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May 06, 1987
Short staff time to make time for George S. to come in. N.S.C. postponed also. George came in to tie up loose ends about arms deal with Soviets. I approved trying to persuade Helmut Kohl to join in approving zero zero on Short range missiles.
Then Ross Perot came in on our dealings with Vietnam. I have named Gen. Vessey as my rep. to seek info. on our P.O.W.’s. Ross is convinced some 350 or so are being held in Laos. I’m trying to persuade Ross to step back & not indicate we should try normalizing relations—trade etc. until we get the truth on our P.O.W.’s.
A quick lunch & then to Marine 1 & off to York Pa. the Harley Davidson motorcycle plant. They have done a remarkable job climbing out of a slump. Japanese competition was destroying them. We invoked 201 a temp. use of tariffs to allow them to reform to meet that competition. A year early they told us to cancel the protection. It was a thrilling experience. They haven’t just improved production, they have a team from the workers on the line to top management & they can out compete any one. It isn’t a factory it’s a religion.
Back to the W.H. for the night. Called Sophia Casey. Howard had called at 7 A.M. to tell us Bill was dead.