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March 18, 1988

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Diary Entry - 03/18/1988

Friday, March 18, 1988

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We’ve had an informal request—but no follow up regarding our helicoptering Honduran troops to the battle zone. No action taken as yet.

Request from A. B. Culvahouse that Phil Brady be named as his deputy. I said yes.

For the 1st time since I’ve been Pres. the House is using my submitted budget as the base for it’s mark up.

N.S.C.—Panama—2 St. Dept. reps. are on way to Panama to meet with Noriega at his request. Later in day we were told they’d had a lengthy meeting & made plain we want his departure—soon—from Panama. He’s meeting now with his lawyers & has asked for a second meeting maybe—tomorrow.

Several of Noriegas staff have defected including his personal pilots of 727 & helicopter. They’ve asked us for asylum. Pilots claim they flew 48 tons of Soviet weapons & ammunition from Cuba to Noriega. Defectors are now in Fla.

Word from Honduras is that Sandinistas so far have not gotten Contras store of supplies.

Last word from Colin was that Saudi’s missile plans are going forward.

Rcvd. Commission on Privatization brought me their report. They’ve made fine progress. Now if we can only persuade Congress to follow through we’ll really improve the ec. Then an interview—painless, with Joseph Pitchett of the Paris Herald Tribune.

Lunch with the V.P. in the study—very pleasant. Photos of couple of departures & their familys. Usual Fri. meeting with Sec. of State. George discussed possible return to Middle East. He also told us more detail about his peoples meeting with Noriega.

Then met a group from Leadership of Young Repub. Nat. Federation. They are meeting in Wash. They presented me with their Americanism Award. Nancy had received one in 1978. Then upstairs & some phone calls to Congressmen to get their support in sustaining my veto of Grove City bill. It’s just possible we might get the veto sustained even though I made it with the belief we had no chance.