George BushMr. Vice-President, We Wish you and Barbara a very warm welcome to 10 Downing Street again. Also to all your delegation.
You look remarkably fit for someone who is just completing a whistle stop tour of Europe. Seven countries in eleven days a demanding task—as I found out myself recently. Your itinerary reminds me of that famous line ‘If It's Tuesday It Must be Belgium’. But to look at you now one might imagine you were just starting that marathon, not about to finish it. Tennis and runnng are obviously good [end p1] training. Indeed, perhaps I can indiscreetly say how delighted we shall all be to see you running.
You have come to see us at a very important moment. It is a moment of joy and relief that the 39 remaining hostages from the TWA aircraft have been released and reunited with their families. But also a time of anxiety for those still held in captivity, including an Englishman, Alec Collett. Our sympathy is with their families. And the further terrorist attacks and explosions of recent days remind us of the [end p2] grave problem that civilized societies continue to face. It is one of the ironies of our time that it is the democratic societies, the open societies which are most exposed to terrorist violence. You and I discussed this morning how to combat this menace and agreed on areas where international cooperation should be strengthened and improved. As on so many issues, Britain and the United States stand together on this.
It is also a moment of important developments in the Soviet Union, with implications that we [end p3] cannot yet interpret for relations between East and West. It was very useful that you and I were able to discuss the implications and you were able to bring me up to date on developments in the negotiations in Geneva. And I was able to assure you that we shall shortly be giving a positive reply to the United States' invitation to participate in SDI research. Let me also take this opportunity to say how much we welcomed President Reagan 's recent decision that the United States would continue to observe the constraints of the SALT II Treaty. [end p4] Once again, it was the United States that demonstrated the highest standards of integrity in its international behaviour.
Last night we celebrated at Winfield House the 200th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the United States of America and I was presented with a charming set of candlesticks. I do not propose to repeat all that I said then—only to repeat my conviction that our relationship today with the United States has a closeness which has rarely been matched and which must be maintained. We stand together united in the common desire [end p5] to safeguard peace and liberty. I thank God that our friendship with the United States remains our greatest asset and strength in continuing to fight for these ideals.