Informal Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Nicholas Daniloff

 

October 1, 1986

 

Q. Well, was he worth it, Mr. President?

 

The President. No, we thought this was a photo opportunity with very welcome visitors.

 

Q. Are you --  --

 

Q.  --  -- Soviet relations back on track --  --

 

Q.  --  -- Mr. Daniloff home?

 

Q.  --  -- now that Mr. Daniloff is free? Are U.S.-Soviet relations back on track now that Mr. Daniloff is free?

 

The President. We'll find out in about 10 days.

 

Q. What do you think about those who say that you caved in to Gorbachev?

 

The President. I don't think there's any caving in at all.

 

Q. Why not?

 

The President. Because no one had to cave in.

 

Q. Well, didn't you agree to this meeting in Iceland as part of the effort to get Daniloff free?

 

The President. No, I just said that there wouldn't be any meeting until he was free.

 

Q. So, when they said he was free, then there was a meeting. Wasn't that part of the agreement, sir?

 

Q. Mr. President?

 

Q. Wait. Let him finish.

 

The President. It's a photo opportunity. I don't think we'd better take --  --

 

Mr. Daniloff. I'd like to add one thing if I may -- and that is this was a very complex situation, and if it hadn't been for President Reagan's taking a very deep and personal interest in my case, it would probably be some years before I could stand in front of you and say thank you, Mr. President.

 

Q. Why?

 

Q. Why are you so far away from us? [Laughter]

 

Mr. Daniloff. We're going to get together afterwards. I think we'll be much closer.

 

Q. Bring your friend.

 

The President. This is where the steps ended.

 

Q. Now that you're back, what do you really think of Jimmy Carter?

 

Note: The exchange began at 4:03 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. Following the exchange, the President met with Mr. Daniloff and his family in the Oval Office. Mr. Daniloff, of U.S. News & World Report, had recently been released by the Soviets after being detained in Moscow on charges of espionage.