Memo details Reagan's secret attempt to convince Gorbachev that God exists

Breaking News

It was the question that preoccupied President Ronald Reagan: Was Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev a religious believer? Reagan held a series of summits with Gorbachev from 1985 to 1988, and as their meetings proceeded, Reagan sometimes speculated to his aides that Gorbachev's use of phrases such as "God bless" might be an expression of religious faith. Many of the summit sessions involved large groups of U.S. and Soviet officials, discussing issues like arms control and regional conflicts. But in one-on-one talks with Gorbachev outside the presence of other senior officials like Secretary of State George Shultz, Reagan sometimes ventured off in directions of his own. The eternal optimist, Reagan was convinced that Gorbachev was capable of changing the Soviet system, and he thought the key to such a turnaround might be religion. Finally, during their fourth summit meeting in 1988, Reagan launched into a private conversation with Gorbachev, one that he promised the Soviet leader he would deny had ever taken place.

It was during the first one-on-one session in Moscow that Reagan engaged in a bold but questionable endeavor well beyond his mandate as president of the United States. According to the memo of their conversation, which was based on notes taken by two Reagan aides and has now been declassified and made available at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Reagan secretly attempted to persuade Gorbachev of the existence of God...

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Raul A Garcia - 3/13/2009

With so much power in their hands, they better be substantive in their talk. Secular authenticism is a convenient paradigm, but good thing not the only wish I have. I like a good cheeseburger and I like to peruse the universe away from the city lights as well.

Lorraine Paul - 3/12/2009

Can you imagine the scene, one of the leaders of the world is there to discuss 'peaceful co-existence', space exploration, and other serious matters, such as glasnost and perestroika not to mention the fate of the world and the other is there to push religion!

I saw Russian Orthodox churches being used for worship everywhere when I journeyed through the Soviet Union in September/October of 1988. In fact we joked that we were on the ABC tour - not Another Bloody Church!

I recommend that you read the full article in the WSJ. Wait until you get to the bit where Gorbachev tries to discuss space exploration and Raygun's reply... which made me nearly wet myself laughing~!!

One thing Mann got wrong is that he mentions summits which last from 1985 until 1988. Gorbachev was the up and coming bloke in that time-frame, but he was definitely NOT the leader of the Soviet Union!!!