Remarks to Reporters Following Meetings With King Juan Carlos I of Spain

October 13, 1981

The President. His Majesty Juan Carlos and I have just completed a stimulating and instructive session of talks, during which we touched on some of the most critical international issues of the day.

We discussed the East-West situation, the importance of forging even closer Western unity and cohesion in the face of a determined Soviet challenge. We spent considerable time comparing notes on the Middle East and the interest which our two countries share in promoting peace and stability in that troubled region, so recently shaken by the tragic death of Egyptian President Sadat. We talked about Latin America and the Caribbean Basin, an area where, owing to the wealth of Hispanic culture and historical ties, Spanish insights are especially valuable.

Most important, my talks with His Majesty merely confirmed that -- well, what I and millions of my fellow Americans already knew, that Spain has a wise and courageous chief of state, whose leadership in developing his country's democratic institutions has earned the world's profound respect.

Your Majesty, I take this opportunity to reiterate in public what I have expressed to you in private. The U.S. enormously admires the strides which you and your countrymen have taken toward creating a vital and vibrant democracy in so short a time. In fully supporting that democracy, we consider Spain not only a major strategic partner but a close friend, and we look forward even more closely to working with your government as Spain continues to pursue full integration with Europe and the West.

I speak for all Americans when I say that I hope you and your gracious Queen will soon return to our shores. You'll be particularly welcome not only here in Washington but in those many parts of our country where Spanish culture and language have contributed so enduringly to our own history and heritage.

Adios and buen viaje.

The King. First of all, Mr. President, I want to thank you for those kind words for which I am extremely grateful. But I want to tell you and publicly to tell you that without the help of the Spanish people, I would not have been able, in the beginning, to do what Spain achieved and what I achieved with them.

I want to express again to the President and Mrs. Reagan our gratitude for the invitation and for the hospitality we are receiving. Our visit to Washington couldn't have started better. I'm not referring to the weather, but to the most cordial and personal relationship that has developed in this, our first visit.

As the President told you, we discussed different matters around the world and, above all, the relationship between Spain and the United States, that can't be in a better way and in a better moment.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 11:55 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House.