Remarks on the Departure of Prime Minister Robert D. Muldoon of New Zealand

July 24, 1981

The President. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, this has been a very great pleasure and honor for us to have Prime Minister Muldoon of New Zealand here with us today.

New Zealand is a longtime friend and ally in the closest relationship with the United States. They've been by our side in every war that has taken place that we've been involved in in this century. And we've had a very good meeting in getting acquainted, discussing the trade relations between us, and they're numerous and of mutual advantage to all of us.

We've discussed the world situation, our own proposals for a project in the Caribbean and Central America, but they have had such a project for a number of years in the island nations of the South Pacific. So all in all, it has been a very, very warm and helpful experience. We're delighted, as I say, to have the Prime Minister here, and I hope that this is just the first of many meetings in the years to come.

Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for being here with us.

The Prime Minister. Thank you, Mr. President. I've been delighted to have this opportunity of making the acquaintance of President Reagan and some of the members of his Cabinet who hold responsibilities that are particularly important to the bilateral relationship between New Zealand and the United States.

I don't think that there are closer friends than New Zealand and the United States. We see so many things alike, and we admire so much the way in which this country shoulders the burden of leadership of the free world. And today, in some of the early months of a new administration, I'm delighted to have had the opportunity of spending some time with the President and members of his Cabinet, making an acquaintance which I'm sure will be fruitful in the years to come in further cementing the great friendship between our two nations.

Note: The exchange began at 1:20 p.m. at the North Portico of the White House. Earlier, the President and the Prime Minister had a meeting in the Oval Office, followed by a luncheon in the Blue Room.