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National Archives

Public Papers - 1991

Exchange With Reporters in the Oval Office

1991-11-19

Soviet-U.S. Relations

Q. Mr. President, what do you think of Shevardnadze becoming the new Foreign Minister?

The President. We just began discussing that. And we know him well and have great respect for him. As I say, this is a matter for the Soviet Union to determine, but he has many friends in this country, one close one sitting right on this couch here, and all the rest of us have respect for him. So, we will work closely with him, and I'm just thrilled to see Mr. Yakovlev again. We just started talking about a conversation that he and I had in our Embassy there not so many months ago, and a lot of change, a lot of things happening.

Q. What kind of power Mr. Shevardnadze can have if the Republics are taking over?

The President. I defer all questions to our guest here. And we're going to be discussing with him a lot of things, including Soviet-U.S. relations. But I'd have to ask you to -- --

Q. Why do you think it came about?

The President. -- -- talk to him.

Q. Why did it come about? What do you think is the reason?

Mr. Yakovlev. About what?

Q. Shevardnadze becoming -- --

Mr. Yakovlev. I suppose it's good idea to, I would say, to say to the international community that we are returning step by step to the position of democracy and good foreign policy.

The President. Thank you all very much.

Stock Market

Q. Mr. President, the U.S. stock market's down 68 points. Are you worried about another fall?

The President. -- -- yesterday that it is inappropriate for a President to comment going up or going down on the stock market. So, I'm not going to change my view on that.

Q. Soviet aid package ready?

The President. Thank you very much.

Q. Lovely day.

The President. Yes, it is. Now we're talking, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International]. [Laughter]

Note: The exchange began at 3:05 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House prior to a meeting with Aleksandr Yakovlev, a former Politburo member and Senior Adviser to President Gorbachev. Eduard Shevardnadze is the former Soviet Foreign Minister. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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