25. Editorial Note

At his first press conference, held in Room 450 of the Old Executive Office Building on January 29, 1981, at 4 p.m., and broadcast live on nationwide radio and television networks, President Ronald Reagan discussed the goals and intentions of the Soviet Union, in response to a question posed by American Broadcasting Company (ABC) News correspondent Sam Donaldson: “Mr. President, what do you see as the long-range intentions of the Soviet Union? Do you think, for instance, the Kremlin is bent on world domination that might lead to a continuation of the cold war, or do you think that under other circumstances détente is possible?”

[Page 90]

Reagan replied: “Well, so far détente’s been a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims. I don’t have to think of an answer as to what I think their intentions are; they have repeated it. I know of no leader of the Soviet Union since the revolution, and including the present leadership, that has not more than once repeated in the various Communist congresses they hold their determination that their goal must be the promotion of world revolution and a one-world Socialist or Communist state, whichever word you want to use.

“Now, as long as they do that and as long as they, at the same time, have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat, in order to attain that, and that is moral, not immoral, and we operate on a different set of standards, I think when you do business with them, even at a détente, you keep that in mind.” (Public Papers: Reagan, 1981, page 57) The complete text of the news conference is ibid., pages 55–62.