Sunday, May 29, 1988
“Get away day– this time to Moscow, our 1st time ever to see Russia. We drove to the Presidential Palace where Pres & Mrs. Koivisto joined us for the drive to the airport. A brief goodbye visit in the airport V.I.P. then a goodbye message to our embassy people & on to A.F.1. We lunched on the plane & landed at 2 P.M.– now we’re 8 hrs. different from Wash. time. We were met by Ambas. & Mrs. Matlock & Pres. & Mrs. Gromyko– also our Ambas. staff plus family. Then the ride to the Ambas. house ‘Spaso House’–a one time castle. On the 20 min. drive 1st to the Kremlin where we were greeted by Gen. Sec. Gorbachev & Raisa– a review of the troops– the Nat. songs of both nations then his welcome to us & my reply. Nancy & Raisa took a tour of the Palace while he & I had a one on one visit. I introduced my favorite pitch–why he should give his people religious freedom. It was a good session & a nice way to launch the summit. Then we went on to Spaso House.
Our people had an idea about us going out on the street to be seen by the people–our goal a kind of set up where children could be photo’d with Disney type animals. It was amazing how quickly the street was jammed curb to curb with people– warm, friendly people who couldn’t have been more affectionate. In addition to our S.S. the KGB was on hand & I’ve never seen such brutal manhandling as they did on their own people who were in no way getting out of hand.
Back to Spaso House for the night.”
The Reagan Diaries, Ronald Reagan, edited by Douglas Brinkley, Harper Collins, 2007
Photograph by Fed Govt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common.