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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989 - December

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Meetings With Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev in Malta


The President is in excellent spirits. He loves the sea. The President made a final visit to the bridge and the aft deck of the ship about 10 o'clock last night. The President seemed energized by the intensity of the storm, and he looks forward to the discussions today with Chairman Gorbachev. During his visit to the deck, the President discussed with the captain and the crew the severity of the weather conditions and the handling of ships under such circumstances. Captain Sigler stated that this is the worst in-port storm he has seen in 24 years.

The President went to bed shortly after 10 o'clock Saturday night and got up around 7 o'clock this morning. He received his intelligence briefing and daily briefing from General Scowcroft, Secretary Baker, and Governor Sununu about 8 o'clock this morning.

The Soviet delegation notified us this morning that they were unwilling to attempt to go to the Slava or to Belknap. Therefore, we have agreed to continue the meetings on the Gorky.

The President is attending church services beginning at 9 a.m. aboard Belknap. Your press pool has made several attempts to bring their two launches alongside Belknap. We understand one launch was able to get its passengers on board, but at this time the second launch has not been able to do so.

The location and time for closing statements by the two leaders and their press conferences are still to be determined.

Note: In the statement, Press Secretary Fitzwater referred to Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; and John H. Sununu, Chief of Staff to the President.

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