March 1, 1984

The President. Well, good afternoon. We've just had a meeting in the Oval Office. And I am delighted to welcome you all to the White House to witness the signing of our agreement on modernizing the Voice of America relay station in Tangier.

I'm pleased to call on Director Wick and Minister Filali [Charles Z. Wick, Director of the United States Information Agency, and Abdellatif Filali, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, respectively.] to sign this agreement, an important step towards strengthening the signal of the Voice of America.

[At this point, the agreement was signed.]

Secretary of State Shultz. I didn't know Charlie Wick could sign something with such a flourish. [Laughter]

The President. Now, if that station ever needs a sports announcer -- [laughter] -- --

We come together today as people of two free nations, bound by common ideals and aspirations. And one of the most important ideals that we share is our belief in the power of truth. Truth is mankind's best hope for a better world.

The Voice of America has been a strong voice for truth, and despite problems of antiquated equipment and Soviet jamming, the Voice of America has been able to spread its message of truth around the world.

Were it not for many years of neglect, the Voice of America could be heard more clearly by many more people around the globe. And that's why our administration has made the same kind of commitment to modernizing the Voice of America that President Eisenhower and President Kennedy brought to the space program. It's our firm commitment to Voice of America modernization which brings us here today.

Millions of people who long to hear the truth will benefit from this agreement. And by increasing the direct flow of information to the people and allowing them to make up their own minds about the major issues of the day, we'll be serving the cause of peace and human rights.

America's ties with Morocco go back more than 200 years -- long before the advent of international broadcasting. Our relations are warm and close, and we share many of the same values. The cooperation between our two countries is symbolized by this agreement. And I want to say how much I, as well as Ambassador Reed, Charles Wick, Ken Tomlinson, and others at the Voice of America appreciate the cooperative spirit that has characterized the negotiating between our two countries.

I would particularly like to express my gratitude to His Majesty, King Hassan II for his role in this negotiation. His involvement and wise counsel were critical to its successful conclusion, and we owe him a debt of gratitude.

So, thank you all very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:45 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The ceremony was attended by Moroccan and U.S. officials.

In his closing remarks, the President referred to Joseph Verner Reed, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to Morocco; and Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, Associate Director for Broadcasting, United States Information Agency.