Administration of Ronald Reagan, 1982
REMARKS TO WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS UPON PRESIDENT REAGAN'S
DEPARTURE FOR EUROPE
...necessary, let me say a word or two about what we hope to
I think one of the highest duties that goes with this office is
to carry on the pursuit of peace and prosperity for our people.
For more than three decades that pursuit has led to consultation
and cooperation with our neighbors here on this continent, and
with Japan, and with our friends and allies in the Western World,
in Europe, those nations that share our democratic ideals.
Together we've weathered threats of aggression and internal
disagreements, but we've maintained a sense of unity and a
commitment to freedom, and we're still being tested, possibly
more now than ever before. It's important, for that reason, to
meet and renew our bond.
Now, I know there are some who question the value of the
Alliance, who view it as cumbersome and at times unresponsive to
the need for action. And there are those people still in our land
who yearn for the isolationist shell. But because we've rejected
those other courses back over the recent decades, there has been
peace for almost 40 years on the Western front.
This administration's foreign policy began last year. It
included the reestablishment of our American strength and the
revitalization of our economy. We put the economic recovery
program and the defense plan into place. This country never
sought the leadership that was thrust upon us at the end of World
War II, but what we have done, I think, in this last year, is
reaffirm to our friends abroad and to possible adversaries that
we accept that responsibility.
In meeting with the industrial democracies in Versailles, we
should see more clearly where and how we mean to have a better
economic future. That summit meeting is an opportunity to work
for real, sustained, noninflationary growth after nearly a decade
of stagnation, low productivity, and investment and energy
vulnerability. We've been in the longest period of sustained
inflation, worldwide inflation, in the history of the world. I
intend to propose regular and closer consultation among us so we
can together pursue economic policies that move in the same
direction. first, to reduce inflation, and then to have greater
monetary and fiscal discipline.
We must look for ways to strengthen the international trading
system with more reliance on the free market. It's time that we
take a stand against the increasing drift in so many parts of the
world, and even here at home, toward protectionism.
There are other meetings besides Versailles--I'll say--[laughter]
-in London, in Rome, in Bonn, and in Berlin. I look forward to
meeting with His Holiness the Pope in the Vatican. And the NATO
meeting in Bonn--there we'll have a chance to explain in detail
our plans for engaging the Soviet Union in realistic arms
I know that you're aware that last November we took up the issue
and proposed to the Soviet Union negotiations leading toward a
zero level, the elimination of intermediate-range weapons, their
SS-20's and 21's and 25's in Europe, and the deploying of our
Pershings and cruise missiles as a deterrent to those forces--a
total elimination of those force- --d that, now, that treaty that
we proposed is on the table in Geneva, and our teams are
negotiating there. And then, a short time ago, in Eureka College,
I spoke of START, Strategic Arms Reduction Talks, and the day
before yesterday was able to announce that those talks will
begin 27 days from now, on the 29th of June, in Geneva.
Now, if it is, as it appears to be, that we're destined to play
a leadership role, then we shall do so with one purpose in
mind--to affirm and protect the fundamental values of our people
and The people of those countries that are allied to us in this
determination to be free. Our societies are a reflection of all
that is good and decent in humankind.
Something . will happen on this trip also in Bonn. There will be a
ceremony, and Spain will become a member of NATO and the North
Atlantic Alliance. I wonder if any of us have really thought
about the significance of that. Over and above our welcome to
another democracy to join us in that alliance. When have we ever
seen or will we ever see a nation ask to join the Warsaw Pact? It
just won't happen. For that matter where else in the world can
people take to streets to demonstrate their opposition to nuclear warfare?
There's been near a decade of troubling events and uncertainty
among the allies and ourselves, but today there is a regrowth of
unity and purpose. And I hope that this trip will contribute to
that and increase it.
So, that's my reason for going. And I can only tell you that I
shall be more proud than I've ever been of anything to be there
representing the United States, with an opportunity once again to
express to all of them and to the world what it is we think we
represent, what it is we want for all the people of the world.
And now, as the little girl said to me in the postscript to her
letter, once, about what I should do after taking all her advice
in the letter, about getting to the Oval Office, and get back to
work, well, we're leaving, but--get back to work. [Laughter]
No, incidentally, I couldn't leave here without just saying to
all of you, now that we have you here and in a group, God bless
you all, and thank you for all that you've been doing. I know
that what we've been doing doesn't read well in the Washington
Post or the New York Times,but believe me, it reads well in
Thanks a lot. Goodby. See you later.
June 2, 1982
Note: The President spoke at 9:31 am. in the East Room at the
White House. Following his remarks, he left from the South Lawn
for Andrews Air Force Base, Md. From there he flew to Paris,