University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

May 6, 1985

A Disappointing Summit Meeting

The economic summit meeting of the G-7 in Bonn has actually been disappointing. There were only promises to curb inflation, boost the economy and create more jobs. The danger of a reciprocal restrictive tariff policy is still looming on the horizon.

In his address to about 10,000 German youth, President Reagan guaranteed the protection of Europe and the Federal Republic and held out the prospect that Europe as a whole will be free and united again. The response to his speech was friendly but nonetheless, reserved. Differences of opinion on how Europe should be united clearly came to the fore.

Innsbruck, May 19, 1985

The Stumbling Block

President Reaganís strongly advocated proposal for the Strategic Defensive Initiative (SDI) has become a stumbling block among European allies. The project, also known as ďStar Wars,Ē envisions that incoming missiles can be intercepted and destroyed in space. Should NATO member states follow Reaganís proposal, or should they develop their own defense plan? Chancellor Kohl supports European participation in the SDI project, but President Mitterand has his reservations. This matter seems to become a new source of conflict, which not only may lead to misunderstandings between America and Europe but also to discord within the European Community. The years ahead will show if the SDI project is only played as a trump card in the strategic disarmament talks in Geneva, or whether it will really offer the possibility of reducing the danger of nuclear war.


[In his television address to the American nation on March 23, 1985, President Reagan announced his new plan for defending the United States against a nuclear attack. He envisioned a defense system that would intercept and destroy incoming strategic missiles in space before they reached the territory of America or its allies. He, thereby, not only surprised the international community but also his closest staff members. Secretary of State George Shultz pointed out that the Strategic Defense Initiative was inconsistent with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty of 1972, which explicitly prohibits establishing a missile defense system in space. Members of Congress were concerned about the high costs of the project, while the majority of scientists regarded it as unworkable. But the leadership in the Kremlin was extremely irritated by Reaganís SDI project. Reaganís SDI proposal also caused confusion among the European allies. It was feared that it could again derail the disarmament talks in Geneva. Reagan, however, was convinced that his SDI project could be realized, taking into account further development of satellites and progress in computer and laser technology. Despite all objections, he remained steadfast in holding on to the Strategic Defense Initiative. See Edmund Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, pp. 474-80.]

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