April 6, 1989 – As waves of Glasnost descended over London and the Cold War continued its thaw, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in London for talks with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. With smiles all around and giddy asides, Gorbachev and Thatcher discussed policy and in the end, at a joint news conference, Thatcher gushed “I like him – We can Do business together”, and Gorby Mania was off and running.
Although Mikhail Gorbachev’s popularity back home was wavering, his charm and ease of conversation with, not only Thatcher but with George Bush and President Reagan before him, made this emissary from the Soviet Union the closest thing to a Russian rock star we saw in a long time, if ever. Next stop was Buckingham Palace and an invite to Moscow from Gorbachev to the Queen.
And while Gorbachev was wowing the West, the rest of the world was spinning inexorably on. From South Africa came word that President P.W. Botha was quitting, setting into motion elections to come in August. His likely successor would be F.W. De Klerk, recently elected leader of the ruling National Party. DeKlerk was widely seen as a pragmatist; a man eager to push on with racial reform.
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill – President Bush was continuing his rounds of Middle East Diplomacy with Israel‘s Yitzhak Shamir. While that was going on, Secretary of State James Baker asked both Israel and the PLO to take reciprocal steps to reduce violence. But the implication was a request that Israel move toward talks with the PLO, which Shamir refused to do. Shamir was expected to outline his offer of holding Palestinian elections as part of his plan to find a new batch of Palestinian leaders. The White House was expected to praise the idea as positive, but the underlying tension remained. Just as the U.S. was devising ways of getting Israel to talk to the PLO, Shamir was devising ways to avoid it.
And that’s a small slice of news for this April 6, 1989, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.