tv Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan CSPAN August 12, 2017 1:15pm-2:31pm EDT
discusses the cold war relationship between president ronald reagan and pope john paul ii. he is author of a pope and president john paul to, ronald reagan and the extraordinary untold story of the 20th century. the institute of world politics hosted this 90 minute event. >> hello ladies and gentlemen. best -- he will be blessed as he talks about god and ronald reagan. for some ronald reagan was god with a g. there is no better person to pontificate about reagan, his faith, and the roman pontiff then pope canker.
he's a political scientist at grove city college, which along the institutions as hilldale college, they don't which any federal money, means he doesn't have to bend. he can tell it as it is. that is fabulous because we -- we do not accept any of taxpayers money. paul kingery is a public intellectual on the conservative side. he's one of the few who has to break through he has written a
number of books on conservative issues, including very , including gays marriage. thingswritten a few about ronald reagan, including the crusader. last but not least i would like to recognize talking her for appreciating the institute of politics. he has been around the institute , including my mentor such as it is onlyofessor -- because of the junkyard dog qualities at some of the dinosaurs keep even cap.
i have begged them forever, please write books, please provide the truth. narrative alternative that would shed to -- shed true light into the past. instead, most of the cold warriors have left everything in the evil hands of the evil ones, such institutions like the washington compost or the new york slime. .[laughter] fortunately for us, and for posterity we have dr. canker. without much more do, please welcome him. yay. [applause]
>> i appreciate that. imagine an educational institution not taking federal government money. how can you not exist without government money? is it possible to run an educational institution without government money? taxpayer money, the city college has been doing that for a long time. and we lost that case. in the end we may be one thing -- maybe one day longer battle. i'm so glad that c-span is here. thank you for coming. and above many reasons, not just to cover this but to also be threat the institute of world politics. hopefully more young people will learn about the institute of world politics.
i recommend my students here all the time. a pope and a president, ronald reagan and john paul ii. this is a subject i have been researching for a long time. freedom of information act requests back in 2000 at the reagan library. i have written a dozen books in the interim between filing those foils and when this came out. project they couldn't walk away from. and really a product of people giving me information and telling me things that i was astounded to hear. finally got to the point where i've got to write this. there's too much important information being given to me that people don't know about.
that others knew about. the history had to be told. presentation on a 640 page book. where do you even start with this? you should be doing pr for me. in 2004. came out that was half the length of this book. i had a chapter in this book on ragan and john paul ii, but i needed more pages to be able to fully tell that story. where do you start in a presentation? in 1917. in the book you can go through 600 pages in an hour. i'm going to start on october 16, 1978. long sovietdecade
war on religion, me kyle gorbachev -- mikhail gorbachev called it a war on religion. he and ingalls used phrases in a communist manifesto such as abolition of religion. of a said all worship divinity is a necrophilia. he said there is nothing more abominable than religion. these men hated religion. they shut down churches. they blew up churches. they destroyed them. they literally banned the ringing of church bells. they crashed the bells to the ground. they melted them down into useful things, as one aide of stalin put it, as opposed to unuseful things like clanging for got in a church.
after all of these six decades, this goes on, persecuting the religious, russian orthodox priests, rabbis, anybody who believed in god. october 16, 1978, the college of cardinals, the conclave, out of the heart of the communist soviet bloc in poland, the only country where the war on religion totally failed. the communists had some success in czechoslovakia squashing report -- religion. but they couldn't stop it in poland, were something like 90% of the country was still practicing roman catholic. after a pope who lives for 33 days, the conclave meets again and they picked the first non-italian pope in 406 he five years. -- 455 years. think about how long that is. the pope was italian.
they picked the first slavic pope ever, and it is the archbishop from krakow, from poland. shows in the 264th heir to the chair st. peter. polls were ecstatic when they heard about this, when they heard rumors of first. is this even possible? they went to the communist-controlled media to try to find at any confirmation if this had truly happened. if a polish priest had become pope, there is no way this could have possibly happened. christophe meister, a polish physicist, talks about watching the communist evening news broadcast. they put it this way. an announcer came on with a very, very sad face and said that a new pope had been elected and it was cardinal boy diva. that was it. they did not say anything else. then the announcers switched to
the harvest for years the potato crop. it was absolutely amazing. the reaction by moscow was also very subdued. the public reaction was very subdued. all i could find in the archives -- i found three senses reported under the title "new head of the catholic church." "the head of the new roman catholic church was announced here. he is a polish cardinal. he has taken the name john paul ii." that was it.
the head of the kgb telephoned -- and he asked how could you possibly allow the election of a citizen of a socialist country as pope? the chief said he should direct his question to officials in rome rather than in poland. he was not amused. he is somebody who was not often amused anyway. he was not amused. pollens monsignor put it this -- poland's monsignor put it this way. square, st. peter's that was the end of communism. he turned to a cardinal, who is still around to this day, and he said what have they done?
[laughter] do they know what they have done here? moscow was wondering the same thing. --to 26, 19 some the eight, october 6, 1978. his first sunday homily, john paul ii exhorted the faithful with these words. you probably know the first three. the not afraid. open the doors to christ. open them wide. open the borders of states. economic and political systems, open the vast domains of culture. open them to his saving power. open the borders of states, economic and political systems. some moscow was very afraid of this. they were even more afraid and apoplectic when the new pope announced that his first foreign visit was going to be to poland, of all things.
if there is a story running through this book am in the case of both reagan and john paul ii, among the different branches that they shared, it was courage. my first visit will be to poland. they are not going to like it in moscow. of course they are not going to like it moscow. my first foreign visit will be to poland. brezhnev called edward garrick, his commonest puppet in poland, literally called him on the phone -- we know have a transcript of the conversation -- and told him to tell the pope no, he can't come to poland. and garrick said to him -- how can i not receive a polish pope when the majority of my country or catholics? he told them to come up with a nifty excuse. tell the pope. he is a wise man. that he can announced the book he he cannot come because he has taken ill. [laughter] and imagine that. garrick gently told his boss
that he couldn't say that. in reply, brezhnev barked at him that -- was a better communist than you. and slander down the phone. so john paul ii goes to poland. nine days to poland, huge crowds . hundreds of thousands, millions of people. imagine a million people standing in line to receive communion, right? that's have a some of these masses were. the head of the solidarity movement said this -- he comes to poland, and the 20 who followed me in the solidarity movement were suddenly 10 million. it was a greater multiplication than the loaves and the fishes. indeed, it was. go from 20 to 10 million.
for his opening homily at victory square on june 2, imagine the symbolism of fat -- of that, right? victory square. victory square is the spot he chooses. john paul ii said that christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude latitude. the excursion of christ from the history of man is an act against man. without christ, it is impossible to understand the history of poland. what ronald reagan would call the martyred nation of poland. and then he said this. there can be no just europe without the independence of poland marked on its map. that was a shot heard around the world. in reaction to this, the new york times -- any chance i get to take a shot at the new york
times, i take it -- wrote an editorial on june 5, 1975. this is so snooty. they said this. as much as the visit of john paul ii to poland must reinvigorate and re-inspire the roman catholic church in poland, it does not threaten the political order of the nation or eastern europe. [applause] [laughter] so tell that to moscow. ronald reagan's reaction to this -- we know, because he was watching footage of it in his living room in california. he was an ex governor at that point. reagan was watching this and there were tears in his eyes. and reagan said, that's it, that's it, that's it. the pope is the key. the pope is the key. we need to get elected. we need to reject the pope and
the vatican and make them an ally. as alan put it, he said then and there that the pope was the key figure in determining the fate of poland, and the fate of poland would affect the state of the comments block. he saw the pope's visit as an extra ordinary wedge into the very hearts, into their center of the communist domain. reagan immediately went into a radio studio in california. he was doing a daily radio broadcast, the gray can indicator right? he understood the power of radio -- the great communicator, right? he understood the power of radio. they were three to 400 -- 300 to 400 words each. they were two to three minute radio broadcasts. he recorded two or three of them on the pope's visit to poland. stalin once asked how many , divisions does the pope have? reagan said, now we've seen have many divisions the pope has. wherever he went in poland, crowds, 400,000, 500 thousand, one million, 5 million.
then reagan asked -- will the kremlin ever be the same again? will any of us, for that matter, ever be the same again? and reagan was never the same again after he saw them. november 13, 1979, this document was found a few years ago by john kohler, the cold war researcher, from ap reporter. it is a central committee meeting. nine soviet officials met on that day. one of them was mikael gorbachev, who would it -- who would later deny the negative interpretation of this is what he saw it intended to mean. they were furious, apoplectic over this new polish pope. they were try to figure out what to do about him, about this menace, who take october 1979 and shook a poland, called for the independence of poland.
so the issue of this edict "use all possibilities available to the soviet union to prevent the new course of policies initiated by the polish pope." use all possibilities available to the soviet union. if necessary, with additional measures beyond this information and discredit ancient. kohler put it this way. in layman's terms, this was unordered for sassy nation -- four assassination -- for as sassination. kohler was given this by the italian secret service agency. he said the translated text that he got from a high-ranking italian official, the very bottom of it said this --
document found in moscow points the plan for the physical elimination of jp ii. and it may indeed have. at some point, somebody called for the physical elimination of jp ii. is just a matter of when and whether the documentation existed, in paper or whatever. back to ronald reagan, he wants to reach out to them, the vatican and the pontiff, and make them an ally. he's got to get elected first, right? that occurred november 4, 1980. he defeated jimmy carter. he won 44 out of 50 states in that election. can you imagine that? this is unbelievable. for the record, when reagan was reelected in 1984, he won 49 at
a 50 states. which state did he not win? minnesota. exactly. minnesota. ronald reagan in 1984, the electoral college was 525-13. reagan twice won california, new york, new jersey, my own state of pennsylvania, and even massachusetts. it's not going to happen again. it's hard to imagine it even happened twice. with reporters in poland, he told them i envisioned what would happened in your presidential election. reagan will settle things. you wait and see. ronald reagan will make things better. reagan was inaugurated jerry 20th, 1980 1 p.m. he was one invite chief justice -- inaugurated january 20, 1981. he was sworn in by chief justice warren. he carried his mother's bible. she made this president.
the bible is open to the old -- she was there. this doesn't happen without her. the bible is open to the old testament, second chronicle 7:14, which says if my people turn from their wicked ways, i will hear the -- i will heal their land. she had written a wonderful verse for the healing of a nation. and reagan, then and there, pledged his country to what he called an area of national renewal. he wanted to change america and he wanted to change the world. he wanted to win the cold war. and people in this room who lived through it, nobody thought it was possible at the time,
right? reagan did. jump on the second maybe did. that's about it. nobody else did. -- john paul ii a be dead. that's about it. nobody else did. in the week after reagan's inauguration, the soviets started blasting reagan and john paul ii. they even called them out. this is amazing language. the kind of language and soviet publications was so incendiary and so over-the-top and so vitriolic, there's nothing like it anywhere. reading this stuff hurts your
stomach, it's so bad. but they denounced john paul ii, the soviet press. this piece was february 1981. a malicious, lowly, perfidious and backward toady of american militarists. this is the guy they're talking about. this is a guy who's now a saint in the catholic church. seeking to undermine time in his him with his overseas accomplices and his new boss in the white house. right? his new boss in the white house. moscow, if only these two guys could be dead, right? to quote joseph stalin, death solves all problems. no man, no problem, right? march 30, 1981, 2:25 p.m., ronald reagan spoke to the afl-cio at the washington hilton. is just a few weeks into his presidency. -- he is just a few weeks into his presidency. the press is outside. they yell out to him.
he lists his arm as if to deflect questions. john hinckley is waiting outside. hinckley is not part of any international conspiracy. he was just trying to get the attention of jodie foster. that was it. he had a crush on duty foster and he was tried to get her attention. he pulls out a pistol, using .22 devastator bullets, which explode on impact. reagan was shot underneath the arm. jerry parr, the secret service agent, thrusts reagan and the limousine and lands on top of him and orders the driver to take off. and reagan says, jerry, get off of me. i think you broke one of my ribs. he sees frothy bubbles from reagan's lips.
he ordered the driver to go to george washington university hospital. that split decision probably saved his life. it was reported by some news organizations that reagan wasn't even hit, and if he was head, he wasn't badly wounded pair nancy reagan did not know what she was going to see when she got a hospital. he might just be fine when she gets there. ronald reagan got out of the car. he wants to walk in. fell down. went right down. went inside, immediately started working on him. before he went out, ronald reagan would later write to this -- i focused on the tile ceiling and i prayed. this is no reagan -- this is noel reagan and him. i realized i couldn't ask got for help while having hatred for
the mixed up young man who shot me. isn't that the lost sheep? i began to pray for his soul, that he would find his way back into the fold. john paul ii would forgive his assassin, too. in prison, he would meet with him. when john a -- when ronald reagan died, washington post published a letter to the editor. it was john hinckley psychiatrist, his doctor, who said ronald reagan contacted me in the 1980's and asked if he could meet with john higley to forgive him. i told him i don't know if that would be good for hinckley. and reagan said, doc, if it isn't good for the patient, i won't do it. if we can do it, i will. so reagan never met with him. louis evans, the pastor at the presbyterian church over here, he talked to ronald reagan about this and reagan told him -- reagan had the sense that, if he
didn't forgive his assassin, his would-be assassin, he was going to die. got was going to take his life. reagan felt his survival was contingent upon his forgiveness, that that was something he needed to do. reagan would survive and go on to telling number of people, his son michael, his daughter marine, the reverend louis evans, billy graham, he would tell this to mother teresa, to cardinal cooke in new york, that he believed he was spared by godfrey special purpose. and as edmund morris put it, he believed that this -- reagan wrote this in his diary -- whatever happens now, i om i like the got and i will try to serve him in every way i can. morse said that mr. reagan it was time to take on that institutional murder of also liberty is known as soviet communism. -- institutional murderer of all liberties known as soviet communism. seven accomplices were named, conceived by the bulgarian
secret service. he got to st. peter's square early that morning, probably first arrived around 9:00 a.m., waited all day. on the other side of st. peter's square, one of his accomplices is waiting with a panic bomb that he is going to detonate as soon as the first shoots. that way the bomb will the verge attention from the shooting on the other side. he is concealing a .9 millimeter semiautomatic browning. about 5:00, 5:15 p.m., john paul ii comes riding up in the white fiat pope mobile, kissing babies, say hi to people. comes within a few yards, if you feed of him and goes right past the noblest can see peter's square, where peter, considered the first peter by the roman catholic church, had been
martyred almost 2000 years ago, right there in that spot. he's driving by, gets up to the spot, the pistol in the air, fired four times, hit the pope twice, one in the hand, one in the abdomen. he immediately sink's down into the arms of two of his aides. are you hit? and the pope said in the stomach. does it hurt? it does. the pope was immediately rushed to the hospital. another snap decision by an ambulance driver and a doctor who just happened to be in the area, who drove the wrong way down a two way street in rome -- which happens all the time in rome, if any of you have been to italy -- they stop by a policeman with issa machine gun who johnson to the ambulance -- with a submachine gun who jumps into the ambulance. he, like reagan, was in the
process of bleeding to death. they asked the father to give the anointment of the sick. they thought he could go. he is greeted by the hospital's very best surgeons. george -- reagan got to george washington hospital and there happened to be a monthly meeting of the department heads. the top surgeon walks in. the elevators are always jampacked at the hospital, but this time, he walked in. every single elevator door was open. he said open by some unknown genius. he gets in, went straight to the ninth floor, the nurses start to change his clothes. he puts on his scrubs, gets ready, his patient's blood
pressure drops to 70. john paul ii underwent five and a half hours of surgery. the first blood transfusion wouldn't take. the doctors and nurses had to donate some of their old blood. he needed six pints of blood. reagan needed eight pints of blood. the bullet missed john paul ii's main abdominal artery by centimeters. the bullet that went in reagan missed his main artery in his heart by centimeters. so mere centimeters either way and they are both dead. as for the shooter, he tried to flee, but he was seized by a nun, sister leticia from the lombardi region of rome, who grabbed him, held him down, and reprimanded him, and said why did you do it! [laughter] i can tell some of you went to catholic school. you get the image of the nun in
your head. do know exactly what she looks like. and he said, not me, not me. she said yes, you, it was you. and she held him down, along with a couple of other people. he did not realize it, but the none was saving his life. when he was to get in the back of the truck that was concealed like a household goods company, his kindness friends were going to put a bullet in him -- his communist friends were going to put a bullet in him. they were not going to let him walk away from this. ronald reagan's reaction to this -- he wrote in his diary entry that may 13, 1981, word brought to us of the shooting of the pope. called cardinal cooke and cardinal kroll, send message to vatican, and prayed. nsa national security advisor said reagan asked me every day for weeks thereafter about the pontiff's recovery.
the president's affection for the pope was magnified greatly by the shooting. john paul ii had sent a cable to the present when reagan was shot and said i'm praying for you. and now reagan sent a cable to the vatican saying i'm praying for you. it established the world's most exclusive national prayer society. if anyone was concerned about a french -- a kinship between the pope and the president, now they had to really worry about it. few people know with precision can share the dubious distinction that you share. reagan was telling him i feel your pain. i get it. i get it. reagan's first public speech
after the shooting of john paul ii, may 17, 1981, amazing. where would it be but notre dame? john paul ii, marian pope, his papal motto was totally yours, mary. he dedicated his papacy to mary. mary is as revered in poland come in krakow. reagan's speech was named "for our lady." reagan made a statement, wish john pope the second -- john paul ii well. he said the holy father had warned of certain economic theories that used the rhetoric of class struggle to justify its justice. he mentioned this after sending his greetings to john paul ii. in the name of another ledge adjusters, the neighbors
sometimes destroyed, killed -- destroy it, killed. looking back, if reagan was here, telegraphing what he was thinking about who might have been involved? more on that later. bill casey at the cia was thinking the same. either way, i commend ellen smith, the chairman of the board here at the institute of world politics, the son of bill casey, the son-in-law of bill casey. they were of huge help to me in giving me a couple of critical insights on this book. bill casey, on the morning of may 14, 19 81, the day after the pope was shot, called a meeting of the national foreign intelligence board in washington. he wanted to know what was moscow up to on this day after the pope was shot? moscow's reaction come after suddenly blasting the pope as
this perfidious backward to mow lying of his new boss in the white house, suddenly very quiet, all of a sudden. on may 14, they released a two-sends statement. pope john paul ii remains in stable condition after undergoing five hours of surgery. the pope was hit by three of the four bullets that the terrorists him fired. that's it. he was in him by three. he was hit by two. moscow was a little overly hopeful here. on may 15 came the first response. the terrorists, who yesterday tried to kill john paul ii, is a turkish citizen. in the past, he has had close ties with turkey's new fascist nationalist movement party. he was referred to as a new fascist twice, terrorist three times, murder and killer once,
and seven times as turkey, turkish, turkish citizen. turk, turk, turk. they don't -- they want this guy to be seen as a turkish -- that was a red flag. pun intended, as far as i'm concerned. moscow was quiet for four to six months. then "the guardian" published an article in september 1981 suggesting the possibility that moscow may have been involved with this. all of a sudden, -- exploded. whatever they published, the stuff was cleared. this was always cleared through the kremlin. blasted the vile concoction and its ravings. here is the typical language they use in soviet publications. nationally, it never occurred to anyone to portray this piece of scum as a communist agent.
he was said to be the result of a plot, organized by countries of the eastern bloc. [laughter] absurd, this the new and tie soviet concoction is as groundless as others, they said. i could have written 600 pages just quoting moscow going off the hinges from that point on, lashing out at anybody who dared to suggest they might have been involved. claire sterling, who did an amazing work on all this in the early 1980's, just slamming, illustrating anybody who suggested this. lie after lie after lie. in short order, moscow, the kremlin, would be saying that the cia ordered the hit on the pope. anything. why not?
say it loud enough, who knows, maybe some people pick it up. june 7, 1982, finally, reagan and john paul ii met for the first time. reagan had wanted to get together since june 1929. they had been trying to get together. reagan reached out to him in figure 1981, -- since june 1979. they had been trying to get together. reagan reached out to him in february 1981. there is no transcript available of this. so we only know what reagan told clarke and some others. i'm told that there were vatican notetakers for a lot of these meetings. reagan and john paul ii would be five times between 1982 and 1990, 1-on-one.
what we know is what others told us. that it can records are sealed for 75 years. so vatican records on a 1982 meeting will be released on 2057. i'll be 90. if i'm alive at that point, i will get my cane and hobble into the vatican and see what i can see. but they talked about the miraculous fact that they had both survived, and that they believed god had spared their lives for a special purpose, which they believed was to take down and defeat soviet communism. that's what they said to one another. reagan told him, the pope, look how they evil forces were put in our way and how providence intervened. clarke said this was a wonderful and transformative day. they gave the president and the pope the opportunity to develop
a personal relationship from then on. the meeting led to real action. they translated their lofty, divine mission into a practical mission to sustain the solidarity movement as the wage that could split the communist empire. imagine this non-polish president, protestant president, and he says to this polish pope, and hope remains in poland. we come a together, can keep it alive. one of the cardinal's -- week, together, can keep it alive. one of the cardinals put it this way. what he called the holy alliance. this is an amazing statement. nobody believed the collapse of communism would happen this faster in this timetable. but in their first meeting together, the holy father and the president committed themselves and the institutions of the church and america to such a goal. imagine that. and from that day, the focus was to bring it about. the focus was to bring it about. in poland, it would be the crack
in the soviet bloc. the whole block would split from top to bottom. the solidarity movement could be the dagger to the heart of the soviet empire. that's how they saw it. pretty remarkable. they would go on to meet five times after that. 1982, 1984, june 1987, september 1987. the cover of my book -- i love the picture -- i said, please to the editor, put that picture on the cover of the book. it's from miami in september 1987. that's nancy reagan's favorite picture of the two as well. reagan is saying something very earnestly and john paul ii is listening carefully. they had huge admiration for one another. at the same time, reagan, not being catholic, had great
admiration for john paul ii, who he called a great man. at the same time, he was not in awe of the father like a catholic might be. they were somewhat more like equals. reagan is speaking earnestly and the pope is listening to him, that picture really captures that. reagan also new catholicism, because his father was catholic. his brother was a daily communicant in the catholic church. his sister-in-law, who just died a few years ago, lived to be over a hundred, a devout catholic. he had catholic speechwriters. dick allen was catholic. al haig was catholic. a la haig's brother was a catholic priest. ronald reagan's ex-wife, jane wyman -- you guys don't know this -- jane wyman, the movie this -- jane wyman, the movie star, died a third order dominican nun.
she was buried in the habit. she was so do about that in her contract for "falcon crest" in the 1980's, she added the stipulation that a priest be on set with her every day to serve her communion. that's how devout she became. reagan and john paul ii, they were in constant communication. i tried to count the letters, the cables, the diplomatic pouches, the liaison, the contacts -- there were so many of them. impossible. the documents are still redacted. they don't make any sense, there are so many of them. i don't understand why so many of them are still redacted. martin and louise anderson recounted by the end of 1981 a dozen or so direct letters that had already been exchanged between them, before 1981 was even over. there was so much communication. i found a december 29, 1981 memo
between joe clark and nancy at the white house where they were worried that there was too much communication. are we overloading the vatican circuits, they said. clarke said, no, we need to keep this going. we need to constantly talk. i have here, which you cannot see, this is a february 1984 urgent cable, 11:30 at night, from john paul ii in rome to ronald reagan. he's been trying to reach the president all day by phone. really important. and then it says, i'm looking at this in the reagan library. turn the next page, begin message from holy father -- all blacked out. next page, all blacked out. what is it? what were they talking about?
i have no idea. going to have to wait a while. the main contact liaison between the two, bill casey, bill lagi.e and peel lobby bill clarke of the national security council, bill casey of the cia, and the apostolic knows nunzio to washington. they thought there was a possibility their phone conversations would be listened to. clarke would say, bill, i think we need to get some cappuccino. that would mean that it was time to go to the archbishop's residence. at the time, he made a great cappuccino and you could not get a cappuccino on every corner washington like today.
they met so much, clarke said that he met with laggi weekly, sometimes more than a week. and they kept no notes. i looked at all of clarke's stuff -- no notes. do you have even one napkin with notes on it? he said sometimes i scribbled things on a napkin, but i threw it away. this was too important. i wasn't writing memoirs. i wasn't try to tell the press anything. we wanted to take down an evil empire. this was a divine calling. this transcended politics. he didn't care about what "the new york times" thought. no notes, period. me, casey and laggi, nobody else. the state department is not know that we are meeting. fine. reagan knows. i will brief reagan. i've got to move along here. the big blockbuster of my book, the biggest issue in it, which convinced me that i had to write this, that i had to pursue this project, is the book's longest chapter.
i was told that the cia, under casey's direction, a truly supersecret, extraordinary investigation outside of the institutional cia and the cia establishmentarians. there was a dogfight in the cia. there were hardliners in the cia and soft liners. there were some in the cia who thought that there is no way the soviets whatever put a bullet in the pope, never do something like that, especially because some people in the cia were even arguing -- bob gates writes about this -- some people argued that the soviets saw the pope as offering stability in the communist empire, which i think is insane that anybody would think that. but some people believed that. so this was a dogfight in the agency. the italians were investigating the shooting. people wanted to know if we were investigating the shooting. there were three or four occasions when reagan was asked in press conferences -- are you
guys looking into this? reagan would say the italians are looking into this. digital in washington, senator al d'amato in others, were pushing and pushing, bill casey, you guys need to look into this. so bill casey set up an internal investigation. i was told it was done by two young women who did dynamite research, ran circles around the establishment with the research they did, and they concluded in an internal report that to this day has not been fully released, hasn't been declassified, april, -may 1985, they concluded, the small group concluded that the soviets ordered a hit on the pope, and specifically ordered -- it was ordered and organized by the soviet gru, military intelligence, with the a go-ahead, approval, and the
blessing of a guy named yuri andropov at the kgb. that's what they learned. casey, i was told by a number of sources, briefed reagan on this one-on-one in the oval office. i went back through all of the daily records and scheduled for april and may 1985. there was one day that he and casey met one-on-one. a.m.s may 16, 1985, 11:02 to 11:17 a.m. doug brinkley in the reagan diaries says thousands of pages in the reagan diary, the federal government, they cleared almost all of the pages. they all got through, except maybe a handful, about a a dozen half pages. one of the pages that isn't cleared is the casey meeting with reagan. i think that's the moment when casey briefed reagan and told him what happened. i was told that the
conversation, casey explained and he was holding the document and reagan said can i see that? and casey said, yeah, you can see it. you're the president. of course you can see it. reagan looked at it and said what are we going to do about this? casey briefed john paul ii on it, who said i'm not surprised. he suspected the soviets as early as july 18, 1981, maybe even earlier, before he passed out. in his final words to the nurse in the hospital, john paul ii said to her, how could they do it? how could they do it? they? it was one shooter. who is he thinking about with the they? he wasn't surprised. some of the guys in the cia said the soviets would never. casey and clarke knew, they kill them if they could.
as countryt of was an evil empire. piriests and nuns. they had no trouble believing that the kremlin would want to put a bullet in the pope. the character assassination of pius the 12th. it is a good have gotten their if they could-- have gotten their hands on him, they would have. they wanted this guy gone. they realized he was a mortal threat to their empire. here is where reagan and the kremlin agreed. they both agreed the john paul ii was a grave threat to the soviet empire, which is why reagan said i need to reach out to him and make him an ally to take down the empire, which is why the kremlin said he's got to go. he has to be eliminated. john paul ii's reaction to this, i was told by a number of
sources, ambassador thomas melody said this to a national catholic reporter when john paul ii died. he asked the father about releasing all details about any investigation of the shooting of the pope, and john paul ii said no, let it go. 1989, mikhail gorbachev was visiting the vatican. by the way, why did he go to russia? it was not gorbachev's fault. the russian orthodox church did not want john paul ii to come to russia. but things are over and things are getting better. a cia stationas
chief. he also wrote a book about this in the early 1980's, as did clay sterling. he said john paul ii said, if i come out publicly and say that the soviets did this, they will just deny it. they launch a disinformation campaign. he didn't want world war iii to be started over him. what was done was done. he survived. time to move on. this is a guy who is an eternal window of a 2000-year church. he's thinking eternity. he doesn't care whether or not this gets reported by open the "washington post" in 1985. all right, let me finish that up. 1989, the collapse of communism. ronald reagan no longer president. spring of 1989, he was meeting in his century city office with four poles. one had brought in members of the polish solidarity movement. they were getting ready for the first free and fair elections in the communist bloc, which should have happened at yalta. right? this is a betrayal that had gone on for 44 years at that point. these were admirers of ronald
reagan. one of the members gave reagan a special handcarved madonna, that he had carved in prison. reagan said thank you, i will take this into my home. they asked reagan, can you give us any campaign advice, this guy who has had enormous political success in his lifetime. and reagan told them this, of all things. listen to your conscience. because that's where the holy spirit speaks to you. which is an odd sentiment for political advice, is it not? then he turned and he pointed to a picture of john paul ii on his wall. and reagan said, he's my best friend. he's my best friend. i was told this over 10 years ago. believe me, i wrote that one down. he said he's my best friend. i quote nancy reagan on this, who used similar language as well, and a number of people in the book. now to be sure, there some
genial overstatement in that phrase. they weren't best friends, ok, in the sense of calling one another up and asking about the grandkids or fishing or the ballgame. i think what reagan meant was, in this, what he saw as a historical, spiritual calling, to defeat the great evil of the 20th century, that went from 1917 to 1989, that far out leveled the level of naziism. he had no closer or better best friend than john paul ii. they had the election in poland, and the communists did not win any singleseat. in the upper chamber, solidarity wednesday 99 out of 100.
won 99 out of 100. a businessman won who was not a solidarity but was not a communist and that was the breach in the berlin wall. if you want to know what led to the region the berlin wall, it was the elections in poland in 1989. a couple more things and i will wrap this up. reagan and john paul ii would meet once more at the vatican, september 1990. no one reported on this. no one reported on the june 1987 meeting. i found only a three-sentence blurb on "usa today." i asked a nancy reagan about it. she said it was a warm and wonderful meeting. they did discuss all of these people and places with the pope, meaning the collapse of communism. but she couldn't recollect specific details, other than saying we just loved him. ronnie and i loved him. and it was a warm and wonderful meeting. it would turn out to be the last meeting together. 21st century, ronald reagan slowly drifted away from alzheimer's disease.
l, the great biographer of john paul ii, said the john paul ii would ask him often about him. he said that he often would not remember that he was president. john paul ii said he was hurt by that. john paul ii was fading of parkinson's disease. builbill clark also died of parkinson's disease. bill used to say to me, you know, paul, the good lord gave perkinson's disease to saints, like john paul ii and my father. and now he's gotten around to giving it to sinners like me. that's what clarke said. so for reagan, the body was strong in the mind was gone. for john paul ii, the mind was strong, the body was gone. remember this, guys?
it went on for months. on june 4, 2004, president george w. bush went to rome to give the presidential medal of freedom to john paul ii. he was hunched in agony, barely able to mouth words, he thanked bush and he thanked reagan. he said i send my regards to president reagan. .nto mrs. reagan ronald reagan died the next day. june 5. a year later, on april 2, 2005, john paul ii died as well. joining his partner in life, now in death less than a year later. i will wrap up with this final statement. another thing that nobody in the press reported on, june 27, 2011, a special mass is held at st. mary's.
they called a thanksgiving -- i mass. a thanksgiving mass. officiating was this cardinal. it was the priest who held a bleeding holy father in his arms at st. peter's square. who anointed him at the hospital. he said this -- this world is a battlefield of good and evil, truth and falsehoods. each of us faces a choice. today, we recall two great men who stood before this very decisiond how their changed the course of history and shaped the world in which we live. those two, john paul ii and ronald reagan, answered the
call. they came together on the battlefield and they did it at great personal risk to the point that one of them took a bullet directly because of it. and almost died because of it. they were unafraid to stand up to the soviet beasts that had killed tens of millions of people. because of that, because of what they did and what they committed to doing together, they rewrote the ending of the story of the 20th century. thank you. [applause] paul: what angle too long, l: i hope i did not go too long, kevin. any questions?
>> there are reports of people in russia doing exactly what you just said. paul: it is scary to see what is going on. >> that is what led to the absolu. paul: that is what led to the -- led to them being docked by freedom house. they're been the leader since 2007. putin was in the kgb. this was meant 13th, 1991 when john paul ii was shot. there is no way that he was involved in this. roman numeral about it. it.new about he was too low ranking at the time. his boss was a number one man at the kgb. he knew about this. he had given the go-ahead. there is no way that putin knew about it.
but there is no way that he does not know about it now. he has been a major protector of the glu military intelligence. the gru is a rock. it is the only intelligence military agency in russia that is not changed names. the kgb has changed names, and putin has given it more strength and more staff and has been protecting both. is this why the information on our side hasn't been released? because we are afraid of offending the russians? why? it has been 36 years. our president has been very vocal with his twitter account. he has been very candid and vocal about his opinions. he doesn't want to be seen as putin's lapdog. why don't you call on putin to tell us what he knows about
this? i think we now know who is behind it. why not release the details? i would also ask president trump or anybody in the bureaucracy today, i am wondering if it is that the bureaucracy hasn't thought about these things in a while. it has been over 10 years since the death of john paul ii. let's let some of this information declassified and released. the soviet kremlin tried to kill a pope. do you know how that would have changed the end of the 20th century? it was the crime of the century. the italians figured out that the gru was behind it. they are convinced about it. to know that our cia concluded the same thing, that information has not been released. i am hoping that the release of
this book will hopefully some of that information. it is about time. on, i guess this was in the summer of 1981, many newspapers in europe began to cover bulgarian connections. paul: that is right. >> there was a hearing on income on it, pauley -- tinsley, i was there, i wrote about it. the cia never glommed onto it. can you explain why do cia drag its feet? paul: it was the establishmentarians who had worked softer on their views on the soviets. casey, clark, others who had a much more hardline before the soviets. claire sterling, who had an amazing report on it, she wrote
a huge, multithousand page piece for "the new york times." before that, a huge piece work reader's digest. it had a huge circulation in those days. she learnable -- she wrote a whole book on is, looking into the assassination. casey held up sterling's book and said i paid $13.95 for this thing, which told me more than you people, who i paid $50,000 a year. that was a pivotal moment. i was told that by the person who set up the launch. he came away from that thinking that we have to look into it. it is interesting if you read sterling's book, she is hard on casey clark and reagan. not too hard, but kind of like you guys are the hardliners, why
you are the evil empire guys. why are you digging into this? she did not know that privately, they suspected the soviets were behind it. they didn't have proof. the view of reagan as a verbal bomb thrower, they lie, they steal, reagan used words like this when it served a constructive purpose. but he was always careful in what he says. if you read the dialogue with reagan, "mr. president, do you think the soviets could be behind this?" he was very cautious. he said i don't know, i have no idea. i shouldn't offer a personal opinion. i understand that the italians are looking into it and i support that. reagan privately and publicly was much more careful what he said. but casey after meeting with the sterling, they said we have to do our own investigation at the cia and figure out what
happened. if claire can learn this much -- heson as they learned that was being led from the italian present to the courthouse. this was in the summer of 1983. the italian press is saying who asked you to shoot the pope? the bulgarians. who else is behind it? the kgb. he started singing like canaries. the italians are asking questions. as soon as clark and casey and reagan heard the bulgarians, they were called the 16th soviet republic. no other country in the soviet bloc was as under the thumb as the kremlin as the bulgarians. this was huge to the kgb. it was difficult of the soviets
to always get someone else to do the dirty work. they did it through proxy and through the bulgarians in particular. when they heard that the bulgarians were involved, that was it. by the way, let me ask you this, why did the bulgarians want to kill the pope? what do they care about this? the bulgarians? they're not going to do that unless moscow gave them the go-ahead. other questions? no? yes? >> as documentation is developing and as there is discussion proceeding the eastern europe, there are also questions to what degree he might have been compromised figure. do you have any comments?
paul: i am not sure. i zeroed in on the same thing. what he actually said, i go through this in the book. they put a contract out on him. they actually tried to assassinate him. i think the payment on that was going to be $300,000. the initial it -- this is fascinating, it was january 20, 1981. when he went to rome to me with he kneeled for him and john paul ii gave him a blessing. they had a private mass together. he went back to his hotel and in rome, it was supposed to detonate, it was supposed to explode. it didn't happen, didn't go through. some people may see this as divine planning. the person who failed to pull off that assassination was a guy -- so hek malle
disappointed his boss that we kremlin that time, but he wouldn't disappoint them on may 13, 1981. should i stop? >> final question? paul: no? thank you very much, appreciate it. thank you. thank you, john. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> we have a facebook question for peter who says are there any historical resources on the people who died in detroit? >> well, there is one in particular. --r ity featured in
you could be featured in our next conversation. go to c-span.org/history. scarlet o'hara o'cusses his book -- robert harrow discusses his book "the and discusses" several buildings and sites including the u.s. capitol don't land arlington national cemetery. here is a preview. >> he was so very impassioned about engineering. may be guys know that he the first industrial user of photography in the world? he use photography and became a photographer. he was so varied in his interests, so practical and passin passionate, and i wantedo
use a quote that michelle helped me track down at his wife wrote to her mother at one point early in the war, and she was afraid. "it is as though his soul is on fire with indignation." i thought, wait a second, he was a soul on fire in general. my editor decided we would not call it that. [laughter] highlysame time, he was regarded, irritable, very cranky, very demanding. boa because he was so self obsessedr. that is the mix you get. loyal.also incredibly lawyer explore people passing through and they would get together and train and show their little show and tell of
had a and apparently, he lot of faithful friends. >> watch the entire program on the civil war today at 6 p.m. eastern. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> up next on american history andthe boston athenaeum boston poets theater present a staged reading program in honor of the literary legacy of dr. generations of the adams -- four generations of the adams family. this reading by three actors follows the family's evolving concerns from the late 18th to the late 19th century. this is about 90 minutes. >> good evin