George Bush photo

Informal Exchange With Reporters

November 14, 1989

Eastern-Bloc Reforms

Q. Mr. President, do you have any reaction to Czechoslovakia's decision to ease travel restrictions?

The President. Well, I'm very pleased about the move in Czechoslovakia. Several months ago we called for a Europe whole and free, and as I survey the changes taking place, it seems to be moving towards a Europe whole and free. So, I would welcome this as a very encouraging first step.

The people of Czechoslovakia have the same aspirations for freedom that others have; and I would expect we'd see further changes there, just as we have seen in Poland, Hungary, and in the German Democratic Republic. So, it's a very good and encouraging step. And this is further manifestation that Europe someday will be whole and free. Gorbachev talks about a common home. We talk about a Europe whole and free. And it's a most exciting time.

Q. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that some members of the administration feel it's moving too fast. Do you think so, sir?

The President. No, I don't think it's moving too fast, and I don't know of anybody in my administration that feels that it's moving too fast.

NATO Allies

Q. Do you intend to go to Brussels, sir, after the Malta summit?

The President. Go where?

Q. To Brussels, to brief the allies?

The President. We're thinking right now how we might stay in touch with our allies. That is very, very important. And not only we'll be doing this after the summit but, as I think I've told some of you, I have already talked to some and will be talking to more before the summit.

May I say, while the cameras are still here, what a pleasure it is to have Tunisia's President with us today. The man has great respect here in this country, and I'm just delighted that he's with us.

Note: The exchange began at 11:06 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House, following a meeting with President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia.

George Bush, Informal Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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