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Reagans, Gorbachevs: Last Supper : American, Soviet Leaders End Summit on Tasteful Note

November 22, 1985|BETTY CUNIBERTI | Times Staff Writer

GENEVA — Guess who came to dinner? Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa.

Wednesday evening, as the secretive summit drew to a close, President and Mrs. Reagan had the Gorbachevs and eight Soviet and American dignitaries to dinner. Here is a glimpse of how it went:

The Soviet leader and his wife arrived at Maison de Saussure, the Reagans' Geneva residence, 16 minutes late. The sound of dozens of camera shutters clicking signaled their arrival, as Mrs. Gorbachev, wearing a dark brown, blousy fur jacket and a short, brown velvet skirt, walked up to be greeted by the President. Mrs. Reagan, wearing a long evening dress with gold, black and tan geometric patterns, greeted the Soviet leader.

Reporters asked the men if they had anything good to report. Reagan said the news is "so good, we're going to hold it until tomorrow."

Because the Soviet Union is in a strict anti-alcoholism drive, the guests declined cocktails and headed straight for the oval, black walnut table. Cream and gold U.S. Mission china sat on white linen place mats as the guests took their seats. The President sat in the center with Mrs. Gorbachev on his right and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard A. Shevardnadze to his left. Mrs. Reagan sat between Gorbachev and First Deputy Foreign Minister Georgy M. Kornienko. Secretary of State George P. Shultz sat on the other side of Mrs. Gorbachev.

The snippets of conversation reporters got to scribble down during a few precious minutes of observation went like this:

"Mr. President," Gorbachev said, "I believe that we had five private meetings--just five times." It is unclear why he said this. Perhaps Reagan said something to inspire the comment. At another point, reporters heard Gorbachev say, "I have not seen the scenery of Switzerland or Geneva." As photographers gently pushed and shoved for position, the Soviet leader remarked, "You have to shoulder the security problem, even here." Mrs. Reagan was heard to laugh and say, "we'll never have dinner."

But, of course, Mrs. Reagan would never forget a thing like the food and there was indeed dinner. Petite souffle of lobster, supreme of chicken Perigourdine, endive salad, mousse de fromage with avocado and hot lemon souffle with raspberry sauce fortified the group. And despite the anti-alcohol drive, there were three wines served: Silverado chardonnay 1983, Stag's Leap cabernet sauvignon 1974 and Iron Horse blanc de blancs 1983.

Each diner received a gift, a sterling silver Tiffany paperweight engraved with the inscription: The meeting of President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, Geneva, November 1985.

So now you know what to do and what will happen if the Gorbachevs come to dinner.

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