Informal Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With President Francois Mitterrand of France

July 4, 1986

Q. Mr. President, are you going to send a message to Mr. Gorbachev with French President Mitterrand?

President Reagan. I don't think that would be appropriate to impose on him. He has his own matters -- other countries -- --

Q. What would you like him to say, though?

Q. Will you discuss with him today the East-West relationship?

President Reagan. Oh, I think we'll talk about things like that, yes.

Q. What would you like him to express to Mr. Gorbachev about your view toward a summit and an arms control agreement?

President Reagan. As I say, we each have our own relationships with our countries and -- --

Q. Are you concerned that he is not more supportive of strategic defense than he is -- President Mitterrand?

President Reagan. We have a very happy relationship.

Q. Mr. Gorbachev, in his latest speech, said that you are still -- the United States -- still not serious about arms control.

President Reagan. Well, then he's just misinformed.

Q. Mr. Reagan, do you know -- --

Q. When will you send your own message to Mr. Gorbachev? When will you respond to his letter?

President Reagan. We're meeting and talking about that right now.

Q. Are you going to resolve the differences between Secretaries Shultz and Weinberger on how to respond to Mr. Gorbachev? [Laughter]

President Reagan. You see them here. My right and my left hand. [Laughter] I would be lost without either one of them. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, why aren't you letting the boxing team go to the Soviet Union?

Mr. Speakes. Okay, that's it. That's all. Sorry. Open the door and go.

Q. Mr. President, why aren't you letting the boxing team go to the Soviet Union?

President Reagan. I think I can answer that very easily. That happens to be a commercial undertaking, and it is a military team. And we cannot use the military in that sense in a commercial undertaking.

Q. The Fourth of July celebration last night, sir -- a commercial undertaking.

Q. Why is it different?

Q. ABC -- Wolper sold it --

President Reagan. Coverage of that kind -- but the ceremony would have gone on if there was no coverage.

Q. President Mitterrand, what would you like to tell General Secretary Gorbachev?

Mr. Speakes. We've ended the photo op, Andrea [Andrea Mitchell, NBC News], I'm sorry. Go. Out.

Q. I've seen enough.

Mr. Speakes. Leave. Let's go.

Q. President Mitterrand is trying to answer.

President Mitterrand. When I get back, I will explain the answer to your question.

Q. Merci.

Note: The exchange began at 12:30 p.m. at the Admiral's Residence on Governors Island in New York, NY. President Reagan and President Mitterrand attended a working luncheon at the residence. During their meeting, President Mitterrand presented President Reagan with the deed to the Statue of Liberty, reenacting the presentation which took place between representatives of France and the United States 100 years ago. Larry M. Speakes was Principal Deputy Press Secretary to the President.