University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

South Bend, December 8, 1987

The Historic Turning Point

The summit meeting in Washington has been scheduled for December 8 to 10. The highlight of the meeting took place right away on the first day. Today, at 2 p.m. EST, the INF Treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in the East Room of the White House. It was an unpretentious ceremony, which commanded attention alone by its historic significance. According to the Treaty, short­-range and intermediate-range nuclear forces, primarily in Europe on both sides of the Iron Curtain, will be dismantled. Thereby, Europe will be freed of the nightmare of being directly exposed to an immediate threat by nuclear weapons. The signing of the INF Treaty is generally seen as an historic turning point. For the first time since the end of the Second World War, an entire class of nuclear weapons will be eliminated by the two superpowers. The arms race of the Cold War may well be regarded as having been overcome, which initiates a new era of readiness for understanding between East and West. The INF Treaty still needs the two-thirds approval by the Senate. But there can be no doubt, despite several objections, that the Treaty will be ratified. The more than 200 pages of the Treaty illustrate its complexity. Affixing the signatures to the separate parts of the Treaty could be watched on TV around the world.

South Bend, December 10, 1987

Mr. Glasnost

During the three days of the summit meeting in Washington, Michael Gorbachev, who is addressed as “General Secretary,” has made the catchword “Glasnost” he had coined so popular that he himself is being called “Mr. Glasnost.” This new attitude toward openness is convincing. Gorbachev shaped the image of his politics by assuming the Western style of forming public opinion. He is seriously searching for conciliation with America and is striving for a new rapprochement between the two superpowers. He wants to achieve strategic stability, whereby a 50% reduction of intercontinental missiles on both sides is open for discussion. The decisive breakthrough on the thorny way of negotiating the INF Treaty came without a doubt, when both sides had agreed to let inspectors verify its execution on site.

Reagan’s Judgment

After the Ilyushin airplane with Michael and Raisa Gorbachev and the Russian delegation on board had left Andrews Air Force Base, President Reagan spoke to the American nation in a televised address at 9 p.m. from the Oval Office. In Reagan’s judgment the summit meeting was a great success. He called attention to the fact that years ago NATO’s “dual track” decision had demonstrated the resolve of the West to squarely face the threat by the deployment of the SS-20 missiles. Thereby, the Soviet side was finally brought to the negotiating table. For the first time since 1945, the arms race has not just been halted but reduced. Beyond that, the way has been opened for START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks), i.e. negotiations on the reduction of intercontinental missiles. Reagan emphasized that the Washington summit with the conclusion of the INF Treaty was a success for world peace. He pointed out: “I believe that this treaty represents a landmark in postwar history.”

[Transl: The “dual track” decision refers to the resolution by NATO ministers on December 12, 1979, to update the nuclear capability in Europe, while at the same time to continue the arms reduction talks in Geneva. See entry of December 28, 1979 plus addendum.]

December 11, 1987

Immediately Put into Action

No time was wasted to put the INF Treaty immediately into action. At his stopover in East Berlin, Gorbachev met with the heads of government of the Warsaw Pact to report on the development of the Washington summit. It was primarily a matter of carrying out the implementations of the INF Treaty. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and Czechoslovakia agreed to have American inspectors on their territories. At the same time, Secretary of State George Shultz briefed the representatives of the NATO countries in Brussels on the results of the Washington summit, who on their part agreed to have Russian inspectors. The INF Treaty was unanimously welcomed by the representatives of NATO, which is also a recommendation to the U.S. Senate to ratify the Treaty.


[Still on the same day, George Shultz, together with the foreign ministers of the five countries where intermediate-range missiles had been deployed (Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and the Netherlands), signed an agreement that Soviet inspectors were admitted on site. See G. Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph, p. 1015.]

South Bend, December 24, 1987

An Austrian Christmas

This year’s Christmas season in America has been dedicated to an unusual degree to Austria. It began with the special Christmas Show of Julie Andrews and Placido Domingo titled “The Sound of Christmas,” which was taken live in Salzburg and broadcast on ABC­ TV. As every year, also the film “The Sound of Music” was shown on television. The Vienna Choir Boys participated as guests in the Christmas Concert of the Boston Pops. Their rendition of “Rudolph, the Rednose Reindeer” was particularly well received and could be heard many times on radio and on television. The Vienna Choir Boys were also part of the traditional “National Christmas Celebration” in Washington, at which President and Mrs. Reagan were present. Each time at the conclusion of these programs, the Vienna Choir Boys sang with their unmistakable voices “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht” (Silent Night, Holy Night) in German and in English. The highlight of the Austrian Christmas presentations was tonight’s “Christmas Eve Special” on CBS, which showed the Hofkirche in Innsbruck and Tyrolean Christmas customs.

South Bend, December 27, 1987

A Holiday Stroll

Although the Inner City of South Bend (population ca. 100,000), as is the case in most inner cities in America, is decaying and makes, especially on Sundays and holidays, an eerily deserted impression, the many churches are alive and thriving. The “Center City Associates” together with the “Northern Indiana Historical Society” and the “United Religious Community” have organized over the Christmas season a “Holiday Stroll” through the churches of the Inner City of South Bend. People from all walks of life have signed up for the Program. My wife and I took the Stroll yesterday. In quick succession, but with a warm reception, our group was guided through the “First United Methodist Church,” “First Presbyterian Church,” “Cathedral of St. James Episcopal,” the synagogue “Temple Beth­ El,” and finally the “St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.” These are only a few of the more than 200 churches and synagogues in South Bend and the surrounding areas. The churches in the Inner City can look back on more than a hundred years of history, which goes back to the pioneer period in Northern Indiana. They are well cared for, most of them have plans for renovations or expansions. All these churches are exclusively maintained and furthered by their faith communities. Next to their pastoral obligations, they are also devoted to social ministries, maintain kindergartens and Sunday schools. Remarkable is the friendly atmosphere that prevails among these many congregations. The need for ecumenical cooperation is as obvious here as hardly anywhere else. The “United Religious Community” has recognized this need for a long time and tried to realize it. This way, a respectful and tolerant side by side existence among the different religious communities has been created, who cooperate in solving the many family and social problems.

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