of the modern conservative movement. Dr. Edwards authored biographies of President Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley Jr., and Edwin Meese III, as well as histories of The Heritage Foundation, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), and the conservative movement. His books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, and Polish.

In addition to the many books he wrote, Dr. Edwards taught politics at the Catholic University of America for more than 30 years and was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the university. Dr. Edwards was also a co-founder of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

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Ladies and Gentlemen please make your Way into the auditorium our program will Begin Shortly e You for Yeah for Year AG Days Ladies and Gentlemen please silence your Devices our program will begin Momentarily We The Like Is Thought EX Was There B That It's Say Hard Ladies and gentlemen Welcome to our Program the inaugural Lee Edwards Lecture in conservative leadership Please welcome John Malcolm vice President in the Heritage foundation's Institute for constitutional government Well welcome everybody to the Heritage Foundation uh it gives me great pleasure To welcome you to the inaugural Lee Edwards lecture in conservative

Leadership the man we honor tonight Dr Lee Edwards was the long serving Distinguished fellow in conservative Thought in the B Kenneth Simon Center For American studies here at Heritage For most of that time the president of Heritage was Lee's close friend Dr Edwin Fuler who is with us here tonight Thanks so much for being here Ed during his time at Heritage Lee wrote Most of his 25 books about the leading Individuals and institutions of the Modern conservative movement including Biographies of President Reagan Barry Goldwater William F Buckley and our very Own Ed M who to honor Lee has also Joined us here this evening In addition to the many books that he Wrote Lee served as a distinguished Lecturer at Catholic University of America where he taught politics for Over 30 years and was also the Co-founder of the victims of Communism Memorial Foundation unfortunately Lee is unable To be with us tonight because of some Health issues but he sent me a statement Which I'd like to read to you now my Dear friends I am so sorry I cannot join You this evening for the inaugural Lecture in my name here at this Institution that I so cherish my health Does not permit it nevertheless I'm so Very pleased that my good friend Peter

Robinson is giving the first Lee Edwards Lecture in conservative leadership his Topic this evening speaking about my Favorite President is as important as Ever we must learn the lessons of this Great Statesman I understand some of you Went to the victims of Communism Museum Earlier today thank you for that I hope Everyone will visit the museum and send Others to learn about the history of Communism so we will prevent the Revival Of such totalitarian evil in this world And regarding the museum and victims of Communism I must thank all of my many Friends at Heritage and elsewhere whose Support made this long project and so Many of the little labors of Love Possible I would like to thank my family in Particular my beloved wife an who is no Longer with us and my two wonderful Daughters my dear Katherine and Especially this evening Elizabeth who as Its founding director is the one who Created our jewelbox Museum and wrote Every Word on its walls and as a true Scholar will continue to carry on this Important work and so much more in her Own writings and as the chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation I am so proud of all of you thank you And may God bless you as he has blessed Me Lee Edwards Lee we know that you are with us

In spirit we miss you and we wish you a Full and complete Recovery and now it is my pleasure to Introduce the man who will deliver this Lecture on how Reagan won the Cold War a Graduate of Dartmouth College Oxford University and Stanford Business School Peter Robinson is the Murdoch Distinguished policy fellow at the Hoover institution where he writes about Business and politics edits Hoover's Quarterly journal the Hoover digests and Hosts the popular podcast uncommon Knowledge Peter spent six years in the White House serving as Chief speech Writer for Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush for two of those years and The remainder as special assistant and Speech writer to President Ronald Reagan Most significantly for purposes of Peter's Le tonight he wrote the the Historic iconic really speech that LE That Reagan delivered at the Berlin Wall 37 years ago yesterday calling on General Secretary M Gorbachev to tear Down this wall Peter's articles have Appeared in many prestigious journals And he is the author of three books Including how Ronald Reagan changed my Life please join me in welcoming Peter Robinson My friend our friend Bruce weinrod was a Researcher on a book some years ago and He gave me a copy of this book

Yesterday Reagan a political biography By Lee Edwards this is the cover is Falling off because this is an original Book 1967 let me read to you from the Preface I first met this is Lee I first Met Ronald Reagan in October 1965 I was skeptical at first but in the End I decided that here was no puppet at The end of a string but a highly Intelligent dedicated man with an Intriguing personality and Philosophy this lecture series that I'm Fortunate enough to inaugurate the Lee Edward's lecture in conservative Leadership is well- named because Lee Knew conservative leadership when he saw It but it's it's good to be with you um Actually I had a specific job in the Reagan speech writing shop I was the Wellman somebody would write the speech It would go to the president he would Make his changes and then it come back To me and I would go through the text And here and there I would insert well There are uh there are a number of People if I start saying hello and but There are a couple of people I just I Simply must recognize Ed fuler Ed Founded this institution in 1973 Yesterday by the way let's Establish something yesterday was the 37th Anniversary of the Berlin w wall speech If you are 37 years or older no no no

Let's put it the other way around if you Are if you are 37 years or younger put Your hand Up all Right I will talk very Slowly but the point of this of Mentioning this is that in 1973 founding th an institution such as This took was an Act of Faith and Courage and things got worse for some Years before they began to get Better and then uh attorney general Me Chief of Staff to Governor Reagan Counselor to President Reagan Attorney General of the United States and uh Throughout his entire career you Wouldn't those of you who are under 37 Will not remember this but there was a Time in the Reagan period when Ed as Attorney general Was vilified it was an early example of Our politics turning really sour and Bitter and mean and you will not Discover in Ed me any Scar Tissue no Unhappiness no unpleasantness it is as If he's done nothing all his life but Farm corn in Iowa and yet look at all he has done so Uh there's a phrase we we use it too Loosely but even under strict Construction and this is a man who Insists on strict construction after all Even under the strictest construction Ed Me is a great

American John Malcolm described Lee Edwards who is a historic figure in his Own right but since he's he's described This to you I have one of his many books Here but let me tell you what you might Not know about Lee uh not only is he a Brilliant writer in fact you he's Written so many books so beautifully That those of us who are also writers Have to hate him for that but he's also Quite saintly when I lived in Washington I attended the same church as Lee the Little Flower out in Bethesda and every Sunday Lee would sing in the choir and Standing next to him every Sunday was K Roberts now Ki Roberts was the product Of a major liberal family and she was a Star at national public radio and I knew What Lee thought of national public Radio I knew that and yet Sunday after Sunday I would study him for some sign Of irrit and he would just sing with the Face of an Angel how did Ronald Reagan win the Cold War let me tell you the story I will get To that but by let me do so by telling You the story of of a Speech in April 1987 I was assigned to write a speech I Was 29 anybody 29 or younger here today Oh my goodness all right Uh actually I won't talk slowly I'll Talk fast because I think I'm I'm about To

Spoil aging so quickly Here um I was 29 the president was going To be speaking that was going to be Flying to Venice to participate in an Economic Summit and it turned out that the city Of Berlin was celebrating a major Anniversary a 750th anniversary Queen Elizabeth II had already visited and More to the point Mikel Gorbachev was Planning a visit the Cole government of West Germany requested that President Reagan visit West Berlin to offset the Visit that Gorbachev would be making to East Berlin um here's what I was told the Direction I received from the senior Staff the president would stand in front Of the Berlin Wall uh he would have an Audience of about 40,000 people he ought To talk for about half an hour and given The setting he ought to address foreign Policy and with That the first thing I did was hole up In my office for a week or so to read Everything I could about Berlin and Since we have some people here who are Under 37 let me review for you the situation That I was studying in my office could I Have the first Slide they'll come to in a moment could I have the first slide yes ah it's there Okay all right so for those of you under

37 after the second world war Germany Was divided into a democratic West Germany and communist East Germany and Berlin the capital was itself divided Into West Berlin which was Democratic That's that little blob of blue in the Middle of the red and communist East Berlin if you were an East German you Would have noticed very quickly after The end of the war that West Germany was Beginning to recover economically that West Germany was Democratic East Germany Was solidly Communist and West Germany Began to take off so in the early years If you were in East German and you Wanted to get out of East Germany and go To West Germany what did you do you went To Berlin and you crossed the street you Could simply escape to the west by Crossing the street into West Berlin and From there if you wanted to do so you Could get on a train and take a train Across East German territory to West Germany Itself by 1960 some three and a half Million East Germans had done just that Using West Berlin to escape or leave Let's put it that way for West Germany That amounted to almost 1if of the Population of East Germany so the Communists had a problem how could they Stop This in August 1961 the East German government decided

To stop it by putting up a physical Barrier could I have the next slide Please first this barrier took the form Of barbed wire next Slide then they replace the barbed wire With cinder blocks the next slide Please and eventually they replac the Cinder blocks with a real wall concrete Slabs 13 fet High Surrounding West Berlin could I have the Next slide Please and by the 1980s the wall had Taken its final form in West Berlin People were free they sprayed the wall With graffiti they objected to it they Decorated it on the other side as you Can see in the slide there was a Killing Zone and it was a literal Killing Zone Many people were killed in that zone Attempting to escape from east to West all right that was the background That was born in on me as I holed up in My office and did Research I then flew to West Berlin as Part of the American pre-advanced team This involved uh people from the Press Office who were going to make sure that The president's camera angles were Correct people from the Secret Service Who would Lia with the West German Police and so forth and I had a day in West Berlin to gather material I made Four stops first was to the site where The president would speak and I climbed

An observation platform at the Berlin Wall I was of course inside West Germany I looked over the wall into East Germany And this is in some ways Almost impossible to convey but the most Important thing for me to convey Particularly to those of you who have no Memory of this when you stood at that Observation platform behind you in West Berlin you had a city that felt Normal recent model cars lots of Mercedes-benzes it was Germany people Who were well-dressed neon lights on the Storefronts traffic people going places On the sidewalks And when you peered over the wall into East Germany Silence very little movement I stood There for 10 minutes and counted two Cars I saw only a few knots of Pedestrians it seemed colorless in fact Uh when they made the movie um what was It called goodbye goodbye goodbye Lennon About the the director I read an Interview afterwards in which the Director said that to recreate create The feel of East Berlin they had to use A filter that filtered out color to make It to make it look to people who had Lived there to make it look real the Colorlessness the silence far more Soldiers than Pedestrians so as I say I was 29 when

All this started I climbed down from That observation platform in serious Trouble I couldn't imagine what material I could gather that would enable me to Write something for the president that Would be equal to that place Next I went to the ranking American Diplomat in Berlin a man called John Corn Blum and he gave me a lot of ideas About what about what Ronald Reagan Should not Say don't have him sound like an Anti-communist Cowboy uh we're deep Inside East Germany these people Understand the subtlety and Nuance Required in east west relations and Don't have him make a big deal about the Wall they've all gotten used to it by Now third I went I was given a ride in a US Army helicopter over the wall we flew All the way around West Berlin staying Just inside West Berlin airspace and Although from inside West Berlin the Wall looked bad enough from the air it Looked even worse because you could see What was on the other side guard towers Dog runs there were large areas of very Carefully Rak gravel so I used the Walkie-talkie to ask the pilot about That what was that for and the pilot Explained that that gravel was for the Sake of the East German soldiers if any Young man decided that he was going to Let a member of his family Escape in the

Middle of the night he would know that He would have to explain the footprints In the gravel to his Commander So I remember thinking as we were flying Around they have thought of Everything final stop for me that day I Got in a taxi in Downtown West Berlin Departed from the American party and Went off to a residential suburb of West Berlin for a dinner party about a dozen Or 15 West berliners I had not met Anyone there including the host and Hostess but the host and Hostess and I Had common friends back in Washington so they had put on a dinner Party just so I could meet some ordinary West Berliners and there was a physician There a couple of an economist who Taught at the fry fry thought University In Berlin uh couple of students a couple Of Homemakers just a kind of grab bag of People all of whom spoke English that Was what they had in common so that I Could meet West berliners well we Chatted a little While and then I thought I absolutely Have to ask so I said I was told by the American Diplomat that you've all gotten Used to the wall by now is that True Silence I thought oh I've committed Exact exactly the kind of Gaff that the

Diplomat wants to make sure the President doesn't Commit but then they began to look at Each other and finally one man raised His Arm and he pointed and he said my sister Lives just a few kilometers in that Direction but I haven't seen her in more Than 20 years how do you think we feel About that wall and then they went Around the room each person telling me a Story about the wall I can remember one Man was a physician who walked to his Office by the same route each day and His roote took him under a guard Tower And he said there's a young man up in That guard Tower with a rifle over his Shoulder who peers down at me with in With binoculars each morning we share The same history we speak the same Language but one of us is a zookeeper And the other is an animal and I have Never been able to decide which was Which and then our Hostess a woman Called ingaborg Elz lovely woman who who just died a Couple of years ago but our Hostess Became angry and she said if this man Gorbachev is serious with this talk this Glassos this parista he can prove it by Coming here and getting rid of that wall Could I have the next slide Please and I put that that went right Into my notebook you can't see it

Terribly well but it's note number 17 if The Russians are willing to open up the Berlin open up then the wall must go so That At that very moment I thought ah if the President were here he would have Responded to that remark the Simplicity The decency the power of that Remark back at the in Washington I drafted worked on a speech For a week um I told my boss the Tony Dolan the chief speech writer that I Wanted to build a speech around the call To tear on the wall he trotted me over To the West Wing to discuss this with Tommy griscom Who was the director of Communications Tommy was the oldest of Us Tommy might have been 33 or 34 at That stage and Tommy understood and they Left me alone for a week to draft and I I did some terrible writing I can still Remember at the end of the week Tony Come the the old executive office Building what is it called now the Eisenhower office building has marble Floors and Tony wore cowboy boots I can Still remember hearing his boots click Click click down the hall and he took my Draft and threw it on on my desk and Said it's no good I said Tony what's no Good me you give me a paragraph that I Need to F he said no no no no the whole Thing it's no good and I had put in I Had

Put I was very conscious that the Audience at home on television would be American but the audience in front of The president would be German so I'd Given him the line about tearing down I Here gorbachov mckenzi dor Al open the Brandon Brigade and Tony Said Peter when your client is the President of the United States give him The big lines in English So I went home and slept up and this Next week came back to the office and Produced a better Draft Friday May 15th it's long enough now It's long enough ago now Ed that I can Tell this story there's a piece of this Story that's embarrassed me for a long Time but I'm about to tell you Uh particularly those of you who are Under 37 it shows there there is Often spaces in Washington through which A young person can Move Tony Dolan and Tommy griscom and I Had the feeling that this call to tear On the wall might cause a little bit of Ruffle among the Staff and it was the rule a very serious Rule in the Reagan White House that Before a speech went to the president it Went out to Staffing Staffing first then The President in this case all the other

Speech writers there were five of six of Us on the staff at that point the President had quite a lot of remarks to Connected with his visit to Italy he was Going to see the Pope that was a set of Remarks calling the president of Italy That was a set of remarks several sets Of remarks at the venz everybody hurried To get the remarks done at once Producing a pile of speeches including My speech and on Friday afternoon May 15th Friday afternoon we waited for The sound of the helicopter landing on The south lawn to take the president to Camp David and then the speech writers Chief secretary Nancy Roberts took this Pile over to the Diplomatic reception Room in the residence where the staff Secretary was Waiting now it's important to note that This is not too long after this is a Matter of weeks after Don rean resigned As chief of staff and Howard Baker took Came on as Chief of Staff bringing Tommy Grisom the communications director and The staff secretary the staff secretary Was relatively new to his job and wasn't Quite sure what he was doing he knew Speeches were supposed to go to Staffing He suspected the speech writers might be Up and he and but Nancy Roberts the Secretary said well look he's got we Just thought we should give him a head Start there's so much material here why

Don't you give it to him to look it over At Camp David they're talking about this Back and forth the staff secretary Thinks there's something and then Ronald Reagan walks into the room and says oh You have some homework for me reaches The material takes it and off he goes to The Helicopter so the president saw the Draft before it went out to Staffing and the following Monday next Slide Please there we have it that's the we Talked about speech that he was going to Deliver when he saw the pope and in Venice and there that startlingly Handsome extremely young man in the Middle sofa who's facing you with a red Tie that's Me then we got to this the speech for Berlin And and the president said uh oh well That was a good Draft and we always wanted more from him General me will know this we always Wanted more from him all of us did and We would go into these meetings with the President if you had time you might ask Him a question so we'd think through What what question could we ask to get Him talking and I said Mr President I Learned in West Berlin that people will Be able to hear your remarks on the Other side of the wall the Communist

Side of the wall and depending on Weather conditions they may be able to Pick up your remarks by radio as far East as Moscow is there anything Particular you'd like to say to people On the Communist side of the wall and The president I can still I can still This is like a movie reel in my mind the President thought for a moment and he Said Well there's that passage about tearing Down the wall that's what I want to say To them that wall has to come Down and I because I was an idiot was Disappointed I thought I wanted some Fresh material all right then the speech Went out to Staffing and from three weeks for three Weeks from the moment it went out to Staffing until the president delivered It the state department and the National Security Council tried to suppress it They began submitting one draft after Another on different pretexts but always Omitting the call to tear down the wall I have the next slide Please I promise you I'm not making this Up there's document after document in The Reagan Library showing NSC xing out The call to tear down the wall Now their problem was that Ronald Reagan Had said in front of witnesses that he Especially wanted to deliver that Passage about tearing down the

Wall and nobody seemed to want to argue With him about it so they decided to Argue with the speech writers and I got Called in each time the state or the NC Submitted a new draft I would be get Tommy griskin would call me into his Office have me read the new draft and Then say okay have they persuaded you of Course they never had and I went over There to the West Wing one time and Co And Powell was there waiting and Co and Powell General decorated General in the Army knew how to handle a insubordinate Young man and he just shouted at me and I have to tell you I don't know what Came over me I shouted right Back I don't know which one of us was More surprised but colen poell just got Up and walked Out so a day or two before the president Left for Europe here's what the NC thought of Things next slide Please there we are there's a memorandum To colen Powell the Brandenburg gate Speech is better than Before we had given them a few we' made A few concessions we speech Writers but the staff is still unanimous That it's a mediocre speech and a missed Opportunity that was 37 years ago have I Gotten over it those sons of so I was two Junior as I say I Was only by this stage I had a birthday

I was 30 as this as this memo but I was Still to Junior to be part of the Traveling party so I now I'm stuck in The white house wondering what's Happening the president leaves Tony Dolan the chief speech writer is with Him and Tony was able to make one in Those days as my friend Philip will Recall in those days it was very Difficult to make a secure call from Europe to the United States Tony made One call to me and he said Peter they're Still at it they're still at it draft After draft Ken duberstein who was Deputy Chief of Staff told me that George Schultz approached him in Europe And objected to the speech again Schultz Had already objected to Howard Baker Howard Baker the chief of staff said it Sounded unprecedent everybody was Against this thing And dubberstein sat down with the President in the garden of some Italian Pazo and told him about the arguments From the state department It Was Naive It would raise false expectations it Might put Cole in a difficult position It might put Gorbachev in a difficult Position and then he had the president Reread that Central passage and then They talked about it and Ken said there Was a moment When that twinkle came on in Reagan's Face and he said uh now I'm the

President aren't I yes Mr President we're clear about That much so I get to decide whether That line stays in yes sir it is your Decision well then it stays In the morning the president left Venice The traveling party left Venice to fly To Berlin to deliver that speech the State department sent another D Alternative draft to Air Force One the Fax machine remember old fax started Clacking away in the back of the plane Tony Dolan told me about this and in the Limousine on the way to the wall to Deliver the speech the president told K Ken duber he intended to deliver it as Written and then the president said he Slapped Uber on the knee and said the Boys at state are going to kill me for This but it's the right thing to Do the video clip please We hear much from Moscow about a new Policy of Reform and openness some Political prisoners have been released Certain foreign news broadcasts are no Longer being jammed some economic Enterprises have been permitted to Operate with greater freedom from State Control are these the beginnings of Profound changes in the Soviet state or Are they token gestures intended to Raise false hopes in the west or to Strengthen the Soviet system without It we welcome change and openness for we

Believe that freedom and security go Together that the advance of human Liberty the advance of human Liberty can Only strengthen the cause of World Peace there is one sign the Soviets can Make that would be Unmistakable that would Advance dram Dramatically the cause of freedom and Peace General Secretary Gorbachov if you seek peace if you seek Prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe if you seek Liberalization come here to this gate Mr Gorbachov Open this gate Mr Mr Gorbachov tear down this wall I was watching that on my little Sony Trinitron tell you won't remember what Trin I was watching this on a little Television about this big in my bachelor Apartment at home and because I am such A noble Spirit my thought was not what a Magnificent moment for human Liberty my Thought was we beat those bastards in State By the way Tommy griscom again Tommy was In his 30s at this stage and he said Immediately after the president spoke as The American party was breaking up there Were one or two other events in Berlin Everybody had to get back in the Motorcade onto the next event Tommy Spotted George Schultz General me knew George Schultz

Is there anybody here who remembers George Schultz well he's all right good George Schultz was one formidable man And those blue eyes I am convinced those Blue eyes could burn holes in Titanium and Tommy saw George Schultz Scanning the crowd as if he were looking For Someone and then Schultz saw Tommy and Started walking toward him and Tommy Thought oh my goodness I am about to be Dressed down by the Secretary of State In a foreign and Schultz got to him and Looked at him for a moment and said you Were right And then Left the Autumn of 1989 just over two Years after President Reagan spoke on October 7th 1989 East Germany celebrated Its 40th anniversary 40th anniversary of The founding of the communist State Mikel Gorbachev visits and tells The East German pullit Bureau they're on Their own he's going to keep the Red Army in the barracks if there's any Trouble protests begin there's a pattern Of prayer groups at Lutheran Churches Throughout East Germany and small Protests after prayer Meetings the protest the police do not Put the protests down the protests grow And in the course of a month they grow From scattered small protests to Hundreds of thousands of people in the

Capital of East Berlin on the night of November 9th the East German pollit Bureau meets an emergency session Throughout the night and one member of The pollit bureau excuses himself to Inform the Press about what they're Deciding and he mentions that among Another number of actions they've Decided to ease certain travel Restrictions including travel Restrictions concerning the wall now we Now know that he was mistaken he misread He misunderstood what was happening the Press said when does this take Effect and he hadn't thought that Through but he said immediately with the Result this was being broadcast by radio And television live across Germany with The result that within a matter of Moments cars bicycles uh people on foot Begin crowding at the wall uh none of The soldiers there has received any Briefing all of this is completely new To them and the soldiers realize they Have a decision they're going to have to Shoot people or open the gate open the Checkpoints and they open the Checkpoints so could I have the next Slide please so two years and 5 months After Ronald Reagan delivered the speech The Berlin Wall did begin to be torn Down How did Ronald Reagan do it I'm finally Working my way back to how did Ronald

Reagan win the Cold War could I have the Next slide Please the first point to make here I Think is that it was Ronald Reagan who Did it you will see the speech writer's Name up on the top Corner and that's about as much credit As I Deserve because you have to believe me When I told you I was in Berlin Listening for material he would like by This point i' been in the white house For five years I knew what he sounded Like I knew his positions on the Policies and this why is this this is Because Ronald Reagan has been giving Speeches and writing for decades before He became president which leads me to The answer that I would like to offer There of course there are many answers To how he did it his faith his Determination his Simple ability to connect with People but one my answer the answer I'd Like to propose is something that's Often overlooked and that is as general Me will confirm that Ronald Reagan read Widely and wrote constantly he was never Without a book and he was seldom without A pen in fact I visited him what would This have been I visited him in 19889 just months after he had left Office I visited him in his Post-presidential complex down in Los

Angeles and as I walked in he had his Was doing he looked up and he said oh Well now that I'm out of office I have To write my speeches Myself he was back at It uh it it's worth noting I think that That set him Apart from many Politicians uh George HW Bush whom I Knew and revered Uh George HW Bush had a big family he Had enormous Connections in Texas and he Wrote notes to people he he was that was A kind of typical politician's approach To the way he did his job it was by Building networks Richard Nixon was a Party man he knew the Republican party In great detail FDR had a famous party Trick which was that after dinner he Would unroll a map of the United States And have a guest pick up a pencil and Draw a line across the United States and FDR would name the Democratic party Chairman in every County through which That line Passed Ronald Reagan was not like That Ronald Reagan had ideas and he had Words he was in the strict sense of the Word he was an intellectual he weighed Evidence he considered arguments he Tried out his thoughts on Audiences and when he reached a Conclusion he considered himself bound By

It uh which brings me to I'll close now To the relief of all of you who are Under 37 which brings me To the work of the Heritage Foundation uh if we see a speech like This we look at YouTube we see a Wonderful Moment but behind that Moment lies years of Work Uh analysis the hard work of Argumentation of forming arguments of Finding out what persuades people and What doesn't uh and that it strikes me Is where we are now the Cold War begins I date the beginning of the Cold War you Can date it other places but I date the Beginning of the Cold War from Harry Truman's speech in 19 March of 1940 Philip 46 or 47 47 I think in which Harry Truman goes before a joint session Of Congress and announces that it will Be the policy of the United states to Support countries that are attempting to Resist outside interference he never Uses the word communism but it's clear And he proposes Aid to Greece and Turkey That's the moment when the Soviets have Been pushing and pushing and pushing That's the moment when the United States Begins to push back but what that means Is that by the time Ronald Reagan is Elected in

1980 the country has had several decades To Think Through the problem And there were people many of them Brought together by Ed fuler at this Institution who by that stage had done a Lot of hard work and reached Conclusions so I would suggest That probably we're closer to 1947 today We're closer to the beginning than we Are to the end I also have the feeling That we won't have as much time this Time around so uh ladies and Gentlemen let us all hop to it thank You so in a moment I'll get to to Questions from the audience I've got one I want to ask myself so I remember when Reagan was asked about what's your Strategy for dealing with the Soviets he Said we win you they lose absolutely um But I want to ask about from your Observations about three other people Who Ronald Reagan worked with very Closely obviously that had a hand in uh In bringing about the end of the Cold War and that's specifically Margaret Thater Pope John Paul and uh Le valent At the head of solidar I just wanted to Get your take and sort of what your Observations were about those Relationships uh the relationship with Mrs Thatcher Was close they were not they're often Portrayed in retrospect as in some as a Kind of Buddy Team uh uh it wasn't that

Uh Exactly but Ronald Reagan enjoyed her Company and respected her strength Respected her mind and respected her Strength Bill Clark once told me that Mrs thater knew how to operate that Whenever there was a meeting with the President Bill Clark would be asked to Sit in and when Mrs Thatcher had Something critical to say She would not address the president She'd turn to Bill Clark and say how can It be that the United States is doing This and this and this when of course You should be doing this and this and This and Bill said and the president Would look at me as with a twinkle in His eyes as if to say yeah Bill how the Hell Come But the uh that relationship the Importance of that relationship in my Judgment cannot be overstated these two People meet each other in London When Mrs Thatcher has been elected head Of the Tory party but not prime minister And Ronald Reagan is now a former Governor he's being talked about as a Presidential candidate but he's not yet And they meet each other and what is Meant to be an informal brief meeting Lasts over an hour as I recall and what They discover in each other is that in Different parts of the world by

Completely different Roots they've Reached the same conclusions So Ronald Reagan knows he's not crazy And Margaret Thatcher knows that there's This glamorous handsome cheerful she may Be a Drudge but a movie star agrees with her The validation that this represented to Each to to the two of them I think is Tremendously important and they remain They remain validators of each other's Views throughout the entire period Mrs Thatcher also the main Sorry you asked a simple question and I'm not even going to throw the way Through the answer but I'll but I'll Skip through the I mean the pope no I'm Joking about That uh the Um misss that the As a geopolitical Matter geostrategic matter the name of The game in the Cold War was Europe if The Soviets could neutralize Germany if They could peel Europe away from the United States if they could introduce Real dissension into the NATO alliance That would have been very serious and Margaret Thatcher spends all eight years of the Reagan Administration saying to the Europeans don't you dare write him off As some American Cowboy these are Sophisticated serious people and saying To the Americans don't you dare write

Off the Europeans as a feat or corrupt Or decadent Fran midon may be a Socialist but he's a serious and she's Holding this Alliance together it's it's Underappreciated but an act Of I don't know kind of political Heroism in my judgment um Le Venza and The Pope I don't think the president the President admired the Pope I never had The feeling that they understood each Other well enough to develop much of a Personal Relationship but uh General me would Know this I think it was Dick somebody Was seated with Ronald Reagan when the Pope made his visit to Poland in 1979 shortly after becoming Pope and the Whole country turned out to see Him and and Reagan Understood all these years after Imposing a communist government Communism is still utterly illegitimate It has no support among the people Whatsoever so the Pope the Pope's moral Reagan there's somebody so Reagan so Often gets written about As if he was making foreign policy Calculations as if he were in the school Of Henry Kissinger that he had a kind of Calculating mind and that's just not the Way his mind worked he had a moral Imagination and so did John Paul II they

So they understood each other at that Level and of course le fenza as far as I Am aware the president in that meeting There was a picture the picture that we Put up I didn't go into this but I'll Mention it now Josh Gilder fellow speech Writer one of the reasons I was so Annoyed that the president just said Well I like the line about tearing down The wall was that Josh had said well Mr President what do you do you have Anything in particular you'd like to say To the pope and the president dictated I Mean Josh was writing at top speed the President dictated two or three pages on The importance of religious liberty and On the importance of religious renewal And and he understood that what was Happening in Poland was just crucial so Josh gets all of this new material by The way the PS to that is Josh types it Up it goes to the state department and Josh gets a call no excuse the state Department sends it back x x x x so Josh Calls and says excuse me but would you Be interested to know that the material You exed out was dictated by the President Himself well excuse me said state but He's paying making a visit to John Paul II in John Paul II's capacity as a head Of state not as a religious figure so It's totally Inappropriate and Josh Josh just could

Not believe what he was hearing and he Said to the state department official You know I'm sorry I'm putting it back In well let the record show that we Objected so Be this was 1987 Ronald Reagan's been President for six years and the state Depart okay you get the Picture let's open this up questions Have right here you have a microphones We'll make their way to You um so the USSR had laws in some way They had a rule of law what made the What were the principles that Ronald Reagan saw about the relationship Between government and in the citizens That made the United States Free well I mean Thank you for asking the question Because it gives me an opportunity to Say go back to the speech which all Reagan people refer to as the speech the Speech he gave on behalf of Barry Goldwater in 1964 in which he Says I can almost quote this Ed and I Can probably probably between the two of Us we could fit but this idea that the Government the government has no source Of power but the people The Sovereign People is still the newest and most new Unique idea in all the relations between A government and people I think that That's roughly the quotation the reason

I'm happy to be able to quote that is That that was all Ronald Reagan let it Be said that although I'm a speech Writer all we were trying to do when we Wrote material for him was match what he The standards he himself had established So the other Bit that often gets Missed because it's icky to talk about In our current climate he believed in God he was a religious he was not a Regular churchgoer but that was because His mother was a disciple of Christ the emphasis was on the personal Relationship with God judge Clark Bill Clark again they're on an Airplane Reagan is Governor they're on An airplane flying back to Washington For some reason like National Governor Ass so something And the stewardess comes back and says I'm sorry we've just received Word that Martin Luther King has been Assassinated so Bill Clark doesn't know What to do and he's seated two or three Rows away from Reagan and he looks up Rean his Prey So it was real that's the point my Goodness I'm getting choked up about an Event I didn't even Witness that Historyonics yes sorry that a time for Choosing speech was really yes yes yes

Yes other questions over Here everything else I wrote is totally Forgettable And I'm not entirely joking I was the Youngest member of the staff my first Couple of Years even the president of the United States has a lot of his job that's Purely routine I wrote greetings to Girl Scouts I wrote are you a duck hunter by Any Chance well there's a something called The ding Darling duck Stamp and Hunters Across America have to Buy a ding ding Darling was a sports Writer or conservation I mean I just remember it because I Thought the name ding Dar if I were born Ding Darling I would change my name to Humper Dink but you're you're now talking to The man who wrote president the ding Darling duck stamp I wrote uh a couple Of commutations for Thanksgiving Turkeys I wrote oh actually this I did Like I got a kick out of this nobody Else nobody else on the speechwriting Staff wanted to write the remarks that The president Delivered before the Kennedy Center Honors each Year and I love Showbiz this is all Totally forgetable though and so I wrote Those I found this one um I found an

Anecdote about Frank Sinatra and so I put it in and the President Sinatra is in the audience and I'm in on the standing against the wall Of the East room listening to all this And the president said Francis Albert Sinatra began his singing career in Hoboken New Jersey singing for singing In saloons for $5 a week no reaction Pause this was in the text I anticipated It and then the president repeats let me Repeat that Frank Sinatra once worked For $5 a week and the whole Hollywood Crowd broke up afterwards I saw Sinatra Standing by himself and I walked up and Said Mr son I'm a speech writer he said Oh yeah That thing about working for $5 a week That was True I also met Jimmy Stewart Mr Stewart I'm a speech writer And Jimmy Stewart said Oh and then his wife came and took him Away so uh there you have the annals of My speech writing famous speech among Duck Hunters though I'm sure we got it Right over here well I'm pinching my Hang on let me let's grab the microphone I watch the tear down this wall speech Monthly so seeing you is just fabulous Could you put a dollar in the Mail I get no royalties on This so you mentioned Truman as the First president who brought to the Cold

War right the Cold War Yes do you think FDR was a closet Communist w No but FDR is extremely difficult to Read he is extremely difficult to Read on the pro FDR Column we lost fewer than half a million Men during the second world war killed The Soviets lost 20 Million whatever it was that he did He caused the Soviets to Bear the brunt So there's that to be said on the other Hand we have statement after statement After statement I think in particular His comment to Bullet was the Diplomat Uh all right and Harry uh FDR is Preparing to go to Yalta and he says Again this is a close paraphrase I think If I give Stalin everything he wants and Ask nothing in return then he'll be very Cooperative with us in the no bless obl FDR uses the phrase no bless obl as if Stalin went to gron and Harvard the way He Did then I believe that he'll cooperate With us after the war there is also a Very striking passage Harry Hopkins To uh one of FDR's speech writers this Is after FDR is dead and about 18 months Before Harry Hopkins who had stomach Cancer and knew he was dying himself Died so he had no reason to lie about This and there's a qu Harry Hopkins is Quoted as saying again this is a close

Paraphrase neither the president nor any One of us had any doubt that the Soviet Union would prove Cooperative after the War our only fear was that Stalin might Die because we weren't sure about who Might replace him so the level of Naive is on record is staggering and It's on record again and again and again Or we see I'm sorry if I get going on This one go Um Stalin there's a moment as the war is Coming to an End where we have Philip Hughes who's Seated right here will know the history Better than I but we attempt the Germans Who were in Italy wanted to surrender to Us and wrap up the Italian part of the War in a hurry and we engaged in talks With them nothing came of it but word of This Stalin and he send Scorchers of Cables to Churchill and FDR accusing us Of seeking a separate piece of trying to Cut a deal with the Nazis that left him Out and what you see is the Shock FDR FDR is writing a cable to Stalin to calm him down the day FDR dies It's the last thing he's Writing now why would you be shocked That Joseph Stalin would suspect you of Of a separate piece trying to negotiate A separate piece when Stalin had had Entered into an an agreement with Hitler In the stal in other words that you just

See so many instances of real naive Tay That it's impossible in my Opinion to Exclude the conclusion that Americans Yet again were guilty of wishful Thinking they wanted Stalin to be the Man they wanted him to to be and part of The heroism in my judgment of that Plucky tough little son of a Harry Truman is that when he becomes President he has been led to believe Nothing except that Stalin is Cooperative and he wants to do nothing But continue the policies of FDR and Harry Truman who himself said over and Over again there are 200 men in this Town who could do this job better than I Do but I'm the one who has to do it Harry Truman had to recognize that the Sainted FDR was mistaken about Stalin That Stalin is violating all his Agreements at Yalta and Harry Truman had To be the one who stood up to Stalin uh So there I don't know I guess my sort of My theme Here Is I one of the reasons I love Journalism is that it's such a wonderful Hedge against reality Uh the world may be going to hell but What a Story um I just the more one reads American History the more one recognizes that This country has again and again and

Again been a very close-run thing and Now we're in it again and uh I guess I'd Say that I'm sorry I'm going on and just Shut me down um it's good stuff when Ronald Reagan delivered this line he Didn't know the wall would Fall in fact he gave gave an interview After the wall came down that came down That said he never expected it to Happen Ed didn't know things were going To turn around when he founded this Place in 1973 they didn't they didn't know they Would win they did it because it was Right because they felt it was their Duty and uh and now we're in the same We're in the same pickle fortunately I'm Over 37 and it's not my job anymore Have time young guys for one more Question Let's uh go over here way in The corner way in the Back thank you for coming and speaking Tonight you mentioned at the end that we Are closer to the time of Truman Announcing we are going to push back Then rean saying we're going to tear Down and you also said that we feels That way to me I couldn't prove it feels Like that yes but you also mentioned That it feels like we have less time What are the ways that this conflict That we're in is different and how do You think we should respond

Differently uh well I'm very sorry to Tell you because you look as though You're among the under 37s that it seems to me that in all Kinds of ways you're in a worst pickle Than we were In Um China is bigger than we are you may Have noticed That are only they already have an Economy big enough so that they can Spend anything on the military they want To they can match us and outspend Us our only sustainable advantage over Them in my judgment is our ability to Innovate particularly now we have Defense Tech startups across the this is Good news in my Opinion but the ability to innovate Doesn't cut cut you very much slack if 10 seconds after you innovate the code Is transferred to Beijing problem One problem two AI is coming Along the Chinese are already using it To impose a surveillance state of the Kind that barria could only have dreamt Of and it's Real um item three this country although I am Hoping that the next election settles Things in our favor for some time to Come Lord I'm oping we can avoid another

Squeaker but who knows what what is Coming but this country there were all Kinds Of fights that we have to Fight that wouldn't even have computed 40 years ago when General me and I were In the white House if you had pulled us aside and Said you know 40 years from now people Are going to have to fight to persuade The public that boys shouldn't compete In women's sports What are you talking about would have Been our re answer or Ronald Reagan Signs immigration legislation in 1986 he Grants amnesty to about 2.8 million People who were here who'd been here Since 1980 that was part of the Stipulation but the piece of the Legislation that often gets Overlooked there was a second half of That legislation and it involved very Rigorous enforcement mechanisms to Ensure That illegal immigration Stopped from then On 9 million or so people entering the Country illegally during this Administration this we wouldn't even Have known what to make of That um we still there's a sort of moral And cultural capital that we were still Able to take for Granted the family divorce was high in

The 1980s we'd suffered that but at Least the intact family remained an Ideal it was something that the society Recognized as worth encouraging and Applauding to an astonishing extent That's just gone so it seems to me that That there are arguments that need to be Made that we didn't need to make 40 Years Ago you know if I were you I'd just Moved to Mexico right Now okay hold on before I talk myself I Mean I'm GNA have a drink but the way I'm going now it won't stop with One okay so consider this we still have As messed up as they are and believe me I believe I I I they they're we still Have the greatest universities in the World as measured By anybody care to go study any place Else The number of Stu okay so we have the Greatest universities in the world we Have Incomparably the richest most diverse Most dynamic economy we have Incomparably the most dynamic and Innovative Tech sector we Have divided as we are we have the only Successful democracy in the history of Humankind that is based upon a Creed Rather than racial or eth ethnic Identity so actually don't move to Mexico Double Down double down on this

Country but do your work there's going Your generation will have Fights all right that I now I've talked Myself into a corner there's nowhere to Go no no no no no you're great I I can't Think frankly of a better way to kick Off this uh this lecture series that was Truly wonderful please join me I thought You were about to say kick me off this Face Thank you that was just Great e

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