Remarks on Departure for
the Soviet-United States
fellow Americans and all our Ambassadors of our friends and allies who are
here: On the eve of my first meeting with General Secretary Gorbachev in 1985,
I told you that my mission, simply stated, was a mission for freedom and peace.
I wanted to sit down across the table from Mr. Gorbachev and try to set out
with him a basis for peaceful discourse and cooperation between our two
countries, at the same time working to advance the cause and frontiers of human
freedom. As I approached that first meeting in Geneva, I wanted to establish a
better working relationship with the Soviet Union -- one no longer subject to
the dangerous highs and lows of the past; a working relationship that would be
based on realities, not merely on a seeming relaxation of tensions between our
two countries that could quickly disappear. To accomplish that, the
as I depart on this trip to
Our representatives have held broad-ranging discussions on human rights, and we've seen concrete steps taken. The levels of emigration have risen. Some political and religious prisoners have been released, and a number of divided families have been reunited. Somewhat more diversity of expression is permitted. There has been a recognition of religious persecution in the past and a pledge that some restrictions on the right to worship will be eased. We have greatly expanded our bilateral exchanges. The number of travelers between our two countries is rising sharply, with unprecedented totals expected this year. There's more, of course, but I'd miss my plane if I went through the entire list. [Laughter] And yet impressive as these achievements may be, they represent only a beginning.
In my talks with General Secretary Gorbachev next week, we will be looking to the future, for there remains much to be done. Permit me to outline the substance of our four-part agenda for those talks:
On human rights, I will press to see that the positive trends I've mentioned continue and the reforms are made permanent. We certainly welcome the recent signs of Soviet progress toward greater freedom of religion, greater freedom of speech, greater freedom of movement. There have been indications that this progress may be written into Soviet law and regulations so that it can be a more permanent part of Soviet life. We will be doing all we can to encourage just that.
regional conflicts, we'll be looking for Soviet actions to help advance
negotiations on the
arms reductions, we'll strive to resolve the issues that still stand in the way
of our agreement to cut
Concerning the final portion of our four-part agenda, our bilateral relations, we will address both new agreements and renewals of existing agreements to extend the areas in which we cooperate. This will include everything from practical matters of nuclear safety to radio navigation and the protection of our global environment. We'll seek to broaden still further our people-to-people contacts and, especially, to give more of our young people the opportunity to participate in such exchanges.
as you see from the outline of that agenda, there will be plenty of work for
Mr. Gorbachev and me in
Since my first meeting with Mr. Gorbachev, we have, as I've said, come a long way. My task next week will be to go still farther -- farther in the interests of peace, farther toward a universal respect for fundamental human rights, farther toward world freedom, and farther toward a safer world for all people. And now, as I embark upon this great task, I ask for your prayers. Thank you, and God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke to supporters and members of the White House staff at at the South Portico of the White House.