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tv   President Reagans Berlin Wall Speech  CSPAN  June 25, 2017 2:35pm-4:01pm EDT

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>> this year's the 30th anniversary of president ronald reagan's visit to berlin where teratoma -- gave his down the wall speech. next, former u.s. ambassador to germany recall the president's speech and trip. the international center for journalist posted this event. it is an hour and a half. collects evening, everybody. please find your seats. good evening. thanks for setting up this wonderful event. mr. robinson, members of the board, alumni in attendance, students, and ladies and gentlemen. for me, it is a pleasure and an
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honor to open the event today. i am pleased to see so many faces. some fairly young faces. i am particularly pleased knowing the students today do not necessarily cherish things that happened 30 years ago. jon bon jovi or george michael or dirty dancing, there have in cooler times in history than the 80's. that is what my children keep reminding me. this is, however, different. with president reagan's speech. from president kennedy's visit, it might he better known in germany and the u.s. know thatlicy nerds there is nothing like resident
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reagan's secretary-general gorbachev and his call to tear down this wall. interestingly, the speech received very little coverage at the time. however, the chancellor immediately realized the impact. president reagan was a stroke of luck for the world. he would say after the speech. and the rather hysterical leadership also gives us an indication of the strength of the speech. i myself refresh memories a couple of days ago. inas in new york at the time 1987. i did not have a chance and it is indeed an impressive testimony, first and foremost to
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president reagan's unconditional to stand behind and side-by-side with his european partners, with germany, and with the citizens of religion. something back in berlin and how he describes very special ties. every american president since , to the city of berlin in isticular, reagan's speech also a clear commitment to freedom, democracy, and human rights. drove american values from the founding fathers to president lincoln through the 20th century until today. it is a commitment clearly reflected in this speech
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declaring unconditional support for european allies. the commitment is clearly shown when the people of eastern germany and the people of all over eastern europe stood up for the rights for two test for liberty and democracy. despite the protests and the people's desire for freedom, we have to number one thing. in the end, it was only possible because of our allies and faithors because they had in us. we have to recall that many people in europe, many governments, were skeptical, reunited germany would be as peaceful as it had been in the decades prior, the specter of the past was still very present. the american people and first and foremost, political leaders,
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did have the east else. strength ofs the the oldest constitutional democracy in the world, that it recognized people and leadership in -- that we the people's power in strength. other countries in europe were more hesitant to recognize the historic or unstoppable force unfolding in eastern europe. without the support of the american leadership, of american later, ito years would not of happened. it is a lesson in how important and how effective the transatlantic alliance can be, how much we can change the world for the positive if we stand united.
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so it is a nice coincidence that president reagan's speech fall on the same year as the fellowship. what better connection could we think of for our event tonight? the clear commitment, freedom, and alliance cannot be represented much better than in the combination of the two. welcome our panel today and in particular, marcus, the chairman of the fellowship program and the good spirit of this event and many other events happening with the fellowship program, thank you for doing this and please welcome with an applause. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you, ambassador, for the introduction. i will -- i would also like to thank the dean, who so generously arranged for us to hold the event today p while he could not be here, his team has been here to help us. commemorating to events 30 years ago. in junet reagan'speech 1987. let me start briefly with the fellowship. created to was foster deeper understanding between germany and the u.s. and more recently, canada as well. every year, nearly a dozen german journalists are now canadian journalists, they go to each other's side in the atlantic and spent time in newsrooms learning and
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way that otherhe countries think. many top journalists from both sides of the atlantic have .articipated in these the program is supported by top news organizations to send an received journalists, among the news organizations that participated, new york times, wall street journal, washington post. npr, many others. nonprofit programs. they depend on contributions from companies including goldman sachs and others as well as as a result, you see in any of your so kind to make contribution to support the program, we will be grateful to have it. the burns program, as you will surmise, is named for arthur burns, the austrian economists starting with white eisenhower and was chairman of the federal reserve in 19 evony before he became ambassador to germany in 1980's.
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in his long career, he trained economists like friedman, v-shaped postwar economic policy for the u.s. and fought inflation in the 1970's and cemented the close ties between the u.s. and what was then west germany. when hisn june of 1987 program was established in his name. his goal is to strengthen the understanding between two powerful western allies, seldom more relevant than it is today here the importance of the relationship was front and center in berlin 30 years ago the summer. it was there that resident ronald reagan delivered one of his most memorable speeches. tear down the wall that divided the post-world war ii world. and appealed to our common humanity and freedom and dignity. it is a call that should be trumpeted again today. we're fortunate to have with us today to talk about speech through -- three of the most knowledgeable people of the moment. the ambassador onstage in berlin
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, with present reagan, also a trustee of the program. peter robinson, a white house speechwriter and had riemer responsibility for the speech. and the former deputy editor who wrote a book on it and will moderate today's conversations. i will hand it to them. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. it is a pleasure to be here.
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i will briefly introduce them, although mark already got us started. the ambassador, many of you know, was the center of a whole range of conversations that dealt with the end of the cold war. the assistant secretary for european canadian affairs, the state department from 1983 to 1985, and he was of course the ambassador to west germany, and later a principal negotiator on the strategic arms reduction of the former soviet union. was obviously -- we will talk about his role in the speech. peter robinson was the chief speech writer on the tear down
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the wall address. fororked in the white house as special assistant and speechwriter to president reagan and previously had dennis speechwriter for vice president george h.w. bush. peter is now a research fellow at the hoover institution. the quarterly journal digests and hosts the wildly popular evader -- popular video series on television. i am hoping you indulge us as we talk about the history of the reagan speech. i think it is fascinating history. the fact that the book did not sell a lot of copies may mean that others did not agree my assessment. nevertheless, -- >> i bought two. >> there you go. i should have sent you a free one.
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we will talk for about a half-hour, talk about the speech and then we will open it up to questions from all of you. wonder if we could start with you, ambassador, i hope you could just take it back to the time leading up to president reagan's's visit to west berlin, and give us a sense of the mood among west germans and to take your spirit what now seems as we know the wall would come down november of 1989, it was that something people were thinking about? did they think it was realistic at that time in june of 1987? think a really great question and it is probably the most interesting question for understanding the impact of the reagan speech. i make a couple of points that need to be taken into account.
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you have been talking about the impact on west germans that date. people at the speech were not considered west germans. her letters, not citizens of the federal republic of germany. at the time, berlin was still formally been occupied city. one of the reasons i got to sit so close to the president when he was delivering that speech, a chance for germany and the foreign minister of germany were not president. they were not wreck nice to officials in berlin. andhad the governing mayor representatives of the city council, but this was a kind of anomaly, still being an occupied city. when i went to berlin in that europe, i was not the u.s. ambassador. i was the high commissioner.
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responsibility, when i would meet on occasion with russian counterpart, the russian ambassador to the federal republic, when i was in berlin, i was in regular meetings with the ambassador to east germany. i was talking to two different russian ambassadors, given a very chillier and unique situation of berlin being occupied city. for the is important reagan speeches, one of the things we had to do, and we always talk about the allies and we talk about the allies in those days, we met the united states, britain, and french cut france. and our collective responsibilities. that we had toed get political support from home. it was not just enough that west germany in the westermann parliament would support us
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financially, which they did. we needed public political support from the united states, britain, and from france. the leadership needed to understand why we were still hanging around defending berlin. somebody, probably the governing mayor, came up with the idea that we should commemorate the 750th anniversary of her length. i think that was probably phony date. the first step was to berlin. but it gained traction. give us an opportunity to one of the big ideas was during the all three allies -- power -- allied powers should come to berlin. his visit from the queen, the president of france, and of course, ronald reagan.
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that created the opportunity. i was thought was perfect we teed up for ronald reagan, that this was the opportunity to talk about an issue he believed in, that he would feel totally at home and comfortable with. think, and you i can correct me if i'm wrong, and now i am getting to the heart of the question, there was a , with the a fatigue division of germany and of berlin. berlin was still an exciting , and, a big youth culture a great place to be. i think by 1987, people had drawn a conclusion that the wall was not going to go away anytime .oon that it had become a kind of permanent fixture of light -- life in berlin.
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germany, meanwhile, i found a different mentality, which was, somehow, the division is again going to be semipermanent. no one saw a way out or a way of reuniting germany. i remember very clearly going to a meeting convened by the center-right party in germany, the cdu, where they asked me and the russian ambassador to speak, which i found in itself a little bit unusual. one of the things the russian know, one said, you thing you guys have got to stop doing is talk about reunification. it will not happen. i came back ferociously to argue that, whether you think it will happen next year or in 10 years, it would be a terrible thing if
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the people of west virginia gave unification. that said, i did not think it would happen soon. you had efforts by the german to try and bring that wall down but to transcend the wall, to find ways of holding up ties for what was known as the inner german relationship. and find ways that were much bigger and richer. i will stop my answer here but there is a lot of mythology about east germany. and in west berlin. i learned an important historic .ow lesson being close to a situation does not message daily mean you understand it. 1987 or really 1988 or thought that there
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was going to be some kind of popular uprising in the east. itre was a commitment to process of trying to find ways to increase interaction between .he two germany's to try to somehow ignore it on the one hand, try to ease the pain and the feeling of the , andrical inevitability that is what made the reagan remark so refreshing. he stared head-on handing in front of the berlin wall and challenged the east to bring the wall down. >> i would now like to know, how much of that do you know?
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tell us how the whole process works and when were you told you would write the speech? how did you start piecing together the elements of what goes into it? >> i will. let me begin by taking the ambassador. let me just i have wondered about the >> -- correct pronunciation. finally cared i spent years practicing. word, you brought me here after three decades to embarrass me because in a word, here we have immensely knowledgeable, all the nuances and sophistication. and that was at the time as well. speech, wereagan
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knew essentially none of this. you're right about the 750th anniversary being a sham when was berlin found it? it was not founded. it just sort of emerged. briefly, and i truly embarrassed about my younger self because i was just a kind of idiot child stumbling along. what happened was the speech in berlin, 750th anniversary. i cannot recall who gave me the direction. it must've been the chief speechwriter at the time. standing in front of the berlin wall, the date would be visible behind him in the shot. a crowd of about 10,000. to event was a -- was closer 30,000. talk about foreign policy.
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that was really all the direction i was given. there is a back story that he was holding back. he wanted me to do research in berlin with a clear mind. i went to berlin very briefly, four stops in berlin with me that day. the first is the site where the president would speak. i remember feeling a speechwriter is in trouble. i do not know how you convey to people who are not open enough to have seen it, it is a serious question. how you convey what it felt like to stand at the wall? religion,, west motion, activity, people well-dressed, driving beautiful mercedes, and you look over the wall, and everything is gray and brown and you see very little
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street traffic. i saw a couple of cars going by. i just had a feeling of a sense of moment, the weight of history. never in a place since and never before, where you just felt the weight of history. number two, i went to see your colleague. john -- >>'s title is minister. >> thank you. ok. john, it was my point of view that it was what the president should not say. he said, no bashing.
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in berlin, these people are acutely sensitive to the nuance way, thisnd by the might have been at point is similar to the arrived in the u.s. talent -- army helicopter over the wall. it looks bad enough from the inside. you can forget for a moment -- in a modern city, the new turn. from the air, incomparably worse. from the air, you can see on the other side -- guard towers. reason, which i found a striking, there were large areas of rate ground. using walkie-talkie, or the intercom to ask the pilot what's going on. explained, for the young east german guards.
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it was hard to explain the thinking -- footprints in the gravel. i thought, they thought of everything. then the final event, i broke away from the american party that evening. i left the hotel downtown berlin, went to a suburb. there, a lovely couple put on a dinner party for me. i have never met them. one had just retired from a long career. we had mutual friends in washington. they asked on a dozen or 18 of their friend's. it was a physician -- a couple people have taught university professors -- in any event, i said i have been told about the wall, is it true?
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silence. i said, my goodness, have committed a full pop -- have committed an error that -- then the silence ended. one man raised his arm and said, my sister lived a few kilometers in that direction but i haven't seen her in more than 20 years. how do you think i feel about the wall? went around the room and every person spoke about it. hadn't gotten used to it, they stopped talking about it. they hated it. every day. inc. abort else -- lovely woman, just died a couple of years ago. although one ham and slapped it into the other, she became injured. -- angry. if this man can come here and get rid of this wall -- i was there to listen as if i were ronald reagan. i was just this idiot child
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wandering around berlin, looking for something that the president would respond to. i knew he would respond to that. back to washington. writingful process of -- technical problems, part of the immediate audience would be german. american audience with the english-speaking. wrote -- [speaking german] and someone said, when your client is the president of the u.s., give him your best lines in english. [laughter] as a long story about how that speech was revisited by much -- many of the foreign-policy professionals. in the end, it was ronald reagan alone who just said, no. i want to say -- what is other moment, should i take another? the president meeting in the oval office. we discussed to my speech, the president said -- that's a good
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speech. want more from ronald reagan. they might have time for one question -- so i explained that i have been told in berlin that people would be able to peer the speech on the other side of the wall. if weather conditions were right, you might be able to. as far east as moscow itself on radio. i said mr. president, is there anything in particular you would like to say to people, on the communist side of the wall. ? is is one of those moments where i can just picture ronald reagan that's what i like to say to them, that wall doesn't come down. everybody understood, the president has already said he particularly liked to deliver that line, which enabled it to
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survive three weeks of quite a lot of pushback. the inspiration for that one was a german. >> let me add a quick anecdote. i can't remember when i saw the draft, when i saw that language -- i really liked it. it was -- oh yeah. it was authentic reagan. comeouldn't ask reagan to to berlin and stand for the berlin wall and not say that. courtesy, we finally got the final draft, i think 24 hours in advance. i gave it to the governing mayor of berlin. i have mentioned him already, edward r deacon. camead it and immediately back to me and said, you have got to take this passage out.
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you have got to take this passage out! we can't do that, this is ronald reagan. i said, what's wrong with the said, there, -- he will be protests on the other side of the wall. there were. nothing very large though. but, we were afraid that if they create -- this will potentially create a riot, unrest. we could have a real scene on our hands. i just said, look. wasdo not know how hard it to get ronald reagan here this year. difficult to get that organized the way we did. you've got to allow him to make these. he relented. -- i'm sorry.
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>> no no. >> we will bring you back in. >> you are making my job easier. >> i was not part of the traveling party, so this is especially fascinating because you were there. staff 2%, deputy chief of , the actual chief of staff -- his wife was very ill. ken duberstein was ranking member. i get what happened just before the speech. they are leaving the venice economic summit, they are ordering -- boarding air force one. the back of the plane begins clacking away because the state department is an binning, by my count -- the seventh alternative draft. they are considering this. the president makes this final decision in the limousine on the way to the wall. ken said they talked about it, then ronald reagan leaned over. he slept can on the knee and
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said, the boys in state will kill me for this but it the right thing to do. [laughter] that's real reagan. -- what wasreagan the opinion of reagan at the time? there were fears, there were some protest by leftist groups, anarchists and the like in the days leading up to his visit. >> reagan's image in germany went through almost 180 degree change over the years. time i was with ronald reagan in germany, i think was probably 1982. was visiting, there were
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2-3 -- 2-300,000 protesters protesting the deployment of person to -- nuclear armed vessels. that had the capability of striking soviet homeland. controversial, difficult decision. firmellor kohl was holding decision, in the face of not only tremendous public protest, but a very propaganda,ssian fake news, the modern parliament -- campaign to stop this deployment, threatening to recall, the new ice age.
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a lot blamed reagan for this, he was a war monger he would get us into nuclear war. as time went on, things began to gradually shift. in 1986,rtantly, reagan had his first summit meeting with gorbachev. and it's, it's, was, it was, it was productive, optimistic meeting. both reagan and come and, and gorbachev went back. i think they -- the shared belief that they can do business together. say in 1987, same year as the 750th anniversary, there was a famous meeting. the two leaders were talking about substantial reductions in
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nuclear weapons. 1987 the two sides also were able to agree to the zero option of missiles, which were to lloyd in 1983. -- diploid in 1983. people laughed, saying, that dozens -- that's a smokescreen for deployment. by 1987, people said, this guys getting things done with gorbachev. when he said, tear down this wall, it was not propaganda. understood that reagan had a relationship with gorbachev. and, and, and, it, and it's, it wasn't just a relationship of them being good pals.
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where they were both prepared to press each other for important reasons. people began to realize that reagan was becoming a foreign-policy success, that he was transforming the east-west relationship. time for himrfect to give that speech, in the context where u.s.-russian relations were headed. deliverhe finally did the famous line, you were there on the days when he delivered it , what ran through your mind? you have an inkling that this would be this to finding
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statement, not just of the reagan residency, but in a lot of ways, the cold war itself? what was your reaction in that moment? >> i can remember it. the first thing, i was very scared. i don't know if you remember this, but immediately after that event, there was another one temple haas airport. for the an event american community, substantial. we had an army for great -- brigade, big air force presence. other u.s. personnel there. asked to introduce the president to the american community. they told a 5-6 hours before, they wanted to televise it on german television.
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deustch,ced him auf in german. it was my finest hour. [laughter] i only mangled a few words in german. , to go back to reagan speech. great applause line, and i knew it was authentic run don't -- ronald reagan. but, history, as president obama says, has an arc. of course, we would never 89, the fact of the as i said before, being too close to an event sometimes can make you blind to
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the bigger reality. i don't think any american officials, maybe with the exception of ronald reagan. they really thought mr. gorbachev would tear down that wall, more precisely -- >> allow it -- >> the people of east germany would tear down that wall. but, you know, before we run out of time, i want to make one other point. while because the reagan speech -- and would focus on the wall actually coming down. discussions between -- officials in bondage so-called to plus four process. we focus on the american german cooperation, which made the reunification of germany possible.
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what we don't focus enough on in my view is a tremendous effort and sacrifice and courage, and optimism that the german people showed through the whole decade of the 90's into this century, in creating a remarkably successful unified germany. what an achievement. what an achievement. a country that is now, and theic opinion polls, always most respected country in the world. that has developed a functioning social market economy. the country, even given a lot of static that we have had over the last couple of weeks, between
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the german-american relationship, a country i know is wanting a strong trans-atlantic relationship. this was unthinkable in 1987. the germans have been capable of doing -- and i don't think frankly, in this country or others, they don't get enough credit. >> go ahead. lex when i was with feist president bush, not long before you went with president reagan, i was with a vice president of germany before the president -- >> that's exactly right! >> we had the rocks thrown. >> that's what i was going to say. rocks thrown at the bus. >> we had to get under our receipts. -- seats. this was the missile deployment era. >> exactly! this helmut kohl. met helmut kohl at one point --
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police are holding the crowd at bay. the crowd is cheering -- jeerign and hissing. i thought to myself, wow. ronald reagan comes over -- under pressure at home. sprinting sun yat-sen anti-nuclear concert in central park which is the biggest public gathering in the united states -- roos springsteen. springsteen. no one faced pressures like -- the germans. the person had to stand up, frankly, to large segments of their own people. to insist on remaining part of the west, the temptation to neutrality was so powerful for so many years. also, the insistence, explicit insistence, given all of german history on creating a good -- i just think it's one of the most impressive average human history, really.
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right, all done. >> what we ask one more question, then open it up to all of you. question, that's a little bit of a bank shot. , a narrow of 140 characters. .4 hour news cycle do presidential speech is still matter the way they do 30 years ago? give a future president speech like the one ronald berlin,elivered in west and have people talk about a 30 years from now? or are we in a different era, in which that kind of presidential rhetoric doesn't have the same resonant? >> berlin the short answer, we l find out. my own suspicion, the longer answer, they have to matter still. we have -- i would love to here what other people have to say about this.
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-- you attempt to deploy arguments. i'm not persuaded that can be done in 140 characters. i have to believe, if it comes to that -- you have friends in the white house, rick -- if it comes to that, the current chief executive david parenting speech to the joint session of congress. it would have longer if he hadn't undercut it by tweeting the next morning. he gave a pretty remarkable speech in saudi arabia 10 days
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ago. those have the opportunity to move policy, establish an agenda , show members of congress he wanted to do, where he wanted to take the country, to move the arab world in a way that i just don't think -- my formulation would be, not only could he not have done in 140 characters, but i wish you would knock it off. speeches are a lot better than the tweeting. the tweeting undercuts the administration's own, in my judgment, quite noble efforts. so there's my answer. i think we still need speeches, but we shall see. that, i would like to open it up to all of you. if you could just -- go to the back there. we will bring the mike's tear. if you can stand up and state your name. securityquestion about
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issue at the time. i'm a little bit hesitant about security -- for president reagan during his speech at the berlin wall. would you mind recalling about the circumstances? >> images the physical security? >> yes, even for today. a big issue for an american president to give a speech at a wall just behind the iron gate. well, i'm trying to remember, did he have -- will you weren't there. i'm trying to member -- he may glass --a kind of lexi >> i think that -- that's right. >> behind him, yeah. i think so. no. i don't think there were --
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needless to say, again, i want to remind you that this speech took place in the american sector. i remember very well one of my first visit to berlin -- i went to most every week when i was the ambassador. i would go, one of my first visits we were -- i was actually doing a spy exchange on the clinic or bridge. asked my age, how are we going -- my it, how we keep the press away? they said, told the police. you do that question mark they said, mr. ambassador, you do not understand. the police work for you. [laughter] i remember saying to myself, this is great. [laughter] -- we really control the environment. we had the people -- it wasn't just the secret service. you had a very large american presence there. comfortablele were
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with the security arrangements. >> thank you. show, this isord my favorite journalist on the planets. >> thank you, rick. i actually was there. security would show -- not what it is today. i was sitting on the edge of the -- in the pool, at the edge of the stage. but they had was a pale blue background, but behind the president and you, it was clear plexiglass, so you could see through to the graffiti marked wall. incredible picture. there was nothing in front of you. on the western side. >> i think that's right. so the task peter a question. just give us a little more of the back and forth of the state department. are you saying george schultz was against this? weinberger? can you tune in, to? >> so a little bit of it -- so, the innate -- you need to
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bear in mind that howard baker had recently become chief of staff. he brought with him to make risk skem, his- tommy gri longtime press aide. -- theback from berlin result of the idea of building a speech around the call to tear down the wall. we immediately, before he went on -- put a working paper, went to tom, and he said, that works. then -- this is a terrible admission. the record is what it is. the president was going to rome and the venice economic summits, so there were a lot of speeches. the whole speech writing staff worked fast to finish a whole bundle of speeches. tony dolan, chief speechwriter, one fridayl
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afternoon -- friday, may 16 or 15th, until he heard the helicopter descending to the south lawn. he went over to the west wing and said to the staff secretary, has aew: the president big wad of speeches, better get them to him to look over at camp david trade the staff secretary said, i will do it. as the helicopter took off, the president had my draft with him. rare. very you can count on the fingers of one hand, the times speechwriters feared out how to get a draft to the president before went out for staffing. and we met him the following monday. then he said, well, there's that line in the draft about the tearing down the wall. that's what i want to say. he'd see the draft, and he singled out that passage before it went out to staffing. then went out to staffing. the national security council
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posted, raj -- called me. reprinted not call. roz ridgeway called, tom griscom called. tempers kim goldman -- told me afterwards he went down the hall. call down the hall, there was george schultz. he was representing his states department, tom griscom said, you don't understand. the line in this speech, this is going to get press. the president had said he particularly wants to deliver it. then can griscom told me in italy, the fighting never stopped. god bless them. really, i look back on it -- i was 30 years old and new this much of what he knew. this much of what foreign-policy professionals new. i had been to berlin, i talked to berliners, i was going to defend that draft tommy griscom called me to his office, seated waiting was colin
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powell, number 21 security council. decorated general, used to talking to his troops in a certain way. he gave it to me. no30 years old, knowing better, got right back in his face. this went on and on. finally, someone felt they had to take it back to the president, which as you know, is the last thing you want to do, --e your president revisited a decision. but the fighting wouldn't stop. ken super bowl -- iverson set the president down. they talked about it. then can said -- the state department did stop couple days later, on the day they went to berlin -- try to get another alternative. this was a fundamental decision. that theyold me -- can talk about it. read thee president passage, then you could just see
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he decided -- the taco came into his eye. said ken, i'm the president, aren't i? [laughter] well yes mr. president, we are clear about that. i get to the signed that line stays in? sir. well then, it stays in. [laughter] also >> having gone through many presidential speeches by ronald reagan, when i was assistant secretary, if you got something out of the speech, but learned quickly, and from a reagan liked it liked it, it got back in. enormous amount of time in his speeches. you have much more -- for the speech writing process than i do at that time. i was a policy -- thinking about arms control proposal and so on.
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i realize that reagan, probably ,ecause of being an actor understood the power of the speech. drafts back.speech we wrote a very important speech at the beginning of the second reagan and restoration, george schultz finally vanquished. cap weinberger, richard perle. .his was pre-gorbachev the message was -- we are going to start talking to the russians. here are the categories we are going to talk about. reagan invited the whole diplomatic corps to the east room of the white house to give that speech. schultz and i wrote that speech. schulz insists that it didn't go to the speechwriters. to be perfect. we got a draft back all written up.
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he said, who got a hold of this speech? they said no, that's ronald reagan's handwriting. [laughter] the presidential it'sriting file, remarkable how many speeches, especially in the first half of his president the -- >> in fairness, there was a lot of the usual back and forth, between the trading operation. the state department and national security council -- if you listen to the speech, i have always maintained that after the call to tear down the wall, it becomes boring for about five minutes. that's the state department -- [laughter] it's prop >> it's probably true. >> that is very nice. >> standing comes back. >> the ending comes back. but there was the usual -- but on that line, dish
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>> when you said you loved it because it was ronald reagan's, you couldn't put this man -- at the berlin wall. you couldn't put him there. they said well, state department, he just couldn't do that to him. anyway. yes there. curious if you could talk a little bit about this for the immediate future of the u.s.-german relationship. obviously, several speakers have noticed it as particularly relevant for us to talk about this. in light of nato and -- if you could talk about where you think things are going and what the challenges will be in these coming months. >> i will do it very briefly. perhaps others can do it better than me. be overreacting a little bit.
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tohink we have got distinguish between fundamental behavior., boorish in the case of the u.s. german relationship, there's three issues. one, this cert of security defense issue. in the american in particular,ns to do more. that said, and those of you who follow these issues know that the european and artie started bothd made commitments ashley wales-nato summits, and warsaw-nato summits. they are spending more. so, -- but if the president wants to claim credit for that
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and push harder, i can understand that. -- ofrrent allocation spending is probably unsustainable. the europeans will -- need overtime do more. i think that -- ironically, this whole debate about, maybe we can't depend as much as we did in the past, on the american guarantees, so on. ironically -- believe the europeans to doom -- need the europeans to do more and cooperate more closely. own think it was my judgments, a terrible mistake on the part of the president, not endorse article five and a full throated way. in frontrly, standing of a memorial at 911. given the fact that this is the only time article five was ever
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invoked in the history of the alliance. that's on the security defense issue. on the economic issue, i think the germans have the right -- they have the stronger argument here. let's recognize the amount of german investment in this country. -- they're more interviews produced, south carolina than there are in rough area. substantial investments, not only by car companies and the mercedes and folks wagon, but tremendous presence in this country. there is tremendous german investment in -- and real estate, and all sorts of asset categories. germansof lame the because they are sober and prudent economic policies than some of their neighbors, or from it -- that matter the united states, it's
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crazy. it's a logical in my view. that's not an economic argument, it's cultural. policy,t, in foreign tell countries to change their culture. finally, i just hope -- and the third area disagreement, global warming -- i just hope the united states new to the paris accords. but i think, as you can tell from my remarks, there's so many shared interest and values between the united states, germany and europe as a whole. i think we can work through this period.ly difficult >> thank you. i just wanted to pick up on something that rick said about the relationship that president reagan had developed with
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gorbachev. me wonder whether the decision for the phraseology, to be as personal as it was -- was in soviet -- soviet leadership, tear down this wall, or the union, or gorbachev. was there a sense on the president's part that's making it that personal would have some kind of resonance with gorbachev , challenging a guy he had come , or was in friend not as intentional as that question mark >> in my view it was very intentional. i remember listening to reagan talk about his first meeting with gorbachev in geneva. maybe you remember this too. the taking back -- they had meetings that they had in the morning, large groups. maybe 10-12 people on each side of the table.
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because the two leaders -- take some time after lunch, sit and talk alone. talk together. this is something that reagan had always fantasized about. he was very frustrated in his first administration. he wants famously said, they keep dying on me. you need that drop off, corny and go. i remember that well. -- he was. bush frustrated. he wanted -- and i think maybe all presidents in one form or another -- certainly that's true for donald trump -- he really -- what wasn't true for barack obama, he really wanted to sit down with a russian leader and try to work it out. the immensely enjoyed that one-on-one.
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there was something he said. he came back after the first meeting -- one-on-one. he -- as they were saying goodbye. in the cars, limousines coming by to pick them up. him, accordingto to the president, gorbachev said, god bless you. then again, according to president reagan, he saw that gorbachev was wearing a crucifix. that really struck reagan. reagan had -- to be fair, i would say a kind of average, and somewhat simplistic view of the soviets, the russians. the atheist -- the fact that he saw -- that here is a man who is religious the believer, really
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had a big impact on reagan. i think he felt from that moment on, that this is something -- somebody come as margaret thatcher famously said, but he could do business with. it's funny, prior to that, one of the first -- even before margaret thatcher, saw gorbachev, think brian mulroney, then the prime minister of canada, had a meeting with gorbachev, and he came back. of course in the oval office, reagan said, tammy duckworth shows. that was the first question he asked. when rooney said, i thought he brezhnev in a $1000 suit. he couldn't have been more wrong.
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it is just funny that somehow, mulroney didn't capture , wasn't able to figure gorbachev out in the same way that ronald reagan was. once there was a -- meeting. reagan is now chief of staff. reagan said -- boys. the president wants to lighten up on gorbachev. he does come hell and you want us to.
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the question was, in 1989, why didn't you do it? gorbachev said through a longtime translator, still translating. -- youev said, michael must understand, your father and i shared christian morality. said, when i was growing up, my grandfather was a big communist in our town, but grandmother was always a believer. we had a communist meeting, and applico pictures of stalin. as soon as the communist left -- they would put michael and saint injured. [laughter] he went on. he said my grandmother lifted up say, to go to church every day, then going to
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pray for you atheist. permission said, i'm a communist -- gorbachev said, i am a communist, but we share immorality. >> what's the difference between president trump and -- and
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ronald reagan on religiosity? >> boone does claim to be religious. which is interest -- putin does claim to be interesting. different kinds of guises. i think that's the problem. trumpoblem right now with -- with russia, i have to say, as every day goes by, it becomes more of a domestic-political issue. good month to get a deal with his interests. he's in the long current depression thing -- we can't
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economically, demographically, i -- and i think, for one reason or another, i don't understand trump wants to do business with food. putin. he suggests he thinks he could get along with putin. he never provided a thought through strategic rationale, or some kind of u.s.-russia approach. i do think, this is more of a strategic point -- think if you want to do business with with russia, you want to strong united alliance with nato allies were not doing that right now. i think that's a mistake. but, now the whole issue of russia has become, a domestic-political football.
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i do think there's a hysterical element. i think the democrats, think there are some democrats who see this as an issue you can -- wound the president. i think other democrats see it as actually, convinced themselves that if the russians had intervened and our presidential elections, that hillary might have one -- won. i don't know, but i think that domestic aspects of this issue the process.ating unfortunately, producing room for maneuver. >> but i try a little bit of the reagan example. just talk to gorbachev.
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of the reagan administration -- you mentioned in 1987-88, when the signed the treaty. most of the treaty, way back in 1981, and the russians walked away. -- they walked away. in 1983i remember, accounting of k il. double seven. >> the point is, there is this marble moment -- this moment where he goes in to the roosevelt room -- 81, i'm almost sure. reagan is rejecting the jimmy carter to track option on the imf negotiation. whichdopting a 00 option is that the soviets remove their missiles, but a single missile in place. >> that will hold by the way -- consistent. it's a 1979 double track decision.
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the said mr. president -- the ofiets have an investment hundreds of millions of rubles. you are asking me to tell them we are about to render that investment worthless. mr. president says, after this was named -- i don't even know how to say that to my soviet negotiating counterparts. ronald reagan says, well paul, you just took the soviets you are dealing with one tough son of a bitch. [laughter] out a hards, he laid negotiating position, rebuild the military, started spending money on this research. >> correct. >> all of that before it became time. >> correct. >> to talk to the soviets. first you demonstrate -- we build the alliance. >> it all looks more logical in retrospect. remember, again, there was
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nobody to talk to in those early years. add onecould just point. and it goes to market landlords question. reagan didn't negotiate eastern europe. we had a vision of a europe united home free. if you look at the memorandum conversation between reagan and gorbachev -- reagan did not put eastern europe on the table. we had a vision and that was non-negotiable. how to avoid armageddon. i think eastern europe was something that reagan felt strongly, was not something we were going to find a compromise on. it wasn't. i mean we never ever had this happen in the first year or so. shocked,e thing to be surprised by the crumbling of the berlin wall. another thing to be shocked and
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surprised by the collapse of the soviet union, which happened in the early 90's during the bush administration. that allowed the geopolitical opportunity to create a europe whole and free, with the breakup union, collapse of the warsaw pact, reunification of germany. then it became not just arms control, it became a new geo-political reality in europe. lex i think we have time for one more for a yes, sir. reagan.entioned --t wondering, what the discussion there -- what if they had on the event question mark >> well there are several schools of thought about that. , as you may know, ken adelman, who was then
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director of the arms control, -- written a book about what there's a direct line between ofkjavik and the collapse the berlin wall command of the cold war. i don't see it that clearly. complex than implead -- led to the other. a very important turning point, because it opened the firstunity for time, real, substantial reductions in nuclear weapon, which we achieved and 87, the treaty that i helped negotiate a the early 90's, which had 50% reduction in the
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strategically intercontinental range of nuclear weapons. process has continued, and unfortunately, not as rapidly as i would like it to have. the end of the cold war is the end of the result -- a number of different variables. in terms of his leadership -- i think some of the fresher -- on the one hand, he put on the other hand, to relieve the pressure. there are a lot of people who could make a compelling argument -- the soviet union collapsed. and what happened oil prices in the 1980's. the russian economy was followed out by the end of the 1980's. seven 870 as late as -- mid 70's-late 20's, there was
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still debate about what kind of stone worked best. to which communism would work better. disappearedtotally in the 80's. all you saw were bunch of world war ii era trucks belching smoke. empty streets. slogans -- that the russians can read any longer in the street. reasons thatlot of it collapsed. one thing that was also important was the end of the so-called -- people forget that just a month or two before the berlin wall came down, gorbachev visited east berlin, and gave a famous speech. where he basically said, you are on your own. we are not going to -- we don't
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have the capacity or will any to reallytell you -- save your bacon if you get into trouble. gorbachev already begin to change the rules of the game within the eastern bloc. i think that gave a green light to a lot of people in the gdr when they had a sense that there were going to be hordes of russian troops moving in to the cities of the gdr. in the event of a uprising. a simpley have had understanding of the soviets, but you got the essential points. this has, madam, but been available for 20 years. 20 years to this day.
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will you deliver it in the morning or afternoon? [laughter] what difference could it possibly make, the plumbers coming in the morning. [laughter] of course, the end of the cold war is complicated, and to kiss describe it all without offense on the ground in east germany, john paul ii's visit to poland, so forth. reykjavik matter. in my judgment, at least this had -- ronald reagan brought to bear just soviet union -- when the soviets had matched us. halfhad spent decade and a developing a blue ocean navy, nuclear arsenal is roughly equivalent with ours. all right. they say no no no, we will also bring to bear in this struggle our economic and technical time -- -- dynamism.
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with a reconnect missiles out of the sky and provide a perfect -- who knows. if we start doing research, we bring to bear our economic and technical dynamism. you can't match us. gorbachev went to reykjavik command jumped him. remember, reykjavik was supposed to be a pre-summit summit. ande went there with a trap said, mr. president, look at all that you can have prayed and went to bed that night feeling pretty well. the next morning, gorbachev said, there's one detail. find fbi to laboratory testing, reagan said no. decisive.es me as gorbachev goes back to moscow command the game is over. --s correct that they can't equal our technical or economic dynamism. they just, can't, play that game. box,t reagan back in the maybe they could have continued.
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who knows. but in reykjavik, a certain kind of relationship ends. certain kind of possibility for the soviet union, and. it's over. we disagree on that. >> we will leave it there. come back in 30 years. >> that's not bad! >> 40 minutes and only one disagreement. please join in thinking these two gentlemen. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook, at c-span history. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] tonight on cue and day. politics, i got interested in political power.
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--an see that these books power and cities, urban power -- national power, political power. but i thought, when you were a reporter, i went a couple of -- i admired journalistic awards -- but when you win an award or whatever, i was 24 -- you think you know everything. robertst part of rock -- moses started talking to me, i realized i didn't know anything about power at all. >> this pulitzer prize winner talks about his audio project on power, looking at the evolution and exercise of political power in america, and he shares his progress on these multi-part by honest -- biography of london johnson. >> he had passions. around the book -- ambition was the overriding. consideration with him. it was only when compassion and .mbition coincide
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he realizes that he wants to be president, he has to pass the civil rights bill. he really turns to this. but then you say, so with secure and false? not at all, because all of his help,he had wanted to announcer: on june 7, the washington post reported the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley, while visiting jerusalem, said israel faces bullying at the u.s. and u.n. and shee warned american michael out of the united nations human rights council. the 1979 united nations film "the palestinian people do have rights." it

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