Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Joint Press Conference after Ottawa G7

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: National Arts Centre, Ottawa
Source: House of Commons Library: COI transcript
Editorial comments: 1700-1730. This item comprises MT’s statement only. She spoke as one of the seven heads of government present; no questions were taken.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 726
Themes: Defence (arms control), Economic policy - theory and process, Monetary policy, Foreign policy - theory and process, Foreign policy (development, aid, etc), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

Pierre TrudeauMr Chairman, can I join my colleagues in paying a very warm tribute to your skilled chairmanship and thorough preparations? I think our success at this summit owes a great deal to those two things. and I'd like also to say thank you to our Canadian hosts for the excellent arrangements they made both in Montebello and in Ottawa. This is my third economic summit, and over that period we've increasingly given time in our discussions to the major political issues of the day; such as Afghanistan and the Middle East, as well as to the economic problems that face us. I think this development reflects reality because political issues and economic matters can't be isolated from one another and treated separately ; they interact at every level, national and international. And I think this reality was recognised more at this summit than at any other. And the result, I think was a workmanlike, balanced discussion, which comprehended all of the major problems, whether economic or political, that face the western world. on these substantive issues I'd like to confine my comment to four points.

First, the world economy. at the last two summits in Tokyo and Venice our work was dominated by the impact of the second oil price shock on the world economy. We then considered the impact it would have and how we should react to it. This time of course we've met in the trough of the recession which that shock produced. But we've had to look at the whole range of economic questions; at the twin evils of inflation and unemployment; at the need to adapt our economies and attitudes in order to beat unemployment, and at monetary disorders producing high interest rates and volatile exchange rates. We were agreed on the need to fight inflation as the precondition for defeating unemployment. As you have emphasized Mr Chairman, and on the need for low monetary growth, on the need for containing public borrowing, and for tight control of government expenditure. We're all giving effect to these principles in our own policies. according to our different circumstances.

Now the second substantive issue on which I would like to comment is developing countries. I think I take away three salient thoughts from our discussions on relations with developing countries. The first is that we share many of the problems of the world economy with them; the need to develop energy resources; to encourage investment; to fight inflation and unemployment; and to expand trade. All of these things we share with them. The second thing that we share is that we welcome discussion with them in whatever ways or groups are useful. And the third is, we must pay particular regard to the needs of the poorer countries. We agreed to direct the major portion of our aid to the poorer countries and I would like to stress that the United Kingdom has a particularly good record on that. [end p1]

Thirdly a few comments about the Middle East. We have been meeting in the shadow of a further outbreak of fierce fighting in the Middle East. Once again the unfortunate people of the Lebanon are bearing the brunt of a conflict that is not of their seeking. Now whatever any of us may think about the causes, we all agree on the need for an urgent ceasefire in the Lebanon, for an end to the loss of innocent civilian life there and, above all, for a solution to the conflict between Arab and Israel, from which this violence flows. In the United Kingdom we shall continue to use all our influence for this purpose.

And the last issue on which I would like to comment is East-West relations. We discussed this scene and the concern that we all feel about the extent of the soviet military threat to our interests. Speaking for Britain, I've been heartened by the strength of common purpose that I sensed in our discussions. We all agreed, and we agreed with real determination, on the need to maintain a strong defence capability and to insist on the need for military balance. Of course, that goes hand in hand with our readiness to negotiate arms control agreements, that will insure genuine security, at a lower level of weaponry and resources.

So, Mr Chairman, our discussions have linked the two aspects of the preservation of the free world and the free market economy which sustains it, namely defence and the maintenance of peace, and the health and soundness of the world economy. Altogether, a very successful summit, of which you Mr Chairman, and Canada, deserve our thanks and congratulations. thank you.