White House Statement on the 25th Anniversary of the Hotline Between the Soviet Union and the United States


August 30, 1988


Today marks the 25th anniversary of the operational start of the Direct Communications Link, or hotline. Since its inception, this confidential and rapid communication channel has proved to be an invaluable tool. Although used infrequently, the hotline has permitted American Presidents to communicate with Soviet leaders to reduce the risk of conflict which might result from accident, miscalculation, or misunderstanding.


Recognizing the need to improve our ability to communicate with the Soviet leadership in emergency situations, President Reagan proposed in 1984 that the hotline be modernized by adding a rapid facsimile capability to the existing teletype system. This modernization was completed in 1986 with excellent results, and the United States and the U.S.S.R. have continued to work together effectively to maintain the highest reliability.


In 1987 a U.S. initiative resulted in the establishment of the Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers (NRRC) as a new government-to-government channel (separate from the hotline). The modernized hotline and the NRRC's, like other confidence-building measures proposed by the President since 1981, reflect his continuing commitment to further reduce the risk of war. Such measures complement our efforts to negotiate deep, equitable, and effectively verifiable reductions in U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals. These efforts will contribute significantly to international stability and will strengthen the foundation for peace.