Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks on Receiving the Report of the United States-Japan Advisory Commission

September 17, 1984

The President. Well, I'm going to turn the meeting over to you, except to say that I'm delighted here and to have the report that I know you are going to present. I think we're all agreed on the improvement that has been made and the things that really remain to be done in our relationship with Japan. I think that's one of the most important partnerships we have. So, David.

Mr. Packard. Well, thank you very much, Mr. President, for taking time from your busy schedule to be with us, and I want to present this report to you from the Commission.

Now, I would like to quickly point out that this is a joint effort. The Japanese and Americans continue to work very closely together, and the report is really an agreement between both members. As you can expect, there might have been some things that would have been said if we'd had complete freedom to say them, but I was very encouraged by the fact that the Japanese have been very forthcoming and very much interested.

I think we all came out of this study with the conclusion that this is an extremely important relationship not only in the short term but in the long term. In addition to the work that we did in discussing these issues among the Commission members, we had a number of studies done on various aspects of this relationship—a very good study on agricultural policy, a good study on industrial policy. And we also had a study made to try and get some idea about what the options would be in the long term—what would happen if we continued a close partnership with the Japanese over the next 10 or 15 [years] or even into the next century, and if we didn't.

And I think the conclusion we've come to is that this relationship is so important that we have no option but for both of our countries to work very hard to maintain this close cooperation. And I think that out of that, and really in part out of some of the things that you and your associates have done here, our recommendation is that this relationship will benefit from better management. And I think the exercise that we went through when you presented the yen-dollar issue to the Prime Minister this last fall, the fact that Secretary Regan followed up on that, and George Bush went over—it was an example, I think, of the way some of these issues can be managed in a more effective way than simply the reactive process that has come about.

Now, the Japanese are presenting their report to the Prime Minister at about this time, and I have a wire here from the Japanese Cochairman. I thought I might just read an excerpt from this because he especially wanted to have you realize that the Japanese have concurred in the programs. And he is going to approach a meeting with the Prime Minister:

"And our plan is to strongly underscore a major point in the report; that is the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship and the fact that the two leaders should pay priority attention to this relationship. We will obviously stress the growing importance and opportunities for cooperation of our two nations in global affairs, and we'll certainly point out some of the problems, particularly in the management of the relationship. But we will discuss them in the context of a need for greater bilateral cooperation.

"Some of the problems, if left unresolved, will undermine our capabilities to make joint contributions to the global economic and political health and advancement. We hope to encourage our Prime Minister to instruct the government officials, as well as the leaders in the private sector, to study the report carefully and to implement some of the recommendations. And it is our belief that a deep, mutual confidence and a strong commitment to the shared goals between your President and our Prime Minister are providing us with a golden opportunity to maximize our cooperative relationship.

"Public officials as well as the private sector in both countries should seek to find ways to further promote such cooperative relationships and also improve management of some of the frictions inevitable in an interdependent and close bilateral relationship. We are very pleased that the President, Secretary Shultz and other members of the Cabinet [will be present when you present the report], and that in itself demonstrates the importance your government leaders are attaching to our bilateral relationship. We hope that you will convey to your President the deep respect from the members of the Japanese Commission. It was our privilege to serve your President as well as our Prime Minister in this meaningful joint project."

The President. Well, that's fine.

Mr. Packard. So, we hope that this will provide some guidance to move ahead with what you've already started here, and we think you've made very good progress so far. But we also think there's a lot of opportunity to continue the work that's being done. And it's been a great pleasure for us to participate in this program.

Let me just conclude by saying that unless you feel otherwise, we consider the work of this Commission to be finished. But if any of us, individually, can be helpful in implementing some of the recommendations that you may wish to adopt, we stand ready to do so.

The President. Well, Dave—and all of you—I just want to give you a heartfelt thanks. I think it's magnificent what you have done. And I'm glad to hear the last few words that you said, because it's very possible that— [laughter] —that I might follow my thank you with occasionally saying, "By the way, would you ...?" [Laughter]

Mr. Packard. Well, we're ready to help, because we think it's an important issue. And we're just delighted with the progress you've already started in this area.

The President. Well, God bless you all. Thank you very much. All right.

Reporter. Mr. President, what do you think of Mr. Mondale meeting with Gromyko?

The President. I have no problem with that at all.

Q. Do you think he's trying to one-up you by seeing Gromyko first? [Laughter]

The President. I have no problem with that at all. [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 9:45 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. David Packard, chairman of the board of Hewlett-Packard, Inc., is the U.S. Chairman of the Commission.

The Commission's report is entitled "Challenges and Opportunities in United States—Japan Relations—September 1984" (Office of Public Communication, Department of State, 109 pages).

Ronald Reagan, Remarks on Receiving the Report of the United States-Japan Advisory Commission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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