Excerpts of General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev's toast at the dinner for President and Mrs. Reagan last night, in a translation provided by the Soviet Embassy:Esteemed Mr. President, esteemed Mrs. Reagan, ladies and gentlemen, comrades. The second day of our talks is over. They are proceeding in a frank and businesslike atmosphere.
At the center of our discussions are the major problems of both Soviet-American relations and world politics. It is my impression that we have made headway on a number of important issues, and this is cause for optimism. At the same time, in some areas we remain far apart.
. . . What we are discussing with you is so important for the whole world that all along we can sense its keen attention and interest in everything that is going on here. And that is quite natural. For the decisions we shall take and the results we shall achieve may become pivotal for the future of the world. That is what is at stake today. Such is the magnitude of our responsibility. . . .
As for our concept of a nuclear-free future, we feel that American public opinion is receptive to it. . . .
There is no issue -- whether of conventional arms, regional conflicts or human rights -- on which mutual understanding or headway could not be achieved, provided, of course, that it is treated honestly and seriously.
The world is interrelated and interdependent not just because a nuclear catastrophe would spare no one. Every passing year brings with it the escalation of the risk inherent in the ever-widening gap between the extremes of wealth and poverty. Solving this problem is a task of monumental importance for protecting the modern world from destruction.
Investment in disarmament and peace is the safest and most promising way of investing capital. . . .
The history book of the relationship between our two peoples and countries is filled with different pages. Some are inspiring, others leave a feeling of bitterness. Much has been damaged over the past 40 years.
And yet I am profoundly convinced that all that is positive -- of which there is no small amount -- can be brought back to serve our two peoples. As far as Soviet people are concerned, they know how to appreciate generosity and friendly words. . . .
The adversarial and competitive relationship between us has its reasons, and we are divided over their assessment. However, peace and cooperation are much wiser than confrontation and unfriendliness.
May there be peace for the peoples of the United States and the Soviet Union, and for all the peoples of the planet Earth.
I wish good health and happiness to the President and Mrs. Reagan, to all those who are guests at our house tonight.
Until we meet in Moscow.