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March 23, 1983
The big thing today was the 8 P.M. T.V. speech on all networks about the Nat. Security. We’ve been working on the speech for about 72 hrs. & right down to deadline. We had a group in for dinner at the W.H. I didn’t join them except before dinner a few words of welcome. Nancy & I then dined early upstairs. The group included several former Secs. of State, Nat. Security Advisors, distinguished Nuclear scientists, the Chiefs of staff etc. I did the speech from the Oval office at 8 & then joined the party for coffee. I guess it was O.K. they all praised it to the sky & seemed to think it would be a source of debate for some time to come. I did the bulk of the speech on why our arms build up was necessary & then finished with a call to the Science community to join me in research starting now to develop a defensive weapon that would render nuclear missiles obsolete. I made no optimistic forecasts—said it might take 20 yrs. or more but we had to do it. I felt good.