Jimmy Carter photo

Meeting With Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada Remarks on the Departure of the Prime Minister.

March 03, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. Good afternoon, everybody.

Recently, Prime Minister Trudeau and I were scheduled to meet this evening in New York to attend the performance of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. We were not able to do so, but we had a delightful lunch today and maybe made some good music together.

We were able to discuss international and bilateral issues concerning the economy. We spent a considerable portion of our time talking about energy matters. We both are resolved to work much more closely in the future even than we have in the past. We discussed the possibility of establishing a consultative mechanism so that we might exchange ideas on energy on a continuing basis.

We had a general review of world political problems, some of the fast-changing developments that are of interest both to us and to Canada and others who want peace and stability and a better quality of life throughout the world. We share with Canada, as you know, the longest open border in the world. We benefit from the stable and reliable and very valuable friendship that we have with the Canadian people. And I think it's accurate to say that the relationship that we have with the great Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, is accurately mirrored in this same context.

We've been successful in recent months in resolving some potentially very difficult issues concerning the exact border between our two countries and the open seas and also resolving fisheries agreements. These kinds of issues are ones that we discussed and resolved successfully as a matter of routine.

And I'm very grateful and honored and pleased to have Prime Minister Trudeau come and visit us for this substantive discussion. I think it is an indication of our past excellent relationships and, I think, an accurate precursor or prediction that our relationships will be equally favorable in the future for both countries.

Pierre, we're glad to have you again in our home.

THE PRIME MINISTER. Thank you. Well, I feel fortunate to have been able to meet with President Carter at this time. Naturally, there will be a lot of disappointed Canadians in New York who were hoping to see the President and myself hearing these great Canadian and international artists. But from the point of view of the timing and the substance, I feel it fortunate that it worked out this way, because I am meeting President Carter at a very important time in the development of international relations in the midst of his meetings with the Prime Minister of Israel, following shortly after his meeting with the Vice Premier of China and on the eve, I hope, of the successful conclusion of SALT II, to which Canada and, I'm sure, all peace-loving peoples attach very, very great importance. And we're very supportive of the initiatives taken by the President and by Mr. Brezhnev in bringing the SALT II treaty, hopefully, close to a successful conclusion.

As the President said, apart from these international problems—in which I was mainly the listener and a willing listener-we did discuss a number of bilateral issues which are of great importance to both countries.

I feel that those discussions were well in the direction that we had set together a couple of years ago at our first meeting, in ensuring the political will of solving many of these issues. And we talked about the very ones which are coming now to a successful conclusion—the MTN negotiations, many of the environmental border issues, the fisheries dispute, which then seemed almost unsolvable and which we have solved in a successful way, at least on the east coast; and the fact that the areas which remain unsolved, particularly the border areas, have been referred or will be referred to arbitration as an indication of the confidence that exists between our two countries and administrations, that we trust each other enough to sort of say, "Well, if we can't agree, let's get a third party to agree for us." There's no browbeating and pushing around. It's a fair bargain between friends.

So, on all these issues, we have seen progress between our countries in the past few years.

I'm very grateful for the understanding of the Canadian points of view. We feel in some cases they got a better deal, but the President was telling me that he thought it was the contrary. So, it means both sides are pretty happy, I think, with the way in which we've settled the disputes in the MTN and the fisheries areas, in particular.

On energy, there is the major question of the Foothills Pipeline. And I was reassured that President Carter insisted that there was a desire on the part of the U.S. Government that it be proceeded with and that no one, certainly in his administration, had any doubts about that.

But there are a lot of secondary but important issues which have to be solved, having to do with our excess capacity in the east coast of refining capacity, having to do with what we do with the surplus of gas which was found in the West and Canada, the eventual disposition of the liquefied natural gas that we are planning for the Arctic, and so on.

And these issues do call for a much more direct and ongoing consultation between the two administrations. And I think the proposition was made to have an ongoing group of officials monitor it and report to us on a more frequent basis. It's a very good one, and I think in the short time ahead, it will prove of significant benefit to both our countries.

So, everything that I had hoped to talk about, including the Auto Pact, was covered in our talks. And I think it's fair to say that the lunch was pleasant, not only for the food but for the friendship between us and the results which were achieved, hopefully, to the benefit of our two countries.

And I'm very grateful to you, President Carter, for having received me at this very busy time.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you, Pierre. Good luck to you.


Note: The President spoke at 1:32 p.m. to reporters assembled on the South Lawn of the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Meeting With Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada Remarks on the Departure of the Prime Minister. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/249123

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