Office of Policy Development: Assistant to the President for Policy Development, 1981-1982.


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This collection is available in whole for research use. Some folders may still have withdrawn material due to Freedom of Information Act restrictions. Most frequently withdrawn material is national security classified material, personal privacy, protection of the President, etc.



Martin Anderson was an economist, policy analyst, author, and one of Ronald Reagan’s long-time advisors.

Anderson was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, August 5, 1936 to Ralph and Evelyn Anderson. He won a full scholarship to Dartmouth College, graduating summa cum laude in 1957. The following year, he received a M.S. in engineering and business administration from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business Administration. After Army service, he continued his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1962, the MIT Sloan School of Management granted him the first Ph.D. in industrial management ever granted by a university.

As a member of the Columbia University faculty from 1962 to 1968, Anderson became known for his critiques of liberal economic policies, and his arguments in favor of ending the military draft. He left Columbia to serve as Director of Research for the Nixon presidential campaign. He was in the Nixon White House as a special assistant in 1969-1970, and a special consultant in systems analysis in 1970-1971. He then took a senior fellow position with the Hoover Institution, a conservative think tank located at Stanford University.

Anderson served as a policy advisor to Ronald Reagan for the 1976 and 1980 campaigns, and the 1980-1981 transition. When Reagan became President, Anderson was named Assistant to the President for Policy Development, with responsibility for formulating domestic and economic policy. He reported to Edwin Meese III, one of the three senior staff members who shared leadership of the White House staff.

In March 1982, Anderson resigned his Policy Development position and returned to the Hoover Institution. However, he continued to have an association with the Reagan Administration. He was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1982-1985) and the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board (1982-1989). He was also one of founding trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation (1985-1990).

Anderson remained an active Republican throughout his life. He attended the 1992, 1996 and 2000 national conventions as a delegate. He was an advisor for the 1996 Pete Wilson presidential campaign, the 1996 Robert Dole presidential campaign, and the 2000 George W. Bush presidential campaign. He served as a member of the President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control, 1987-1993. At various times, he was involved with the Commission on Critical Choices for Americans, the Committee on the Present Danger, the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, the California Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, the Congressional Policy Board, the Defense Policy Board, and the Defense Advisory Committee on Military Compensation.

Anderson’s association with President Reagan led to his involvement in a number of publications after the end of the administration. Anderson was the author or co-author/editor of the following titles: Revolution (1988); Impostors in the Temple (1992); Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America (2001); Reagan, In His Own Voice: Ronald Reagan's Radio Addresses (2001); Reagan: A Life in Letters (2004); Reagan’s Path to Victory: The Shaping of Ronald Reagan's Vision: Selected Writing (2004); Stories In His Own Hand: The Everyday Wisdom of Ronald Reagan (2007), and Reagan’s Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster (2010).

Some of Anderson’s other notable writings include: The Federal Bulldozer: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal 1949–62 (1964); Conscription: A Select and Annotated Bibliography (1976); Welfare: The Political Economy of Welfare Reform in the United States (1978); and Registration and the Draft (1982, Editor).

Anderson married Annelise Graebner in 1965. Annelise Anderson also served in the Reagan Administration, in the Office of Management and Budget. She was frequently a co-author with Mr. Anderson of his later books on Reagan’s writings.

Martin Anderson died on January 3, 2015 at his home in Portola Valley, Califor


Scope and Content Note

Assistant to the President for Policy Development was the highest position on the Reagan White House staff with responsibility for advising and assisting the President in the formulation, coordination, and implementation of domestic policy. Thus, this collection covers virtually every domestic policy issue addressed by the Reagan Administration during its first 13 months. There is also some material on foreign relations, mostly involving trade, immigration, or environmental issues.

Anderson had responsibility for the Office of Policy Development (OPD). This office provided advice on the full range of domestic and economic policy matters. It also provided staffing and management for the Cabinet Council system of decision-making employed by the first Reagan administration (cf. Series IV of this collection).

This collection includes scattered records from the 1980 campaign and 1980-1981 transition period incorporated into Anderson’s OPD files. There is no material from Anderson’s post-OPD career.

The Martin Anderson collection consists of 11 series, two of which have subseries.

SERIES 1: SUBJECT FILE, 1980-1982. (17.3 l.ft., Box 1-44)

This series consists of material relating to policy issues addressed by Mr. Anderson during his 14-month term in the Reagan White House. The major topics include the federal budget; tax legislation; energy policy; monetary policy; interest rates and the Federal Reserve Board; the state of the U.S. economy; the savings and loan industry; health care policy; proposals to abolish the Departments of Energy and Education; the Alaska oil pipeline; trade policy, particularly with Japan, Mexico, and Canada; possible import restraints on Japanese automobiles; the U.S. auto industry; block grants; enterprise zones and urban block grants; the proposed coal slurry pipeline; the Military Manpower Taskforce; telecommunications policy; retention of the military draft; the all-volunteer military force; the Law of the Sea; federal regulations; Social Security; the U.S. Postal Service; welfare issues; and the air traffic controllers strike of August 1981.

This series also includes material regarding President Reagan’s trip to Ottawa, Canada for the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7); Reagan’s trip to the Cancun Summit on developing economies; visits by the President of Mexico and the Prime Minister of Australia; and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan’s 1981 trip to China.

Material includes reports, briefing papers, letters and cards from members of the public, memos from other White House and administration officials, and news clippings. Some material dates from prior to the Reagan presidency, particularly the 1980-1981 transition.

The material is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

SERIES 2: OFFICE OF POLICY DEVELOPMENT, 1981-1982. (1.1 l.ft., Box 44-47)

This subseries consists of material related to the issues, meetings and correspondence of individual staff members of the Office of Policy Development. Material reflects subject or areas of expertise for each staff member. Topics include: the federal budget, including the issue of balancing the budget; federalism; the Law of the Sea, the draft and the all-volunteer military force; Social Security; social issues such as abortion and school prayer; the White House Conference on Aging; energy; the environment; civil rights; renewal of the Voting Rights Act; minority recruitment; minority business opportunities; welfare reform; housing industry and public housing; tuition tax credits; enterprise zones; tax and revenue policies; advice on candidates for Reagan Administration positions; imports and exports; promoting United States business; investment policies; agricultural policies; New York City issues; drug abuse policy; and legal issues. Administrative matters such as progress reports, and expense and meeting reports, are also included within this material. The material is arranged alphabetically by staff member.

SUBSERIES B: ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIAL, 1981-1982. (0.4 l.ft., Box 46-47)

This subseries consists of material related to the administrative functioning of the Office of Policy Development. This includes material on acquiring equipment and audiovisual material; the budget for the Office of Policy Development; contributing to the Combined Federal Campaign; creating form letters for the Office of Correspondence to use in responding to letter from the public to Mr. Anderson; an administrative manual for the White House; guidance on ethical issues; renovations of the OPD offices; and vacations for staff members.

SERIES 3: WHITE HOUSE STAFFING MEMORANDA, 1981-1982. (1 l.ft., Box 47-49)

This series consists of material related to issues needing input, comments or editing from Mr. Anderson or the OPD staff. During Anderson’s time at OPD, White House Staff Memoranda were usually sent by Richard Darman in his staff secretary role, or by Craig Fuller, Director of Cabinet Affairs. Staff members were sent material on various issues for action or information.

Issues covered in this series include proposed Executive Orders on the regulatory process; response to environmental damage; creating task forces; the Generalized System of Preferences for trade; termination of the Council on Wage and Price Stability; the Synfuels Corporation; the Atlanta child murders; dairy price supports; Law of the Sea negotiations; radioactive waste material; federalism issues; trade issues; Summary of Major Accomplishments; Federal Summer Employment Program; Social Security; veteran’s benefits; the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; prison policy; block grants; the President’s FY 1982 budget and the Reconciliation Bill; national energy policy; Cuban and Haitian entrants, including the Mariel Cuban refugees; the Task Force on Aircraft Crew Complement; White House contacts with the NAACP; the OMB Mid-Session Review of the federal budget; unemployment; North American trade agreements report; the Voting Rights Act; the Freedom of Information Act legislative package; the 1981 year-end report; child meal nutritional guidelines; tax exemptions for private institutions; the 1982 Economic Report; and deregulation of natural gas. Also included are requests for input regarding proclamations, international agreements, various bills, and Civil Aviation Bureau decisions. The material is arranged chronologically by folder title.

SERIES 4: MEETINGS, 1981-1982. (2.7 l.ft, Box 49-56)

This series contains material relating to the Cabinet and Cabinet Councils. A file on a meeting may include an agenda, one or more issue background papers, OPD staff memos to Anderson, a list of attendees, a set of meeting minutes, or notes taken at the meeting. Additional material can be found in other Reagan Library collections, such as the WHORM Subject File categories FG010-01 (Cabinet) and FG010-02 (Cabinet Councils). Some folders pertain to meetings that were canceled or postponed.

SUBSERIES A: CABINET MEETINGS, 1981-1982. (0.3 l.ft. Box 49-50)

This subseries pertains to Cabinet meetings during Anderson’s time on the White House staff. Topics include the timetable and decision deadlines for the President’s Economic Recovery Plan; regulatory relief actions; strategic petroleum reserves; synthetic fuels; the grain embargo; personnel placement; the 1981 Farm Bill; legislative veto; the tax program; the Clean Air Act; waste and fraud; debt collection; budget planning for 1983 and 1984; travel by government officials; federal labor relations; PACE consent decree and the Office of Personnel Management; and the President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control. In some cases the folders contain only an agenda and list of attendees. There are also Cabinet meeting staffing memoranda in Series III of this collection. The material is arranged chronologically by meeting date.


This subseries consists of material relating to the Cabinet Council system. Material covers the establishment of the councils, including the assigning of OPD staff as Cabinet Council executive secretaries; members of the Councils; chairpersons of the Councils; setting up meetings and agendas; and a Congressional request for Cabinet Council material pertaining to the Environmental Protection Agency.


This subseries consists of material relating to the state of the US economy; the savings and loan industry; Lesser Developed Countries (LDC) debt and energy development; assessment of Multilateral Development Banks; cost-of-living adjustments and entitlements; youth differential minimum wage; targeted jobs tax credit; financing and withdrawal policy for the strategic petroleum reserve; restructuring the Northeast Rail Service; the IRS role in federal debt collection; domestic monetary policy; status of the FY 1981 and FY 1982 budgets; the savings rate; regulatory relief program; economic and financial market updates; the 1981 tax bill (Economic Recovery Tax Act); the Davis-Bacon Act; amendments to the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act; the Mineral Lands Leasing Act of 1920; Canadian foreign investment policy; pension policy; Federal credit policy; the farm economy; the consumer price index; tax treatment of the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA – “Fannie Mae”); financial institution reforms; the United States balance of payments; the housing and construction industry; economic and wage impact of the defense buildup; transportation user fees; employment and training policy; tax expenditure policy; reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; the Poland debt situation; accelerated cost recovery system for business assets; exchange rate market intervention; economic statistics; international investment policy; Kuwait Petroleum Corporation’s investment in Santa Fe International Corporation; the 1981 Economic Summit in Ottawa; and preparation for the Cancun 1981 economic summit. The material is arranged chronologically by meeting date.


This subseries consists of material related to preparations for the Ottawa 1981 Economic Summit; trade relations with Mexico and Canada; the United States postal service and electronic mail; LANDSAT usage; foreign government intervention in high technology industries; East-West trade policy and export controls; enterprise zones; coal export policy; non-rubber footwear trade restrictions; the steel industry; telecommunications policy; Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG); Japanese trade barriers; the auto industry; the Export-Import Bank (Eximbank); the United States nuclear power industry; and the state of small business. The material is arranged chronologically by meeting date.


This subseries consists of material related to leases for oil exploration on Outer Continental Shelf off California; automobile emission standards by states; Clean Air Act Amendments strategy; repeal of the Fuel Use Act; natural gas decontrol; water policy; strategic minerals policy; standby petroleum price control and allocation authority; nuclear power; advance billing for customers of the Alaskan Natural Gas Transportation System; coastal barrier islands; shared revenues of Outer Continental Shelf leasing, Louisiana lawsuit; removal of restraints on export of domestic crude oil and petroleum products; the coal slurry pipeline; the proposed dismantling of the Department of Energy; and the Clean Water Act. The material is arranged chronologically by meeting date.


This subseries consists of material related to volunteer outreach to Vietnam veterans; food safety; improving economic incentives and competition in the health care system; Indian Health Care abortion services; kidney dialysis rate regulations; parental notification or consent in family planning; and federal employee health benefits and family planning. The material is arranged chronologically by meeting date.


(0.1 l.ft. Box 56)

This subseries consists of material related to dairy and sugar price supports; commodity loan rates; commodity export financing, the tobacco program; United States-USSR Grain Agreement; international wheat reserve; agricultural land conversion; disposal of surplus cheese; and possible changes to Section 32 of the Agricultural Act of 1983. The material is arranged chronologically by meeting date.


This subseries consists of material relating to the creation of the Cabinet Council on Legal Affairs, its composition, and suggested legal subjects for the Council to review.


This series consists of material related to the President’s economic recovery program, the initial combination of budget cuts and tax cuts designed to stimulate the US economy. The material is in rough chronological order.

Most of the material in this series pertains to budget reviews and appeals for specific agencies and programs. Reviews and appeals were conducted in the spring and fall of 1981 as new budget figures became available. Review was done by OMB, or by the Budget Review Board (a panel consisting of James Baker, David Stockman, and Edwin Meese, that approved all agency requests for spending increases). There is also material relating to the effort to persuade Congress to pass the Administration’s proposed tax cuts, budget cuts, and defense spending increases.


This series consists of material related to the establishment and initial running of the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board (PEPAB). President Reagan established PEPAB in Executive Order 12296, as a group of outstanding private citizens that would advise him on domestic and international economic issues. Per the Executive Order, Mr. Anderson was PEPAB Secretary during his time as Assistant for Policy Development. (He became a member of PEPAB after returning to private life in 1982.)

The first set of material in this series is in roughly alphabetical order by folder title. It consists of material relating to the creation of the Board; recruiting the members for the Board; establishing travel plans and dates for meetings; correspondence with the Board members and the public; and ordering of food for the meetings and commissions for the members. The second set of material is arranged in roughly chronological order, and pertains to meetings themselves. This material includes administrative materials such as seating charts and attendance lists, handwritten meeting notes, and in some cases, final typed meeting minutes.

SERIES 7: CORRESPONDENCE, 1980-1982. (6.0 l.ft., Box 68-86)

This series consists of material related to support for the President and Mr. Anderson from the general public; protests against policies and statements of the Reagan Administration and Mr. Anderson from the general public; advice from the public on policy issues, especially economic matters; requests for appointments with Anderson; industry lobbyist views on economic issues; requests from Congressmen and Senators; unsolicited support for candidates for appointed positions; unsolicited requests for federal employment; personal congratulatory notes to Anderson; letters from Anderson’s friends and acquaintances; and acknowledgement of meetings or conversations with Anderson. In many cases, a copy of the outgoing letter is filed with the incoming correspondence. Bulky correspondence or notable correspondents have been given separate folders. The material is arranged in alphabetical order and is subdivided by date of correspondence.

SERIES 8: APPOINTMENT BOOKS, 1980-1982. (2 folders, Box 87)

This series consists of two bound desk calendars containing Martin Anderson’s appointments. The 1981 desk calendar also covers the last few days of December 1980. The 1982 desk calendar is blank after Mr. Anderson left his OPD position.

SERIES 9: TELEPHONE LOGS, 1980-1982. (0.4 l.ft., Box 87)

This series consists of daily logs of Martin Anderson’s incoming telephone calls and messages regarding meetings, issues and upcoming events. There are often several pages for a single day. The series begins during Anderson’s service at the President-Elect’s transition office. It is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 10: INVITATIONS, 1981-1982. (1.0 l.ft., Box 87-91)

This series consists of invitations for government, non-government and personal events. It is divided between invitations accepted and invitations regretted. It is arranged chronologically.

SERIES 11: PUBLICATIONS (4.4 l.ft., Box 91-104)

This series consists of books and publications used by Anderson, or sent to him by other government entities, private industry, interest groups, and individuals. Some of the material was given to Anderson as part of the Correspondence series (Series VII), but was housed separately due to the bulky nature of the material. The first part of the series (box 91-98) contains material from non-government sources, arranged alphabetically by title. This is followed by publications from Congress and federal agencies, arranged alphabetically by publisher (box 98-104).

Last Updated: 05/25/2023 08:17PM

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