57. Editorial Note

On July 19, 1981, President Ronald Reagan, Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Secretary of the Treasury Donald Regan, and Counselor to the President Edwin Meese departed Washington for Ottawa to attend the Group of 7 (G–7) Economic Summit meeting. Prior to their departure, Haig briefed the press assembled in the Old Executive Office Building. Towards the end of his remarks, he said: “Let me conclude my brief presentation by summarizing what I believe to be our basic objectives at this summit—to get to know the other leaders personally, develop rapport with them, understand their concerns, and make clear our sensitivity to these concerns; to explain U.S. economic and foreign policy goals; to demonstrate to the other leaders our determination to create a strong U.S. economy with stable prices, accepting necessary short-term costs in this effort; to strengthen our defenses and to keep our commitment to international consultation and cooperation and to keep it solid and enduring; to discuss the East-West relations, as well as other major crises areas.” (Department of State Bulletin, August 1981, page 3)

The summit meeting took place both in Montebello, Quebec and in Ottawa from July 19 until July 21. Participants, in addition to Reagan, included Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau of Canada, President Francois Mitterrand of France, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the Federal Republic of Germany, Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki of Japan, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Giovanni Spadolini of Italy, and Gaston Thorn, President of the Commission of the European Communities. Documentation on the summit meeting is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XXXVI, Trade; Monetary Policy; Industrialized Country Cooperation, 1981–1984. Related documentation is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, volume VII, Western Europe, 1981–1984, and Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, volume XLVII, Part 1, Terrorism, January 1977–May 1985. The texts of the Ottawa Economic Summit declaration, issued on July 21; the Summary of Political Issues, issued to the press by Trudeau on July 21 on behalf of all participants; and a Statement on Terrorism, also issued to the press by Trudeau on July 21 on behalf of all participants; are printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 1981, pages 8–9, 14–16.

Following the last session of the summit, held the afternoon of July 21, the participants offered their concluding remarks at 5:05 p.m. in the Opera House of the National Arts Centre. After thanking Trudeau for his hospitality, the President commented: “Not long ago, the conventional wisdom was that our seven nations were more sharply divided than any time in years. Only three of us had attended [Page 203] an economic summit before, and the rest of us are still in the first grade, the first-year class.

“To the outside world this looked like it would be a difficult summit. Inflation rates are running at incredible levels. Unemployment, I should say, disrupts the lives of millions of people, and new fears of protectionism are sweeping across our continents. The agenda of Montebello represented an enormous challenge for all of us. The true measure of these past 2 days, days filled with candid but always friendly talks, is that we leave with a true sense of common understanding and common purpose. We’ve discussed at great length how each one of us is addressing economic problems at home while working in concert to assure that we are sensitive to the impact of our actions upon our partners.

“I’m grateful to the other leaders here for their degree of understanding and support for the economic policies we’re embarked upon in the United States. We have also resolved that we shall resist protectionism and support an open, expanding system for multilateral trade. And, as you have been told by the Prime Minister, we shall work together in helping the developing nations move toward full partnership in that system.

“As Chancellor Schmidt has told us, our unity in economic matters is the best insurance we have against a return to the disastrous ‘beggar-thy-neighbor’ policies of another era. Economic unity and political unity are two great goals we must continue to pursue. All our nations share democratic institutions based on a belief in human dignity, freedom, and the preeminence of the individual. I believe that we depart with fresh confidence and optimism about the future of democratic values and our societies.

“Many uncertainties still lie ahead; much remains to be done. But, as an American, I would like to recall for you an inspiring story of my native land. It’s the story of young Franklin Roosevelt, who was struck down by polio in the prime of life and then, struggling to cover and to scale new heights. I mention it because much of that struggle took place on a little island not too far from here in New Brunswick, Canada, and the story is remembered by a very appropriate title, ‘Sunrise at Campobello.’

“Now, today, as we leave Montebello, I just can’t resist the suggestion that over the past few years our nations have suffered from an affliction too, an economic affliction. I hope sometime in the future people will look back and say that here, in these talks, we began to put our nations back on the road to economic recovery and that a new Sun rose at Montebello.

“That is a hope I know all of us share. Thank you very much.” (Public Papers: Reagan, 1981, pages 639–640)

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The concluding statements made by all heads of state are ibid., pages 637–646.

Haig and Regan briefed the press on July 21 at the Skyline Hotel in Ottawa; for the text of their briefing, see Department of State Bulletin, August 1981, pages 17–22.