Ronald Reagan picture

Informal Exchange With Reporters on the Soviet-United States Summit Meeting

December 08, 1987

Q. Mr. President, do you expect to break through on START or Star Wars during these talks for 3 days?

The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], I'm going to wait for the meetings here and not offer any—

Q. Well, do you think it is a great step forward to sign this treaty?

The President. Oh, yes, that I believe very much.

Q. But would you be totally satisfied with that, or would you like to make progress?

The President. Well, obviously, we want to make progress. I think both of us made that clear out there in our remarks.

Q. Mr. Secretary, your spokesman said that you are a man of surprises. Have you brought a surprise for President Reagan concerning the arms negotiations?

The General Secretary. Well, I don't think that policies are made with surprises. Responsible policies, particularly by countries such as the Soviet Union and the United States, have to be well thought over. And on the basis of that, responsible decisions have to be taken.

Q. Mr. Gorbachev—

Q. Well, what are the new—

Q.—about Afghanistan, please. A date for withdrawal.

The General Secretary. As the President has said, you shouldn't rush.

Q. Mr. President, old friends or old enemies?

The President. Well, I think you can judge for yourself.

Q. What are the new words you want to hear?

The General Secretary. Well, I have heard some new words in the President's welcoming remarks, and I welcome this fact. And of course, there are political declarations, political statements, and then there is reality, real policies. And you might have noted that there is a great similarity in the outlook of things on the world in our remarks today, myself and the President. So, how to implement what we declared in our speeches? This is what we are getting to discuss with the President. We have five meetings planned with the President.

I think you have gotten quite a lot from me. [Laughter]

Note: The exchange began at 10:45 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Following the exchange, the President met with the General Secretary to discuss human rights.

Ronald Reagan, Informal Exchange With Reporters on the Soviet-United States Summit Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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