Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks Following the Soviet-United States Summit Meeting in Moscow

June 02, 1988

The General Secretary. Esteemed Mr. President and Mrs. Reagan, 1 hour from now you will be leaving Moscow. In the first place, I want to thank you and your colleagues for cooperation, openness, and a businesslike approach to the talks that we've had here. I believe that both of us have every reason to regard this meeting and your visit as a useful contribution to the development of dialog between the Soviet Union and the United States.

Mr. President, you and I have been dealing with each other for 3 years now. From the first exchange of letters to the conclusion of this meeting, we've come a long way. Our dialog has not been easy, but we mustered enough realism and political will to overcome obstacles and divert the train of Soviet-U.S. relations from a dangerous track to a safer one. It has, however, so far been moving much more slowly than is required by the real situation, both in our two countries and in the whole world. But as I have understood, Mr. President, you're willing to continue our joint endeavors. For my part, I can assure you that we will do everything in our power to go on moving forward. Now, with the vast experience of Geneva, Reykjavik, Washington, and Moscow and backed up by their achievements, we are, in duty, bound to display still greater determination and consistency. That is what the Soviet and American peoples, international public opinion, and the entire world community are expecting of us.

I hope you will have pleasant memories of your stay in this country. Mr. President, Mrs. Reagan, when you return to America, please convey to the American people best wishes from the peoples of the Soviet Union. Over the past 3 years, our two nations have come to know each other better. They have now taken a really good look in each other's eyes and have a keener sense of the need to learn to live together on this beautiful planet Earth. I wish you good journey back home, Mr. President and Mrs. Reagan. To you and to all members of the U.S. delegation, I wish good health. Goodbye.

The President. Mr. General Secretary, Mrs. Gorbachev, this is an emotional moment for Mrs. Reagan and me. We have been truly moved by the warmth and the generous hospitality that we've received from all of our Soviet hosts during this brief visit—but most especially from the two of you.

During this meeting, as in all of our previous meetings, I appreciated and valued our exchanges and the long hours of hard work that we and our experts put in to make progress on the difficult issues we face. But this meeting has added something else for Mrs. Reagan and me. Our time here has allowed us to know, if only briefly, your art treasures and your people: artists, writers, individuals from all walks of life-people who were willing to share with us their experiences, their fears, their hopes.

Mr. General Secretary, it is fitting that we are ending our visit as we began it, in this hall, named for the Order of St. George. I would like to think that our efforts during these past few days have slayed a few dragons and advanced the struggle against the evils that threaten mankind—threats to peace and to liberty. And I would like to hope that, like St. George, with God's help, peace and freedom can prevail. And, Mr. General Secretary, if you will permit me just one more proverb, I think a very old and popular saying you have here about last Sunday, the day of our arrival, spoke to the promise that we've seen fulfilled at this summit in this Moscow spring. Truly, then, Troitsa: ves' les raskroitsya [At the Feast of the Trinity, the whole forest blossoms].

And now, if I might just conclude on a personal note, earlier this week at Moscow State University I mentioned to the young people there that they appeared to my eyes exactly as would any group of students in my own country or anywhere else in the world; so, too, did Nancy. And I find the faces, young and old, here on the streets of Moscow. At first, more than anything else, they were curious faces, but as the time went on, the smiles began and then the waves. And I don't have to tell you, Nancy and I smiled back and waved just as hard.

Mr. General Secretary, I think you understand we're not just grateful to both you and Mrs. Gorbachev but want you to know we think of you as friends. And in that spirit, we would ask one further favor of you. Tell the people of the Soviet Union of the deep feelings of friendship felt by us and by the people of our country toward them. Tell them, too, Nancy and I are grateful for their coming out to see us, grateful for their waves and smiles, and tell them we will remember all of our days their faces: the faces of hope—hope for a new era in human history, an era of peace between our nations and our peoples.

Thank you and God bless you.

Note: The General Secretary spoke at 10:07 a.m. in St. George's Hall at the Grand Kremlin Palace. The President spoke in English, and the General Secretary spoke in Russian. Their remarks were translated by interpreters.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Following the Soviet-United States Summit Meeting in Moscow Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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