Ronald Wilson Reagan Part 65

Ron Heflin / ASSOCIATED PRESS

No. 17: Never-nervous Pervis

NCAA Championship game, March 31, 1986 — Conventional wisdom had been that freshmen wilt under pressure. Louisville’s Pervis Ellison ended that talk with his play against Duke. He scored 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and hit two crucial free throws in the final seconds to cement a 72-69 win. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski summed up the freshman’s day best: “Ellison was magnificent.”

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Picture of Ronald Reagan's third grade class photo.
(Picture from the Ronald Reagan Library, courtesy of the National Archives)

Picture of Ronald Reagan’s (second row, first from the left) Third Grade Class Photo. (Circa 1919)

 Elizabeth Taylor died today. (Below picture of Taylor). Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor were a famous couple. Eddie Fisher left Debbie Reynolds for Taylor.

Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor

1980 Presidential Debate Reagan v Carter

MS. WALTERS

Yes. Governor, the eyes of the country tonight remain on the hostages in Iran, but the question of how we respond to acts of terrorism goes beyond this current crisis. There are other countries that have policies that determine how they will respond. Israel, for example, considers hostages like soldiers and will not negotiate with terrorists.

For the future, the country has the right to know, do you have a policy for dealing with terrorism wherever it might happen, and what have we learned from this experience in Iran that might cause us to do things differently if this, or something similar, should happen again?

GOVERNOR REAGAN

Well, Barbara, you’ve asked that question twice. I think you ought to have at least one answer to it. [Laughter]

I have been accused lately of having a secret plan with regard to the hostages. Now, this comes from an answer that I’ve made at least 50 times during this campaign to the press. The question would be. “Have you any ideas of what you would do if you were there?” And I said, well, yes. And I think that anyone that’s seeking this position, as well as other people, probably, have thought to themselves. “What about this, what about that?” These are just ideas of what I would think of if I were in that position and had access to the information, in which I would know all the options that were open to me. I have never answered the question, however. Second — the one that says, “Well, tell me, what are some of those ideas?” First of all, I would be fearful that I might say something that was presently under way or in negotiations, and thus expose it and endanger the hostages. And sometimes, I think some of my ideas might involve quiet diplomacy, where you don’t say, in advance or say to anyone what it is you’re thinking of doing.

Your question is difficult to answer, because, in the situation right now, no one wants to say anything that would inadvertently delay, in any way, the return of those hostages if there is a chance of their coming home soon, or that might cause them harm.

What I do think should be done, once they are safely here with their families and that tragedy is over — and we’ve endured this humiliation for just lacking 1 week of a year now — then, I think, it is time for us to have a complete investigation as to the diplomatic efforts that were made in the beginning, why they have been there so long, and when they come home, what did we have to do in order to bring that about, what arrangements were made? And I would suggest that Congress should hold such an investigation.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue praying that they’ll come home.

MR. SMITH

Followup question.

MS. WALTERS

Well, I would like to say that neither candidate answered specifically the question of a specific policy for dealing with terrorism, but I will ask Governor Reagan a different followup question. You have suggested that there would be no Iranian crisis had you been President, because we would have given firmer support to the Shah. But Iran is a country of 37 million people who were resisting a government they regarded as dictatorial.

My question is not whether the Shah’s regime was preferable to the Ayatollah’s, but whether the United States has the power or the right to try to determine what form of government any country will have, and do we back unpopular regimes whose major merit is that they are friendly to the United States?

GOVERNOR REAGAN

The degree of unpopularity of a regime when the choice is total authoritarianism — totalitarianism, I should say, in the alternative government, makes one wonder whether you are being helpful to the people. And we’ve been guilty of that. Because someone didn’t meet exactly our standards of human rights, even though they were an ally of ours, instead of trying patiently to persuade them to change their ways, we have, in a number of instances, aided a revolutionary overthrow which results in complete totalitarianism, instead, for those people. And I think that this is a kind of a hypocritical policy when, at the same time, we’re maintaining a detente with the one nation in the world where there are no human rights at all — the Soviet Union.

Now, there was a second phase in the Iranian affair in which we had something to do with that. And that was, we had adequate warning that there was a threat to our Embassy, and we could have done what other Embassies did — either strengthen our security there or remove our personnel before the kidnap and the takeover took place.

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The stern of the grounded cargo ship Asia Symphony breaches the port wall and juts out onto a road in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan on 19 March 2011. The picturesque fishing town of Kamaishi was devastated when the tsunami hit less than 15 minutes after the 9.0 earthquake that rocked Japan on 11 March 2011.  EPA/STEPHEN MORRISON
The stern of the grounded cargo ship Asia Symphony breaches the port wall and juts out onto a road in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture in northeastern Japan on 19 March 2011. The picturesque fishing town of Kamaishi was devastated when the tsunami hit less than 15 minutes after the 9.0 earthquake that rocked Japan on 11 March 2011. EPA/STEPHEN MORRISON
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