Archive (Reagan Library)

Economy: Reagan letter to Thatcher (Williamsburg G7 planning) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: NSA Head of State File (Thatcher: Cables [1]) Box 34
Editorial comments: Despatched 0245 GMT 16 Oct 1982. Declassified 24 March 2000.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 384 words
Themes: Economic policy - theory and process, Foreign policy - theory and process, Foreign policy (USA), MT contacts with Ronald Reagan
Declassified 3/24/00


Sent to American Embassies in


(1) Secret – entire text

(2) Embassy is reqested to transmit the letter contained in paragraph 3 to the Head of State or Government (or the President of the European Commission) and other host country personal representatives for the Economic Summit.

(3) Begin text:

Dear (use first name)

Over the past few weeks, since sending you my invitation to the summit meeting at Williamsburg, I have been reflecting on the two summits I have attended – their weak and strong points, what to repeat, and what to avoid. As we start down the road to Williamsburg, I would like to express some of my preliminary thoughts, and to ask you for yours.

For my part, I believe these meetings are an especially valuable opportunity for frank, candid, and direct conversation among the eight of us. The problems we face cannot be reduced to structured agendas and short “talking points”. We need the time and the atmosphere [end p1] for an informal “give-and-take” – beyond the headlines and away from the klieg lights. George Shultz’s reports and his extremely productive conversations in New York – and the informal NATO weekend in Canada – serve to strengthen my preference for an informal and largely unstructured weekend at Williamsburg.

The danger of excessive expectations is also inherent in meetings of the heads of the seven most powerful economies. We need to consider how we can convey publicly the true nature of the meetings without making them appear pointless.

The serious state of the global economy – and most ours individually – compels us to search for answers. The summit should help us in that search. That is my objective. The industrial democracies – and our dedication to freedom, peace, and prosperity – surely are more than equal to the challenges we face.

Allen Wallis, whom I have named as my personal representative for the summit, will be in Europe the week of October 25, to discuss some of these ideas with your representatives. I also look forward with great interest to receiving from you directly your reactions to these preliminary thoughts.