Speech in Kobe,Japan
Lime Street Series
Excerpts from Samantha's letter were
published in the Soviet newspaper "Pravda",
and said, in reference to her question about
why Andropov might want to conquer the
world: "We think we can pardon Samantha her
misleadings, because the girl is only ten
years old." Samantha was pleased
that "Pravda" had printed her letter, but
couldn't understand why no attempt was made
to answer her questions. So she wrote
a second letter, this time to Soviet
Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Dobrynin.
She asked him whether Mr. Andropov was
planning to answer her questions, and added
that "I thought my questions were good ones
and it shouldn't matter if I was ten years
old." A week later the Soviet Embassy
called Samantha at home to say that a reply
from Yuri Andropov was on its way. On April 26 she received a response from
Yuri Andropov. The letter, typed in
Russian on creamed colored paper and signed in
blue ink, was dated April 19, 1983, and was
accompanied by an English translation.
Click to see the letter in
received your letter, which is like many others
that have reached me recently from your country
and from other countries around the world.
seems to me—I can tell by your letter—that you
are a courageous and honest girl, resembling
Becky, the friend of Tom Sawyer in the famous
book of your compatriot Mark Twain. This book is
well known and loved in our country by all boys
write that you are anxious about whether there
will be a nuclear war between our two countries.
And you ask are we doing anything so that war
will not break out.
question is the most important of those that
every thinking man can pose. I will reply to you
seriously and honestly.
Samantha, we in the Soviet Union are trying to
do everything so that there will not be war on
Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This
is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir
Lenin, taught us.
people well know what a terrible thing war is.
Forty-two years ago, Nazi Germany which strove
for supremacy over the whole world, attacked our
country, burned and destroyed many thousands of
our towns and villages, killed millions of
Soviet men, women and children.
war, which ended with our victory, we were in
alliance with the United States: together we
fought for the liberation of many people from
the Nazi invaders. I hope that you know about
this from your history lessons in school. And
today we want very much to live in peace, to
trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on
this earth—with those far away and those near
by. And certainly with such a great country as
the United States of America.
America and in our country there are nuclear
weapons—terrible weapons that can kill millions
of people in an instant. But we do not want them
to be ever used. That's precisely why the Soviet
Union solemnly declared throughout the entire
world that never—never—will it use nuclear
weapons first against any country. In general we
propose to discontinue further production of
them and to proceed to the abolition of all the
stockpiles on earth.
seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to
your second question: "Why do you want to wage
war against the whole world or at least the
United States?" We want nothing of the kind. No
one in our country—neither workers, peasants,
writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor
children, nor members of the government—want
either a big or "little" war.
peace—there is something that we are occupied
with: growing wheat, building and inventing,
writing books and flying into space. We want
peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the
planet. For our children and for you, Samantha.
invite you, if your parents will let you, to
come to our country, the best time being this
summer. You will find out about our country,
meet with your contemporaries, visit an
international children's camp—"Artek"—on the
sea. And see for yourself: in the Soviet Union,
everyone is for peace and friendship among
you for your letter. I wish you all the best in
your young life.