WASHINGTON -- President Reagan says there is no word for freedom in the Russian language. But there is, and it is 'swoboda'.
The president in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation aired Wedneday spoke of the differences between the U.S. and Soviet systems, saying they were diametrically opposed.
Asked to explain, Reagan said, 'I'm no linguist but I have been told that in the Russian language there isn't even a word for freedom.'
Later on Wednesday, deputy White House press secretary Larry Speakes was asked:
'Is the president aware that there is a word for freedom in the Russian language.'
'Yes, he is,' Speakes replied. 'Somebody had told him that. And I never heard him mention it before, but he is aware of it. The word is?'
'Swoboda,' a reporter replied.
Then Speakes chided:
'Let me ask you a question. Out of that extensive interview, which contained -- was the first of the president's public statements on his hopes and aspirations for a historic meeting with the Soviet Union, that is the only question you could think to ask out of it? Answer, please.'
Reporters assured him they had other questions. And the Tass News Agency reporter left the briefing muttering no word for freedom.