Overview of International Issues: A Global USA Foreign Policy

This memo of unidentified authorship (presumably Heinbecker) and presumably intended for the Prime Minister offers a brief but accurate assessment of Reagan’s anticipated foreign policy, adding that a full bilateral agenda would preclude Trudeau having time to delve deeply into these issues with Reagan. The analysis emphasizes that Reagan’s long-held and fervent ideological anti-communism was his main point of departure from his predecessors, with communism and the Soviet Union being “the mirror image and antithesis of his beliefs about the American ethos and purpose” and to which all other international considerations would be subordinated. An interesting insight offered here was a recognition that Reagan’s posture towards Moscow might be moderated in due course with personal diplomacy and a change in Soviet international behaviour – as did occur in the second term with the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachev.

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External Affairs Policy memo “Overview of International Issues: A Global USA Foreign Policy,” February 1981, Library and Archives Canada, RG 25, vol 28698, file 20-1-2-USA pt 62.