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Would the World Unite to Fight an Extraterrestrial Threat?

Private one-on-one conversations between American and Russian leaders can be constructive, or they can border on science fiction. We’re not talking about the shadowy two-hour discussion in the news this month, but one that happened in 1985 during the Cold War-era Geneva Summit, between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Taking a break from negotiations about international diplomacy and the arms race, the two leaders and their interpreters took a walk around the grounds of the Swiss chateau Maison de Saussure. Reagan asked Gorbachev point-blank if the Soviet Union would help the United States if it was ever attacked by invaders from outer space. “No doubt about it,” Gorbachev answered.

Aliens? We've got your back:

  • No one knew what was discussed during that stroll along Lake Geneva, until a 2009 interview that brought together Gorbachev, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, and journalist Charlie Rose.

  • Gorbachev related the story about this unusual, informal agreement between the two superpowers, adding that after he agreed to fight alien attackers alongside the United States, Reagan responded, “We too.”

  • Reagan was fond of mentioning the hypothetical threat of an alien attack to underline the need for cooperation between countries, even during the tense years of the Cold War. He mentioned this several times during his presidency, including a 1987 speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

Discuss this Article

anon1000269
Post 1

Sometimes we need to let the men talk it out man to man without all the additives being thrown in. It's like leaving two kids to work things out on their own over having both sides of their family get involved. Less complicated, less criticism, more productive, better outcome. Peace on Earth

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