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tv   President Reagans Berlin Wall Speech  CSPAN  June 25, 2017 6:30pm-8:01pm EDT

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what's going on. >> tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's booktv. >> this year's the 30th anniversary of president ronald reagan's visit to berlin where he delivered his turn down the wall speech. next, a former u.s. ambassador to germany recalls the president's speech and trip. the international center for journalists hosted this event. it is an hour and a half. >> good evening, everybody. please find your seats. good evening. thanks for setting up this
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wonderful event. mr. robinson, members of the board, alumni in attendance, students, and ladies and gentlemen. for me, it is a pleasure and an 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 1980's. that is what my children keep reminding me. this is, however, different. with president reagan's speech -- from president kennedy's visit, might be better known in germany and the u.s.
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foreign policy nerds know that there is nothing like resident reagan's addressing 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 reaction of the german leadership also gives us an indication of the strength of the speech. i myself refreshed my memories a couple of days ago. i was in new york at the time in 1987.
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i did not have a chance to see it live and it is indeed an impressive testimony, first and foremost to president reagan's unconditional will to stand behind and side-by-side with his european partners, with germany, and with the citizens of berlin. i still have something back in berlin and how he describes very special ties. -- is how he describes very special ties. every american president since 1945, to the city of berlin in particular. reagan's speech is also a clear commitment to freedom, democracy, and human rights. those values drove american politics from the founding fathers to president lincoln through the 20th century until today.
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it is a commitment clearly reflected in this speech declaring unconditional support for european allies. it is a 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. -- for liberty and democracy. despite the protests and the people's desire for freedom, we have to remember one thing. in the end, it was only possible because of our allies and neighbors because they had faith in us. we have to recall that many people in europe, many governments, were skeptical, whether a 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
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and foremost, political leaders, did not have the east else. i see this as the strength of the oldest constitutional democracy in the world, that it will recognized people and 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 people, two years later, it 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 into the same year as the birth of the fellowship. what better connection could we think of for our event tonight? the clear commitment, freedom, -- to 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 of 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 would also like to thank the dean, who so generously arranged for us to hold the event today p -- and while he could not be here, his team has been here to help us. today's panel was organized to commemorate two events 30 years ago. president reagan's speech in june 1987. let me start briefly with the fellowship. the program was created to 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
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each other's side in the atlantic and spent time in newsrooms learning and understanding the way that other countries think. many top journalists from both sides of the atlantic have participated in these. the program is supported by top news organizations to send an d 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 -- as individuals, 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 dwight eisenhower
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and was chairman of the federal reserve in 19 evony before he became ambassador to germany in 1980's. in his long career, he trained economists like milton friedman, he 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. he died in june of 1987 when his 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 . the importance of the relationship was front and center in berlin 30 years ago this summer. it was there that resident ronald reagan delivered one of his most memorable speeches. it was a call to 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.
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the ambassador, who is onstage in berlin, with president 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. the ambassador 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. he worked in the white house for five years 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 its legacy, and then we will open it up to questions from all of you. i 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 inevitable, the wall as we know 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? >> that is i 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. they were 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. you had the governing mayor and 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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a strange 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. why that is important for the 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 -- and france. and our collective responsibilities. all we recognized that we had to 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 year, 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. but he did not, i think, and you can correct me if i'm wrong, and now i am getting to the heart of the question, there was a weariness, a fatigue, with the division of germany and of berlin. berlin was still an exciting place, a big youth culture, and a great place to be. i think by 1987, people had drawn a conclusion that the wall was not going to go away anytime soon. that it had become a kind of permanent fixture of light -- life in berlin.
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in west germany, meanwhile, i found a different mentality, which was, somehow, the division of germany 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 ambassador said, you know, one 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
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happen next year or in 10 years, it would be a terrible thing if the people of west virginia gave up on unification. that said, i did not think it would happen soon. you had efforts by the german government not 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. human contact, 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 low lesson. being close to a situation does not message daily mean you understand it. nobody in 1987 or really 1988 or even in 1989, thought that there
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was going to be some kind of popular uprising in the east. there was a commitment to it process of trying to find ways to increase interaction between the two germany's. to try to somehow ignore it on the one hand, try to ease the pain and the feeling of the historical inevitability, and 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. in a 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. and in the reagan speech, we knew essentially none of this.
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you're right about the 750th anniversary being a sham when was berlin found it? it was not founded. it just sort of emerged. so very 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. the event was a -- was closer to 30,000. talk about foreign policy. that was really all the
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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? behind you, west religion, motion, activity, people well-dressed, driving beautiful mercedes, and you look over the wall, and everything is gray and
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brown and you see very little 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. and john's title is minister. >> thank you. ok. and 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 involved and by the way, this might have been at point is similar to the weariness, don't make a big thing about the wall. number three, i was given a ride in the u.s. helicopter over the wall. you could forget about it. from the air, incomparably worse. will from the air, you can see on the other side -- guard towers. for some reason, which i found a striking, there were large areas you were youw in
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--do a for some reason, which i you will found a striking, there were large areas of raked gravel. using walkie-talkie, or the intercom to ask the pilot what's going on. the pilot explained, for the will young east german guards. you 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? silence.
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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. lovely woman, just died a couple of years ago. she balled up one hand and slapped it into the other, she became 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 wandering around berlin, looking
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for something that the president would respond to. i knew he would respond to that. back to washington. the painful process of writing -- technical problems, part of the immediate audience would be german. american audience with the english-speaking. at first 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 speech.
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always 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. -- to hear it 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 survive three weeks of quite a lot of pushback. the inspiration for that one was a german.
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>> let me a quick anecdote to this. --i can't remember when i fall the draft but i felt that language -- when i saw the draft that and felt that language. you cannot expect reagan to come and stand before the berlin wall and not say that. we got the draft 24 hours in advance and as a courtesy we gave it to the governing mayor of berlin and he read it and
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came back to me and said, you have got to take this passage out. you have got to take this passage out. said, we cannot do that. this is ronald reagan and i said what is wrong with it and he intelligence got that there will be protests on the other side of the wall and there were protests, nothing very large. we are afraid if they hear that, this will create potentially a riot, and arrest and we can have a real seen on our hands. i said, look, you don't know how hard it was to get ronald reagan here this year. thing this very difficult to get that organized the way we did. you have got to allow him to make these remarks.
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he relented. will bring you back any moment now. i was not part of the travelers can the deputy chief of staff, the actual chief of staff howard baker who remained behind because his wife was very ill, can do were seeing that ken -- ken was there. air force department is sending the seventh alternative draft. the president makes his final decision in the limousine on the
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way to the wall. he leaned over and he said the me fore going to kill this but it's the right thing to do. reagan, what was the opinion of reagan among the germans at that time? if i'm not mistaken, there were a lot of fears and there were some protests 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. the first time i was with ronald reagan in germany was probably he was visiting bond,
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germany and -- bahn and there 2-3,000 protesters protesting the nuclear arms that has theermany ability to strike the soviet homeland. this was a controversial, difficult decision and chancellor kohl was holding firm along with the foreign minister. holding firm to that alliance decision in the face of a very ferocious russian propaganda, fake news campaign to stop this
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deployment. threatening what they call a new ice age. a lot of the left blames reagan for this. he was a war monger. he was going to get into a nuclear war. as time went on, things began to gradually shift, very , reagan hadin 1986 his first summit meeting with gorbachev. productive,y optimistic meeting and both reagan and gorbachev went back theyith the shared belief could do business together. the987, the same year as 750th anniversary, there was the famous meeting where the two
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leaders were talking about substantial reduction in nuclear weapons. in 1987, the two sides were able to agree the famous zero option. 1983issiles the point in and rating called for a zero option and people laughed at him, saying that it's just a smokescreen for deployment. in 1987, and inf treaty was signed which created the zero option. began to sayle reagan is getting things done with gorbachev. mr. demirtas, tear down this wall. gorbachev, tear down this wall, it was not just propaganda. people understood reagan had a
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relationship with gorbachev. it was a serious relationship where they were both prepared to press each other for important reasons and so i think, by that time, reagan was beginning to be ,reated seriously and is seen it was the beginning and margaret remembers this, people began to realize that reagan was becoming a foreign-policy success. he was transforming the east-west relationship. himas the perfect time for to give that speech in the context of where u.s.-russian relations were headed. when he finally did deliver the famous line, you are there on the day when he delivered it, what was going through your mind?
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did you have eight inkling that this would be this defining statement, not just of the reagan presidency but the cold war itself? what was your reaction in that moment? >> i was very scared because immediately and i do not know if your member this but immediately after that event there was another event at the airport and this was an event for the american community. army brigadess. deployed. we had air force presence and all kinds of other u.s. personnel there. i was asked to introduce of the president to the american community but they then told me about five hours or six hours
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before, they wanted to televise it on german television. f introduced him aud deutsche, in german. it was my finest hour to do that. speech,ck to the reagan i knew it was a great applause line and i knew it was authentic ronald reagan but history, as president obama says, has an arc and we would never celebrate that famous speech is in fact the events of 1989 had not transpired the way they did.
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>> being close to an event can sometimes skew your view of the greater reality. i'll think anyone thought the east germans would tear down that wall. i want to make one other point because while the focus on the reagan speech and we focus on the wall actually coming down as shouldand we focus as we on the diplomacy that immediately followed that, the discussions between the van east germans and the officials in bah n and the allies. we focus on the german-american cooperation which made the
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unification of germany possible, the cooperation between george bush and element cold -- and helmut kohl. will we don't focus on is the 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 the remarkably successful, unified germany. what an achievement. country that is now in public opinion polls, that is the master specint country in the world. a country that has developed a functioning social market economy. the country, even given a lot of static that we have had over the
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last couple of weeks, between the german-american relationship, a country i know to aighted -- is wedded strong trans-atlantic relationship. this was unthinkable in 1987. what the germans have been capable of doing -- and i don't think frankly, in this country others they get enough credit. >> go ahead. was -- we visited 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 seats. >> this was the missile deployment era. >> exactly! there is helmut kohl.
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we met helmut kohl at one point and the police are holding the crowd at bay. the ground is jeering and hissing. i thought to myself, wow. ronald reagan comes under pressure at home. at thepringsteen saying biggest public gathering in the nine days. no one face pressures like the germans and encourage they had frankly he stand up 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 -- a good society. i just think it's one of the
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most impressive efforts in human history, really. >> all right, all done. >> let me ask you summer question and then open it up to all of you. peter, it's a question, that's a little bit of a bank shot. we live now, a narrow of 140 -- an era of 140 characters. 24 hour news cycle. the presidential speeches still matter the way they do 30 years ago? could a future president give a speech like the one ronald reagan delivered in west berlin, and have people talk about a 30 -- talk about it 30 years from now? or are we in a different era, in which that kind of presidential rhetoric doesn't have the same onance.ce -- resident >> the short answer, we will find out. my own suspicion, the longer answer, they have to matter still. we have -- i would love to here
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what other people have to say about this. everything has changed in the last 2500 years. what pericles was doing and what ronald reagan did was exactly the same activity. you stand before your fellow beings and attemp to deploy arguments and persuade them. i'm not persuaded that that can be done in 140 characters, i have to believe that if it comes to that, you have friends in the white house, if it comes to that, the current chief executive giving a very good speech to a joint session of congress and it would have resonated if he had not undercut it by tweeting the next morning.
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he gave a wonderful speech in saudi arabia 10 days ago and those speeches have the opportunity to move policy, to establish an agenda, to show members of congress what 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 it in 140 characters, but i wish he 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. >> with that, i would like to open it up to all of you. if you could just -- go to the back there. we'll bring microphones to you. if you can stand up and state your name.
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>> short question about security 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 have had a kind of lexi glass -- >> 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 s to berlin -- i went to berlin honest 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 bridge. i said, how do we keep the press away? they said, we will tell the police to keep the press away. they said, mr. ambassador, you do not understand the police , work for you. [laughter] i remember saying to myself, this is great. [laughter] we had -- we really control the environment. we had the people -- it wasn't just the secret service. you had a very large american presence there. i think people were comfortable
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with the security arrangements. >> thank you. >> let the record show, this is my favorite journalist on the planet. >> thank you, rick. i actually was there. security was so not what it is pool, i was in the sitting at the edge of the stage. ground -- blue background, but behind the president and you, it was clear plexiglass, so you could see through to the graffiti marked wall. incredible picture. brandenburg gate's behind it. there was nothing in front of you. on the western side. >> i think that's right. >> i want to ask 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?
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-- too? >> so a little bit of it -- so, the innate -- you need to bear in mind that howard baker had recently become chief of staff. he brought with him tommy griskem, his longtime press aide. robinsons first step coming back the 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. drafted it, and 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, waited until one friday
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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, also new: the president has a big wad of speeches, better get them to him to look over at camp david, and the staff secretary said, i will do it. as the helicopter took off, the president had my draft with him. it was very rare. you can count on the fingers of one hand, the times the speechwriters figured 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 had seen the draft and he singled out that passage before it went out to staffing. then it went out to staffing.
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the national security council , he called me from the state department, roz ridgeway called, tom griscom called. he told me afterwards he went down the hall, called him 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 he told me in italy, the fighting never stopped. god bless them. really, i look back on it -- i was 30 years old and knew this much of what these foreign-policy professionals knew but i had been to berlin and talked to berliners.
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i was going to defend this draft areas tommy griscom called me to his office, seated waiting was colin powell, number 21 security council. decorated general, used to talking to his troops in a certain way. he gave it to me. i, 30 years old, knowing no 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, that your president revisit a decision. but the fighting wouldn't stop. he said the president down and they talked about it. says, 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. then he told me, when he came back, that they talked about it
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and he had the president read the passage and in the president, you could see he decided. he said said ken, i'm the president, aren't i? [laughter] well yes mr. president, we are clear about that. i get to decide if that line stays in? sir. well then, it stays in. [laughter] also knowing having gone through many presidential speeches by ronald reagan, when i was assistant secretary, if you got something out of the speech, you learned very quickly that it's -- that if ronald reagan liked it it got , back in. he spent an enormous amount of time in his speeches. you have much more reference for the speech process, the importance of speechmaking than
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i did at the time. i was a real policy wonk thinking about arms control proposals and so on. i realize that reagan, probably because of being an actor, understood the power of the speech. >> that's right. >> we would get speech drafts back. we wrote a very important speech at the beginning of the second reagan administration where george schultz finally thank which cap weinberger, richard perle. this 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. he wanted it to be perfect.
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we got a draft back all written up. i thought and i said, who got a hold of this speech? they said no, that's ronald reagan's handwriting. [laughter] >> for those -- the presidential handwriting file, it's remarkable how many speeches, especially in the first half of his president the -- -- his presidency. >> in fairness, there was a lot of the usual back and forth, between the trading operation. -- between the speech i -- speech writing operation and 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 probably true. quite the ending is very nice. >> the ending comes back.
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there was the usual, but on that line -- >> when you said you loved it because it was ronald reagan's, that was the point. you could not put this man at the berlin wall, you could not put him there and say state department, you just couldn't do that to them. curious if you could talk a little bit about the, your thoughts about the immediate future of the u.s.-german relationship. obviously, several speakers have noticed it is a particularly relevant for us to talk about nato and the of aftermath of nato. 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. the ambassador to do a much better job than me.
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i think we may be overreacting a little bit and i think we have distinguish between fundamental issues and boarish behavior on the other hand. i think, in the case of the u.s. german relationship, there's three issues. one is the security defense issue. i see some merit in the american effort to ask the european and the germans in particular to do more. that said, and those of you who follow these issues know that the europeans and the germans have already started to make more commitments, but the wales-nato summits, and warsaw-nato summits. they are spending more.
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but if the president wants to claim credit for that and push harder, i can understand that. in the long sweep of history, the current allocation -- of spending is probably unsustainable. the europeans will need overtime to 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 we will leave the europeans to do more and cooperate more closely. i do think it was my own judgments, a terrible mistake on the part of the president, not endorse article five and a full -- in a full throated way. particularly, standing in front of a memorial at 911. kind of an irony there given the
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fact that that was the only time article five was ever invoked in the history of the alliance. that's my view 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. let's look at -- they're more bmws produced in south carolina than there are in rough area. -- in bavaria. 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. to blame the germans because they are sober and pursue more prudent economic policies than some of their neighbors, or from
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it -- that matter the united states, it's crazy. it is illogical in my view. that's not an economic argument, it is a cultural argument. you don't in foreign policy tell countries to change their culture. finally, i just hope -- and the third area disagreement, global warming -- i just hope the united states continues to adhere 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 admittedly difficult period. >> thank you. i just wanted to pick up on something that rick said about the relationship that president reagan had developed with gorbachev.
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it made 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 soviet union tear down this wall, it was mr. gorbachev. was there a sense on the president's part that's making it that personal would have some kind of resonance with gorbachev, was he challenging a guy he had come to see as a friend, or was in not as intentional as that question -- as that? >> i think it was very intense. i remember listening to reagan talk about his first meeting with gorbachev in geneva. maybe you remember this too. just taking back they had the , meetings that they had in the morning, large groups. maybe 10-12 people on each side of the table.
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the idea arose of let's let the two leaders take some time after lunch to take some time and said and talk alone together. this is something that reagan had always fantasized about. he was very frustrated in his first administration. he once famously said, they keep dying on the. as --er, you had bridged and id all three of them remember that well because i went to all three of the funerals with george h.w. bush. he was frustrated. he wanted -- and i think maybe all presidents in one form or another -- certainly that's true for donald trump -- he really wanted, that that wasn't so true for barack obama but he really wanted to sit down with a russian leader and try to work it out.
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he immensely enjoyed that one-on-one. there was something he said. he came back after the first meeting -- one-on-one. he -- as they were saying goodbye, and the cars, limousines coming by to pick them up. gorbachev said to him, according 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. being atheist, anti-religion. the fact that he saw, the fact
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that here is a man who is religious, who is a believer really 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 tell me about gorbachev. that was the first question he asked. he said, i thought he was leonid brezhnev in a $1000 suit. he couldn't have been more wrong.
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it just -- 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. don regan, he was a catastrophe as chief of staff but i like him, he said, the president wants you to lineup on gorbachev. he said, like hell he does come and you want us to. the question was, in 1989, why didn't you do it? he said, i think this fellow
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gorbachev is different from the others. think he is serious about getting out of afghanistan. this had not been in the "washington post." i had not heard anybody speculate that gorbachev wanted to get out of afghanistan. down,echwriters locked what do you do when ronald reagan goes soft on communism? later, they had a little speaking gig going and mike and i are friends said he had me help tell the questions and services on the stage in sacramento, california. gorbachev,n is, mr.
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1953, the soviets moved to put down east germany, in 1958 they ague, and in 89 they did not, why didn't they? said, you must understand your father and i shared christian morality. christian morality. and then gorbachev said, when i was growing up my grandfather was a big communist in our town but my grandmother was always a believer. we would have a communist meeting and up would get pictures of stalin and linen and as soon as the communists would leave, up would go icons of saint michael and saint andrew. my grandmother lived with us as my career progressed and she
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would get to church every day and say i'm going off to pray for the atheists and gorbachev said i'm a good timeliness but we share certain -- i'm a good communist but we share a certain .orality >> why was it so good for ronald reagan to extend his hand to , and when president trump is trying to do the same, he is called a traitor and there are calls for teaching it, what is the difference? putin also goes to church, by the way. >> putin does claim to be a very
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religious guy and he is played a role in restoring the centrality of the orthodox church in russia. it is one of the guises of putin. he has different kinds of guises. i hoping that is the problem. don't think-- i that is the problem. thevery day goes by country, it becomes more of a domestic policy issue and less of a foreign-policy issue. it is probably impossible to get somewhere with the russians right now. for a variety of strategic reasons, putin wants to see if it is possible to get a deal that is consistent with his interest.
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i think in the long term, the russians are playing with a weak hand economically and demographically. i think, for one reason or another, i don't understand trump wants to do business with putin. he has never really explained why other than to suggest he could get along with putin. he never provided a thought through strategic rationale or some kind of something. point, iof a strategic do think if you want to do business as russia, you want to have a very strong, united alliance with nato allies were -- and we're not doing that right now. i think that's a mistake. but, now the whole issue of russia has become, a
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domestic-political football. 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, have convinced themselves that if the russians had not intervened in our presidential elections, that hillary might have one -- won. i don't know, but i think that domestic aspects of this issue are now dominating the process. unfortunately, producing room for maneuver. -- reducing room for maneuver. for the administration to actually get something done. thean i try a little bit on reagan example and see what you think of it.
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reagan did not just talk to gorbachev. the reaganrns of administration, you mentioned in 1988 was when they signed the imf treaty but ronald reagan proposed most of the terms of that treaty back in 1981 and the russians walked away from the table. >> they walked away from the table in 19 a three after the downing of the kal. >> there is this marvelous isent where ronald reagan jimmy carter two track option on the imf negotiation. he's adopting a 00 option which is that the soviets remove their missiles, we will not put a single missile in place. >> that was consistent with the
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nato 1979 double track decision. said, mr. president the , soviets have an investment of 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 school was named, i don't even know how to say that to my soviet negotiating counterparts. ronald reagan says, well paul, you just tell the soviets you are dealing with one tough son of a bitch. [laughter] the point is, he laid out a hard negotiating position, rebuilt the military, started spending money on this research. >> correct. >> all of that before it became time to talk to the soviets. >> correct. >> first he demonstrated his strength and rebuilt the line. >> it all looks more logical in
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retrospect. remember, again, there was nobody to talk to in those early years. >> if i could just add one point. and it goes to market landlords question. reagan didn't negotiate eastern europe. we had a vision of a europe united home free. -- united: 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. he negotiated arms control and how to avoid armageddon. i think eastern europe was something that reagan felt strongly and was not something we were going to find a compromise on. it wasn't. i mean we never ever had this -- >> it wasn't. i mean we never ever had this happened in the first year of the bush administration. it was one thing to be shocked, happily surprised by the
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crumbling of the berlin wall. another thing to be shocked and happily 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 of the soviet 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. >> i think we have time for one more for a yes, sir. >> you mentioned reagan. just wondering, what the -- discussion there -- what if they had on the event they came later? >> well there are several schools of thought about that. my good friend, as you may know, ken adelman, who was then
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director of the arms control, has written a book about what -- it makes it argues there's a direct line between reykjavik and the collapse of the berlin wall and the in of the cold war. -- and the end of the cold war. i don't see it that clearly. i think it was more complex than to simply suggest that one step led to the other. reykjavik was a very important turning point, because it opened the opportunity for the first time, real, substantial reductions in nuclear weapon, andh we achieved in 1987 achieved with the treaty i helped negotiate in the early which had a 50% reduction in the
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1990's, strategic, the intercontinental range of nuclear weapons. that 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. ronald reagan deserves part of the credit in terms of his leadership -- i think some of the pressure he put the russians the willingness to talk and relief that pressure. there are a lot of people who could make a compelling argument if you want to understand why the soviet union collapsed. look at what happened to oil prices in the 1980's. the russian economy was hollowed out at the end of the 1980's. mid-70's, there
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was still a debate about what kind of system works best. there was a debate about whether communism would actually work better and if he got more economic growth. that debate totally does. in the 1980's. anyone who visited moscow, ali saw were a bunch of world war trucks and slogans the russians did not read any longer in the great. there were a lot of reasons that it collapsed. one thing that was also important was the end of the so-called christian asked cvnev doctrine. just a month or two before the berlin wall came down, gorbachev
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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 have the capacity or will any longer to tell you -- to really 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. >> you may have had a simple understanding of the soviets, -- reagan made had a simple understanding of the soviet but he got the essential point. he loves stories on the soviet economy. woman tries to buy refrigerator and i'm sorry, madam, but this
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is not want to be available for 20 years. 20 years to this day. 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 -- and you cannot 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 much -- ronald reagan had brought to bear just soviet union -- when the soviets had matched us. they had spent decade and a half 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
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our economic and technical dynamism. if we cannot missiles of the sky one-for-one and provide a perfect -- who knows. but if we start doing research, we bring to bear our economic and technical dynamism. you can't match us. gorbachev went to reykjavik and jumped him. remember, reykjavik was supposed to be a pre-summit summit. there, itwent essentially what the trap. 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. confine fbi to laboratory testing, reagan said no. that strikes me as decisive. gorbachev goes back to moscow and the game is over. it's correct that they can't -- equal our technical or economic dynamism. they just can't play that game.
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if they were able to read it back in the box, maybe they could have continued. who knows. but in reykjavik, a certain kind of relationship ends. >> well, we disagree on that. >> will come back in 30 years. quite >> 40 minutes and only one disagreement. please join in thinking these -- baking these two gentlemen. [applause] announcer: you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like .tv/ tonight on afterwards, rachel
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snyder and an economics assessor the know-how modern families manage money in their book "the financial diaries". they were interviewed by catherine eden, author of "two dollars a day, living on almost nothing in america." the risk of things going badly is so much higher for people at the bottom. scaryier people make spending decisions all the time. the consequence for people struggling is often really big. datae of the pieces of from thely apprised me incomeand principal -- and precipitation --
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participation --10 million americans were poor during every month of the period but 90 million americans were poor at some point, often for a short time but it means we have to really rethink what is going on. announcer: watch afterwards tonight on 19 east on c-span2 tv. on july 6, join american history tv for a life program from the museum of the american revolution in philadelphia. we'll be joined by the museum staff to learn about their artifacts and they will be taking your questions and comments. here is a preview. >> my name is michael and i the president and ceo of the museum of the american revolution and i'm standing on the plaza of the
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museum of third and chest. the old city of philadelphia. this is the headquarters of the revolution. cameis where the delegates , this is where the declaration of independence was written just two yards away at independence hall. this really is the most essential element of the american revolution. nation, whichur is why the museum is located here. down the street from me is the first bank of the united states. those alexander hamilton's branch bank when he lost our nation's banking system and this is the first business conducted by the united states of america. this is truly worthy nation began and the right place to tell the entire story of the american revolution, which is our mission in this music. - ec candidates from the era
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-by me you see cannons of the enough everyone is old to where it may have been used to fight the revolution. stone those core concepts that arose from the declaration of independence. this core ideals of liberty and self-government which was the whole purpose of the american revolution. it began in 1776 but the revolution continues to this very day. let's go in anything. we're entering the entrance rotunda of the museum. this is a wonderful, classical, welcoming space. the chairman of the building was selected because he so thoroughly understand classical architecture. we wanted the same sense of scale and proportion and stature
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and he delivered beautifully. in fact, this rotunda is named in his honor. the design of the stairs is intentional to invoke the curved, soaring stairways of some of the more elegant residential homes of the colonial and other public -- and earlier public period. we welcome visitors to come up to the second-floor atrium where the core of our exhibit far. in the atrium, you see a magnificent painting. they cap the spirit of the american revolution. the one you're looking at right fitzgerald, ay pennsylvania artist. he painted this in the early 20th century. of marchingcation into valley forge for wealthy a
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very terrible winter encampment after the british captured philadelphia. and behind me is a magnificent painting but it is a copy. the original is by a freshman and the original -- french man and the original hangs in versailles. seige. shows is a since a french artist painted this for the king, the most prominent is the french general. our general, george washington is behind him to the left. it captures the critically important role the french played throughout the american revolution. one other feature that attracted us to this painting is it shows a tent. it looks more napoleonic, certainly not the kind of tenant
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george washington would have used but we love the fact it did show how armies traveled, living in tents. >> thursday, july 6, at 7:00 p.m. eastern time on american history tv, the easy him of the american result -- revolution. >> next on the presidency, the massachusetts historical society in boston host a discussion about john quincy adams new boston evolving views on slavery, of adams -- from adams on ratings. speakers talk about their book.


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