Scope and Content of Collection
Title: William Patrick Clark papers
Date (inclusive): 1966-2008
Collection Number: 2016C19
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
197 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box, 6 sound cassettes, 1 sound disc
(72.5 linear feet)
Correspondence, speeches and writings, memoranda, reports, studies, notes, legal and financial records, printed matter, and
photographs relating to the gubernatorial administration of Ronald Reagan in California, and to foreign policy and public
lands management during the presidential administration of Ronald Reagan.
Hoover Institution Archives
Clark, William Patrick, 1931-2013.
The collection is open for research.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to
copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see
or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], William Patrick Clark papers, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.
Materials were acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 2016.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the catalog is larger than the number of boxes
listed in this finding aid.
||Born, Oxnard, California
||U.S. Army service
||Admitted to California state bar
||Cabinet Secretary to Governor Ronald Reagan
||Executive Secretary to Governor Ronald Reagan
||Judge, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court
||Associate Justice, California Second District Court of Appeals
||Associate Justice, California Supreme Court
||United States Deputy Secretary of State
||National Security Adviser to President Ronald Reagan
||United States Secretary of the Interior
||Member, Rogers and Wells law firm
||Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Clark Company
||Died, Shandon, California
Scope and Content of Collection
William Patrick Clark, Jr. was a close associate of Ronald Reagan, whom he served during Reagan's terms both as Governor of
California and as President of the United States. Clark grew up in Ventura County, California, where his father was a rancher
and where his family had been pioneer settlers. Although he never graduated from college or from law school, Clark did pass
the California state bar examination and began practice as a lawyer. His papers at the Hoover Institution Archives, acquired
in 2016, are arranged according to periods of his life. Aside from two photographs the collection includes nothing from his
California Governor's Office File documents Clark's first government service. Clark's involvement in Reagan's successful 1966 gubernatorial campaign led to
the acquaintanceship of the two men and the development of a relationship that observers of Reagan characterized as exceptionally
close. Clark was initially appointed Cabinet Secretary to the Governor when Reagan went to Sacramento, but was soon promoted
to Executive Secretary to replace Philip Battaglia. The file covers the work of the Governor's Office during the first years
of the Reagan governorship from 1967 to 1969, and the circumstances of Battaglia's departure.
Clark resigned from the Governor's Office in 1969 in order to accept a judicial appointment. This was the first of three successive
appointments of Clark by Reagan, each at a higher level, that ultimately brought Clark to a seat on the California Supreme
Court. Altogether he served twelve years (1969-1981) in a judicial capacity and ever afterwards was known as Judge Clark.
This period of Clark's life is documented in the
California Judicial File. The state Supreme Court was unusually contentious during the time of Clark's service and was often polarized between a liberal
faction headed by Chief Justice Rose Bird (an appointee of Governor Jerry Brown) and a conservative faction of which Clark
was a member. There is in particular a large quantity of material on the much-publicized case of People vs. Tanner (1978),
in which the Court initially overturned a new state law mandating a prison sentence for use of a gun during the commission
of a crime, and subsequently reversed itself.
When Reagan became President in 1981, he brought Clark to Washington, appointing him Deputy Secretary of State despite his
lack of background in foreign affairs. Clark served under Secretary of State Alexander Haig and was often seen as a balance
to Haig and as a man whose personal loyalty to the President was unquestioned. The appointment, which for the first time familiarized
Clark with the international world of diplomacy, lasted for almost exactly one year. It is documented in the
United States Department of State File.
Clark's next position, documented in the
United States National Security Council File, was as National Security Adviser. Clark succeeded Richard V. Allen in this capacity in early 1982 and served almost two
years, until November 1983. (Allen's papers are also in the Hoover Institution Archives.) Clark was generally seen as a voice
for a hard-line foreign policy vis-a-vis the Soviet Union in the Reagan administration. This file, like the preceding one
and the succeeding one, contains unclassified documents retained by Clark for personal use rather than official documents.
Clark's resignation as National Security Adviser in order to accept an appointment as Secretary of the Interior came as a
surprise to most Washington observers. His final period of government service is documented in the
United States Department of the Interior File. Clark's background as a Westerner and as an outdoorsman gave him considerable familiarity with many of the issues dealt
with by this department. Clark served in this capacity for more than a year. Following Reagan's re-election and second inauguration,
Clark resigned in February 1985 to leave government service and return to the private sector.
Post-Government Service File documents the longest period of Clark's life and unsurprisingly is the largest series of the collection. Clark initially
joined the prestigious Washington law firm of Rogers and Wells as a part-time member, while simultaneously founding his own
business consultant firm, the Clark Company. The Business Records sub-series documents his activities in both, which made
use of the foreign contacts he had made and the knowledge of government regulatory agencies he had acquired. This sub-series
reflects an interest in Iraqi oil continuing throughout the 1980s and 1990s, seen in several places and especially in the
Iraq/Aqaba Pipeline Project proposal for a pipeline from the oilfields of Iraq to the port of Aqaba in Jordan. Also of interest
is the proposal of the U.S. Three Gorges Working Group, a consortium of American companies, for a hydroelectric project on
the Yangtze River in the People's Republic of China. The Subject File sub-series includes retrospective assessments of the
Reagan presidential administration. It also reflects Clark's identity as a Catholic and as a social conservative, and especially
his activity in opposing legalized abortion. Through 1990 Clark maintained the practice he had established in 1981 of separate
alphabetical correspondence files for each year.
Audiovisual File is especially notable for its photographs of Clark with Reagan and with other dignitaries. Most of these photographs are
of professional quality.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
National Security Council (U.S.)
United States. Department of State.
United States. Department of the Interior.
California--Politics and government--1951-
Public lands--United States.
United States--Foreign relations--1981-1989.
United States--Politics and government--1981-1989.