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Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson was a speechwriter for U.S. President Ronald Reagan who authored the sentence, "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear down this wall" in a speech delivered in West Berlin. On arrival in Berlin he was warned by US diplomats to avoid cold war rhetoric in Reagan's speech and that Berliners had adjusted to the presence of the Berlin Wall. On consultation with local Berliners he, however, found them deeply wounded and concerned about the wall, which in many instances had separated families and represented an intrusion of a police state into daily life.

On return to Washington while working on the speech the phrase became controversial, although Reagan liked it, with the State Department, and other experts and repeated attempts were made to delete it from the speech. Reagan overruled them, wishing to communicate not only with Berliners but with East Germans on the other side of the wall.

The speech was delivered by President Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin, on June 12, 1987.

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