Statement by Principal
Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the President's
Meeting With Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev in Reykjavik, Iceland
October 3, 1986
United States approaches the Iceland meetings with a deep
sense of serious purpose. Our goal in Iceland is to narrow the
differences that separate the United States and the Soviet Union. The President believes
that face-to-face private discussions with General Secretary Gorbachev are the
best way to seek progress at this critical juncture in our relationship. The
President's goal is that both sides will gain a better understanding of each
other's position at this time and move forward toward a summit in the United States. We will be satisfied
with the Iceland meetings if we
accomplish better understanding.
control is important to both nations, indeed, to the world. We will be diligent
in our efforts to seek a common ground that can provide the basis for progress
at Geneva, but our agenda is
broader than arms control. On regional issues -- the tensions in Afghanistan, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia contribute to tensions
between the two superpowers and build mistrust that makes an
arms buildup a dangerous fact of life in today's world. Elimination of
regional tensions will go to the cause of mistrust between the United States and Soviet Union. On human rights -- as
Americans we share with freedom-loving people everywhere a deep concern over
human rights on a worldwide basis, and human rights in the Soviet Union is a major cause of
concern to the President. Bilateral relations -- improving
government-to-government and people-to-people exchanges in the fields of arts,
education, and science can improve understanding among the citizens and
contribute to the cause of peace.
President believes that this is not the time for public rhetoric, but, instead,
for private talk. The President goes to Iceland with a continuing
commitment to seeking understanding that hopefully can lead to agreements that
will benefit both the United States and the Soviet Union.
Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at
in the Briefing Room at the White House.