The Washington Summit : First Lady Indicates Coolness to Her Visitor
First Lady Nancy Reagan hinted Monday that she is not especially fond of Raisa Gorbachev.
In answering questions on the South Lawn of the White House, she complained openly about the two-week delay by the Soviet leader’s wife in responding to an invitation to tea and a tour of the Executive Mansion.
“It got to the point where I had to know, so I said: ‘I have to know,’ ” she said.
The two women have agreed to meet Wednesday morning.
The First Lady declined to comment on a report by former White House spokesman Larry Speakes that she was angered when Raisa Gorbachev attracted attention by traveling with her husband to the October, 1986, summit meeting in Iceland. Nancy Reagan did not attend that hastily arranged session, though she did travel to the 1985 summit at Geneva, where she first met Mrs. Gorbachev.
Speakes, in excerpts published from a forthcoming book about the Reagan White House, said Mrs. Reagan considers the Soviet First Lady a “dogmatic Marxist who simply spouts Communist philosophy.”
At the White House on Monday, reporters asked Nancy Reagan about these observations and about Mrs. Gorbachev.
“You don’t like her,” one reporter volunteered.
“I didn’t read it (the Speakes’ book) that way,” she replied.
Excerpts published last week from another forthcoming book by former White House aide Michael K. Deaver say that Mrs. Reagan was instrumental in persuading her husband to move toward an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union. The First Lady declined to comment Monday on the remarks by Deaver, who is standing trial in Washington on perjury charges.
When asked for her general feelings about Mrs. Gorbachev, the First Lady replied Monday: “I don’t know her very well. . . . She’s very nice.”