Remarks of the President and Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda of Thailand Following Their Meeting

April 13, 1984

The President. I'm delighted to have this opportunity to exchange views with Prime Minister Prem and to discuss with him events in Southeast Asia and in other parts of the world.

This is the Prime Minister's second visit with me, and on both occasions he's provided valuable counsel. And I am particularly happy to renew our personal relationship, because it mirrors the deep friendship between the Thai and American people. Thailand and the United States have a history of friendship and cooperation going back to 1833, when we signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

Today we took our relationship one step further with the signing of a science and technology agreement. The 150 years of our relations have seen many changes, yet throughout this time the fundamental determination of that and American people to -- of Thai, I should say, and American people to live their lives in freedom is unchanged.

Whatever our differences of climate or culture, in our love of liberty we're the same. This is the unchanging basis of our friendship. The economic vitality found in Thailand is something else with which Americans identify. American investors and traders are proud of the part that they're able to play in Thailand's growth. Working together, Americans and Thais are building a better quality of life for both our peoples.

Prime Minister Prem will return to his country confident in our friendship and assured that America's commitments remain sound and solid. As treaty allies of the Manila Pact, the United States fully appreciates the situation in Southeast Asia and Thailand's key role in ASEAN's effort to promote peace and stability in that vital area.

In response to Thailand's immediate security requirements, I'm happy to announce that the United States will make available immediately a sizable number of M - 48 tanks. We'll also request the Congress to extend the repayment terms of our security assistance to Thailand. High-level defense consultations between our countries will continue. We'll discuss Thailand's overall defense needs, including its requirement for advanced aircraft, something we fully support. The administration will confer with the Congress on these defense matters, as appropriate.

Thailand today will be celebrating, by the old lunar calendar, the beginning of the new year. So, may I wish you, Mr. Prime Minister, and all the people of Thailand, a very fine Songkran holiday and, for all the Thai people, prosperity, health, and peace. We're pleased to have had you as our guest, again.

The Prime Minister. Thank you.

The President. Thank you.

The Prime Minister. I was most pleased and honored to be invited to meet with President Reagan for the second time since my last visit 3 years ago. My discussion with the President on issues of mutual concern and interest were most constructive and fruitful. Together we have decided on ways and means to strengthen our bilateral ties and to enhance our cooperation.

The relationship between our two countries spans over one century-and-a-half. Over the years this relationship has increased in strength and expanded in dimension. Under the leadership of President Reagan, the United States has returned to the traditional values and demonstrated a determination in the pursuit of real peace. On our part, Thailand and the other ASEAN partners have distinguished themselves as a moderating influence on the international economic and political issues. Our collective efforts have served to enhance security in Southeast Asia, which is vital to the stability and prosperity of the East-Asian Pacific region and beyond.

Later on today I will meet members of the U.S. business community to explore opportunities for expanding trade and business ties for mutual benefits. Thailand shares with you the faith in the dynamism of economic relationships between countries in the Pacific community, the dynamism which has become more evident and which represents great economic potential for further development.

The recovery of your economy, which is undoubtedly the largest single economy of the world, is most welcome. For this to be longlasting, the recovery must generate prosperity of the wider front, particularly in the free-market economies such as that of Thailand.

Finally, on behalf of the Thai nation, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the administration's full support to the modernization of Thailand's defense. This gesture reaffirms the United States commitment to Thailand's security in recognition of our role in strengthening the fabric of peace in the area, which the United States considers to be vital to her interests.

Note: The President spoke at 1:26 p.m. in the East Room at the White House.