Remarks Upon Returning From the Trip to Indonesia and Japan
May 7, 1986
The President. Well, thank you all. Nancy and I appreciate you coming out here to welcome us home. Before I bring you up-to-date on the economic summit, I'd like to turn a minute to my good will ambassador. Nancy used the opportunity of this Pacific trip to take her fight against drug abuse to Thailand and Malaysia. And I'm very proud of the award that was presented to Nancy by the people in Thailand in recognition of her dedication. She's really special to me, too. I understand that she has a presentation. I understand that Nancy has a presentation of her own to make, so here's my special ambassador of good will.
Mrs. Reagan. Thank you. All the young people that you see over there are from the Martin Luther King School. And before we left for Tokyo, they gave to me some letters to be delivered to their sister school in Tokyo and a mural, which I did. And they were very, very happy to receive them, and they sent back a lot of letters to you and this mural which I wanted you to see and everybody else to see. And they hope that this will be the beginning of a long friendship and relationship between the two schools and you and them and a lasting friendship. So, I was very happy to do it, and they were very happy to receive your letters and your mural. Thank you.
The President. Well, prior to leaving, I talked about the winds of freedom, about the resurgence of democracy throughout the world and the solidarity among free people. We returned from Asia more confident than ever that the future is on the side of the free. Today the leading powers of the free world are united in purpose and steadfast in their resolve. In Tokyo we looked each other in the eye, discussed the challenges we face, and reached understandings that will serve the cause of our mutual security, freedom, and prosperity. The seven major democracies represented in Tokyo set out a unified course on a number of vital issues.
Terrorism, as expected, was high on the agenda. Our unarmed citizens have been murdered, victimized by cowardly attacks that if permitted to continue, threaten not only the flow of trade and travel but the very fabric of our free societies. I am more than pleased by the commitments made in Tokyo by our summit partners in this regard. Our nations, acting together, have enormous diplomatic, economic, and military power. We agreed the time has come to move beyond words and rhetoric. Terrorists and those who support them, especially governments, have been put on notice. It's going to be tougher from now on. The decent people of the world -- as is clear from our statement in Tokyo -- are not just standing together in this war against terrorism. We're committed to winning the war and wiping this scourge from the face of the Earth.
The late Ludwig von Mises, a free -- or a preeminent, I should say, free market economist, once said: ``People must fight for something that they want to achieve, not simply reject an evil.'' Well, our meetings in Tokyo reflected both struggle and triumph. We sought and reached a consensus as to the best path to our sustaining noninflationary economic growth. High taxes, redistribution, and central planning are not the way to a better life. For the last 5 years ours has been a program of low tax rates, high growth, and free enterprise; and it's worked.
There are those in less than free societies who would like to think that self-interest makes it impossible for democratic peoples to cooperate. The triumph in Tokyo refutes that cynicism. Summit members, in an extraordinary display of unity, agreed to a number of significant economic initiatives. We, for example, agreed to improve the international monetary system through greater interaction between our governments. We reached an understanding that trade imbalance questions and exchange rate stability, very tangible issues, would not be dealt with as isolated occurrences, but as manifestations of fundamental economic goals and policies. We established a new framework for strengthening effective coordination of international economic policy.
Subsidized agricultural production, a primary cause of the world's surpluses of food and fiber and a politically sensitive area, was seen as an emerging issue of great importance, and we discussed it with candor. We spent more time on this than any other economic issue. In the end we agreed to further analysis and discussion. It was a modest step, but perhaps the historic step toward the day when our farmers can sell their products at a competitive price anywhere in the world.
A high degree of unity was evident in a number of crucial economic questions. The U.S. program to deal with the large foreign debt in the developing world by encouraging high private sector growth received strong support, and the need for a new round of trade talks with an early launch following the September ministerial received a strong endorsement.
World trade -- keeping it free and fair -- is a major challenge not only of the Western democracies but also the developing world. Prior to the Tokyo summit I met with representatives of the six member nations of ASEAN, the Association of South East Asian Nations. They agreed with me on the necessity of keeping markets open and getting world trade flowing. The ASEAN countries are supportive of a new round of trade talks and of a program of growth-oriented policies to solve the debt problem in the Third World. My meetings with the representatives of ASEAN gave me a chance to bring their concerns to Tokyo. It also permitted me the opportunity to confirm our ties with the industrious people of the Pacific rim. The United States is a Pacific rim country and will most certainly continue to play an important role in events in the Pacific.
That the economic summit was held in Tokyo was fortuitous. There in Japan, East truly does meet West. A land of beauty, culture, energy, and enterprise. Today the interests of free people are no longer East or West, North or South, but instead are global and universal. Free people everywhere of every culture share a bond of the spirit and of the soul. We all have an interest in peace, the rights of man, and in the well-being of everyone who lives on this planet. We reconfirmed that in Tokyo.
Well, again, we both thank you for coming out to welcome us home. It means a lot to us, and it certainly is good to be back in the good old U.S.A.! Thank you again. God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at 1:50 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House to administration officials, members of the White House staff, and visiting schoolchildren.