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March

21

1983

March 21, 1983



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Diary Entry - 03/21/1983

Monday, March 21, 1983

View the President's Schedule

Spring is here although you had to pick your moments. There was rain, then hail, then blue sky & warm sunshine, then rain again & thunder storms. My schedule was a reflection of that—busy as h--l & too crowded to even read the press clips until after dinner. There were the usual staff & N.S.C. meetings. The news from Lebanon looks a little improved. Ahrens as defense minister of Israel is a definite improvement over Sharon. There is a little optimism—not much but a little. I did a radio taping for Afghanistan day then went over to the Dept. of Agriculture. I spoke briefly to about 150 of my appointees then went into the auditorium to speak to the assembled guests & employees. The occasion was Nat. Agri. Day. My talk was carried on the Nat. farm radio network. They had a Hereford calf in a small pen in the room by the dais. It was the 4H. project of 2 small boys. About 2⁄3 of the way through my talk the 2 boys entered the pen. Suddenly I was talking to an audience of profiles. Everyone was watching the boys & their calf. I couldn’t resist—I said—“You know I once learned you should never do a scene with kids or an animal.” It got a laugh—& the audience back. Back to the W.H. The usual issues lunch—then a meeting with some top business people hosted by Charles Wick. Propose—to enlist the pvt. sector in our campaign to sell democracy worldwide. Later Charles told me he had contributions of $3 mil. to help in the effort. Phyllis Schafley came by. She’s darned effective. Her plan to counter the new E.R.A. campaign in Cong. is brilliant. The women’s groups backing E.R.A. are really only trying again as a fundraising Dem. party gimmick. They will also use it to embarrass Repub. candidates in ’84. Her idea is to say that if Cong. is going to put that Const. Amendment on the floor we want other amendments to also be given a chance—abortion, bussing, prayer in schools etc. I think it would give Tip et al fits. Geo. Shultz came by concerned about an insert intended for inclusion in the Wed. nite T.V. speech on defense. He had a point but I think the writing of the insert is at fault. I find it hard to understand myself.—I think I’ll have to try rewriting it. Then 2 meetings with different Repub. congress. groups. Same subject for both—the ridiculous Dem. bud. passed out of committee. It cancels most of the savings we’ve made in the last 2 yrs. raising taxes, cuts defense spending, increases domestic spending by bils. of dollars & ends up adding $8 bil. to the deficit. They’ve called it a return to Dem. tradition. And it is,—all the things that messed up our economy to begin with. And today the Dept. of Commerce released the fig. on growth of G.N.P. for the 1st Q. of ’83—up 4%. We ourselves had only dared predict 1 1⁄2%. Wound up the day at a reception (East Room) for the Nat. Repub. Congressional Leadership Council—Guy Vanderjagt’s group of contributors to the Cong. Committee. Called Chuck Percy about holding off a vote tomorrow in his committee re the El Salvador funding we want. He’s going to stall because the appropriations comm. is voting on it & we think we’ll get it. His Foreign relations comm. could louse that up if they voted no first.