Photo: “Nobody else helped the President so much to change the history by breaking the Evil Empire like Judge Clark”
Judge Clark (in the middle) next to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger talking to President at the White House. December 1983. (Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library)
The closest friend of President Ronald Reagan, his confidante and great freedom fighter William P. Clark known as Judge Clark passed on Saturday 10th of August in his rancho in California. As one of his long-time friends put it: “Nobody else helped the President so much to change the history by breaking the Evil Empire”. Judge Clark was great Christian, brilliant politician and noble-minded man.
Reagan’s closest advisers were anticommunists. They were also members of his administration when he was a governor of California. The membbers of his group were William Casey, Casper Weinberger, Ed Meese and William P. Clark. Casey was in charge of CIA until 1986. Weinberger was in charge of the Department of Defense until 1987. Meese was until 1985, the National Security Adviser. Judge Clark was from 1982 to 1983 an Aide to National Security Adviser; he was also very close friend to Reagan and a person Reagan could trust the most.
Reagan and his friends
The nomination of Judge Clark as National Security Adviser contributes to counteractions of American politics against Soviet Union. Clark- as Richard Pipes remembers, Director of East European and Soviet Affairs in NSC- introduced people to the president who normally didn’t have access to him. Pipes said, although Clark was not an expert in foreign policy, soon became able to analyze situations and hold presidents’ views. -“This meant a lot”- underlines Pipes today. Another co-worker of Ronald Reagan, a member of NSC, Norman Bailey, author of The Strategic Plan that Won the Cold War against Soviet Union, even more emphasized the role of William Clark: Nobody else helped the president so much to change the history, by breaking the Evil Empire .
Clark, just like William Casey, was a member of American intelligence. He served in Europe, in Mannheim and Fuedenheim in West Germany. He was born on October 23, 1931 in California, to a Catholic family. Clark’s parents were Democrats. His mother studied journalism and most of her life worked in courts. His father was a farmer. Bill, as a young man, helped his father to run their farm. Clark graduated from Villanova private school, run by the order of St. Augustus in Ojai.
There he achieved a middle school education and an education in Christianity. – “There I studied Encyclical “Divini Redemptoris” (about ungodly communism) that had forever influenced my understanding of the fundamental of communism,” Judge Clark remembered. After graduating from Villanova, Clark entered St. Augustine Seminary in New York, to look for his life career. He quit his studies after one year and returned to his family farm in California. He signed up for Law School in Santa Clara, run by the order of Jesuits, and then he transferred to Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. He was not able to finish the school because he was drafted to army and sent to Korea.
Judge Clark fights agents
After his return, as a member of counterintelligence, he spied on KGB agents in the south part of West Germany. Several years later he married Austrian anticommunist, Joan Brauner. Joan grew up in the city of Troppau, near Silesia, what used to be Austria-Hungery, (now Czech Republic- Vlastik). Her father moved there, leaving his family. But for many years he was raised in Krakow and was able to speak Polish. After the war, Joan left to East Germany. In 1952, she was able to get to West Berlin and took a flight to Hamburg. There she was interviewed by US counter-intelligence. The agent, conducting the interview, was William Clark.
Among the people interviewed by Clark were a group of Polish officers, who were able to escape the Katyn massacre. These officers, together with Americans, formed special counter-intelligence group monitoring the Iron Curtain refugees. Clark helped Polish soldiers to find work in the USA. – “They would do any work. They were great people”- Judge Clark remembered. Among all of the people he helped was Walter Straszak and Teodor Obzrut with his wife Krystyna. After Clark’s return to USA he passed the Bar exam and worked in a court in Ventura County, California. Clark followed closely the events of Soviet Union and actions of anticommunist behind the Iron Curtain. He remembers that his hero was communist persecuted Hungarian Cardinal Josef Mindszenty. He called him “The most notable Christian of the 20th Century” and today he said, “For me, Mindszenty was a hero, because he fought the transgressors’. William Clark shared with Ronald Reagan that the Cold War must end with a victory of the West. Without any doubts, communism was built on illusions. It must be defeated and 300 million slaves must be freed.
After the victorious election of Ronald Reagan, William Clark became Deputy Secretary of State. January 1981 he became National Security Advisor.
Main Directions of Judge Clark’s team
When Clark joined the anticommunism team in the White House, the world was still recovering from the shock of the March attack on President Ronald Reagan and the May attack attack on Pope John Paul II. Many American politicians were caught off guard by introduction of Marshall Law by the junta of Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski in December 1981. From the statue of his post, Judge Clark surrounded himself with talented young people that were ready to implement anticommunist politics of President Reagan. They were brought to White House by the Clark’s predecessor Richard Allen. Some of them he knew from the Department of State and some of them came from a group of people he trusted. Among them was his close aide Roger Robinson, Dr. Norman Bailey, Paula Dobriansky, a contact to Irena Lasota, whose organization financially helped the underground organization Solidarnosc. Clark brought Dr. John Lenczowski – Pipe’s successor and a Director for East Europe and Russia in NSC.
Roger Robinson – author of a plan to prevent Soviet Union to build a pipeline linking West Europe. Richard Pipes- author of the directives on definition of US anti-soviet politics. Gus Weiss, Dr. Norman Bailey and Cairnes Lord – authors of economy and trade war strategy. Clark executed high missions in the hierarchy of the President’s team. He had full access to the President. He had contacts with the chief of CIA William Casey, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. The same time, when Clark was a member of NSC, the President put down the most consequent directive (National Security Decision Directives nr 2-120) that defied foreign policy of USA. Soon, he supported a creation intermediate group with Walter Stoessel, assistant to Secretary of State, as the Head. But the author, who prepared many intellectual issues, was Richard Pipes. One of the mentioned directives was NSDD 75 “U.S. Relations with the USSR”. The preliminary work was done under the Clark’s successor Richard Allen. The document said: How to stop and liquidate Soviet expansion […] it is an objective of American politics toward Soviet Union. This is to change the Soviet Union in the direction of more political, economic and pluralistic system with gradual constrain of ruling class privileges. Nothing would give a bigger chance to win over the Empire, than an economic war. The basis for this was laid in the Document NSDD 24: Mission to certain European countries concerning oil and gas equipment exports to Soviet Union and restricting credits to Soviet bloc countries. This document certainly closed credits for countries behind the Iron Curtain.
Period of “Solidarnosci”
In 1982 the President’s (Reagan) administration started to help “Solidarnosc”. The president signed a directive NSDD 54 and it’s objective was a politicial help: The most important target of US politics in Eastern Europe was the weakening of the Soviet control in that region, through human rights help in each of the countries in Central Europe. Thanks to Judge Clark’s contacts, two independent support channels were established. One was AFL-CIO Union and the second was individual organization called The Committee in Support if Solidarity in New York, headed by Irene Lasota and Eric Chenoweth. – “Judge Clark was the help that had reached us. It was he who sought it for us”. – remembers Chenoweth. Clark put in contact Paula Dobriansky with the Chenoweth and Lasota group. Clark was the author of the sanctions levied against Jaruzelski’s junta, after they proclaimed Marshall Law. Clark also pursued help through the Catholic Relief Semite Program, the Project Hope Medical Help, and from network of individual donors.
Judge Clark, as a devoted Catholic, had global contacts in this environment. He remained as an adviser to President Reagan and his administration, and kept a good relation with Vatican. The President was impressed by the visit of the Pope in Poland in June 1979. In February 1981, Reagan through his special envoy William Wilson, who in 1984 became the first US Ambassador to Vatican, sent a letter to Pope. “I hope that Your Holiness will not hesitate to use my envoy as a channel to forward inside information if this would be your will”- wrote Reagan. Only thanks to Judge Clark’s handling, successful permanent contacts were developed with John Paul II. This function was fulfilled by representative of the Pope in Washington, Archbishop Pio Laghi. Judge Clark was, as was the President, convinced that Central Europe – especially Poland, was the key to dismantling Soviet Empire. “Poland had a special role in the empire. If there’s going to be a change, it will be in one of the East European countries,” – he remembered.
Ronald Reagan meets John Paul II
Judge Clark, together with Archbishop Laghi, prepared President Reagan’s historic visit with the Pope in June 1982. Laghi remembers that Reagan at that time told Pope: “Evil powers are standing in our way and Providence responded.” Judge Clark added that the President and the Pope agreed that thanks to a miracle they survived both their attacks. Regarding the Soviet Empire, remembered Judge Clark, they both understand that the “truth will prevail in God’s plan” and the atheistic communism is fundamentally deceptive. If it is fully understood, it (communism) must fail.” The Pope and Reagan at the meeting, agreed on necessary help to Solidarnosc, which could have future consequences on breaking of Eastern Europe from the Soviet Empire.
At informal meetings, Judge Clark and Casey passed on information to Laghi that they wanted to share with the Pope. Only involved people knew about these contacts, plus Ed Meese and the President. If they wanted to arrange a meeting, they used a preset gesture: Would you like to have a good cappucino?” By the end of 1983, the group met six times. Also Clark repeatedly sent Casey and Ambassadors Vernon Walters and William Wilson to the Vatican.
Why only now is the William Clark figure uncovered, whom he had done so much for world with triumph over Soviet Union, and creating a form of cooperation between the administration of Ronald Reagan and the Pope John Paul II? American historian Paul Kengor wrote that only then, when the Reagan biographer Lou Cannon became a director of Reagan Library, he and many others were interested in the most recent European history. They wanted to recognize, fully understand, and appreciate Clark’s role in fulfilling politics toward Soviet Union and East Europe- how much this single man had done for Poland. Cannon again frequently repeated that he never knew a politician like Judge Clark- an influential friend of the Head of the Country, who after the end of the Ronald Reagan presidency, avoided self praise, self promotion and publicity.
Politicians – not only in Washington – emphasize their real and unreal merits in their field. William Clark was a different politician and a different man. It is worthy to know and remember.