Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Signing Ceremony for the Joint Canada-United States Declarations in Quebec City, Canada

March 18, 1985

The Citadel of Quebec says so much about Canada and about the relations between our two countries. On this rock once flew the flag of France and then the flag of Britain. And today, the maple leaf flag symbolizes a united Canada.

Over two centuries ago Canadians and Americans battled one another in this city. But the walls surrounding us today were erected later for a war which never came. Canada and the United States put aside suspicion to build not only a lasting and permanent friendship but a great and productive relationship. Today the Citadel and other places like it in both our countries stand as monuments to a history of peace, good will, and cooperation.

Earlier today I suggested that Canada and the United States are forging a new partnership. This afternoon Prime Minister Mulroney and I have put that new partnership to work. The relationship between our two countries is complex and varied. The agreements we announced this afternoon reflect that variety.

We share the world's longest undefended border and the world's longest water boundary. Yet, more fundamentally, we share Earth's most bountiful continent. We're responsible for managing and preserving that common environment. We have a long history of cooperating in doing so. I'm personally committed to continuing this proud tradition. I know that our two governments share this commitment.

And I know that the issue of acid rain has received a great deal of attention in Canada. Let me simply say, cooperation on this issue is possible, and the appointment by the Prime Minister and by me of special envoys is another step forward. So difficult a problem deserves the best talent that our two governments can enlist.

For almost three decades the Distant Early Warning Line—known as the DEW Line—has been the northernmost edge of our early warning capability. It's been a vital part of the deterrent system which protects both our countries from attack, serving as a watchtower for NORAD. The technology of the DEW Line is now almost obsolete, but the need for an early warning line remains. Accordingly, the Prime Minister and I issued an agreement to modernize the North American air defense system.

The mutual legal assistance treaty which we signed will facilitate cooperation between Canadian and American law enforcement officials.

Protecting the environment, defending our people, and ensuring that justice is done—these are all special roles for government. Economic prosperity, however, requires the enterprise, work, and investment of the private sector. As each other's largest trading partner, Canada and the United States have long enjoyed profitable economic and commercial ties. And today Prime Minister Mulroney and I are issuing an important declaration which we expect will facilitate expanded trade.

We also exchanged the instruments of ratification for a U.S.-Canada Pacific salmon treaty. This brings a 15-year-old undertaking to a successful and mutually beneficial conclusion, as you've been told. The treaty will be a boon to our citizens along the Pacific coast. It symbolizes how we're able, with a combination of hard work and high-level attention, to turn an irritant in our relations into a form of cooperation.

The poet Rupert Brooke wrote: "And high and grey and serene above the morning lay the citadel of Quebec. Is there any city in the world that stands so nobly as Quebec?" Nancy and I have deeply appreciated your hospitality. We'll always remember the beauty of your city. Nous garderons toujours un excellent souvenir de notre sejour a Quebec et de vous. [We will always have the best of memories of our stay in Quebec and all of you.] We will always remember Quebec; we will always remember you.

Mila and Brian, we look forward to seeing both of you in the United States next year.

Note: The President spoke at 2:44 p.m. in the ballroom at the Citadel. Following the ceremony, the President returned to Washington, DC.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Signing Ceremony for the Joint Canada-United States Declarations in Quebec City, Canada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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