Speeches, etc.

Margaret Thatcher

Speech departing the White House

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: The White House Lawn, Washington DC
Source: Thatcher Archive: transcript
Editorial comments: The President and MT delivered their departure statements at 1330. The President’s remarks were not transcribed by the British side.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 605
Themes: Defence (arms control), Monetary policy, Foreign policy (Americas excluding USA), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (USA), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states)

Ronald ReaganMr President, ladies and gentlemen, today's visit has been a very important one. I've had just about two hours' talks with the President on the many things which he has indicated, all of which are extremely vital for the future of our peoples in our several countries. I have also seen earlier this morning Secretary Regan, when we discussed economic matters and in particular the problems of unitary taxation. I saw too Mr Volcker because naturally they are all concerned that the great international debt problem should find a solution which enables trade to continue and those countries to come out of their grievous debt problems.

The President and I started first as he has indicated, on East/West relations. I think I can put our position like this: we both believe in defending our way of life and we must do that to keep that way of life secure, but our purpose in having military strength is entirely defensive, to defend our way of life. We would like to be able to have that security at a lower cost in weaponry and in expenditure and in men. In order to achieve that lower cost we have seriously and continuously to negotiate with the Soviet Union to try to get a balance in men, materials, weapons and in nuclear strengths. If we can achieve that, we can keep our security at a lower expenditure. It takes two to negotiate and the President has constantly put forward detailed proposals to the Soviet Union, such is the anxiety of the West genuinely to negotiate disarmament reductions. He has put forward the latest proposals. Mr Andropov has replied. I hope now that the proposals will be seriously discussed by the Soviet Union at the negotiating table. If they're not successful in reaching zero option, the Cruise and Pershing missiles will be deployed by the end of this year. Our nerve is being tested. We must not falter now. [end p1]

That should not be the end of the negotiations. I hope, and it is my earnest belief that they should continue so that (…   . if …   .) we were not able to negotiate zero option, we should be able to negotiate the deployment of a lesser number of weapons than the full total, provided again the Soviets will genuinely negotiate on balance. We have also discussed, as the President indicated, the Middle East, and we're very conscious that although all eyes are focussed on the Lebanon, the fundamental problem of the Middle East, a secure Israel and a legitimate deal for the Palestinian people, has still to be resolved. I have pointed out to the President that we supported his Central American policy and particularly the most excellent strategic view he gave of it during his famous speech in April and we're constantly pointing out that, of the aid that the United States gives to Central America, 75 cents out of every dollar goes to civil aid. And that is a record to be proud of.

We have also had a word about Belize and I naturally, as you would understand, made my views known about arms to Argentina.

I discussed with Secretary Regan this morning and again at lunch the wider issues affecting the economy and the importance of trying to secure lower interest rates so that we can get a full recovery in the world, which would be to the benefit of the United States and Europe, and also to the peoples of the under-developed countries.

If I may sum up, altogether this has been another chapter in the close discussion, consultation and similar beliefs or shared ideals between the United States and Britain: against that background it's not surprising that we find common views and we pursue them with common purpose in the wider world. Thank you very much