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Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom Following Their Meeting

June 23, 1982

The President. Well, it's been good to welcome the Prime Minister to Washington, even if for only an afternoon's visit.

I was delighted that we could continue our conversations from Paris, London, and Bonn on the whole host of issues where our cooperation is so close. In that connection, incidentally, I note that we have now met four times in this month in as many cities. It's customary when two political figures get together to describe their talks as far-ranging. But in our case, that statement is both figuratively and literally true. I'm going to have to check the history books, but four separate meetings in four different places in less than 4 weeks may well be unprecedented in our bilateral relations.

Seriously, I did have, as I always do, an exceptionally useful discussion with the Prime Minister which covered a number of critical issues. The fighting in the South Atlantic has stopped since we last met. We believe that a fundamental principle of international society—that force not be used to settle disputes—was at stake in that conflict. We also discussed other issues, including a number of economic questions, the future of East-West relations and the crucial role played by the events in Poland. We share the commitment to arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union.

And we also agree that the work accomplished at the two summit meetings in which we participated earlier this month, Versailles and Bonn, demonstrated anew the vitality and cohesion of the Western democracies. Clearly, there's much more in our free and pluralistic societies that unites us than divides us, and that's our major strength when we face a determined and totalitarian adversary.

With respect to the tragic situation in the Middle East, we consulted about what we could do to promote a lasting and just peace in that region that's so important to us—especially in Lebanon and to bring an end to the human suffering there.

The Prime Minister has come to us at a particularly auspicious moment—the birth of an heir to the throne of the United Kingdom. And we have every hope that she will carry back to London our fondest good wishes, those of the American people, Nancy and myself, to their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, and to their little son.

And so, we're most grateful to you for making the extra effort to come down here and see us.

The Prime Minister. Thank you very much.

Mr. President—can I just add a few words to what the President has already said. I was very anxious to come and talk to the President so that we could get up to date with a number of things that have happened since we last met on his very highly successful visit to Europe and his particularly successful visit to Britain.

As he pointed out, since then, the fighting in the Falkland Islands has been concluded, which was a tremendous relief to us all. And we hope that things will steadily continue to improve there. We also discussed matters such as Lebanon, where there is a great tragedy taking place, which is of concern to us all. And naturally, of course, we discussed East-West matters and a number of economic things.

I've just noticed today that in some of the questions I have been asked by some of you ladies and gentlemen and some others there's often been a little bit of an attempt to try to indicate some differences either between the United States and Britain or some sort of attempt to divide us on some things. I can only report to you that those attempts will never succeed, because we can't be divided. Our relationship and the alliance is far too staunch and far too deep for that.

I'm just very grateful, too, for what the President said about the new royal birth. It does indicate the great continuity that there is in Britain, the tremendous patriotism which one gets in almost all countries, but it's a patriotism in a way of the kind we have here in the States as well; not only love of your country because you belong to it but because it stands for certain things, and it's those that makes you patriotic. I will, of course, take back your very warm message to our people, and I'm certain they'll be delighted with your good wishes.

Now, I think, ladies and gentlemen, that I'm due to be cross-examined by a number of you elsewhere. I look forward to that, and I hope you do, too.

And thank you, Mr. President, for your warm hospitality and for the opportunity of talking to you.

Reporter. Mr. President, sir, do we still support negotiations in the South Atlantic dispute as provided for in U.N. Resolution 502?

The President. This is a photo opportunity, Sam [Sam Donaldson, ABC News]—fall back on that. I think that we have—we've made our position plain and clear on what we've tried to do there

The Prime Minister. We're very grateful to the President for everything they've done to help.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

The President. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 6 p.m. to reporters assembled on the South Grounds of the White House. The President and the Prime Minister met in the Oval Office.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom Following Their Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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