White House Statement About a Meeting Between the President and President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire

December 1, 1981

President Reagan met for 45 minutes this afternoon with President Sese Seko Mobutu of Zaire in the Oval Office. He welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the interests and concerns of this important African country and friend of the United States. The meeting was friendly and open. Among the issues discussed were Namibia and Chad, where the President praised Zaire's contribution to a peaceful solution. They also discussed Zaire's need for the cooperation of friendly states, including the United States and our European allies, as well as international organizations in working to develop its economy and reinforce its national security.

There was a mutual understanding of the need for strengthening Zaire's economic institutions and the armed forces. The President told President Mobutu that the United States is prepared to help Zaire achieve its development and security goals while recognizing that those goals require some difficult decisions, such as those now being taken and planned by the Zairian Government, particularly in improved administration. There was agreement on the importance of the private sector as a force for economic development.

The President wished President Mobutu well during his meetings with Members of Congress and the business community and visits to other parts of the United States.

Present at the meeting in addition to the two Presidents were: Zaire's Foreign Minister Yoka, Zaire's Ambassador to the United States Kasongo, Vice President Bush, Secretaries Haig and Weinberger, Counsellor to the President Meese, Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Nance, U.S. Ambassador to Zaire Oakley, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Crocker, Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs Dyke, and Fred Wettering, senior NSC staff member on Africa.