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Historical Pomp Begins a Day Of Formal White House Events

December 8, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The White House marshaled a ceremony of historical pomp today to welcome Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev.

Under dull gray skies, the Soviet couple arrived at the South Lawn of the White House to begin the official three-day summit. President Reagan and his wife Nancy formally greeted their Soviet guests as the Gorbachevs stepped from a Soviet-made limousine.

Their warm handshakes contrasted with the chill air.

In the background, trumpets heralded a fanfare, the U.S. Army Band pumped out ″Ruffles and Flourishes″ for Reagan and a 21-gun salute boomed for Gorbachev.

Hundreds of official guests and more than 150 journalists strained to view the historic event.

Reagan and Gorbachev walked to a red-carpeted platform, where the president said that in their third summit the two ″have no illusions, talk with candor and meet differences head on.″

Gorbachev said, ″May I express the hope that the Soviet Union and the United States ... will take their place in the history of the outgoing 20th Century, not only as allies against Nazism, but as nations that have paved mankind’s way to a safe world, free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.″

Translators repeated their statements, paragraph by paragraph.

As the two leaders spoke, their wives and the members of the two nations’ official delegations watched from nearby. They looked out upon the grand vista of the South Lawn of the White House and the Washington Monument.

One treat for the guests was the march of a special fife and drum corps, dressed in Revolutionary War-era uniforms.

The series of glittering events planned for the day stretched from the high-powered welcome with full military honors to the most sought-after social event on the schedule - a black-tie state dinner.

After the morning welcome, the two leaders retired for their first round of face-to-face talks in the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room, while the wives met for coffee in the Green Room of the residence.

The two women shared coffee and expressions of ″peace for their countries and the world,″ Elaine Crispen, a spokeswoman for the first lady said.

″She was very pleasant, she was very nice,″ the first lady said afterwards of Mrs. Gorbachev, Mrs. Crispen said.

The Gorbachevs were to return to the White House in the afternoon for the formal signing of the treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

Before noon, Mrs. Gorbachev began touring Washington by motorcade, stopping first at the Jefferson Memorial. The motorcade stopped at the front and Mrs. Gorbachev and Helena Shultz, the wife of Secretary of State George Shultz, stood at the base of the steps looking up at the memorial and the statue of Jefferson inside.

Mrs. Gorbachev called out to reporters that she had ″too little time.″ She said it was good to have a memorial to one of the great thinkers of the world.

Due to the Gorbachevs’ pressing schedule, the state dinner was to start a bit late, but with no stinting in elegance.

Well in advance, Mrs. Reagan chose and taste-tested a special menu. It will be the second state dinner for the new White House chef, Jon Hill, who is renowned for his artful blend of European style and American foods.

A specially bottled California sparkling wine has been chosen by the Reagans to toast the Gorbachevs - Iron Horse 1984 Brut. The Reagans picked the wine, which is not available commercially, for the U.S. dinner at the 1985 U.S.-Soviet summit in Geneva and asked that it be prepared again.

The small, family-owned winery that bottles the wine is in Sonoma County, near the Russian River, where many Russian settlers first made their homes in the early 1800s.

Following dinner, there will be with dancing and musical entertainment by pianist Van Cliburn. Invitations have been eagerly sought.

Guests have been chosen from a broad spectrum of U.S. life, including many who have had ties with the Soviet Union. They include musicians who have toured there, such as Pearl Bailey and Dave Brubeck; sports greats Joe DiMaggio, Chris Evert, Meadowlark Lemon and Mary Lou Retton; musical artists Mstislav Rostropovich and Zubin Mehta; authors Suzanne Massie and Saul Bellow; and film stars Claudette Colbert and Jimmy Stewart.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Gorbachev will have a second private coffee with Mrs. Reagan, topped off by an hour-long tour of the executive mansion.

The Soviets planned to host the Reagans at a reciprocal dinner Wednesday evening at the elaborate, Beaux Arts-style Soviet Embassy, located several blocks from the White House.

Besides the round of official welcoming ceremonies at the White House, Mrs. Gorbachev is reportedly planning to tour the National Gallery of Art on Wednesday and meet with a group of influential U.S. women on Thursday.

Pamela Harriman, the Democratic activist and widow of former governor and ambassador to the Soviet Union W. Averell Harriman, will host the event at her Georgetown residence, according to Janet Howard, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Harriman.

Other guests include Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., Sen. Barbara Milkulski, D-Md., Dr. Hannah Gray, the president of the University of Chicago, and Katharine Graham, chairman of the board of the Washington Post Co.

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