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Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada Following Their Meeting

July 10, 1981

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure this afternoon to meet once again with Prime Minister Trudeau, and our discussion covered a number of bilateral and multilateral issues. As you know, the Prime Minister has just returned from Europe, and he brought a very good report on Europe's preparations for the economic summit in Ottawa that begins some 9 days from now.

I told the Prime Minister how much we're looking forward to those Ottawa talks. They come at a very opportune time for the seven industrial democracies that will be in attendance. All of our nations now face a common task of reducing inflation, increasing employment, and improving long-term economic prospects for our people.

It's clear that achieving economic recovery now poses one of the greatest challenges to the free world, and it's this challenge that shall lie at the heart of our summit in Ottawa. We must discuss not just our problems there but our own national policies to cope with them and what we must do together to restore general prosperity.

I also hope from this summit will come a new sense of confidence and community among the industrial nations that economic recovery can be achieved. And I hope, further, that in our meetings, our countries will reaffirm our fundamental partnership with each other. For many years we've shared democratic political institutions, market economic systems, and a belief and faith in human dignity and freedom. By meeting at this summit, we will express our quiet determination to defend those institutions against any threat.

Finally, let me say I look forward to the summit for personal reasons. I believe it's important to the vitality of our foreign policy that I have the opportunity to renew friendships with world leaders who've already visited here in Washington and also have an opportunity to forge new relationships with those who've recently been elected to office.

Prime Minister Trudeau and I, as well as others who will join us in Ottawa, all agree that we can achieve both progress and peace only through a close and continuous cooperation, which this meeting symbolizes. That's the basis of our partnership, and partnership is the basis of our common task.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, I look forward to seeing you again when I arrive in your country for what we consider a very important meeting.

The Prime Minister. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen of the press:

I want to express my thanks to President Reagan for having made my job as Chairman of the Ottawa Summit easier by accepting to meet me today and discussing frankly not so much the areas of agreement, which are many, but the areas of possible disagreement amongst those seven industrialized democracies, which realized way back at the beginning of these summits that we are interdependent, that our policies do affect each other, that much of the world is watching us to see how democracies solve their difficult economic problems. They're waiting to see if we are successful in meeting the economic challenges, the difficult ones that are posed in every one of our countries, and whether we will be able to lead the democracies in the solutions of these problems.

As Chairman, I have found it important to meet with the President of the United States so that we could become acquainted with the areas of discussion. And I want to report that I am as optimistic as the President is that we will find the solutions by the discussions we will have together.

If I had any grudge with the President it would be that the way he spoke just now, he sounded as though he wanted to be the Chairman in Ottawa, and I don't think I'll let that happen. [Laughter] It'll be your turn some other time, Mr. President. But there was great value in meeting in preparation for the summit.

[At this point, the Prime Minister spoke in French. The White House press release contained the following translation. ]

I would like to say in French that this meeting that will take place in Ottawa will permit us to explore not only the points of similarity, but the differences. I still have the hope, as Chairman of this summit, that we will find the way to form a consensus and reach solutions that we can all agree upon.

[In English:] There is just one bilateral that I think it is important that I mention here, Mr. President. You were gracious enough to give me, as we left your luncheon table, the flag that had flown on your spaceship which landed so majestically some months ago. And I'm very happy to say that beyond all the multilateral problems, and there are many, we have so many areas of common agreement and we have so many ways in which we look to the future together, and there could be none more exciting, I think, than the cooperation that we have been embarked upon for some time now in the area of space technology. I'm very grateful for the gesture of handing that flag to me, which is the witness of one of the United States great triumphs in space technology, and even more important, a sign and a guarantee of the close cooperation between our countries in the advancement of that technology for the benefit of our peoples and the benefit of mankind.

Thank you very much for your very welcome hospitality.

Note: The President spoke at 1:42 p.m. to reporters assembled at the North Portico of the White House.

Earlier, the President and the Prime Minister met in the Oval Office. Also attending the meeting were Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Richard V Allen, Canadian Under Secretary for Exterhal Affairs Allan Gottlieb, and Canadian Ambassador to the United States Peter Towe. Following that meeting, the President and the Prime Minister and their delegations held a working luncheon in the Blue Room.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada Following Their Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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