UNITED NATIONS — Here is the text of President Reagan's speech Monday to the U.N. General Assembly:
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, honored guests, and distinguished delegates, a short walk from this chamber is the delegates' Meditation Room, a refuge from a world deafened by the noise of strife and violence. "We want to bring back the idea of worship," Dag Hammarskjold once said about this room, "devotion to something which is greater and higher than we are ourselves."
It is just such devotion that gave birth to the United Nations: devotion to the dream of world peace and freedom, of human rights and democratic self-determination, of a time when, in those ancient words, " . . . and they shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
The United States remains committed to the U.N. For over 40 years, this organization has provided an international forum for harmonizing conflicting national interests and has made a significant contribution in such fields as peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and eradicating disease.
Yet, no one knows better than those in this chamber how the noble ideals embodied in the charter have often remained unfulfilled. This organization itself faces a critical hour--that is usually stated as a fiscal crisis. But we can turn this "crisis" into an opportunity. The important reforms proposed by the Group of Experts can be a first step toward restoring the organization's status and effectiveness. The issue, ultimately, is not one of cash but of credibility. If all the members of this universal organization decide to seize the moment and turn the rhetoric of reform into reality, the future of the U.N. will be secure. And you have my word for it: My country, which has always given the U.N. generous support, will continue to play a leading role in the effort to achieve its noble purposes.
When I came before you last year, an important moment in the pursuit of those purposes had not yet occurred. The leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States were to meet in Geneva. These discussions have now been held. For over 15 hours, the Soviet and American delegations met. For about five hours, General Secretary (Mikhail S.) Gorbachev and I talked alone.
'Mr. Gorbachev Was Blunt'
Our talks were frank. The talks were also productive--in a larger sense than even the documents that were agreed (to). Mr. Gorbachev was blunt; so was I. We came to realize again the truth of the statement: Nations do not mistrust each other because they are armed; they are armed because they mistrust each other. And I did not hesitate to tell Mr. Gorbachev our view of the source of that mistrust: The Soviet Union's record of seeking to impose its ideology and rule on others. So, we acknowledged the deep and abiding differences between our systems of government, our views of history and the future of mankind. But, despite these differences, we resolved to work together for real reductions in nuclear arms as well as progress in other areas.
Delegates to the 41st General Assembly of the United Nations, today I want to report to you on what has transpired since the summit; notably the important letter I send July 25th to Mr. Gorbachev. In that letter, I dealt with the important issues of reducing nuclear arms, agreeing on strategic defenses, and limiting nuclear testing. In addition to those issues, which concern the military aspects of Soviet-American relations, I would also like to address other essential steps toward peace; the resolution of political conflicts, the strengthening of the international economy and the protection of human rights.
Before I do this, however, let me, in the tradition of candor established at Geneva, tell you that a pall has been cast over our relations with the Soviet Union. I refer here to a particularly disturbing example of Soviet transgressions against human rights.
Recently--after the arrest of a Soviet national and U.N. employee accused of espionage in the United States--an American correspondent in Moscow was made the subject of fabricated accusations and trumped-up charges. He was arrested and jailed in a callous disregard of due process and numerous human rights conventions. In effect, he was taken as a hostage--even threatened with the death penalty.
'Only an Interim Step'
Both individuals have now been remanded to their respective ambassadors. But this is only an interim step, agreed to by the United States for humanitarian reasons. It does not change the facts of the case: Gennady Zakharov is an accused spy who should stand trial; Nicholas Daniloff is an innocent hostage who should be released. The Soviet Union bears the responsibility for the consequences of its action. Misusing the United Nations for purposes of espionage does a grave disservice to this organization.