Excerpts From an Interview With European Journalists on Soviet-United States Relations

 

October 23, 1987

 

Q. Mr. President, I am privileged to start off, and of course, we all have heard word from Moscow. So, I simply would ask you for your reaction. Are you disappointed that there was no date for a summit set, or are you still hopeful that you can have one sometime later this year?

 

The President. Well, I'm hopeful, of course. They have said they want such a thing and agreed to it -- and to be held here in this country -- but so far have not set a date. So, I'll remain hopeful that we can have it, yes. I understand there was some progress made, however, in the talks on the intermediate-range weapon agreement.

 

Q. Mr. President, do you think that the setback in Moscow heralds a cooler period in U.S.-Soviet relations, or you're very confident you can go on ahead and get an agreement?

 

The President. I have to believe that there is an effort being made on their part as well as ours to make the cold war a little warmer in the right way. Let's say a little less cold, but also a little less war.

 

Q. Mr. President, the sticking point seems to be SDI. And are you prepared to make an adjustment in your position in order to achieve an agreement on the strategic --  --

 

The President. No, I have said from the beginning that this world, which has no defense against nuclear weapons -- the only so-called defense is the MAD policy, and it truly is MAD: Mutual Assured Destruction. And I have spoken to several parliaments throughout the world and legislatures and in each one of them have said that I don't believe a nuclear war can be won and it must not be fought. And recently, [Soviet] Foreign Minister Shevardnadze, here in this room, repeated those words to me as being his own belief: that it can't be won and shouldn't be fought. So, I cannot make that a bargaining chip. We have the prospect of a defensive system that could practically make nuclear missiles obsolete. And I have said over and over again that if and when we have such a system we wouldn't use that for our advantage offensively against any other nation.

 

Note: The interview began at 1:32 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Participants in the interview included Leo Wieland, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Federal Republic of Germany; Stewart Fleming, Financial Times, United Kingdom; Rodolfo Brancoli, La Republica, Italy; Jan Werts, Haagsche Courant, the Netherlands; and Jan Krauze, Le Monde, France.