Interview With Christine Ockrent of TF - 1
Mr. President, your administration has been putting a lot of pressure on
The President. Well, no, because I believe that peace is inevitable. I don't think that anyone -- we may have some differences there as to how to achieve it, but I don't think anyone believes that we can go on just with a constant state of warfare and unrest. And I believe that we have presented for discussion a pretty good solution that would remove some of the problems besetting the people in the occupied territories.
Q. Prime Minister Shamir has already expressed his opposition to Secretary Shultz's plan. He will be coming here next week.
The President. Yes.
Q. What kind of additional pressure do you intend to put on him?
The President. Well, I don't think it's so much pressure as it is just an attempt at persuasion. But also, I'd like to point out that his Cabinet is pretty evenly split on the solution. So, it isn't a case of outside pressure there. He has a great element in his own government that sees merit in the proposals that we've made.
Q. Would early Israeli elections be considered an American success in your view?
The President. Frankly, I haven't given much thought to that and to their election process there as to whether it would or not. I know that he has now broached that subject. And yet if they were held, maybe it is that he would believe that he might have more support for his position, because the other faction, then, in the election is the one that is already differing from the Prime Minister and supportive of what we've proposed.
Q. Do you share the view that
The President. Well, I'm a great believer in a free press and the right of the people to know, and so I would have to be opposed to it, thinking that they want to conduct operations in which they would rather not have public knowledge of them.
What would be the ultimate goal if Secretary Shultz was to succeed? Would it be
to have an international conference on the
The President. Well, this is a
problem, because you have a situation there where the
Q. Mr. President, after more than 7 years here
at the White House, in a capsule view, how would you qualify
the global shift of economic power in the world? Would you say that this
country is a fading empire, that
The President. Well, I would say quite
the contrary -- not as to whether
The President. No, I don't believe so. But I'm speaking of the developing nations when I speak about the other. But I would think the reverse is true. I believe that with our economic summit, that our turning away from protectionism to the extent that we are, and our efforts to even do more of that with the GATT [General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade] treaty and all, that we've made great improvement in world economy. And we have to face the fact that it is a world economy, that none of us anymore can believe that we can stand off and just achieve prosperity by ourselves.
The President. You're speaking of our Federal budget deficit -- --
The President. -- -- not in the trade deficit? Yes, for over 50 years this country has been running deficits. As a matter of fact, it's almost 60 years now in which there have only been 8 individual years in which there was not a budget deficit. It was a false economic theory that was adopted by one of our two political parties and that party happened to control the Legislature for most of these 60 years. And it has been proven false. So, what we've been doing for these 7 years is trying to get on a path leading toward a balancing of the budget, the elimination of deficit spending. It has reached a point that you couldn't do it in one year. You couldn't suddenly pull the string and say -- --
Q. Not even in two terms -- two Presidential terms?
The President. Well, you see I was still up against that Legislature with that other philosophy. But I do believe that that's one of the things that's happened in these 7 years -- is that instead of the argument as it had been for more than half a century, in which those who believed in deficit spending defended it, and they said, oh, this brings prosperity, this is necessary to do this. Now that argument, which was a fallacious argument, is gone, and the only debate between us now is how best to achieve the balanced budget. There is no longer anyone defending deficits.
You don't want to take sides in this Presidential election in this country, but
whom would you support in
The President. I think I should remain neutral there, also, that that would be best for all of us. And I wouldn't want to seem to be trying to involve myself in what the course of the French people should be.
Q. You would have no personal preference? Because you know all our candidates, or most of them.
The President. Well, I think my philosophy there would have to be the same as it is here in our own election process: that until decisions are made as to who the nominees are going to be, I will remain neutral.
Has President Mitterrand given you any tip in
The President. No, no, he hasn't.
Note: The interview began at in the Map Room at the White House.