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International Economic Summit Meeting Exchange With Reporters Following a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace.

May 07, 1977

REPORTER. Mr. President, how about telling us about Buckingham Palace?

THE PRESIDENT. What are you doing waiting so late?

Q. In the rain!

THE PRESIDENT. I know, I'm sorry you had to do that.

Q. Did you have a good time?

THE PRESIDENT. I really did. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. And I think the whole royal family was there. I had a good place to sit. I was between the Queen and Princess Margaret, and across the table was Prince Charles and Prince Philip, and the Queen Mother was there, too. So, the whole family was very gracious to us tonight.

Q. Can you tell us what you talked about, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, one of the things I told Queen Elizabeth was how much the American people appreciated her coming over last year to celebrate our 200th birthday. And she said that it was one of the warmest welcomes she'd ever received. I told her that I got a similar welcome in northern England yesterday.

But we just talked about the need for world peace, and how much it meant to the other countries when she came in to visit, and how close together our own nation is to England because of our common historical background and heritage. All of the foreign heads of state were present too, and we had a very enjoyable evening, getting to know them and some of the foreign ministers and the finance ministers even better on a personal basis. I thought it was a very productive meeting as well as a very enjoyable occasion.

First time I've ever been inside of Buckingham Palace. I was through as a tourist several years ago, my only previous visit to London, and I saw it through the fence.

Q. Those kings really know how to live.

THE PRESIDENT. They really do. But it's beautiful.

Q. We understand from the Germans that there was some sort of an agreement to set up a panel to report back within 8 weeks on ways to safeguard the curbing of nuclear proliferation. Is that---

THE PRESIDENT. Well, the basic question, of course, is how to have adequate supplies of nuclear fuel--which is derived mostly from ourselves, the Canadians, and in the future, I think, Australians, to some lesser degree France and southern Africa; and of course, the Soviet Union does produce some; they don't export much--how to provide the fuel to people that need nuclear power for production of electricity and how to prevent the changing of the spent fuel, the used fuel, into explosives. And each of the nations is so different in its background, and it's the first time that the heads of state have ever been willing to address this very divisive issue. So, we are going to set up a group of technicians to try to study all of the facets of the problem, and then, of course, try to work with many other nations in bringing about a comprehensive international agreement on how to handle this problem. But it was a very fruitful discussion. We have some nations there who have signed the nonproliferation treaty, like we have, who do produce weapons. There are other nations who produce weapons who have not signed the nonproliferation treaty like France, and of course, Germany and Japan have signed the nonproliferation treaty and they don't produce weapons--the same way with Canada--having adequate fuel, but they've decided not to produce weapons either. So, there's such a diversity of interest and a deep concern about the future that we thought it was time to address this problem.

Q. Was it your suggestion to set up this panel? Is that a solution?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it was a mutual suggestion. We don't know yet whether the panel will be successful in solving the question or dealing with the differences among us. But the nations who do produce large amounts of enriched fuel, like ourselves, have a great deal of influence on the others. And, of course, we want to to be fair to them because it's a very divisive political issue in some of the countries. They want to retain their legitimate independence and autonomy. They don't want other nations like ourselves telling them how to act. And still, I. think, there was a unanimous belief that unless we do take action, that there will be a lot of other of the so-called threshold nations who will produce explosives in the future, as India did a few years ago. And all of us want to prevent that.

Q. Did you find any sympathy for your views on human rights today, Mr. President?


Q. Really? And did you get along with Giscard?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, very well. Yes, I like him.

Q. Really? We expected a confrontation.

THE PRESIDENT. No, no. Good night.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 11 p.m. upon his return to Winfield House.

The transcript of the exchange was made available by the White House Press Office. It was not issued in the form of a White House press release.

Jimmy Carter, International Economic Summit Meeting Exchange With Reporters Following a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244115

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