A cadre of former members of President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff, joined by former State Department and Pentagon officials, have expressed their indignation toward a nonprofit’s decision to trademark the president’s famous “Peace through Strength” slogan.
The 17 high-level former Reagan officials sent a critical letter on Monday to the American Security Council Foundation which has filed a federal lawsuit against the Center for Security Policy to enforce the trademark.
For years, the CSP and several other organizations have been using the iconic Reagan phrase. The CSP is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization headed by Reagan’s former assistant secretary of defense, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Reacting to the lawsuit filed in October, the CSP claimed the ASCF had acted in “bad faith,” having “recklessly disregarded the facts,” and was “purposefully misrepresenting material facts” when it applied for the trademark.
“Peace through Strength” became a slogan for America’s 40th president in his successful strategy to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In addition to CSP’s use of the slogan, the U.S. Navy has also designated the phrase as the official motto of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier which bears Reagan’s name.
The effort to allow for free-use of the Reagan slogan has been led by former National Security Advisor William P. Clark and former Counselor to the President Edwin Meese, two of Reagan’s closest friends and confidantes.
The letter was addressed to ASCF Chairman Henry Fischer, a Floridian dentist who has headed ASCF since 2002.
Following are excerpts from the bipartisan letter:
“ . . . We are writing as members of Ronald Reagan’s administration to express our strong opposition to any effort to trademark or otherwise restrict the use of the term ‘Peace through Strength.’ . . . For those of us who proudly served with President Reagan, it is unimaginable that anyone would seek to own a phrase immortalized by him – and, as a result, made not only an enduring feature of our country’s political lexicon, but a touchstone for all those who love freedom, and understand what is required to safeguard it.”
“ . . . We agree with our colleague, former Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet Admiral James A. ‘Ace’ Lyons, that our purpose should be to encourage the widest possible and unrestricted application of the phrase ‘Peace through Strength’ and the principle it invokes. We call on you to do no less.”
Lyons wrote to Fischer in October, saying that “peace through strength” long ago “entered the national psyche as a term no one can properly ‘own.’” Lyons added, “It behooves everyone who truly embraces the principle of peace through strength to be working to expand its application, not restrict it in any way.
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