The collected public remarks of Raisa Gorbachev for Dec. 8, 1987, consist of the following statements made on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial:
To press requests for a few words -- "I've got too little time."
To press queries of how she liked the United States: "Oh, it's lovely!"
To press pressing about what she would like to see on her visit: "All of Washington."
She then rejoined Helena Shultz in their motorcade and proceeded to see not all but some of Washington at a pace approaching the speed of sound and definitely surpassing the speed of effective tourism.
Her day had begun with a welcoming ceremony at the White House, where journalists attempted to gauge the relative warmth of her relationship with Nancy Reagan (who reportedly was upset by Mrs. Gorbachev's tardiness in responding to her invitation to tea and reportedly has found the Soviet first lady uninterested in talking about drug abuse and children) by the distance between the two women, both clad in fur, as they listened to their husbands speak. The two then adjourned to the Green Room where, with Barbara Bush, Helena Shultz, Rebecca Matlock, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Moscow, and Liana Dubinin, wife of the Soviet ambassador to the United States, they indulged in tea, coffee, orange juice and very small pastries.
Over the next 20 minutes, they had a wide-ranging discussion of the history of Washington, the history of the Soviet Union (Press Secretary Elaine Crispen said Mrs. Reagan found this very interesting), the weather and where Mrs. Gorbachev should go on her trip through the city with Mrs. Shultz (it was rumored that she wanted to visit the top of the Washington Monument -- which was not to be).
Highly placed sources disclosed that Mrs. Reagan wore a brown Bill Blass dress trimmed in leather. Mrs. Gorbachev's outfit has been described variously as a white two-piece dress and a white tunic.
Crispen said both women expressed "hopes for peace in their countries and the world."
Crispen said the first lady described the reception as "very pleasant" and quoted her as saying Mrs. Gorbachev was "very nice."
Asked if "they like each other better," Crispen replied that, despite rumors to the contrary, "no one said they didn't before." Crispen also offered the fact that when Reagan and Gorbachev shook hands after the treaty signing, Mrs. Reagan turned to Mrs. Gorbachev and said, "I think we should shake hands, too." And they did.
Then it was off for the faster-than-a-whirlwind trip through Washington.
There had been talk of visits to White Flint mall, Neiman-Marcus and Georgetown Park, but in the end Mrs. Gorbachev spent her few free moments whipping past Washington landmarks while disappointed Raisa-watchers stared as her Zil limo vanished into the distance. She cruised up the Mall and went around the block by the Capitol, the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. She passed by both the Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery, where stops had been expected.
Last night, just before the state dinner in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Gorbachev, Secretary of State George Shultz told CBS anchorman Dan Rather that his wife and Mrs. Gorbachev would have liked to get out of the car more often. "But the people who were running things didn't seem to want to do it."
The only brief stop was the one at the Jefferson Memorial, where she and Mrs. Shultz remained at the bottom of the steps, far from the statue and the press corps waiting at the top of the steps. To urging from those assembled, Mrs. Gorbachev made her few comments, leading reporters who remembered a more voluble woman from last year's Iceland summit to speculate that perhaps negative reaction in her own country to her visibility was having its effect.
At the Albert Einstein statue on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences, a score of journalists awaited her promised arrival. Soviet and American scientists meeting inside emerged coatless on short notice and waited with the rest while a few of the men in trench coats (by now ubiquitous in Washington) surveyed the scene. They got cold. They went back inside. Then they came out again. Sirens were heard. Cameras were readied. The White House advance man was prepared. Black car after black car appeared. And was that a woman in a fur coat?
Vroom. They were gone.