Archive (Reagan Library)

Cold War: NSA brief for Reagan letter to MT (John Brown & Polish sanctions) [declassified 2000]

Document type: Declassified documents
Venue: White House
Source: Reagan Library: NSA Head of State File (Box 35)
Editorial comments: Declassified 28 March 2000. A memo from Robert McFarlane follows Clark's brief for the President.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 269 words
Themes: Trade, Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)
Declassified F96-107#132
By SMF, NARA, Date 3/28/00

(1) NSA memorandum for President:


FROM: William P. Clark

SUBJECT: Prime Minister Thatcher’s Message to You of June 25, 1982 concerning John Brown Engineering and the December 29 sanctions

In Mrs. Thatcher’s correspondence of June 25 (Tab B), she again raised the issue of the financial difficulties faced by John Brown Engineering (JBE), the gas turbine subsidiary of John Brown Ltd., as a result of the sanctions and the further action on June 18.

In responding to Mrs. Thatcher (Tab A), you have addressed several points made by her that demonstrate your understanding of the facts while remaining concerned and sensitive to the commercial and employment dislocations. In addition, it underscores the importance you attach to more effective co-ordination within the Alliance on economic relations with the Soviet Union.

JBE is one of five operating divisions of the holding company John Brown Ltd. and the only division posting a loss in fiscal year 1981. The sanctions will undoubtedly cause a serious setback to this thinly capitalised subsidiary. … [Next sentence (approximately 20 words) blanked out by releasing agency.] … According to JBE representatives, 100% of their gas turbine manufacturing is presently dedicated to the USSR; however, the subsidiary is rapidly identifying other markets. In conclusion, John Brown, Ltd. is a highly diversified and profitable conglomerate which, in our view, could afford to lose the entire subsidiary without being threatened.

That you authorise transmission of the message at Tab I to Prime Minister Thatcher.

[President Reagan did not mark the document]

Prepared by Roger W. Robinson

(2) McFarlane memorandum for National Security Adviser:

Judge Clark
Subject: Revised Letter to Thatcher

Attached is a warmer and longer version of the (short) letter to Mrs. Thatcher.

As you will recall, we plan, in conjunction with the letter, to call in Nicco [sic] [Sir Nicholas Henderson, UK Ambassador] (and send to John Louis) [US Ambassador in London] the chapter and verse on the real effects on John Brown.

Subject to your approval, we will dispatch the letter tonight – as you know July 2nd is the date by which the PM requested a reply.