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Exchange With Reporters on the President's Telephone Conversation With Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union

February 28, 1990

The President. Well, I just wanted to mention that this morning I had a very good talk with President Gorbachev. We touched on matters relating to Nicaragua and Central America and also matters relating to the changes in Europe. I'm not going to say any more on the details of the talk, but it was a very constructive conversation. I thanked him for his reception of Jim Baker and the time he gave him, and told him that Jim had filled me in on the details on the arms control agenda, and reassured him that I wanted to conclude the agenda as set out by the Secretary with Mr. Shevardnadze [Soviet Foreign Minister]. And as I say, we discussed the matters here in this hemisphere and in Eastern Europe.

So, it was a good talk, and I'm going to continue to try to have consultation. He agreed that these kinds of conversation are very useful. And so, I just wanted to get that on the record.

Q. Did you call him?

The President. Yes, I called him, yes.

Q. You talked about the Nicaraguan elections and then -- --

The President. Well, no, just to review these two areas. And I think we need to be doing a little more of that kind of thing, and I think he agrees. So it was -- the mood of it, that's hard to define, but it was very good, very forthright. Where we differ, we can spell out the differences without rancor. And I think that's important in the Soviet-U.S. relationship.

And as Chancellor Kohl [of the Federal Republic of Germany] impressed on me up there at Camp David, the importance to the world of how the U.S. and the Soviet Union interact just cannot be overemphasized. So, it was good.

Q. Why did you want to call him? Generally, you have something specific that you want to request of him.

The President. Well, just to discuss these two areas. No, nothing specific, just these two areas. And I'm not going to go into the details of the talk. But I think it's important that there be some confidentiality if we're going to be able to speak as frankly as we did today. And so, I can't give you the full agenda, but I can tell you it was a very good one.

Q. How long did you talk?

The President. I'd say it was about 40 minutes, something like that.

Q. Did you have trouble getting through to him when you called?

The President. No, we set a time to take the call. He had matters on his mind yesterday that we've all read about, and so, we decided to do it today. But we touched on a lot of matters, and it was good.

Q. Did you talk about the Presidential powers bill?

The President. No, not in detail.

Q. Do you want Gorbachev to impress on Ortega [President of Nicaragua] the importance of turning over control -- --

The President. Well, I was very pleased with the Soviet statements about recognizing the winners of the election. And I think a lot of that stems from leaders in this hemisphere, to be sure that peaceful transition takes place.

Note: A tape was not available for verification of the content of the exchange, which occurred in the morning aboard Air Force One, en route to Staten Island, NY.

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters on the President's Telephone Conversation With Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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