The Reagans relaxed and mended family fences today in a plush $3,000-a-night suite here where they held truce talks with the president's eldest son Michael and met Michael's 20-month-old daughter Ashley for the first time.
"It was a nice visit. There are no differences. All is resolved," Nancy Reagan said in a statement issued by the White House. "Everybody loves each other and this is a wonderful way to start the New Year."
The statement was tacked to a bulletin board in the White House press briefing room in the Century Plaza Hotel after a day in which reporters waited fruitlessly for some report of the discussions that had occurred between Michael and President Reagan in the presidential suite. One by one, the reporters trickled away to dinners and other engagements. So did the White House staff, including one official who said plaintively to a reporter, "I'm in the same boat you are. I wish this thing would get over with so we could all have a decent New Year's weekend."
During their three-hour meeting, the statement said, the two families exchanged Christmas presents and "enjoyed a pleasant visit together."
Earlier, Michael and his family, surrounded by Secret Service agents, were whisked into the hotel, where they were greeted by shouted questions from reporters asking what he would tell his father.
"I'm going to tell him I love him," Michael responded. He departed without speaking to reporters.
The meeting came on a day when the 73-year-old president, who is hard of hearing, had his annual audiogram, a check to make sure his hearing aid is functioning properly.
Afterward, doctors John and Howard House said Reagan was in good physical shape and has suffered no further hearing loss. But they said they also advised him to consume less caffeine because it constricts the blood vessels.
The Reagans spent their second night here in a brand-new, 8,000-square-foot suite on the 30th floor of the Century Plaza, where they usually stay on their visits to Los Angeles. When they arrived Thursday they participated in a brief ceremony opening the new wing of the hotel.
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said he thought the government was paying the cost of the suite but wasn't certain. Later, a hotel spokesman said the full cost of the suite would be billed to the White House.
On Thursday night the Reagans entertained the president's younger son Ron and his wife Doria at what Speakes said was "a very nice dinner."
Today the spotlight shifted to Michael Reagan, who has been waging a running war of words with First Lady Nancy Reagan since Thanksgiving.
Michael, 39, is the adopted son of Reagan and his first wife Jane Wyman. His relations with Nancy Reagan, always cool, chilled to the freezing point in 1981 when Michael wrote letters to several air bases on behalf of a Burbank-based airplane parts company, Dana Ingalls Profile Inc., of which he was vice president at the time.
"I know that with my father's leadership at the White House, this country's armed services are going to be rebuilt and strengthened," the letter said. "We at Dana Ingalls Profile want to be involved in that process."
Nancy Reagan, who was described as angry at this disclosure, said afterward that Michael "made a mistake" in sending the letter. He resigned from the firm, saying he was "tired of having to explain" why he had written the letters.
The family feud burst into the spotlight again this year when Nancy Reagan said in a Thanksgiving week interview with columnist Betty Beale that "there is an estrangement with Michael and there has been for three years."
This comment provoked an angry response from Michael, who said the first lady was "jealous" because she was not the grandmother of the president's grandchildren.
Michael and his wife Colleen have two children -- Ashley and 6-year-old son Cameron. On several occasions Michael has voiced his displeasure that his father had rarely seen Cameron and had never met Ashley even though Nancy Reagan was active in the Foster Grandparents Program.
"As the son of the president I know what keeps them busy but as a father I get jealous when they don't spend time with my children," he said.
Reagan, who is always protective of his wife, reportedly became upset at Michael's statements and moved to end the feuding with the support of his oldest daughter Maureen Reagan, also the child of Jane Wyman.
On Nov. 26 the president called Michael in the first step at ending the feud. Sources said the meeting today was held under a prior agreement that Michael Reagan not make any public statements criticizing Nancy or other members of the family.