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November 30, 1984
Another meeting with the Budget Core group to find areas where we can cut. It’s a laborious process going line by line & weighing the effect. Things got sparked up a bit when Cap W. was called out several times for phone calls. It seems that a civilian oceanographic vessel under lease to the Navy had become disabled & drifted into Cuban waters—about 9 miles off shore. We had a Coast Guard cutter not too far away & called the Cuban govt. for permission to have it go into Cuban waters & tow our ship out. The Cubans refused & said they were sending a fast Naval vessel to take our ship in tow. We very much feared a hostage situation. Actually the law of the sea permits any vessel to go into national waters on a rescue mission. I ordered our Coast Guard vessel to go in. Just in case—we ordered the Carrier Nimitz in the Virgin Islands to move on Cuba & put planes in the air. Evidently the Cuban ship with a crew obviously manning it’s stern gun, put a line on the disabled ship. Somehow that line got cut and entangled the Cuban’s prop. Our cutter towed the ship safely into American waters. End of incident. Not knowing all the details the press has treated it as “much ado about nothing.” Frankly I think our Navy & Coast Guard deserve a “Well Done.”
Helmut Kohl arrived and we had a good meeting & pleasant lunch. He’s a good friend & solid ally. He’s concerned about V.E. day coming in May & a repeat of Normandy D. day which the Germans ignored. They suffer a great guilt complex over the Nazi period. I’m suggesting including them this time & making the occasion one of celebrating when the hatred stopped & peace & friendship began which has continued for 40 yrs.
An N.S.P.G. meeting about the forthcoming arms talks with the Soviets. I made it plain there must be no granting of concessions (one sided) to try & soften up the Soviets. Off to Camp David. Had to cancel the movie—some kind of main fuse blew and shut off the power.