7. Editorial Note

On January 28, 1981, Secretary of State Alexander Haig held his first news conference since his confirmation. “I think it’s clear that we have been witnessing an unprecedented—at least character and scope—risk-taking mode on the part of the Soviet Union, not just in this hemisphere but in Africa as well,” he stated. “We have seen in that process the exploitation of the Cuban proxy, and I can assure you that this is the subject of utmost concern to this Administration, it is a subject which will be high on the priority of our national security and foreign policy agenda. I would suggest also that an additional subject related intimately to this, in the conduct of Soviet activity and in terms of training, funding, and equipping, is international terrorism.” (Department of State Bulletin, February 1981, page J)

On January 29, President Ronald Reagan held his first Presidential news conference. Sam Donaldson of American Broadcasting Company News asked: “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?” Reagan responded: “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 [Page 17] 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)