Gorbachev addresses the United Nations; Dec 7, 1988

A. a major address on Soviet policy changes

Everyone agreed that the time had come to
make significant cuts in our armed forces and that the next five-year period
should be dedicated to disarmament. My speech to the United Nations was to
be the exact opposite of Winston Churchill's famous Fulton speech. And we
could substantiate our ideas through facts, showing the real progress achieved
in the past few years. It was clear that people would believe us only if we translated
our intentions into deeds


B. Unilateral disarmament across Europe

I informed the United Nations of our decision to reduce the Soviet
armed forces by half a million men and the corresponding number of weapons
and equipment in the coming two years, of the agreement we had reached with
our Warsaw Pact allies to withdraw and disband six Soviet armoured divisions
from the GDR, Czechoslovakia and Hungary by 1991, and of a number of
additional measures aimed at reducing our offensive military potential.


C. His talk reflected his legal education

If I were asked today to summarize the main ideas of the speech, I would
confine myself to the few universal axioms and principles:

    Every nation, and in particular the major powers, must exercise self-restraint
    and refrain from the use of force in international relations;
    Freedom of choice is a sine qua non for preserving diversity in the social
    development of nations;
    Relations among states must be freed from ideology;
    We must join forces to ensure the primacy of universal human values over the
    numerous centrifugal forces nourished by possibly legitimate but egoistic

D. US Press loved the talk

The New York Times wrote in its editorial:

    Perhaps not since Woodrow Wilson presented his Fourteen Points in 1918
    or since Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill promulgated the