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Visit of Prime Minister Barre of France Remarks to Reporters Following the Prime Minister's Departure

September 16, 1977

REPORTER. Mr. President, are you planning to go to France this year?

THE PRESIDENT. I've been invited by President Giscard to come while I was in the summit meeting in Great Britain in May, and we're trying to work out a schedule where I might visit. But I can't tell yet. It will depend upon the prospects for Congress adjournment and some other uncertainties now. But I would like very much to visit France if I can.

Q. And what about the SST Concorde?

THE PRESIDENT. We'll make a decision on the Concorde, as far as our own Government can make the decision, on the 24th of this month, which is next week. And this will describe some of the noise limitations on the Concorde, the compliance with my own Government's position that the test period should be honored. And I think that we'll be making this report on time, as scheduled.

Q. Mr. President, was there electronic surveillance at the Panamanian negotiating delegation?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I'd rather restrict my answers right now to the questions about France.

Q. Mr. President, tell us, please, about the professor, Mr. Raymond Barre; you spoke yesterday at the dinner about Mr. Barre was like a good professor.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, he is one of the more knowledgeable people in the world on international economics, and his unique position as Finance Minister and Prime Minister, with a long-standing history of experience in the European Community, makes him a very good source of information and advice for me in the field of international finance. And it's obvious that what his policies have done in his own country, France, has been very successful.

We've watched with great interest his economic policy being put into effect in the last 12 months. Obviously, we wish him good success with it. All of the countries of the world are faced with the problems of a sluggish growth, and we have a fairly rapid growth in our country compared to most others. The German and French and most European countries are not growing quite so rapidly as are we; the Japanese, a little bit more rapidly.

But Prime Minister Barre has made a study of this as his life's work and, as a student of international economics, I welcome him as one of my professors.

Q. Do you think it will be very difficult for you, the President of the United States, to go into France before the French election?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I would not want to interfere at all in the French elections, which will be held next spring. And if I should find it possible to go to France, it would be with that complete commitment, because I think that the French people are so independent and so proud of their own right to make their own decisions that any sort of insinuation that I might interfere would be counterproductive. I have no intention of ever doing anything to try to influence the outcome of the French elections.

Q. Would it affect our relationship with France at all, however, if Communists should gain a participation in that government?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, of course, the ties between the French people and the American people are so strong historically that I doubt that anything could shake that friendship. Our own position is that we hope that democratic forces will always prevail in Europe; that we trust the Europeans to make their own decisions; and that the strength of the governments that are democratic now is the best factor in preventing the Communists from playing a more major role. So I think the French will make a good judgment.

Q. But you seem to be saying, sir, that if the Communists come to power through democratic methods, that we can have no objection.

THE PRESIDENT. Well, our preference is that the democratic parties prevail. There's no question about that. But we trust the judgment of the French people to make their choice in the election, and any interference from us, from the outside, I think, would be counterproductive.

Q. Are you aware that the CIA allegedly taped, bugged the Panama negotiators? And, if so, what do you think about it?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, as I say, I'd rather restrict my answers at this moment to the French--

Q. Did you discuss the nuclear facility that the French are planning to sell to Pakistan?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, that was one of the items on the agenda.

Q. Did you and Mr. Barre discuss how Bert Lance was doing up on the Hill?


REPORTER. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 11:30 a.m. on the South Grounds of the White House.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Prime Minister Barre of France Remarks to Reporters Following the Prime Minister's Departure Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/242030

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