Remarks of the President and Prime Minister J. Malcolm Fraser of Australia Following Their Meeting

May 17, 1982

The President. It's been a great pleasure to welcome the distinguished Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, on his latest visit to Washington. As you know, he was here last June, and this meeting, like that one, has been most valuable.

Prime Minister Fraser graciously hosted the very successful visit of Vice President Bush to Australia a few weeks ago. Australia and the United States have been partners, friends, and allies for more than 40 years. I've had the benefit today of the Prime Minister's views on matters that may arise at the Versailles and Bonn summit meetings, and we've discussed other matters of concern, such as the Falkland Island crisis and the East-West issues. Through consultations such as these, our individual efforts are made mutually supportive.

The Prime Minister will be in New York tomorrow before leaving for Seoul and Tokyo. We wish him a good trip. I've asked him to carry my greetings and those of the American people back home with him to the Australian people.

Welcome; we're delighted to have you here even for the brief visit.

The Prime Minister. Mr. President, I'd like to say how much I appreciate the opportunity for the kind of discussions and consultations that have been made possible through the period of your administration.

The discussions that we had only a short while ago with Vice President Bush were very useful, and we were delighted, indeed, to have the Vice President in Australia, especially for the time that he was there during Australia-American Week, which each year commemorates the Battle of the Coral Sea, which was the occasion which secured and made Australians understand that they'd be free from the threat and fear of invasion. And ever since then, that particular week has been celebrated in Australia, and to have Vice President Bush with us through those celebrations on this occasion was particularly appreciated. And the discussions that I and my colleagues had with the Vice President were obviously useful.

But those discussions set our minds at work, and we know, Mr. President, the importance of the meetings that you'll be participating in next month in Versailles and at Bonn -- the economic meetings and the meetings of the heads of government of the NATO powers. And while we're not a party principal to these discussions, as with other free societies we're obviously affected by the outcomes of those discussions. And we know that the role that you'll be playing at both meetings is going to be critical to their success.

And for that reason in particular, Mr. President, I value the opportunity for an exchange of views with you today which, I believe, have been very constructive and useful, and I'd like to thank you for the opportunity at relatively short notice when I know you must be preparing for those meetings in Europe.

I'd like to wish you good fortune in your visit to Europe, because much will be depending upon it. Much will be depending upon the outcomes not only for the principal participants but for free peoples wherever they are.

So, thank you very much, indeed, Mr. President.

Note: The President spoke at 4 p.m. to reporters assembled on the South Grounds of the White House.