Radio Address to the Nation on Soviet-United States Relations
My fellow Americans:
Wednesday, this week, I met with Soviet President Gorbachev for the fifth time.
Together we stood under the gaze of Lady Liberty, speaking of the prospects of
peace for the peoples of our two nations and for all the
world. Yes, since our first summit in
has also been a period of important change inside the
And just a few years ago, who would have anticipated seeing a Soviet leader stand before the world community, heralding a plan for economic restructuring and military redeployments, and promising to meet the world community's highest standards of human rights? If this vision is realized and these promises are turned into deeds, we would be witnessing a dramatic change in the Soviet system, a long-awaited break with the past, and the opening of a new era in international affairs.
the Soviet reforms have their limits, and brave dissenters within that country
who have sought a fuller measure of openness continue to be dealt with harshly.
But I was encouraged by the new promises of reform that Mr. Gorbachev made
before the United Nations and hope to see these and past promises translated
into permanent institutional changes that will signal to the peoples of the
Just a decade ago, some intellectuals widely predicted what they called convergence: the idea that the democratic world and the Communist world would merge into one hybrid system. The main question amounted to how much freedom would democratic nations have to give up in the bargain. But instead, the free world held firm to its democratic values, cleaving to truths deeply rooted in Western culture and our Judeo-Christian tradition.
we spoke openly of the moral superiority of our ideal of freedom. We candidly
criticized the violations of human rights occurring behind the Iron Curtain. We
rebuilt our defenses and with our allies worked to counter international
aggression by our totalitarian adversaries. And we exhibited that scarcest of
commodities: patience. And our steadfastness, our policies, our whole approach
has borne fruit. Perhaps the most dramatic achievement came 1 year ago, when
Mr. Gorbachev and I signed the historic INF treaty to eliminate an entire class
week, the Prime Ministers of two of our key NATO allies,
some time now, the Soviet bloc has had overwhelming superiority in conventional
Well, in these brightest of times, let us recall that in the darkest days of World War II, when hopes for the free world seemed most bleak, Winston Churchill rallied us to carry on, saying that ``We have not journeyed all this way because we are made of sugar candy.'' By summoning all their strength and courage, and by pulling together, the allies prevailed. The war was won.
The decades following World War II were filled with political tensions and threats to world freedom. But in recent years, we've seen hopes for a free and peaceful future restored and the chance for a new U.S.-Soviet relationship emerge. To the American people and to our allies, I would echo Churchill and say we have not come this far through lack of strength or any weakness in our resolve, nor has there been anything inevitable about what we've achieved. The unity, confidence, power, and firmness of the democracies has brought us forward, and maintaining a strong alliance will keep us moving forward.
Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President spoke