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Remarks of President Reagan and President Felipe Gonzalez Marquez of Spain Following Their Meetings

June 21, 1983

President Reagan. I would like to take this opportunity to underscore our great pleasure at receiving President Gonzalez and express once again our friendship and admiration and support for the Government and the people of Spain.

The President and I had an exceptionally productive and cordial meeting today. We reviewed international and bilateral matters in an open, understanding, and democratic spirit that one would expect between friends and allies. We affirmed the need for strong leadership to deal with the political and economic and social problems which underlie so much of the unrest in the world today.

We agreed on the importance of maintaining Western strength and solidarity in these critical times and expressed our desire to work closely together as we face the challenges ahead. We agreed on the desirability of early, positive, and balanced conclusion to the CSCE Review Conference presently underway in Madrid. I expressed our appreciation for President Gonzalez' recent initiative in this regard, which we'll be discussing with our friends and allies.

There are numerous areas of closer cooperation, including the pursuit of our common energy security interests. We value Spain as an important partner. We welcome the President's high sense of responsibility in guiding his country at this critical moment in its history. We applaud Spain's aspirations to join Europe fully and to make its voice heard in Europe's leading institutions.

We believe the West's most fundamental resource is the strength of democratic institutions. The consolidation of democracy in Spain is a ringing affirmation of the vitality of Western institutions and the appeal of Western values.

President Gonzalez. Good afternoon. First of all I want to thank President Reagan for this occasion to hold an open conversation with the U.S.A., which we consider a friendly country, a good friend of Spain.

As you know, Spain is a very old European country who, among other things, discovered this land that nowadays occupies this great country of yours. But it's also a young country, not only because the country people are young but because we just recovered the dignity of being a democratic country.

A simple definition of Spain would characterize what her foreign policy should be. Spain is a European and a Western country-the most Western of the European countries—nothing then more logical than its wish to, and its desire, to participate and integrate in the European and the Western world and cooperate with the Western world in a common destiny.

But we are also a southern country in Europe. We are very close to Africa, and our coast is in the Mediterranean Basin. This defines another important aspect of our foreign policy: the north of Africa and the important waters of the Mediterranean Basin.

The fact that I cannot communicate with you in English means that there is another dimension in our policy and identity: the fact that we can communicate in our language, in Spanish, with practically 300 million people in the American Continent. This gives a third dimension in the foreign policy of Spain, without meaning that any one of them means a priority against the others.

Let me tell you that I am 41 years old, and during 33 of these years, I was dreaming of a free and democratic Spain. This is, of course, what we want and we hope for our people. But this is also what we want and we hope for other peoples wherever we can project this foreign policy. We, therefore, wish and want for other countries who can communicate with us in cultural level: peace, freedom, pluralism, and progress.

Because it's America and because it's such an important country in the world, you'll understand perfectly well that we want also to make our links with the United States even closer, which explains two things: first of all, my presence here accepting a gracious and very kind invitation of President Reagan, and my satisfaction because of the course of these conversations we have just had.

Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:36 p.m. to reporters assembled on the South Grounds of the White House. President Gonzalez spoke in Spanish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Earlier, the two Presidents met in the Oval Office and then held a working luncheon, together with U.S. and Spanish officials, in the State Dining Room.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of President Reagan and President Felipe Gonzalez Marquez of Spain Following Their Meetings Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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