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Meeting With President Francisco Morales Bermudez Cerruti of Peru Remarks to Reporters Following the Meeting

September 06, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. Well, in every instance, I spent several hours studying about each country and am briefed as best I can be by the State Department and by the other leaders of our own Government concerning issues that are important between myself and the leaders of the visiting country.

I've already met with General Torrijos of Panama and this is Morales Bermudez, the President of Peru. We discussed a number of items with Peru. For instance, we are very grateful that they have signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco and also the nonproliferation treaty and the fact that they are moving strongly toward democratization of their government.

The President has announced that in 1980, if things go well, they'll have free elections, which is quite a step forward.

We also discussed matters that concern other countries, the possibility of Bolivia's having access to the Pacific Ocean, which they lost about a hundred years ago, and the possibility that Ecuador might have access to the Amazon River, which they desire very much.

We discussed the international copper prices and the possibility of an international sugar agreement, which is of great importance to almost all the countries to the south and also to us. But these are some of the items we discussed, in addition to the main question, which has brought all the countries here, and that is their interest in a new era of cooperation and equality of treatment of the Latin American countries by our country as demonstrated so vividly in the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty.

So, in each individual instance, with 18 or 20 foreign leaders, there are general subjects that affect the whole hemisphere-the alleviation of tensions, the reduction of armaments, the nonproliferation commitment, human rights questions. Each country is quite different from one another. And I have tried to learn in every case what I can do to make our relationship with them better and also to alleviate any tensions that might exist with their neighbors.

Q. Realizing, Mr. President, that this is Panama week, if you will, you have the other matter pending, the matter of Bert Lance, the latest call for his resignation. What is your response to Chairman Ribicoff's and Senator Percy's call yesterday?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't particularly want to talk about that now since I am engaged in other matters. But I have responded with appreciation to Senators Ribicoff and Percy for their early convening of the Senate committee for an expeditious presentation of all the allegations that have been made against Bert Lance and for giving him a chance to respond to them. And what I want is for it to be concluded quickly, for all the facts to be presented to the American people and to the Congress and to me.

REPORTER. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:45 p.m. on the South Grounds of the White House.

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

Jimmy Carter, Meeting With President Francisco Morales Bermudez Cerruti of Peru Remarks to Reporters Following the Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241505

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