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Remarks of the President and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany Following Their Meetings

April 15, 1983

The President. It was my pleasure today to host a luncheon and extensive meetings with Chancellor Kohl and other representatives of his government. Our discussions touched on a number of bilateral issues, as well as those general problems confronting our two powerful democratic nations.

As befits one who has just won an impressive election victory, Chancellor Kohl was very positive about the opportunities ahead. I share his optimism and look forward to continuing our close relationship.

The Chancellor and I have many things in common, not the least of which is a deep faith in the strength of Western values. We were able to approach our discussions with a shared appreciation for these values and with an understanding of the many traditions and common interests that link our two countries. The special ties between the German and American people will be expressed this year in the celebration of the tricentennial of German emigration to North America. And I'm especially pleased that President Carstens will be making this event—or marking it, I should say, with a state visit to our country in the fall.

During our discussion today we focused on issues likely to emerge during the Williamsburg Summit. And the Chancellor and I agree that we should seek a free and open exchange of views at Williamsburg, with our primary goal being the closest possible cooperation in tackling the problems facing the world economy. Both of us welcome the signs of economic upturn in our countries and will work to assure that recovery is strong and lasting.

We agree that it is vital that we vigorously seek a resolution of the trade problems between the United States and Europe and that protectionism be avoided. And we're happy with the steps we've made toward a common understanding concerning East-West economic relations.

Another subject of discussion today was the arms reduction negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union. I reiterated the United States' determination to achieve success in the START and INF talks in Geneva, and the Chancellor confirmed his strong endorsement of our negotiating strategy.

As leaders of our respective countries, we call on the Soviet Union to respond seriously to our proposals, proposals which, if given a chance, will strengthen peace and make all mankind a little safer.

We remain united in our commitment to continue on both tracks of the NATO decision of December 12th, 1979, including deployment of new weapons if continued Soviet intransigence makes this unavoidable.

I'm pleased, again, to have with us Chancellor Kohl.

The Chancellor. First of all, I'd like to thank you, Mr. President, for your invitation and the kindness and hospitality extended to us.

Our talk, in which Foreign Minister Genscher and our closest advisers participated, gave the President and myself an opportunity to continue our intensive and friendly dialog which we began when I became Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany last October. And I would like to take this opportunity once again, here in public, to express the gratitude for the very intensive and friendly consultations that have taken place since that time between our two governments.

We had a good, cordial, and open conversation among friends, about which I am highly pleased. This exchange has shown that beyond our personal understanding, German-American partnership rests on the broad basis of shared values and interests.

We discussed in depth and in great earnest the essential aspects of our joint peace and disarmament policy. In the course of this year, important issues are pending. We are profoundly interested in finding solutions to the issues at hand, if possible, in agreement with the East. And this includes the Geneva negotiations on U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missiles. We are agreed that the recent Western proposal offers the basis for flexible and dynamic negotiations. Given good will on both sides, it will be possible soon to achieve a balanced result. It is our belief that we have not heard yet the last word from the Soviet Union.

We discussed in detail the CSCE follow-up meeting in Madrid. We continue to strive for an early and substantial result, which would include an agreement on a conference on disarmament in Europe and make important gains in the area of human rights.

We also discussed the Vienna negotiations about mutual and balanced force reductions. We had extensive discussions about the whole field of East-West relations. And we are agreed that personal contacts with the leaders of the Soviet Union continue to be important.

We want to carry on our common efforts to arrive at constructive relations between East and West through dialog and cooperation wherever the Soviet Union makes this possible. We agreed on the need for continued efforts towards a common approach on East-West economic relations.

Another important subject we discussed was the preparation of the economic summit meeting to be held in Williamsburg at the end of May. In this context, we exchanged views about the economic developments in our two countries and about measures to promote economic recovery.

The summit meeting will provide us with an opportunity to intensify the emerging recovery of the international economy through close coordination. In this way we will be able, immediately prior to the continuation of the North-South dialog of the UNCTAD Conference [United Nations Conference on Trade and Development] in Belgrade, to make a contribution towards solving the economic and social problems of the developing countries. Thus, we want to promote genuine independence and genuine nonalignment.

I came to Washington also in my capacity as President in the Office of the European Community. The President and I are agreed that the European Community and the United States together bear a great share of responsibility for the international economy. We are aware that the future development of relations between the United States and the European Community must, and will, live up to this responsibility.

I am leaving Washington firmly convinced that the quality of our relations will also include—should determine—our policy of safeguarding peace and, in particular, our common efforts to achieve progress in the Geneva negotiations.

I am leaving Washington with a certain feeling that I have been as a guest among friends.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 1:27 p.m. to reporters assembled in the East Room at the White House. Chancellor Kohl spoke in German, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Earlier in the day, the President and the Chancellor met in the Oval Office and then held a working luncheon, together with German and U.S. officials, in the Residence.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of the President and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the Federal Republic of Germany Following Their Meetings Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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