Friday, January 01, 2010

Reagan's New Year Message

This is Reagan's 1989 New Year's Message to the American people. It was broadcast with Gorbachev's message following it (which is at the linked website) in the US and in the USSR:
On behalf of the American people, I send you greetings on the coming of the New Year.

In your country and mine, the New Year is a time of hope and renewal. Never have these qualities of the spirit been more necessary than now, as Soviet Armenia begins to heal from its wounds. You have our deepest sympathy. You have our prayers. And you have a personal hope from my wife, Nancy, and me that in the effort to rebuild what was shattered you will find your solace.

I am confident that relations between our two countries will continue on the positive course they have followed in the year just ending. And despite our disagreements, we have been able to find some common ground. When I visited Moscow and met with President Gorbachev, we advanced our mutual understanding on the vital issues of human rights, arms reductions, regional problems, and bilateral relations. Although much remains to be done, we're making progress in all of those areas.

In Moscow, we signed the documents of ratification for the treaty eliminating an entire class of U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles, and the implementation of that historic treaty has proceeded smoothly. Soviet and American negotiators continued to discuss a 50-percent reduction in strategic nuclear weapons. And we are preparing to enter into new negotiations about conventional military forces in Europe. President Gorbachev, during his recent speech to the United Nations, announced significant reductions in Soviet conventional forces. This is certainly a step in the right direction of correcting the imbalances in the European military situation, but much more remains to be done. Thus, while much has been accomplished in the area of arms control and reductions, we must continue efforts to ensure a lasting peace.

In human rights, progress is being made in reunification of families, freedom of people to travel as they please, and in other areas. The cessation of jamming is also a positive step; for if we're to understand each other better, we must be able to talk freely with each other, and listen freely as well. In bilateral relations, for example in cultural and educational exchange, improvements mean that the barriers that artificially separated our peoples are slowly being lowered. And in regional issues, from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf and southern Africa, solutions are being found to conflicts of many years' standing. Perhaps your country will join ours in the effort to bring peace, democracy, and security to Central America.

In all of these areas, these improvements represent only the beginning of a long, difficult road to better understanding and cooperation. We are ready to continue moving along this road. Important differences remain between our countries and will continue for years to come. But I am confident that we have been witness in 1988 to progress that, if we are careful and diligent, can continue next year and during the years to come.

President Gorbachev's visit to New York -- cut short by the catastrophe in Armenia -- gave us a chance to meet once more during my term as President. On January 20, George Bush will be sworn in as my successor. The American people have chosen him in part because he represents continuity in the policies, foreign and domestic, that the United States has pursued over the past 8 years. I know that Mr. Bush will continue on the same course with equal commitment.

This is my final message to you as President, and so, let me close by saying this: I believe the world is safer than it was a year ago, and I pray it will be safer still a year from now. I wish you, the Soviet people, well in the New Year. Thank you, and may God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

1 comment:

Terry L. Johnson said...

ah. the GREAT communicator!

twenty years on i can still hear his voice. the cadence in the writing make it obvious that those where his words, and that those were his sentiments.

what made reagan so special was the heartfelt words from the man, and i always felt that what i heard from him was his view - not that of some opinion pollster. reagan had opinions. reagan had values. and, you knew what they were.

damn. i sound like my parents when they talk about FDR!