Remarks Following Discussions With President Jose Simeon Azcona Hoyo of Honduras

May 27, 1986

President Reagan. It's been my honor to welcome to Washington and to confer with President Azcona of Honduras. And we've had extremely useful discussions today. We both expressed our appreciation for the positive and solid relationship that our two countries enjoy. We reviewed recent developments in Central America, including the summit meeting this past weekend.

President Azcona and I are in full agreement on the necessity of working for greater economic growth in Central America and the importance of democratic institutions to the cause of peace in the region. I reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to cooperate closely with Honduras, both in helping to build its economy and in bolstering its democracy. I expressed to President Azcona my personal thanks and that of the American people for his government's responsible stand on regional issues.

Our two governments share a serious concern over the threat to peace, stability, and freedom posed by the Communist regime in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan Communists, with extensive Soviet and Cuban support, persist in repressing their own population and in backing the subversion of their democratic neighbors. This endangers all of Latin America and ultimately the United States as well. In this regard, I underscored to the President our promise to stand by Honduras in defense of its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, as is in accordance with our reciprocal international rights and obligations. A joint communique will be issued today reiterating this mutual commitment. President Azcona and I agree that our countries and the other democracies in the region must act together to end the conflict that plagues Central America, but it's not just up to us.

Securing regional peace will require an end to Communist aggression as well as national reconciliation and democratization within Nicaragua. Honduras has been diligent and persistent in its pursuit of a comprehensive and verifiable solution within the framework of the Contadora negotiations, and, Mr. President, you have our support in these efforts. The United States continues to believe that a realistic and enforceable agreement, based on the full implementation of the Contadora Document of Objectives, is one way to bring peace to Central America.

And finally, it was a great personal pleasure to meet President Azcona. I look forward to continuing our work in the same spirit of friendship and respect that was so evident in our meeting today. So, Mr. President, we thank you for coming. Godspeed on your way home.

President Azcona. It has been a great pleasure to talk with President Reagan. I believe that these exchanges of views, held in a climate of great cordiality and frankness, are always beneficial, because they lead to greater understanding and a better relationship between our governments and peoples.

With President Reagan, we have reviewed the various aspects of the harmonious bilateral relations between our two countries. I am happy to say that in the economic field he was receptive to the points I made to him. So, I am certain that his great country will give broad support to the measures which my government is taking to reactivate the Honduran economy and reduce our present high unemployment levels, as a complement to Honduran short- and medium-term efforts, all without neglecting our security needs.

I have told President Reagan about the efforts we are making in Honduras to develop our country. In this context, I reiterated the fact that our government assigns the highest priority to foreign investment, while at the same time recognizing that at present we also require the participation of government and the cooperation of friendly countries, among which the United States is one of the closest. Because of the fact that we believe in the necessity of offering the foreign investor a climate of tranquillity, encouraging his participation in the effort being made by Hondurans to develop our country, and of offering him guarantees which ensure the protection of his legitimate rights, I have authorized the Foreign Minister to sign during this visit the treaty on the settlement of investment disputes between states and nationals of other states. This treaty will provide the foreign investor in Honduras with access to international legal mechanisms of recognized impartiality and competence, which together with those offered by Honduran law will guarantee to him the full enjoyment of his rights. In the political field, we reaffirmed our identity as a regime governed by rule of law and based on the effective exercise of democracy and on respect for human rights.

When we examined the situation in Central America, we noted with concern that conditions jeopardizing peace and security still exist. We agreed that major new efforts must be made to find a negotiated solution to the crisis, based on concrete actions for national reconciliation, on free and honest elections, on disarmament, and in general, on the creation of a climate in which freedom and security for all can guarantee the economic and social development of the peoples of Central America. To that end, it is necessary to conclude fully verifiable, juridical arrangements among the Central American States. President Reagan reiterated to me that, in accordance with the special security relationship which exists between our two countries, as long as grave threats to Honduras security and to the stability of our institutions persist, the Government of the United States will be prepared, in the case of armed aggression against Honduras, to render it any necessary assistance which the Honduran Government may request.

Finally, I would like to say how very gratified I am that in the course of this visit, the relations of friendship and cooperation which exist between Honduras and the United States have been strengthened within a framework of trust and mutual respect. Thank you very much.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 1:26 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. President Azcona spoke in Spanish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the two Presidents met privately in the Oval Office and then with U.S. and Honduran officials in the Cabinet Room. Following their meetings, they had lunch in the Residence.