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Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
Photojournalism and the American Presidency - Reading America's Photos
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"Tea with Two First Ladies" Transcript
Diana Walker:

I did do quite a lot of behind the scenes things with President and Mrs. Reagan. I think probably my most favorite behind-the-scenes picture was....President Reagan and President Gorbachev had their first summit in Geneva. I think it was in 1985 and the Reagans had a very elegant place to stay. They were staying at the home of the Aga Khan and it was (a) very beautiful house indeed and that was going to be the scene of the first meeting between Mrs. Raisa Gorbachev and Nancy Reagan. And, they hadn't met. And, I asked to be behind the scenes for the real meeting. The press was ushered into one of the rooms in--in the villa and they sat and looked at each other in chairs or shook hands or something and that was the photo op. And then they actually went into the library and sat and had tea and that's where I was. And, it was interesting because it was so obvious that they--these two ladies were not going to have much in common – and they didn't. And I showed that picture, which is in my book, of Raisa and Mrs. Reagan--I showed it to Mrs. Reagan when I went to see her--to talk to her as I did all the Presidents and First Ladies about the pictures I was going to use in my book 'cause their comments are the captions for the pictures--and, I showed it to Mrs. Reagan and she was so great about it. She said, "You know, Raisa Gorbachev and I did not have much in common." And, I thought that's an understatement, but it was very nicely said. And she said, "But you know, what did that matter?" She said, "We loved him--and he loved Raisa and that's all that mattered." And I thought, isn't that a lovely way to put it.

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audio clipTea with Two First Ladies
The Briscoe Center for American History