Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony for President Reagan in Mazatlan, Mexico

 

February 13, 1988

 

President De la Madrid. Your Excellency Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, members of his party, ladies and gentlemen: On behalf of the people and the Government of Mexico, I am very pleased to extend a most cordial welcome to the President of the United States of America and to the distinguished members of his party.

 

This is the sixth time that we two Presidents have met and, on balance, this type of top-level communication between the governments of our countries has shown itself to be both effective and useful. On the basis of personal friendship and direct, frank communication, we two Presidents have periodically had the opportunity to review issues of interest to us and to improve the manner in which our relations are conducted.

 

I must gratefully acknowledge President Reagan's interest in maintaining our relations within an atmosphere of mutual cordiality, dignity, and respect. We have dealt successfully with delicate issues and broadened the basis for cooperation, which, as neighbors, our two countries require. Today we can affirm that our relations are conducted on a very positive level. There is fluid and wide-ranging communication between the two governments, and we have institutional mechanisms, not only to solve but also to prevent problems.

 

I am certain, Mr. President, that on this occasion, perhaps the last time we meet as Presidents, we will strengthen the basis for good and productive relations and discuss as frankly as we always have the problems on our agenda. President Reagan, I cordially welcome you and also the members of your party.

 

President Reagan. President De la Madrid, distinguished guests, people of Mexico: This is a momentous occasion for me. Over 5 years ago, President De la Madrid and I first met near the border in Tijuana. We dedicated ourselves to building on the strength, friendship, and cooperation that are traditional bonds between our two countries. We resolved to address the daily concerns of our citizens with mutual respect and understanding. We set out to make progress on difficult issues and to discuss areas of disagreement with the candor of good friends. The personal rapport we developed has served the interests of both our peoples.

 

Today Mexico and the United States stand together as we strive to meet the perplexing challenges that face our nations. We can be proud of what has been accomplished in so short a period. We have created dynamic commercial ties that lay the foundation for a stronger and expanding trade relationship and more competitive economies. We have worked together to find positive and creative solutions to a threatening international debt problem. We have established strong new mechanisms to deal with border matters. We have strengthened law enforcement cooperation, reducing the ability of criminals to take advantage of different jurisdictions.

 

Today we will meet again in the spirit of good will and cooperation that has been the hallmark of our relations. Today we help pave the way for a new generation of political leaders in both our countries who will soon follow us and build on the foundation we've laid. That foundation is cemented by our shared values and common goals: a better quality of life for our peoples, opportunities for our children, and the dignity of living peacefully in free and democratic societies. Much still needs to be done to achieve these goals, but we can be proud of the legacy we leave.

 

Mr. President, next year we will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S.-Mexico International Boundary and Water Commission. The Commission has been a success, a model for others throughout the world. It is concrete and living proof that two nations can live as neighbors, deal with the reality of a 3,000-kilometer border, and respect each other's sovereign independence and identity.

 

There will be no greater monument to this upcoming anniversary, which marks a century of Mexican-American cooperation, than the current high plane of relations between the leaders of our countries and the bonds of family, commerce, and friendship between our peoples. This is the spirit in which I come today. Thank you, and God bless you.

 

Note: The President spoke at 12:17 p.m. at the Camino Real Hotel, where he was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. The Presidents' remarks were translated by interpreters. Following the ceremony, they met with U.S. and Mexican officials at the hotel.