President Reagan said Monday his greatest victory at the Moscow summit came not in superpower negotiations but in the "words of faith, words of freedom, words of truth" that he gave to the Soviet people.
"It made me feel humble, that's the only way you could feel, it made me think that visiting Moscow on behalf of the American people was one of the highest privileges of my life," Reagan said a speech summing up his talks last week with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.Noting "how much things have changed" because of the friendly outcome of the five-day summit, Reagan began by greeting the Soviet delegation attending his address before the World Gas Conference.
The president said he left Moscow with an "impression of change, an impression of new possibilities, of new hope" stemming from Gorbachev's economic and social reforms.
Reagan said he was encouraged by his talks with Gorbachev on arms control, regional and bilateral matters and human rights, and his meetings with Soviet dissidents, refuseniks and Russian Orthodox monks.
He recalled one published report about an elderly woman who had witnessed the president's stroll through a Moscow street and was quoted as saying, "I like it that he says, God bless you."
"There perhaps lies the greatest significance of what took place in Moscow last week - not that Ronald Reagan spoke there," Reagan said.
"I was only giving voice to the abiding beliefs of the American people, indeed of free people everywhere.
"No, it was that the words that were spoken were words of faith, words of freedom, words of truth. Unarmed truth is irresistible."
Since the end of the May 29-June 2 summit, Reagan has portrayed his sessions with Gorbachev as a turning point in East-West affairs.
On Saturday, Reagan said his Kremlin talks sowed the "seeds of freedom and greater trust" that he hopes will lead to increased liberty for the Soviet people.
"I just have to believe that, in ways we may not even be able to guess, those seeds will take root and grow," the president said in his weekly radio address from the Oval Office.
The president pointed to his and Gorbachev's exchange of ratification documents for the treaty banning medium-range nuclear missiles, calling it "the event that held perhaps the most immediate historic importance" during the summit.
The two leaders had signed the accord at their last meeting in December.