Soviets call Reagan joke 'dangerous' [ARCHIVE]

(Editor's Note: The following is a UPI wire story from August 14, 1984)
Posted By JOHN IAMS  |  Aug. 11, 2014 at 5:44 PM
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MOSCOW, Aug 14., 1984 (UPI) -- The Communist Party newspaper Pravda said today President Reagan's 'joke' about bombing the Soviet Union was proof of 'dangerous designs' and showed his hypocrisy in seeking normal relations with the Soviet Union.

Pravda said Reagan's statement was 'proof of the fact that his hypocritical speculation on the striving to normalize relations with the Soviet Union and ensure disarmament was simply intended to camouflage the policy' of anti-Sovietism.

'Reagan's prank before a microphone of the American radio on Aug. 11 is fresh evidence of the dangerous designs hatched by the United States administration,' Pravda said.

While testing the microphone sound level before his weekly radio show Saturday, Reagan said, 'My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombing begins in five minutes.'

Reagan aides and supporters said Reagan was only joking when he made the remarks.

The official news agency Tass on Tuesday night described the Reagan remarks as 'irresponsible' and a 'cynical escapade.'

Soviet television called the off-the-record remark a 'secret dream' of Reagan -- who in the past has called the Soviet Union 'evil' and in a similar microphone test more than two years ago, called the Russians 'lousy bums.'

'Reagan's self-exposing pronouncement has most clearly brought to light the hypocrisy of his peace-making rhetoric used as a cover for the bellicose confrontation policy of his administration,' Tass said.

A Soviet television commentator on Vremya, the nightly news, said Tuesday that Reagan 'blurts out what he is thinking, i.e., to outlaw Russia and to start bombing in five minutes. This is a joke. But this is also a secret dream which was allowed to escape.'

The commentator said, 'it is simple-mindedness, mildly speaking, which characterizes the view of the president on world problems.'

'President Reagan's irresponsible attitude to the key issues of our times has touched off a wave of indignation, both in the United States itself and outside it,' Tass charged.

Reagan's remark 'has caused most serious concern in Western Europe,' the news agency said, adding that Europeans viewed the 'joke' as 'a very vivid reflection of the convictions of the United States President.'

It said, 'the White House remains dead silent in answer to the attempts at getting commentaries on this cynical escapade,' which, 'has revealed the real character of the policy pursued by the current U.S. administration.'

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