Informal Exchange With Reporters

February 13, 1985

Q. What about Chernenko?

The President. Maybe I should ask you. We have no other information than you have with regard to his still not being seen in public.

Q. -- -- this might affect the arms talks?

The President. I wouldn't think so, no. I think those are well on their way, and there's been no problem about meeting.

Q. -- -- Arafat-Hussein -- --

The President. What's that?

Q. What do you think of the Arafat-Hussein agreement?

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Arafat-Hussein agreement?

The President. Oh, well, the little we know about it, it seems as if some progress has been made. That's where the first break in the progress began -- came after our first proposal in '82. So, we're being optimistic about it.

Q. Are they encouraging you, Mr. President, to get more involved right now in the Middle East?

The President. Well, we've never been uninvolved. And, yes, we want to push the same thing that we proposed 2 years ago: the peace proposal there between the Arab States and Israel.

Q. What do you hope to get from the talks in Vienna with the Soviets?

The President. Well, there are a number of things that I think are of interest to both countries, and I think we'll -- there's some reason to believe that we can straighten out some things, matters.

Q. -- -- Fahd -- --

The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], I've got a problem with you and the helicopter.\1\ (FOOTNOTE)

(FOOTNOTE) \1\The President was referring to the overhead noise from Marine One, which was waiting to take the President to Andrews Air Force Base en route to California.

Q. -- -- the Fahd visit?

Mr. Speakes. Results of the Fahd visit?

Q. The meeting with King Fahd?

The President. -- -- what?

Mr. Speakes. Results of the Fahd visit?

The President. Oh. Well, we think it was a very worthwhile visit for both countries and for both heads of state.

Q. -- -- the Israelis express any concern about the Russians becoming involved in the Mideast negotiations or the Vienna talks?

The President. No. We very definitely are not in support of an idea of a great international conference on the Middle East.

Q. Have you invited Mr. Peres to come back and talk with you after Mr. Mubarak? Is Peres coming back after Mubarak to talk again?

The President. I don't know exactly what the schedule is of visitors now, but he's coming here on issues that have to do between them -- and I don't know whether there'd be a reason for another visit.

Q. Mr. President, what about the strength of the U.S. dollar overseas? Is there anything the Government can or should do about that?

The President. The main problem is not the strength of the American dollar; it's the weakness of foreign currency, because our recovery has progressed beyond theirs. We hope that we can help their recovery to where their currency comes up in relation to ours.

I have to get on that thing now.

Q. What are you getting Mrs. Reagan for Valentine's Day?

The President. A valentine. [Laughter]

Q. How many?

The President. Oh, about five.

Note: The exchange began at 10:26 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House as the President was leaving for a trip to Rancho del Cielo, his ranch near Santa Barbara, CA.