WASHINGTON -- President Reagan will award the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to arms negotiator Paul Nitze and a husband-and-wife team of national security experts, it was announced Wednesday.
The presentations will be made at a White House ceremony Thursday, spokesman Larry Speakes said. Besides Nitze, Reagan will present the honor to Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter.
Reagan has bestowed the medal 54 times, to such figures as Frank Sinatra and Mother Teresa. Since it was inaugurated for wartime service by President Truman and later expanded to include civilian service, the medal has been given to more than 250 people.
The award is given, Speakes said, for 'contributions to the national interest or security of the United States, to world peace, to cultural or other significant private or public endeavors.'
Nitze now serves as special adviser to Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz on arms control, and headed the U.S. delegation to the talks on medium-range missiles from 1981 to 1983.
Nitze, who began his career as a mathematical analyst for Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall in 1940, also has served as deputy defense secreetary, secretary of the Navy and director of policy planning at the State Department.
Roberta Wohlstetter is the award-winning author of a book detailing U.S. intelligence failures at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and is an expert in terrorism and nuclear nonproliferation.
She and her husband were among a group of outside experts who advised President Kennedy in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Albert Wohlstetter is president of the European-American Institute for Security Research, director of research for Pan Heuristics, a division of R&D Associates, and is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is also an adviser to the undersecretary of defense for policy.
Three other couples have receive the medal -- historians Will and Ariel Durant, publishers DeWitt and Lila Wallace, and entertainers Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt.