Reagan Says He and Gorbachev Will Discuss Human Rights
Menu JTA Search

Reagan Says He and Gorbachev Will Discuss Human Rights

Download PDF for this date

President Reagan said Friday that human rights will be on the agenda when he meets with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev here Dec. 7.

Flanked by Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, Reagan announced the scheduling of the long-awaited summit after Shevardnadze had presented him with a letter from Gorbachev.

The White House meeting was held between day-long talks at the State Department by Shultz and Shevardnadze.

At the summit, the two superpower leaders are to sign a treaty to eliminate intermediate and short-range missiles, still being negotiated in Geneva, Reagan said. The president said he will discuss with Gorbachev a treaty to reduce strategic arms by 50 percent, which he hopes could be signed when he visits Moscow next year.

Reagan added that Shevardnadze and he agreed that his meeting with Gorbachev will also cover the “full range of issues” between the United States and the Soviet Union, “including bilateral, regional and human rights issues.”

The summit was scheduled after Gorbachev had refused to set a date for the meeting when Shultz was in Moscow Oct. 22-23 But in a sudden about-face, Shevardnadze came to Washington, apparently bringing with him the summit date.

The National Conference on Soviet Jewry (NCSJ) immediately welcomed the summit and expressed the hope that human rights, including the issue of Soviet Jewry, would be high on the agenda.


Morris Abram, chairman of the NCSJ and of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, has scheduled a news conference in Washington Monday to announce plans for a mass demonstration in Washington during the summit to express support for Soviet Jewry.

(NCSJ sources in New York indicated the demonstration would take place on the evening of Sunday, Dec. 6, shortly after Gorbachev arrives in Washington. Former prisoner of conscience Ida Nudel, recently permitted to leave the Soviet Union, will appear at the mass protest.

(On Tuesday, some 40 representatives of groups within and outside the NCSJ umbrella are to meet in New York to finalize plans for the demonstration. Nobel prize-winning writer Elie Wiesel is serving as honorary chairman of the summit task force.)

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund