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Public Papers - 1989 - June

Informal Exchange With Reporters

1989-06-02

The President. Thank you all. Great trip; enjoyed it.

Q. How do you feel, Mr. President?

The President. Feel pretty good, feel pretty good -- can't wait to take a day off, but -- --

Q. We're hearing about some more bold new moves, such as the one you made -- [laughter].

The President. Hey, listen, I'll let you know in the same fashion we let you know on the first one.

Q. -- -- of your political career?

Strategic Arms Reduction Talks

Q. START talks -- --

The President. What, Anne?

Q. START talks. Do you think the START talks will now move faster?

The President. Well, I don't know. We haven't really begun them. But I'm determined to get our proposals in shape and go there in a constructive spirit. I don't know that I see a connection at all, although I'm still pleased with what we're hearing from the Soviets. So, maybe there's some linkage.

Excuse me, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International]?

NATO Summit Meeting

Q. First, have you heard from Gorbachev? And do you think this is the biggest political success of your long career?

The President. No. [Laughter]

Q. Well, when you're the President -- --

The President. Now we're talking, now we're talking. [Laughter]

Q. Have you heard from Gorbachev?

The President. No, not directly. See Brent [Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs] on here, but I don't think we have, no. It will be a while. I mean, it's normal. You don't expect an instant answer. We hear from him on things, and we don't feel compelled to respond within 24 hours. But I'm confident we will, and I hope it's positive.

Q. Do you think you have a little more respect at home after this trip?

The President. I never felt kind of -- you mean, along like Rodney Dangerfield kind of thing? [Laughter] I've not suffered from lack of respect. These fellows have all been very pleasant. [Laughter] Haven't you guys? Thank you very much.

Summit Meeting With President Gorbachev

Q. You and Gorbachev will both be in Europe at the same time this summer. Any chance -- --

The President. Well, it might make a case for closer -- but I don't have any plans to cross paths in the summer when he's, like, on his way to Paris or we are. There are no plans. We'll just be -- --

Q. Sound like a good idea?

The President. No. I mean, I don't feel it sounds like a better idea than it was before the NATO meeting. But I've always felt that we eventually will get together, and should.

President's Trip to Poland

Q. What about your trip to Poland? Do you think this is a really crucial time for a trip going to Poland?

The President. Yes. I think my being in Poland is very, very important -- just being there, to say nothing of the substance that I hope to talk to the leadership about. The substance is important, and being there. The American President going to Poland by itself is important, given my feelings about the changes in Europe as a whole, and aspirations for a Europe that will be freer and more democratic and with which we will have better relations. So, it is important, but that visit is not going to solve all the economic problems that are afflicting that nation -- by a long shot.

House of Representatives

Q. There's a scent of a war going on on the Hill right now in the House. How do you feel about that? Is that good for the -- --

The President. I don't like it.

Q. What do you think they ought to do, or do you have any suggestions or ideas?

The President. I think the last thing they need is advice from the executive branch as to how to proceed. I have made some broad suggestions, but on these recent events, I said what I wanted to say about Jim Wright, which is saluting his service, and leaving it at that. Do I like it? No, I don't.

Q. Have you talked to him?

The President. No, I have not.

NATO Proposals

Q. You seemed to be hinting in the Washington Post interview you had -- [inaudible] -- proposals up your sleeve.

The President. Not very far -- I mean, not very far along.

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. Helen, here's the basic problem with answering your question as frankly as I normally would. The process requires consultation with so many people that it is impossible to divulge ahead of time what we might or might not do, because the idea -- including this last one -- might well get gunned down before you have a chance to really flesh out the proposal. But I don't mean to be mysterious, there's no grand design out there right now. We just want to move forward.

I think the first priority is to follow through on the collective decision that NATO has taken and try to meet these very ambitious time sequences -- September 7th -- and then moving forward and then, of course, vigorous negotiations. So, we've got some work to do to make this NATO decision into a reality. But I'm determined to kick our bureaucracy and the NATO bureaucracy as best I can, push it forward.

Q. A lot of people seem to think -- [inaudible].

The President. Well, they're entitled to their opinion. I'm a little more optimistic than their pessimistic assessment. Thank you all.

Weekend Plans

Q. What are you going to do for the rest of the day?

The President. Got to take a look at the ocean, and I could tell you. Just a minute. It's clear enough, I expect I'll be out on Fidelity in about 2 hours.

Q. Do you want company?

Q. Are you going out to dinner tonight?

The President. No, we're not going out to dinner tonight. That's a promise. [Laughter]

Q. You're not going to Florida, are you? Not going to Florida -- --

The President. Oh, no. For the funeral? No.

Note: The exchange took place aboard Air Force One en route from London to Pease Air Force Base, ME. In his remarks, the President referred to his boat, ``Fidelity.'' He also referred to the funeral of Representative Claude Pepper of Florida.

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