Meeting With President Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan Remarks to Reporters Following the Meeting.
PRESIDENT CARTER. First of all, I'd like to express to the people of our country and Pakistan the deep honor that I consider having been paid to us and to our country by the visit of President Zia. I've told him privately and would like to express publicly that the people of the United States have the greatest admiration for the courage of the people and the leaders of the great nation of Pakistan.
They live in a troubled region. Their security has been threatened as has the security of other nations in the region. And the tenacity with which they've adhered to their Own deep commitments for peace and for sharing their responsibility for the maintenance of peace has indeed aroused the renewed admiration of the entire world. In addition, the humanitarian attitude of the people of Pakistan in receiving hundreds of thousands of refugees from Afghanistan is a matter that causes great admiration for the people of President Zia's country.
In my State of the Union message this year, I pointed out that the independence and the freedom and security of Pakistan was very important to our country. On a mutual basis we understand that the relationship between our countries is of the utmost importance. Our commitment to consult very closely with Pakistan was expressed in an agreement signed in 1959; if Pakistan should be in danger, that commitment stands today as it did in 1959 and at the time of the State of the Union message that I delivered this January.
In addition, our countries share with almost every other nation on Earth the belief that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is contrary to the laws of peace-loving nations, contrary to the peace and stability of the entire world, and that the Soviets should withdraw their occupying forces immediately. This was expressed by more than a hundred countries through the United Nations earlier this year. Our commitment to this United Nations action still stands even though time has passed.
In addition, we are deeply grateful for President Zia's role as a spokesman for the Islamic Conference. His recent visit to Tehran and then to Baghdad to try to limit the combat, the loss of blood, and also to bring to an early conclusion the war between Iran and Iraq is of great importance to us all.
And finally let me say that we are honored personally by his visit. He's a military man who received part of his training in our country. He's familiar with our Nation. His knowledge of the sensitivities and ideals of America make him particularly dear to us. And his role now as the President of that great country has shown by all of his actions the political leadership and its worth not only to the people of Pakistan but to that entire troubled region and to our country as well.
President Zia, we are deeply grateful to you and your associates for coming here on a mission of great importance to the United Nations and now to Washington. We wish you well and express again the great value of the friendship that exists between our two people. Thank you again, and welcome.
PRESIDENT ZIA. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, through the President of the United States, President Carter, I wish to thank you for giving me this opportunity.
I am very grateful to President Carter himself for giving me this opportunity, particularly at the time when he's so busy with a very crucial campaign at home. We wish him all the best.
I'm also very grateful to him for giving me this opportunity of establishing personal contact. Being an army man, I've learned one thing—that it is different talking to a man to a man rather than communicating from 12,000 miles away. I have found it equally true today in my meeting with President Carter, whom I found exactly a little more than my expectations were—a man of deep understanding, a humane personality, and who has at the bottom of his heart love of humanity, the rights of men to live as men, as free men. As President of the United States, I found him a competent personality to bear the beacon of light that the free world expects of him to bear.
I think this meeting has been very purposeful. And if the relationship between Pakistan and the United States continues to be meaningful and purposeful, as we wish, and if Pakistan, a developing country, is smothered and helped in more than the economic field and if the burden, on humanitarian grounds, that we are bearing of over a million refugees from the neighboring country of Afghanistan is shared, as is being done by the United States of America, I think we'll have something to offer to humanity.
I once again thank President Carter for all his kindnesses, his hospitality, his generosity to receive me at this time when he's so busy, and my colleagues and my delegation. On my own behalf, on behalf of the people of Pakistan, through you, ladies and gentlemen of the press, I want to thank him and thank the people of the United States of America for the very practical understanding of the problems of Pakistan and people of Pakistan.
I thank you, sir.
PRESIDENT CARTER. Thank you, Mr. President, very much.
Note: The President spoke at 12:15 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House.
Jimmy Carter, Meeting With President Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan Remarks to Reporters Following the Meeting. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/252070