Remarks of the President and King Hassan II of Morocco Following Their Meeting

May 19, 1982

The President. His Majesty, King Hassan II of Morocco. We met this morning, and he was my guest at a luncheon. He's a firm friend of the United States, and his working visit to Washington gives us an opportunity to build on two centuries of cordial diplomatic relations between our two countries.

It's a real personal privilege and pleasure to have His Majesty as our guest. King Hassan is the leader of a great nation at the crossroads of two continents, lying on NATO's southern flank at the entrance to the Mediterranean. It has deep ties to Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the whole Islamic world. We therefore discussed not only bilateral relations but a wide range of regional and global issues.

I deeply value the depth of experience and breadth of vision that His Majesty brings to the issues of profound mutual concern. His Majesty briefed me on the latest developments in his efforts to reach a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Western Sahara. And I expressed my admiration for his support of the OAU, Organization of African Unity, referendum.

We discussed opportunities for continued progress in the Middle East and agreed to continue a strategic dialog on security issues.

We reviewed the progress that we've achieved in augmenting our bilateral relations, the Bi-National Committee for Economic Relations that Secretary Baldrige chaired last January, the Joint Military Commission that held its first meeting last month, and the agreement establishing a bi-national commission for a cultural and education exchange that Secretary Haig signed in Morocco in February.

We considered other opportunities for closer cooperation between our two countries in private investment, trade, and other areas. And I expressed to His Majesty the great value the United States places on cooperation with him and on friendship with Morocco, a country that stood with us at our independence, fought at our side during the Second World War, and joins with us today in the quest for world peace and security.

Your Majesty, we're honored to have you here, and we bid you welcome.

The King. Mr. President, I shall try to be understood against -- and in my very bad English. But I shall try to speak the language of the heart to thank you very deeply, you and your government and your people, for your hospitality. And I can assure you that from yesterday in the afternoon, still now, I really felt that I was between very strong and loyal friends.

Naturally, the nature of the problems of the United States and the nature of our problems in Morocco, they have not the same volume and they are not at the same level. But the nature is the same. Our problems, like your problems, are to live in the dignity, in the freedom, and in the way of life which our people choose for themselves and for the future.

A big ocean is between the United States and Morocco. But we must, each day after each day, we must try to build a bridge of solidarity and understanding. We can -- or you could some time, you and I, have not the same analysis or the same position for one -- [inaudible] -- situation in the world. That is the sign of your independence and our independence and the sign of our free exercise of our sovereignty, as you are free to exercise your sovereignty.

But the importance is to see and to know that always, as before, Moroccan people and American people are ready and will be ready always to fight for the same ideal and to mix their blood for the dignity of man and the freedom of the countries.

Again, Mr. President, I thank you very warmly for your hospitality, and I wish for your country prosperity and glory and for yourself, health and success. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 1:48 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. Following their remarks to the press, the President and King Hassan boarded Marine One and went to Fairfield Farm, near Hume, Va., for an afternoon of horseback riding. The farm is owned by J. Willard Marriott, Sr.

Earlier in the day, the President and the King met in the Oval Office with their advisers and then attended a luncheon meeting in the State Dining Room.