George Bush photo

Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One

April 10, 1990

The President. I'll handle the diplomacy, and the commissioner will take care of the baseball. Go ahead. We've got time for one question between us.

Lithuanian Independence

Q. It sounds like the Soviets are tightening the screws on Lithuania.

The President. Well, we keep hearing that. I've made our position very clear: a peaceful resolution to this question. Because we do not recognize that the use of force would accomplish anything, other than to set back relations, and I think they know that loud and clear by now -- very clear.

Soviet-U.S. Relations

Q. Any more letters exchanged between you and Gorbachev?

The President. Don't talk about internal correspondence between the heads of government. We just don't get into that, Rita [Rita Beamish, Associated Press]. I hope you understand why.

Q. How about phone calls?

The President. And phone calls. That's a correspondence. I consider phone calls and letters the same thing.

Q. You told us about the last phone call.

The President. Well, once in a while we do announce them, when we agree with the Soviets that that should be done, yes. You're right about that one, Owen [Owen Ullman, Knight-Ridder Newspapers].

Q. What did the Gorbachev response on mobile missiles do to the START talks? Is that going to complicate matters?

The President. Well, just go back and work hard. We've got a timeframe now in which there's an awful lot to be done, so I can't even predict how much will be done by the time the summit rolls around. But it's a good thing the summit date is set. It is important that we continue to talk to Mr. Gorbachev. And obviously, this will serve as a bit of a catalyst or goal for getting things done. But I don't want to overpromise and suggest that we're going to have all the details worked out by the time of the summit.

Q. Do you share the disappointment that others in the administration, Secretary Baker, and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze have expressed about the outcome of last week's discussions?

The President. No, I'm not disappointed. But, I mean, look, you deal with what's on the table; and I'm determined to see that there's no misunderstanding about the American position. And that's why I felt the visit with Shevardnadze was very good.

Anybody want to know anything about the national pastime? [Laughter]

Meeting With Prime Minister Mulroney of Canada

Q. What are you going to talk about?

The President. Wide array of subjects, including Europe, Central and South America, and then there are some bilateral issues. This meeting was -- we talked about it for a long time, but this just seemed a wonderful way to do it. I think it's -- as a baseball fan -- and I think the commissioner agrees with me -- this shows an interest on the part of the President, the commissioner, and the Prime Minister of Canada for baseball being an international sport. And as he pointed out to me, one of the biggest drawing teams in either league is the Toronto Blue Jays, and we're going to see a beautiful baseball park as well as see a good opening game for Canada. So, I think it's good. We forget sometimes they've got two very aggressive, good ball clubs in the big leagues.

Q. Don't detract from the Rangers, right?

The President. No, we don't want to detract from them at all.

Q. -- -- call it the national pastime going to Canada?

The President. Well, I think we want to get them to buy into that definition. That's why we're going.

I want to get there the same time you guys do, so I want to put my seatbelt on.

Q. Are you going to throw a curve or a slider?

The President. I'm going to go with a slider this time. I've had such good luck in the last couple of years. The catcher let me down one time when he couldn't get into the dirt and grab it properly.

Q. See you later.

The President. I'll see you later.

Q. Are you working your stuff, Mr. President?

The President. No, no. Nolan will handle the fast one, and I'll go with the stuff. You know how it is, Tommie [Tom Raum, Associated Press].

We'll see you. Thanks a lot.

Note: The exchange occurred en route to Toronto, Canada, prior to the President's meeting with the Prime Minister. In his remarks, the President referred to Fay Vincent, commissioner of baseball, and Nolan Ryan, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters Aboard Air Force One Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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