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December 02, 1983
A hectic 3⁄4 of a day with contentious staff & cabinet members on both sides of a couple of issues. One with N.S.C. had to do with attacking Syrian targets around Beirut in response to shelling of our Marines. Some wanted to do this whether they were responsible for the shelling or not. I came down on the side of only responding if we knew our target was the source unless that target was in a populated area—then take a nearby target if it was of the same org. such as Druze or P.L.O. etc. Fire at Syrians only if they had fired at us. Another problem came up with regard to shutting off some still existing exports to Libya. The exports were things the Libyans can get virtually anywhere so the action wouldn’t hurt them at all. I said we should see if we could persuade all our friends to join the boycott—otherwise we’d sell. One bright spot—I did a Q&A with a bright bunch of high school students from 1⁄2 dozen states. It was taped for C-Span T.V. 2nd bright spot we went up to Camp David.