Various: 1984-1986. Unbound. This archive consists of nine items.
Drafts and copies of letters sent by Ralph E. Works of Chicago, Illinois to President Ronald Reagan, Senator Alan Dixon, Senator Charles Percy, and Representative Sidney R. Yates, in which he vigorously urged them to support the United Nations’ 1984 Convention Against Torture which had grown out of Amnesty International’s Campaign Against Torture begun in 1974.
“Dear Mr. President . . . As you said in a recent speech there should be ‘increased respect for human rights everywhere. . .. I know you are promoting democracy which make societies in which torture is unlikely. But it is now, in many countries, by government.’”
Official response from President Reagan’s Department of State assuring Works that “The United States is profoundly and unilaterally opposed to any and all forms of torture.”
Responses from Senator Percy noting he had introduced an anti-torture bill in the Senate, Senator Dixon noting he had cosponsored that bill, and Congressman Yates noting that he cosponsored a companion bill in the House. In Yates’s letter, he also notes that President Reagan had signed the bill.
A page from the Congressional Record containing a Resolution by Senator Percy titled, “Opposing Torture in Foreign Governments.”. Very good. Item #009891
As confirmed by even his harshest critics in left-leaning publications like Salon, The Atlantic, and CNN, President Reagan was absolute in his opposition to torture in any form. As Reagan declared, when torture is found in any country, including the United States, it "is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution." And, as written in the Convention Against Torture that he steadfastly championed, “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture [to include] "other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined. . ..”
Of course, this was all pre-9/11 and the expansion of Islamic terrorism, which led Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to look the other way when elements of the U.S. Government circumvented Reagan’s absolutism with legal arguments that allowed “enhanced interrogation techniques” in “ticking time-bomb” scenarios or when innocent lives are threatened.
(For more information see Dryer’s “The Truth About Torture” at The Atlantic, Greenwald’s “Ronald Reagan: vengeful, score-settling, Hard Left ideologue” at Salon, Bunch’s "Reagan, the myth and the man” at CNN, and Hentoff’s “President Reagan’s Torture Advice to President Obama” at the Cato Institute. All available online.).