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Cheney's Advice to Baker in 1980

[4 pages in black handwriting on yellow legal paper. Round parentheses ( ) are Baker's; other brackets are notes added by The Washington Post. Bolded items are those of most interest.]

11/19/[80] CHENEY

1. Def & Treasury Secty's really too busy. Committee [?] them [?] and constitutencies of those depts not [?] will. [willing?] will be upset.

2. Clean House except military office -- but new top level military aides.

3. Keep Chief Clerk -- career profs. [career professionals, those two words double underlined]

VIEW DOCUMENT: Baker's notes from his 1980 meeting with Cheney (PDF).

4. Keep all career profs. (about 1/2 of the employees)

5. Get rid of Eleanor Conner [?]

6. Keep Connie [?] Gerard & Nell Yates.

7. Darman -- good staff secty - familiarity w/ gov't. (Staffing loops are on a piece of paper showing who sees paper before it goes in.)
[in margin with arrow from this point:] Give office space decisions to him. (Parking, tennis court, drivers.)

8. Can split Cab Secty & Staff Secty

9. C of S. Make all the trips w/ Pres.

10. Gen'l [?] Deputy to man the shop when gone (Gergen? Hodsoll[?]?)
[in margin:] Deaver will have Depty title

11. Maybe - Gergan as ass't to Pres for Comms.

[now there's a line, numbering system stops and restarts]

Pres. seriously weakened in recent yrs.

1. Restore power & auth to Exec Branch - Need strong ldr'ship. Get rid of War Powers Act - restore independent rights.
[in margin:] ****** Central theme we ought to push

[page break]

2. Strong Cab & strong staff in WH. Not "either or" proposition. Have to have both

3. Orderly schedule & orderly paper flow is way you protect the Pres.
Well designed system. Got to be brutal in scheduling decisions.
Most valuable asset in DC is time of RR
Need to have discipline & order & be discriminating

4. Stay away from "oh by the way" decisions -- [illegible text]

----------[wavy line]

Take a walking tour when see [?] Watson[?]

--- [line]

It's not in anyone's interest to get an "oh by the way decision" - & all have to understand that. Can hurt the Pres. Bring it up at a Cab. mtg. Make sure everyone understands this.


Requests from Cab members to see Pres. have to
[page break follows, but thought not finished, seems to be saying have to let cabinet members in if they ask]
[in red pen under this, just before page break:] give 24 hrs turnaround time.

[page break]



[on two points above, JAB has put four vertical red stars in margin, as if he reviewed this later]

---- [line]

Keep a low profile.

Talk to press - always on background.

You've got good credibility w/ press. Husband it carefully.

If you become a major public figure - quoted all time in paper - you lose credibility - feathering own nest rather than serving Pres. Also no way to be public re issues w/out appearing to take sides.

Do a Meet Press occasionally - try and limit to process & procedures and not issues. [in margin, in red:] style


8 or 9 senior people can have portal to portal transp.


Have full field FBI investigations run on all W.H. staff. This gives "Top Secret" clearance. You should
[in margin:] Counsel's office do it
[in margin, two stars] **

[page break]

decide who should receive clearance over & above Top Secret.

C of S should see Pres's daily brief from CIA.


Code of Ethics under Ford will be a good one to use. Aftermath of Watergate. Let Counsel's office work on it. Publish them. Conflict of Ints - blind Trusts, etc.


Press Secty: Doesn't have to be a reporter or journalist. Better off if not. What press really wants is someone who: (1) speaks for Pres (2) they can trust what he says. (Not a press guy in Oval Office but a Pres's guy in press room.)
[in margin:] ***** [5stars and then:] Deaver would be perfect! Need someone close to Pres. Need Pres's man out front.


[crossed out:] Ed Schia [Schw?] [looks like name may be unfinished]

SOURCE: The James A. Baker III Papers, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton University.

About This Series | Chapters:

Cast of Characters

Read about the important people in and out of government who have had an impact on Vice President Dick Cheney's career.

Dick and Lynne Cheney.

Cheney's Personality

Dick Cheney's colleagues, friends, and acquaintances shared stories with Post reporter Bart Gellman.


Cheney's Life & Career

Starting as a junior aide on Capitol Hill, Dick Cheney built an unmatched Washington resume as White House chief of staff, House minority whip and secretary of defense.


Please email us to report offensive comments.

You left out a whole section at the end of page 4 about "talk to the leadership" etc.

After "blind trusts, etc."

Posted by: temos2000 | June 24, 2007 04:28 AM

Also, the word after "Committee" in the first item is "Chair".

Posted by: temos2000 | June 24, 2007 04:32 AM

Second sentence of # 1: "Committee chair + constitutencies of those depts not incl. (included) will be upset."

Posted by: zzjunk1 | June 24, 2007 06:43 AM

Funny you should mention this:

"1. Restore power & auth to Exec Branch - Need strong ldr'ship. Get rid of War Powers Act - restore independent rights.
[in margin:] ****** Central theme we ought to push"

Very illuminating note. Guess that's what he's doing now, huh?

Posted by: maryhilton | June 25, 2007 06:38 AM

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