Secretary Simon, distinguished officials, representatives of many, many governments, ladies and gentlemen:
It is a very great privilege and a very high honor to have the opportunity of making some preliminary remarks on this gathering here in the Nation's Capital of our country.
I extend to each and every one of you a very, very warm welcome. I and all Americans want your continuing friendship, and we welcome your constructive and thoughtful observations and recommendations. And I assure you at the outset that we will reciprocate in every way in order to make progress in this very vital area for each and every one of us.
We come together at an unprecedented time of challenge in our world's economy. But that makes my welcome to all of you--those of you who must solve these serious problems--an even warmer welcome.
The serious problems that confront us today are extremely complex and, I presume, in some respects controversial. We do this at a time of worldwide inflation at a rate far, far in excess of what any one of us can tolerate.
We come here today at a time of unparalleled disruptions in the supply of the world's major commodity. We are here today at a time of severe hindrances to the real growth and the real progress of many nations, including, in particular, some of the poorest and most unfortunate among us.
We in America view these problems very soberly and without any rose-tinted glasses. But we believe at the same time the spirit of international cooperation which brought about the Bretton Woods Agreement a generation ago can resolve the problems today effectively and constructively.
My very capable Secretary of the Treasury, Bill Simon, will speak in greater detail on how we, the United States, view these problems and how we think they can be solved. But I think I can sum up in general our thinking quite briefly.
We in this country want solutions which serve very broad interests, rather than narrow, self-serving ones. We in America want more cooperation, not more isolation. We in America want more trade, not protectionism. We in America want price stability, not inflation. We in America want growth, not stagnation. We want for ourselves, as you want for yourselves and we all want for the world, a better life for ourselves and for those generations that follow.
You will help, and I am sure you will come forth with the kind of recommendations that will be beneficial. We want to help decide how this can best be done. The United States is fully prepared to join with your governments and play a constructive leadership role.
I say as I close, as I said at the outset, we want your friendship, your cooperation, and we, as a country, will maximize to reciprocate in every way possible.
Again, welcome to our Capital, Washington, D.C., and the very, very best in this period of serious deliberation.
Thank you very, very kindly.