Remarks of the President and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to Reporters Following a Breakfast Meeting in London
June 9, 1982 The Prime Minister. May we report to you on the talks we've had and the way we think that this whole visit has gone.
Of course there is always a very great welcome in Britain for a visit by our great ally and friend, the United States. But this visit has been something more than an ordinary welcome. It's been an extraordinarily warm welcome, which I think we must attribute to the way in which President Reagan has appealed to the hearts and minds of our people.
The reception he's had, not only from Parliament -- which was a triumph -- but also from the people of this country who listened to his speech before Parliament, that reception has been one of great affection and one which recognizes that here is a leader who can put to the uncommitted nations of the world the fact that we in Britain and the United States have a cause in freedom and justice that is worth striving for and worth proclaiming. And we do indeed thank him for that and congratulate him most warmly on everything -- all the speeches and everything he's done -- since he has been with us for this very brief visit. It is a triumph for him as well as a great joy to have our ally and friend with us.
We have, of course, discussed matters of defense in the context of East-West relations. Once again we take a similar view. We cannot depend upon the righteousness of our cause for security; we can only depend upon our sure defense. But we recognize at the same time that it is important to try to get disarmament talks started so that the balance of forces and the deterrents can be conducted at a lower level of armaments. In this, again, the President has seized the initiative and given a lead, and we wish those talks very well when they start. And we'll all be behind him in what he is doing.
This morning we have also discussed the question of what is happening in the Middle East. We have discussed it in a very wide context. As you would expect, we are wholly agreed on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 508, that there must be cessation of hostilities coupled with withdrawal. And the United Kingdom is wholly behind Mr. Habib in the efforts he is making to bring that about. We have discussed it also in the very much wider context of the whole difficult problems of the Middle East, which we've all been striving to solve for so many years now.
Finally, I would like once again to record our thanks to our American friends, to the President and to Mr. Secretary Haig for the staunch support they've given us and continue to give us over the Falkland Islands and their realization that we must make it seem to the world over that aggression cannot pay. They have been most helpful, most staunch, and not only we but the whole of the British people thank them for it.
Altogether, if I may sum up, this has been a tremendously successful visit and one which we shall long remember both in our minds and in our hearts.
The President. Thank you very much.
Well, I have no words to thank Prime Minister Thatcher for those very kind words that she said with regard to us. Let me just say that Nancy and I will be leaving here with warm hearts and great gratitude for the hospitality that has been extended to us and the pleasure that we've had here in addition to the worthwhile meetings and the accomplishments that have already been outlined.
We did discuss, as the Prime Minister told you, a number of the troublespots in the world: Lebanon -- and found ourselves in agreement with regard to the U.N. Resolution 508, the hope for a ceasefire and a withdrawal of all the hostile forces there, and had a chance again to reiterate our support of the British position in the Falklands, that armed aggression cannot be allowed to succeed in today's world.
We had what we think were worthwhile meetings at the economic summit in Versailles. And now we go on to the NATO meeting, and our goals there we are also agreed upon: solidarity of the members of the Alliance; strength, dialog, and the urging of restraint on the Soviet Union; and responsibility and our agreement on going forward with realistic arms control that means arms reduction, not just -- as in the past -- some efforts to limit the increase in those weapons, but to bring about a realistic, verifiable decrease and thus further remove the possibility of war.
And, again, let me just finish by saying that this has been a most important meeting for us and a very heartwarming experience every minute that we've been here. And we leave strengthened with the knowledge that the great friendship and the great alliance that has existed for so long between our two peoples -- the United Kingdom and the United States -- remains and is, if anything, stronger than it has ever been.
Note: Prime Minister Thatcher spoke at approximately 10:30 a.m. outside Number 10 Downing Street.
Also attending the breakfast were Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Francis Pym. Following the breakfast, they were joined by other American and British officials.