Publication: Financial Times

Full Citation

  • Title Berlin Wall Challenge by Reagan
  • Author Fleming, Stewart
  • Publication Title Financial Times
  • Collection The Financial Times
  • Date Saturday,  June 13, 1987
  • Issue Number 30,258
  • Page Number 24
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The Financial Times Limited
  • Copyright Statement © The Financial Times Limited. All rights reserved.
Berlin Wall challenge by Reagan By Stewart Fleming in West Berlin PRESIDENT Ronald Reagan yesterday challenged Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, to demonstrate his com- mitment to peace by removing the barriers to freedom of movement in Berlin. "If you seek liberalisation come here to this gate, Mr Gorbachev open this gate. Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall." the President said standing in front of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. Echoing a theme struck in the political communique from the Venice summit this week, Mr Reagan described the current state of US-Soviet rela- tions as a "moment of hope." The Soviet Union "must make fundamental changes . .. or it will become obsolete," he said. Mr Reagan called on Mr Gorbachev to "work to bring the Eastern and Western parts of the city closer together. He said: "Let us expand the vital air access to this city (to) be- come one of the chief aviation hubs in all of central Europe." Before a carefully selected and rigorously searched ticket- only crowd of some 20.000 and a West Europe-wide television audience Mr Reagan sought to put Mr Gorbachev on the defen- sive at a time when his popu- larity in Western Europe is rising. The East German Govern- ment has been guarded in its response to Mr Gorbachev's re- forms, however, and even if he wanted to the Soviet leader would find it hard to respond to Mr Reagan's challenge, given East German attitudes. Echoing the theme of Presi- dent John F. Kennedy's 1961 statement of America's commit- ment to Berlin's security. Mr Reagan took a line from a German song: Ich hab' noch einen Koffer in Berlin (I left a suitcase in Berlin), to suggest America's enduring ties Asked by reporters before he made his speech if he expected to be able to get Mr Gorbachev to tear down the wall Mr Reagan replied: "Well Jericho didn't last forever." Clashes mar speech, Pege 2