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Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Giovanni Spadolini of Italy Following Their Meetings

November 03, 1982

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, Prime Minister Spadolini and I have had a most productive and harmonious discussion today covering a wide range of important issues. Our discussions confirmed the wider-ranging accord that exists between our two countries on matters affecting world peace, Western solidarity, and international economic cooperation. And this is only fitting as between allies as close as the United States and Italy.

On the key issues of East-West trade, Prime Minister Spadolini and I agree that the United States, Italy, and the other allies must pursue discussions aimed at establishing a broad transatlantic consensus. Our trade and financial relations with the Soviet Union must take into account the nature of the Soviet conduct toward its neighbors. The Prime Minister shared with me Italy's special perspective in this regard.

We discussed the current situation in the Middle East, where our two countries are working closely both to guarantee the peace which prevails in the Sinai and to assist the Government of Lebanon in securing withdrawal of all foreign forces and restoring its full authority throughout the territory. The Prime Minister stated a readiness in principle to support the expansion of Italy's contribution to the multinational force in the context of broadening the force's mandate and its composition. And I want to take this occasion to extend my personal appreciation to the Prime Minister for his vigorous and constructive contributions that Italy is making to the promotion of peace and stability in that critical region.

We also discussed the importance of the aerospace industry in strengthening the technological capability of the West, and we've agreed to instruct the appropriate authorities in our respective governments to facilitate cooperation in this sector. In this connection, the Prime Minister and I agree that our governments would establish working groups to explore the means of future cooperation between our two nations.

During our discussion of Western security issues, I expressed appreciation to the Prime Minister for Italy's indispensable contribution to the December 1979 NATO decision on the intermediate-range nuclear forces. I reaffirm to him my commitment to pursue vigorously negotiations leading to the elimination of such forces by both sides and to the deep reduction in strategic nuclear forces as well.

I'd like to close on a personal note. This was my fourth meeting with the Prime Minister, and my admiration and respect for him has grown with each encounter. The United States has no better friend in the world than Italy, and the West has no more erudite and distinguished a leader than my friend, Giovanni Spadolini. After our meetings in Europe, it was a great pleasure for me to receive him here at home, and I look forward to seeing him once again when he returns to the United States for the economic summit that will be held in Williamsburg next spring. Welcome.

The Prime Minister. I have come today to see President Reagan, together with Foreign Minister Colombo, not only in behalf of Italy but also as the interpreter of the concerns and common feelings of Western Europe—that Europe that finds itself in the values of freedom and tolerance and of respect of man for man, which are part and parcel of the Atlantic community.

I have told President Reagan about the absolute need to find a global strategy in the economic and trade relations with the Eastern countries. The misunderstandings of the last months must be replaced by a new partnership on a basis of equal dignity and a mutual understanding based on the agreements of Versailles and on which the Italian contribution was determining.

As Italians, we feel that in consistency with the approach adopted at Versailles, the Western World must find and define a common approach based on a greater strictness of an economic nature in its relations with the Eastern World and based on and inspired by the following four points:

First, no undue gift to the Soviet Union as far as credits are concerned; [second], greater strictness in the transfer of technologies to the Soviet Union; third, implementation of a security net within the Western system so as to reduce the dependence on the Soviet Union concerning raw materials and energy products; fourth, the contracts that have already been signed by European countries concerning the pipeline must be honored, so as not to prejudge the credibility as far as the trade of the Western World is concerned.

But I think that, amongst these four points, we also feel that it is indispensable to have a prejudicial position that would affect in a legitimate manner the past or that would create obstacles for the future.

Following the first meetings that I have had here in Washington, the United States has made a further step forward towards the solution of this problem through a formula which will be presented this evening to the Ambassadors of the countries concerned. And within this perspective, and aware of the need of the lifting of sanctions as a consequence of the new agreement, Italy will continue to commit itself to find a conclusion and a solution, so as to have a global agreement—a solution which I think is very near.

I will also present this same position in Paris in the very close meeting that I will have with President Mitterrand. The political solidarity between Europe and the United States that we want to defend at all costs also implies the overcoming of these conflicts which are not necessary and that we are having because of the Soviet Union.

Italy is and will always be coherent to the principles that have been inspiring for more than 30 years its foreign policy, and which are based on the strengthening of the bonds with its partners of the Western World and, first and foremost, with the United States, which is the essential premise to start, once again, and on the basis of a guaranteed security, the East-West dialog, which is undergoing new tensions today which torment us and concern us very much. I am thinking in particular of the situation in Poland and in Afghanistan. This is why, in spite of the international difficulties—and I think that because of these difficulties—we are convinced more than ever about the fact that we should pursue in the negotiations undergoing in Geneva for a balanced control and reduction of armaments.

I have reaffirmed to President Reagan the conviction that Italy has: that to find peace in the world it is necessary to also act for the development of a policy which would favor the dialog between the north and the south on our planet. And I am referring in particular to the difficult areas of the Mediterranean. And it is in this framework that I am thinking of satisfaction of the joint action of our two countries—first in the Sinai and today in Beirut, an action that we want to strengthen in agreements between our two governments and that in the next days will find a further development with the parallel decisions which will increase our presence in Lebanon, always with the aim of giving to that torn country a condition of true independence and stability.

Within the framework of bilateral collaboration, which is developing in all fields from the economic to the cultural, and within the framework of our collaboration, also, in the fight against terrorism and against narcotics, I have told President Reagan about the Italian decision which will have to be now defined in the competent fora, to buy from the American industry 30 1 McDonnell-Douglas DC9 80 aircraft.

I have also conveyed to President Reagan the warm greetings of the President of the Italian Republic, Mr. Sandro Pertini, seeing with satisfaction that in the last 2 years Italy has confirmed its role amongst the most industrialized countries of the Western World. And this is why I've been able to come here expressing the voice of an Italy which is determined to respect its international commitments and to, therefore, begin working from the strengthening of defense in the Atlantic alliance; to struggle, therefore, against economic difficulties which are common to the whole Western industrialized world. And we are doing this in a very strict and steadfast manner.

All Europeans know how much they owe to the United States that twice has given back freedom to our continent. And I, therefore, have been interpreter of these feelings to my friend, President Ronald Reagan, a man that I admire very much for his loyalty, dedication to individual freedoms of the whole world.

1 In the original translation, the interpreter said three aircraft. She corrected the error at the conclusion of her translation of the?rime Minister's remarks.

Note: The President spoke at 1:23 p.m. at the Diplomatic Entrance on the South Lawn of the White House. Prime Minister Spadolini spoke in Italian, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Earlier in the day, the President and the Prime Minister held a meeting in the Cabinet Room. Following the meeting, they continued their discussions during a luncheon in the Residence.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Giovanni Spadolini of Italy Following Their Meetings Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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