Remarks in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Following a Meeting With President Jose Efrain Rios Montt of Guatemala

December 4, 1982

Well, ladies and gentlemen, President Rios Montt and I have just had a useful exchange of ideas on the problems of the region and on our bilateral relations.

Our conversation today has done much to improve the climate of relations between our two governments. I know that President Rios Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment. His country is confronting a brutal challenge from guerrillas armed and supported by others outside Guatemala.

I have assured the President that the United States is committed to support his efforts to restore democracy and to address the root causes of this violent insurgency. I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice. My administration will do all it can to support his progressive efforts.

We have heard a great presentation, and as I said on the first day of my visit far south of here in Brasilia, people from my country -- government officials of my country in the past have come to South and Central America to various countries proposing plans and ideas of their own. I know they were sincere, and yet I think there was a certain insensitivity connected with what they were doing. I said from the first day and until this, our last stop on this visit, that we came here to ask, not tell. We have come here to find out and to learn what we can about the possible differences between us and the possible answers to those differences. And we know now a great deal more about the problems confronting Guatemala. And we're going home and do our best to see if we can't be helpful now in finding some answers to the problems.

And I will now turn the microphone over to President Rios Montt.

Note: The President spoke at 6:05 p.m. to reporters assembled in Hangar 3, near the headquarters building of an Air Force base where he and President Rios and their delegations had met.

Following his remarks, the President returned to La Mesa International Airport and departed Honduras for the return trip to Washington, D.C., where he arrived shortly before midnight.