Social Has Serious Side : First Ladies Trade Hopes Over Tea at Own ‘Summit’

Associated Press

As their husbands huddled over arms control, Nancy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev got acquainted today over a pot of almond tea in the first meeting between two superpower first ladies in more than 10 years.

“We talked about our husbands and the (summit) meeting and what we both hoped would come out of the meeting,” Mrs. Reagan told reporters after hosting the 75-minute visit. Asked what the two women hoped for, she said, “A better understanding.”

“I think she was a very nice lady. I think everything relaxed after a while,” Mrs. Reagan said.

She said she and Mrs. Gorbachev invited each other to visit their homelands, and added, “I think she loved the almond tea.”


Mrs. Reagan greeted Mrs. Gorbachev outside Maison de Saussure, the Geneva chateau where the Reagans have been staying.

“She’s cold. Aren’t you?” Mrs. Reagan asked waiting journalists as she hurriedly ushered her guest out of the sub-freezing temperatures.

Today’s get-together was the first of two “tea parties” between Mrs. Gorbachev and Mrs. Reagan. A second was scheduled Wednesday at the Soviet Mission to the United Nations, where the Gorbachevs are staying.

Both women are said to have considerable influence with their husbands, which has given a serious edge to the “tea summit.”


It is the first meeting between wives of superpower leaders since Pat Nixon went to tea with Viktoria Petrovna Brezhnev at the Kremlin in June, 1974.

Earlier in the day, the two women had followed separate schedules, with Mrs. Reagan visiting a drug rehabilitation center outside Lausanne and Mrs. Gorbachev touring Geneva’s famous Watch Museum, the cobblestoned Old Town and the European headquarters of the United Nations.