Remarks Following a Meeting With Secretary-General Carrington of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

April 2, 1987

The President. Well, good morning, everyone. Lord Carrington and I have just had a brief but useful discussion about the vitality of the NATO alliance. And this endeavor is helping to improve NATO's conventional defense as we move forward in our negotiations on equitable, stabilizing, and verifiable reduction of nuclear weapons. Also, it will have positive impact when we begin negotiations with the Warsaw Pact for more stable conventional forces from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Congress' support of codevelopment at an initial funding level of $200 million has opened up new opportunities of benefit to everyone. And as a result of the amendment by Senators Nunn and Roth and Warner, there may this year be as many as a dozen cooperative ventures undertaken with alliance nations. This is a historic first in the alliance and will have a profound impact on NATO's conventional defense as well as a better return on both U.S. and European taxpayers' defense investment in all alliance nations. Senators Nunn and Warner and other Members have been leaders in promoting this important legislation in the Congress. This partnership approach is the best antidote to trends toward defense protectionism on both sides of the Atlantic as well as troop withdrawal amendments.

The international political framework NATO has set up for stimulating progress in this partnership venture has been remarkable. The newly created, reinforced North Atlantic Council meetings of Deputy Defense Ministers includes the French and the first such use of the Council since 1950. And this is a very constructive way to encourage closer French cooperation on defense issues. And I'm grateful that Lord Carrington has taken personal leadership in this matter at NATO. And I deeply appreciate the wisdom and energy of all the parties who've made this work, many of whom are gathered here today.

Your Lordship, welcome.

Lord Carrington. Thank you very much, Mr. President. May I just say -- --

The President. Please do.

Lord Carrington. -- -- I think the alliance over the years has had a number of successes, not least that in 38 years we haven't had the third world war. I'm not at all sure that we can congratulate ourselves quite so warmly in the matter of arms cooperation over the last 38 years. We've had some successes, but it would be an exaggeration to say that we have been all that successful.

And I am deeply encouraged that you, Mr. President, personally have come to this meeting today to give this a boost. And the fact that Senator Nunn and Senator Roth and Senator Warner and others have made these proposals and have made it possible for there to be greater cooperation between the Europeans and the Americans is exceedingly important. And I know the energy with which Secretary [of Defense] Weinberger and Deputy Secretary [of Defense] Taft are carrying this out.

We, alas, don't have all the resources that we need for defense. When we waste them by duplication and by competing against each other, we do the alliance a great disservice. And so I can assure you that I will do everything I can to see that this is successful. And I, once again, am deeply grateful to you for having spoken in the way that you have.

The President. Well, thank you. And incidentally, while we have given some cast recognition here to the Senators present, we fortunately have some members of our House of Representatives, too -- Representative Hyde and others who are here at the table.

Reporter. Mr. President, Senator Dole says that losing this highway vote will make you a caretaker President.

The President. I have asked for permission to go up on the Hill and meet with the Members of the Senate up there to discuss my caretaker status.

Q. When are you going to do this?

The President. What?

Q. When are you going to do this?

The President. Very shortly.

Q. Today?

The President. Yes.

Q. Before the vote?

The President. Yes.

Q. Do you think you can turn it around?

The President. What?

Q. Do you think you can turn it around?

The President. I never talk about win or lose before it happens. Just wait and see what happens.

Note: The President spoke at 10:23 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.