America flexed its military muscles on April 14 to strike at Libyan leader, Muammar Qaddafi. The President took to the airwaves to explain why our fighters had bombed Libyan targets. President Reagan said he had warned Qaddafi earlier in the year that any further Libyan sponsored acts of terrorism would meet with swift reprisals. Then on April 5th, a US GI was among two people killed when a bomb went off in a restaurant in West Berlin.
Ronald Reagan: Today, we have done what we had to do. If necessary, we shall do it again.
Dennis Daily: Two US airmen did not return from the mission. Their plane went down in the Mediterranean of the coast of Libya. The international chess game of US-Soviet relations reached a new stalemate with the arrest of a US journalist, Nicholas Daniloff, the Moscow bureau chief for US News & World Report. The arrest came just days after a soviet citizen, Gennadi Zakharov, had been arrested in New York on spy charges. There was instant talk of a swap, but Secretary of State,
George Shultz was adamant in his assertion that the cases were not similar.
George Shultz: Zakharov was caught spying. He is a spy and we have the evidence. Now, as far as Mr. Daniloff is concerned, he is is not a spy; he was set up.
Dennis Daily: Two weeks later, Daniloff was allowed to leave Soviet custody and go to the US embassy in Moscow. Then a month after the original arrests, Daniloff unexpectedly headed for the Moscow airport.
Ronald Reagan: 12 o'clock central time, a Lufthansa airliner left Moscow bound for Frankfurt, West Germany, and on board are Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Daniloff.
Dennis Daily: The next day, Zakharov pleaded no contest to spy charges in a New York City Court and soon he too was headed home. A prominent Soviet dissident, Yuri Orlov, was released to go to the west as part of the complicated exchange. President Reagan insisted that the Orlov release was linked to the Zakharov release and that Daniloff was merely let go by the Soviets, no strings attached.
Speaker: Unfortunately, this case will have a very intimidating effect on my colleagues because what happened to me could happen to anybody. Dennis Daily: The Daniloff release preceded a hastily called summit meeting. It was held in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavيk. It was a weekend of high hopes and there it ended. Like so many chess championships held in Reykjavيk before, confrontation and stalemate in the ongoing game of East-West diplomacy.