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Public Papers - 1991 - May

Exchange With Reporters on Soviet-United States Relations

1991-05-22

The President. I just wanted to spread good will. No questions, no questions.

Q. Why not?

The President. Spreading a little -- well, because mostly the answers are already out there. [Laughter] But I just wanted to say everything is fine.

Q. How did the Moiseyev meeting go, Mr. President?

The President. As far as I'm concerned, it went very well. We don't have all the results yet, obviously, but I talked to our experts, and they thought there was some progress out of our meeting. But it's at a stage where we need some confidential discussions going on. But I was pleased with it.

Q. Well, can you discuss at all -- --

Q. -- -- this week and on track a summit by -- --

The President. I hope so, I hope so. Well, there's two questions, as you know: CFE and START. But one thing I came away with was the idea that they genuinely want to resolve both these matters, and I really felt that.

Q. Well, is this a political matter or military matter at this point? Is the political will there but the military resist -- --

The President. No, I think it's an arms control matter. It's an interpretation of arms control agreements, and it's highly technical. But you know, there's some question as to whether the Soviets had wanted a deal or whether we did. And the answer is: we both do. So, I think -- the experts told me after the Moiseyev meeting that they felt there was some reason to be optimistic. Now, whether that held true after yet further meetings last night -- --

Q. Do you think they'll pull those divisions out, make them part of the -- --

The President. Well, I don't know. I don't know. But it's -- --

Q. That's sort of the problem on CFE.

The President. Well, on the total limits -- the full limits, counting on the full limits, that everything has got to be accounted for.

Q. So, you're optimistic about a summit then?

Q. If that's resolved this week -- --

The President. I can't quantify it. I just say the talks went reasonably well. But there's some story that we don't want a summit, and that's crazy. And I've assured Gorbachev of that personally.

It's great having you guys back on the plane again. It's wonderful.

Q. You don't want him in London?

The President. Who said I don't want him in London?

Q. Some anonymous official quoted by the New York Times says -- --

The President. That story is totally erroneous, I regret to say -- totally.

Q. What does that mean?

The President. That means that it's wrong.

Q. You want him at the economic summit? You'd like him there?

The President. No decisions have been taken on that. If his coming there can help with the reform and genuinely help with the reform, why, that would be a very, very important matter. But that story I can categorically say is wrong. And there was another one that said the same theme -- somebody is peddling an erroneous line. We are dealing straight with Gorbachev; we're not playing games with him. I think he knows that, and I think Moiseyev knows that.

Q. A June summit?

The President. It's been a pleasure, gang, it's been a great pleasure. Great pleasure to be with you.

Note: The exchange took place in the morning aboard Air Force One while the President was en route to St. Paul, MN. In his remarks, President Bush referred to Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev, Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet Union, and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

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