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August 03, 1981
The strike was called for 7 A.M. I called the press corps together in the Rose Garden & read a statement I’d written yesterday. I included in it a paragraph from the written oath each employee signs—“that he or she will not strike against the U.S. govt. or any of its agencies.” I then announced they would have 48 hrs. in which to return & if they dont they are separated from the service. By afternoon an estimated 29% of the 17,000 were at work. Have my fingers crossed for tomorrow. We had a Cabinet meeting on the budget. We have our work cut out for us. Our goal of balancing the budget by ’84 is doubtful. Add ons to the tax bill such as indexing & more important several removals from the budget cuts make the difference. I’m still optimistic that we do it. An N.S.C. meeting concerned mainly with the defense plans. Our task force has reported to Cap that we need a world wide communications system for reaching our Subs, missile sites & Air Forces. They recommend going ahead with 100 B.1’s while we develop the ATB plane. Go for the new DS missile for our Tridents & go for the MX without the race track but put some in Silos & in airplanes. There is a possible new plane—very slow & easy on fuel which could stay aloft 5 or 6 days. We could have them carrying MX’s on a round the clock airborne schedule, thus making them invulnerable to Soviet missile attacks. A Civil Defense program is also recommended. Topped the day with a message the Senate had halted T. Kennedy’s assault on the tax bill & passed it 67 to 8.