Remarks on the United Kingdom-Ireland Agreement Concerning Northern Ireland

November 15, 1985

The President. The Speaker and I are very pleased this morning to be able to tell you that we have each issued a statement about what has taken place today between the Taoiseach of Ireland and the Prime Minister of England in regard to Northern Ireland in trying to finally settle the tragic internecine warfare going on there. We're delighted that this has come about, and we hope that, in a bipartisan way, that we can go forward with anything we can do to help -- and they have agreed to -- the two governments, other two governments -- to help in restoring sound economics there -- and anything we can do to encourage private investment that will provide prosperity and employment for their people. But it has been, we think, a great breakthrough which shows great promise. Now, Tip.

Speaker O'Neill. Well, thank you, Mr. President. I think it was very courageous on the part of the leaders of the English Government and the Government of Ireland to get together to try to work out and solve the problems of Northern Ireland. There, in the land of cultures, yet 90 miles from the European Continent, there have been hundreds of killings and thousands of woundings, and it has showed through the years that bullets and bombs are not the answer -- the answer is talking the question over. And I'm glad that both of these countries appreciate the severity of the questions. America has flourished because of diversity, and there's no reason that Northern Ireland can't be the same way. And so, I stand here beside the President of the United States, part of the fact that we both support the leaders of those two great nations -- the Taoiseach and the Prime Minister.

And I want to assure you how delighted I am that America is backing a policy which all Presidents have said, that if we could bring this to an end, we would do everything that we humanly could. And I speak for the House, Mr. President -- any means that we can use in the Congress of the United States to help bring peace in Northern Ireland, I assure you that we'll have the full cooperation of the Congress; there's no question in my mind.

So, again, we congratulate the people of Ireland, the leaders and the people of England, Mrs. Thatcher, their Prime Minister. And our hope and our prayers and our best wishes and our support is with them that this venture will be a success.


Reporter. Mr. President, Speaker O'Neill is predicting major results at the summit in Geneva next week. Do you agree with him?

The President. I'm -- this is almost -- this was that knuckleball I was talking about yesterday, to throw something -- I was prepared not to take any questions. We're not going to take questions here at this particular occasion; statements have been issued. But when you ask one like that with the Speaker standing here, yes, I am very pleased and delighted with what he had to say.

Speaker O'Neill. I want you to know that we wish you all the success and happiness and best wishes, and you come home with the greatest results -- everyone in America. You're our leader, and we know that you're going to have results.

Q. Mr. President, Mr. Arbatov, today in Geneva calls you a ``Grade B movie actor.''

The President. Well, he's never seen ``King's Row.'' [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 9:54 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Sir Oliver Wright, British Ambassador to the United States, and Padraic McKernan, Irish Ambassador to the United States, were also present. In the final question, a reporter referred to Georgiy Arbatov of the Soviet Union, who was director of the Institute for the Study of the United States of America and Canada. A tape was not available for verification of the content these remarks.