Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Robert Hawke of Australia

February 07, 1985

The President. Prime Minister Bob Hawke, it was a pleasure to meet with you today, the first head of state to visit us since the inauguration. And this, I understand, is also your first trip abroad since your own reelection. We're each getting our new terms started by sitting down and talking with a good friend.

I cannot overstate the value America places on our friendship with Australia. We share a commitment to democratic ideals. In fact, at the heart of our election process is the secret ballot, which, by no coincidence, was referred to as the Australian ballot when it was first introduced into our country.

Australia is a reliable ally, an important trading partner, a trusted friend, and a fellow democracy. We've stood together through trials and tribulations. We've rejoiced together in triumph. And now, as Australia approaches its bicentennial in 1988, the United States Government and private sector will play an active part in that historic event.

As a key ally and a vital voice in world affairs, Australia makes a significant contribution to the way that we approach international challenges. My conversations with Prime Minister Hawke today reflected the serious consideration with which we take Australia's views in national interest.

Much of our consultation was focused on arms control. Prime Minister Hawke made clear the importance of this issue to the Australian people, and it is no less so for us. I reiterated my sincere desire to achieve deep reductions in nuclear arms, as a giant first step toward eliminating them altogether.

As allies, we've always consulted closely on foreign policy issues. And now that Australia has been named a member of the U.N. Security Council, new weight will be added to our consultations.

On regional issues, we reaffirmed our strong belief in cooperation among Pacific States to maintain secure, prosperous, and democratic societies. Prime Minister Hawke and I agreed that strength and unity of purpose will give the West the leverage it needs to achieve effective and verifiable arms reductions with the Soviet Union.

We consider that close and comprehensive interaction among ANZUS members on political, economic, and defense matters is central to the continued effectiveness of the ANZUS alliance. In particular, continued military cooperation is essential to maintenance of the alliance's integrity and strength.

We deeply regret the decision by the New Zealand Government to deny port access to our ships. We consider New Zealand a friend. It's our deepest hope that New Zealand will restore the traditional cooperation that has existed between our two countries. Allies must work together as partners to meet their shared responsibilities. The security which we derive from these arrangements is at the foundation of the growing prosperity we share.

Prime Minister Hawke and I were very pleased to discuss the economic good news coming from both our countries and many others around the world. The global economy is picking up steam, and we're happy to have played a part in that recovery.

This is our second meeting, Bob. It's still a long way from Australia to the United States, but modern technology and good old-fashioned friendship are bringing us closer than ever before.

I'm grateful for your visit, and I'm looking forward to working together with you in the coming years to make the world a safer and a better place. And Godspeed now on your way home.

The Prime Minister. Thank you very much.

Mr. President, I greatly appreciate the warmth and the friendliness of your statement and of the consultations we have just concluded with you and with the members of your administration.

But this is my first overseas visit since our elections, and that we have the honor to be the first official visitors here since your second inauguration point up the prime importance of our personal relationship and those between our governments and between our countries.

The timing of our talks has not just been of symbolic significance but has added greatly to their substantive value. We have again found an extensive coincidence of preoccupations and of priorities in managing our respective foreign and domestic affairs.

You have just launched a budgetary process which will have great significance for the international community. Both our governments face the task of maintaining the strong growth that both the United States and Australia have recently enjoyed. And we shall both be tackling this on a number of fronts during 1985.

We're looking also to increasing trade flows to sustain economic recovery fully and widely. We seek to resist protectionism and to preserve and to strengthen the multilateral trading system. And, Mr. President, we look to and we know we will receive from you strong leadership in that direction.

One aspect—an important one—of the ANZUS relationship has become a matter of close concern to us both and will require continuing consultation. Let me say, first, that the relationship between Australia and the United States under the ANZUS treaty and the rights and obligations assumed by us under the treaty are undiminished by recent events. Your statement accurately reflects the position. The ANZUS treaty remains; the fundamental importance of co-operation within it has been reaffirmed here today.

Similarly, we have reaffirmed the need for solidarity and common purpose in pursuit of arms reductions. I congratulate you again on reaching agreement with the Soviet Union to enter into the forthcoming round of negotiations and on the approach you have taken to that agreement. You will have our continuing support in what is bound to be a difficult and protracted process.

We will remain closely in touch as that process moves forward. And we will continue to offer counsel, while maintaining our own direct participation with you in multilateral disarmament work.

We will continue both nationally and in the established pattern of partnership with you to make our contribution to Western security in every way open and acceptable to us. We will do so against the basic criteria that a situation of stable deterrence, despite its defects, is necessary in order to produce progress on disarmament.

We have a fundamental interest in that starting point of stable deterrence, in the final goal of disarmament, and in an intermediate and, hopefully, early stage of substantial arms reductions.

I said, Mr. President, at the outset that the timing of our talks was important. I believe we have been successful in bringing steady consideration to the issues before us. In the process, we have once more tested and proved our ability to work closely together.

One of the continuing strengths of a mature relationship is that neither seeks from the other a complete conformity of views and actions. But we have shown, once again, the capacity to respond to each other's needs in the pursuit of major objectives on which we have the widest measure of agreement.

Mr. President, I thank you for your hospitality and for your warm references to our bicentennial celebrations, in which we look forward to active United States participation.

I thank you, also, Mr. President, for the kind reception which you and Mrs. Reagan have given to me and to my wife. I look forward to continued meetings with you and members of your administration, whether up here or down under.

Note: The President spoke at 1:22 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House following a meeting in the Oval Office and a luncheon in the Residence.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Following Discussions With Prime Minister Robert Hawke of Australia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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