Informal Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in New York, New York

October 24, 1985

Q. Mr. President, why were you so tough in outlining Soviet misdeeds today?

The President. You haven't been around for previous photo ops, but I've made it a rule today not to take any questions.

Q. Mr. Shevardnadze, what did you think of the President's speech, sir?

The Foreign Minister. Well, I've outlined it in my speech today.

Q. It sounded like you didn't like it.

Q. Are you going to talk to Mr. Shevardnadze about your plan for settling regional conflicts in this meeting?

The President. No answers, Sam [Sam Donaldson, ABC News].

Q. Mr. President, [Nicaraguan President] Ortega says that your speech flew in the face of peace.

The President. Never have I regretted so much that I'm not giving an answer as on that one.

Q. Is there any questions you will answer?

Q. Mr. Shevardnadze, what, sir, do you think of the President's plan for settling regional conflicts?

The Foreign Minister. That's what we shall be discussing.

Q. In this meeting here?

Q. Does it make arms control -- --

The Foreign Minister. I don't think we shall be able to discuss it today because of the shortage of time -- all of it today.

Q. But does it have some positive aspects?

The Foreign Minister. If there were no positive seeds, we would not have met at all.

Q. Do you think it makes arms control less important, Mr. Shevardnadze?

Mr. Weinberg. Let's go, Andrea [Andrea Mitchell, NBC News]. We're done.

Note: The exchange began at 4 p.m. at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Mark Weinberg was Assistant Press Secretary to the President. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.