Statement by Assistant
to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization Summit Meeting in Brussels, Belgium
March 3, 1988
meeting of the NATO alliance concluded with extemporaneous remarks by President
Reagan concerning the values of the alliance in the free world. The President
spoke eloquently and with great feeling concerning the unique role of the
alliance in preserving freedom. The President praised the solidarity of NATO
and the strengths that emanate from each country's commitment to one another.
President cautioned that, while General Secretary Gorbachev speaks of reforms
and restructuring, many of the Soviet policies are unchanged. The President
referred to the words of Demosthenes when he said: ``Surely,
no man would judge another by his words and not his deeds. That certainly is
true when considering the Soviet Union. I am not a linguist,
but I recall the Russian proverb: Dovorey no provorey. That means trust but verify.''
The President said that East-West relations continue as a source of world
tension, but that the alliance was poised as never before to negotiate with the
media seems to thrive on fights more than friendship,'' the President said.
``They continue to ask: Are you papering over great differences here? Well, I
haven't found them. Our alliance is strong and united. The United States believes our destiny
rests with the maintenance of this alliance. We often say that if the bomb is
dropped in Amsterdam it is the equivalent of
dropping a bomb on Chicago. As long as we maintain
that attitude, I don't believe a bomb is going to drop on anyone.''
of the Soviet
the President said: ``We don't have to go to war. We
have to see to it that the Soviets won't go to war. If they realize that war
with one of us is really war with all of us, they won't start one. So, we must
just stay strong, united, and dedicated to one another.''
President told the moving story of soldiers who had deserted the Soviet Army in
Afghanistan, because they had been
ordered to kill women and children. These Soviet military members instead made
the difficult decision to defy those orders and desert to the West. ``Their
hope for freedom was placed in us,'' the President said. ``And indeed the hopes
of freedom for people all around the world are placed in us.''
people admire and respect NATO. There is no thought in our country of the United States shortchanging this
alliance. We are with you, and we intend to stay with you until lasting peace