April 28, 1983
The President. I have just concluded a productive meeting and lunch with Prime Minister Trudeau and the other representatives of the Canadian Government. There's no country for whom the people of the United States feel a deeper affection than your own, Mr. Prime Minister, and I'm particularly pleased that you and your colleagues were able to come at this time.
Our talks touched on a number of issues of mutual concern to the people of our two countries. We discussed our search for solutions to economic problems facing Canada and the United States as well as the less fortunate countries and our efforts to achieve peace and security throughout the world. We also examined several pressing bilateral issues.
I'm pleased that we continue to approach these areas of common concern in a cooperative spirit based on our shared democratic values and traditions. The Prime Minister and I agree that challenges also present opportunities and can be used as steppingstones toward a secure and prosperous world that we both seek.
Much of our discussion today focused on the upcoming Williamsburg Summit, and we agreed that this meeting comes at an opportune moment. The Western economies are pulling out of the serious recession, and we're seeking ways to ensure continued progress. The Prime Minister and I are confident of an open and free exchange at Williamsburg, that it will contribute to a better understanding and encourage the creative approaches for economic cooperation. We discussed the importance of resisting protectionist pressures and maintaining the open trade and investment policies that have served us so well.
The issue of security was also a part of our discussions. I outlined the need to maintain effective deterrent force and to achieve real movement toward the reduction of nuclear weapons. The Prime Minister was supportive and emphasized Canada's earnest hope that the talks in Geneva will lead to a safer world.
We also discussed the need for progress in strengthening measures to prevent nuclear proliferation, including the importance of having other supplier states adopt the comprehensive safeguards for export requirement.
And this is the eighth time since taking office that I've had the pleasusre of meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, and as always I welcomed his counsel. And I look forward to our future meetings and delighted to have you here again, Mr. Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister. Well, Mr. President, you have set out the agenda of our talks very thoroughly. I don't think I can add or subtract from it.
I would perhaps, following another track, suggest that on the arrangements for Williamsburg, I was particularly happy that you confirmed to me that you would be determined, as you said you would be, to ensure that the talks at Williamsburg were unstructured and, hopefully, that we won't be meeting in order to justify an agenda and a communique that other people had written for us beforehand, but that we would be meeting there much in the spirit that you and I have been meeting these past hours, to really exchange ideas, to get to the bottom of our feelings, so that we can contribute -- and it would be the first time, I think, in a spontaneous way at these summits -- contribute to the building of a consensus, rather than, once again, trying to talk in a way that's said that our Sherpas had prepared a consensus before, and they wrote a communique, and we were trying to live up to it.
And that is what I find very exciting about this coming Williamsburg Summit, that the material arrangements that you are taking and your intentions, as you expressed them to me, do lead me to hope that on economic matters, first, that we will really be asking each other questions and looking together for creative answers on the various problems you've mentioned, including the most serious overriding problem of the world trade and payment system, including the effect of the huge Third World debt now on our own coming prosperity. We, too, believe that the economy has turned around, that this is our duty to make sure that at Williamsburg that that recovery is lasting and deep and not just another hope in people's minds.
You mentioned our discussions on security. I'm happy to repeat that the two-track policy, the NATO two-track policy, is being followed, I believe, by your government, sir, and, certainly, by the other NATO governments in that we are every bit as determined to make the effort to reduce the number and strength of the SS - 20's, which are aimed at Western Europe -- negotiations to get a reduction or, hopefully, even the disappearance of those, as are our efforts to ensure that the other track, the one of the deployment of the Pershing II's and of the land-based cruise missiles is followed.
In other words, I've been encouraged by the steps that you've taken, Mr. President, in the past months when you proposed an interim solution different from the zero-option, when you proposed a series of confidence-building measures. I think these are all initiatives which we need in NATO so that our people will understand that we want peace and that we're not determined to escalate any arms race. We're more determined to seek ways of reaching a lasting peace and that that is very much part of our politics. And, as I say, I've felt encouraged by the steps that your administration, sir, has taken in the last few weeks.
I could go on, but I won't. [Laughter] I'll get a sunburn if I do.
[At this point, the Prime Minister summarized his remarks in French. Those remarks, which were not translated, were not included in the White House press release.]
Note: The President spoke at 1:31 p.m. to reporters assembled at the South Portico of the White House.
Earlier, the President and the Prime Minister met in the Oval Office and then held a working luncheon, together with U.S. and Canadian officials, in the Residence.