Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony in Quebec City, Canada

March 17, 1985

Prime Minister, Mrs. Mulroney, thank you very much. Premier and Mrs. Levesque, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and my friends, the people of Canada, it's a great pleasure to be here, for to be on Canadian soil is to be among friends, and Nancy and I are happy to return here.

Et nous sommes heureux que notre voyage nous permette de venir dans cette belle ville de Quebec. [And we are happy that our trip takes us to this beautiful city of Quebec.] Quebec is one of the most intriguing spots on the continent. Here New France was founded. Here French is the language of commerce, the arts, and everyday life. Here English Canadians and French Canadians came together over a century ago to set the foundations for a country in whose Parliament both French and English would be spoken. And here the Citadel and the walls of the old city remind us that Canadians and Americans long ago put aside their differences to become friends. In fact, we're more than friends and neighbors and allies; we are kin, who together have built the most productive relationship between any two countries in the world today.

This is my first trip outside the United States since I was sworn into a second term. Four years ago I took my first trip as President, and then, too, I came to Canada. And this is not a coincidence. For the United States there is no more important relationship than our tie with Canada. We're each other's most important economic partner. We each play an important role in world affairs. We share a responsibility for the protection of the continent that we peacefully share. We have a joint stake in its environment. And we're partners in space and in the technologies of the future.

Between two such independent and sovereign countries there will always be some differences, as there will always be opportunities for agreement. We can still use what Franklin D. Roosevelt, our last American President to visit Quebec City while serving at the White House, called for between us. He asked for frank dealing, cooperation, and a spirit of give-and-take. That's precisely what your Prime Minister and I will be engaged in here in Quebec. We will discuss many matters pertaining to the environment, economic growth, and our mutual security. We will discuss global affairs, including arms control.

We will also be celebrating St. Patrick's Day. For two fellows named Reagan and Mulroney, this would seem to be appropriate. I know a number of people today, including myself, are wearing green ties. But I will really make my contribution this evening at dinner. I'm going to think of the Prime Minister's majority in Parliament and turn green with envy. [Laughter]

It's wonderful to be here. Thank you. Merci beaucoup.

Note: The President spoke at 3:15 p.m. in Gouvernement du Quebec Hangar, L'Anceinne Lorette Airport, where he was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. In his opening remarks, the President referred to Premier Rene Levesque of Quebec Province. Following his remarks, the President went to the Chateau Frontenac Hotel, where he met with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.