Discussions With President Joaquin Balaguer
Ricardo of the Dominican
March 25, 1988
Reagan. It has been my great pleasure to have met with President Balaguer. His remarkable leadership has been an important
element in the significant, positive role that the Dominican Republic has played in regional
Balaguer has been a driving force throughout his country's
democratic development. In 1966 he led democracy's return to the Dominican Republic after years of
political uncertainty and turmoil. Indeed, he is, in many ways, the father of
Dominican democracy. It's a great honor to have him here. The United States and the Dominican Republic traditionally have
enjoyed very close and warm relations. Our meeting today reflected the
important historical, cultural, political, and economic ties that bind our two
countries. We discussed the economic problems that face us and examined
Balaguer described the serious impact that low world
sugar prices and declining market access are having on the Dominican Republic. I applaud his
government's courageous efforts to meet difficult economic and developmental
challenges through diversification and private sector investment. The United
States Government wants to participate in these processes. Within our budget
limitations, we will continue to support development and growth in the Dominican Republic.
a common hemisphere and democratic beliefs, we examined important political
developments elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America. We are both concerned
by recent events in Central America and Panama. I deeply appreciate
President Balaguer's insights into these issues. We
both hope for democratic and peaceful solutions to the problems of the region.
We want to see an end to the pursuit of military solutions and to the massive
Soviet armament that fuels that pursuit. I congratulated the President on his
government's role in hosting the first Nicaraguan peace talks mediated by
Cardinal Obando y Bravo. We discussed bilateral
cooperation in the critical area of narcotics. I want personally to thank
President Balaguer for his assistance in combating
illegal narcotics in the Caribbean. His government's
efforts have been crucial, and we look forward to continued cooperation on this
matter of national and hemispheric security.
thank you again, Mr. President, for coming to visit me today in Washington. You're a close and
good friend of the United States; a leader dedicated to
freedom, democracy, and peace; a trusted ally. I wish you well and look forward
to working with you as our two countries face the challenges of the future.
Thank you, and God bless you.
Balaguer. Mr. President, this is a beautiful spring
day to pay this visit on President Ronald Reagan, which is a great honor to me,
but not really to me, but an honor which is really a distinction on my country.
I have told President Reagan today of not only my personal admiration but that
of the whole people of the Dominican Republic for himself, personally, for his
policies as a leader of the world in the defense of human rights, and for the
progress of democratic regimes in Latin America and throughout the world.
we have reviewed the bilateral problems and issues between our two countries.
We have also reviewed the problems affecting other Latin American countries.
All these countries have been inspired by President Reagan's policies in the
areas of democracy, liberty, and for helping the weak toward economic recovery.
The Dominican Republic has received a great
deal of help from the Reagan administration, especially in terms of the
Caribbean Basin Initiative. This is the most constructive initiative which has
ever come to Latin
It is the most practical initiative and the one from which we have derived the
most advantage. And here I include the Good Neighbor Policy of Roosevelt and
the Alliance for Progress of
President Kennedy, because those were theoretical abstractions, whereas the
Caribbean Basin Initiative has been a pragmatic movement which has achieved a
great deal of practical good for our countries.
Dominican Republic specifically has
improved its economy, has progressed, has established a large number of free
trade zones, opening foreign industries, and thus has reduced its unemployment
rate a great deal. Also, the Reagan plan has permitted us to export more to the
United States because of the
lowering, or total elimination, of tariffs. We have exported more clothes, more
apparel, manufactured in the Dominican Republic, as well as other
products -- which we have now started exporting to the United States, thanks to the lowering
of tariff barriers, with once again, the consequence of lowering unemployment.
are problems which subsist in our relations, especially in connection with the
lowering of our sugar quota, but this we have discussed with President Reagan
and with his senior advisers in this area of expertise. We also discussed the
subject this morning on Capitol Hill with a number of Senators who are friends
of the Dominican Republic. We found there a very
receptive climate and feel confident that the problem will be solved, taking
into account the interests of both of our countries. Our talks today regarding
our policies vis-a-vis other countries of the region
have been ones in which we have agreed on almost every point. We agreed, for
example, on the subject of Haiti and on our discussions
of other countries which are our neighbors. And we have almost total and
virtual agreement between the two countries.
is a great pleasure to me now to thank you, President Reagan, very warmly for
your hospitality, for your great cordiality and an honor which this visit has
done to my country, the Dominican Republic. If when I get home I
am asked if I come with my hands full or my hands empty, I will say that my
hands are very full -- full of friendship, full of affection, and full of
admiration for the United States and for its President,
Ronald Reagan. My admiration for Ronald Reagan is nothing new. It is something
which I have always spoken of, saying that he is not only a leader of his
country and of the continent but a world leader -- with his revolutionary
economic policies, his loyalty to democratic regimes everywhere, and his fight
against drug trafficking in the world.
here I would like just to interject a word of admiration for Mrs. Reagan -- for
Nancy, the First Lady, whose human struggle against drug trafficking stands as
an example to women all over the world, especially in Latin America, which is
suffering so much from this scourge, telling us all that we all must make our
own efforts to eradicate this plague in order to save the youth of this
generation and succeeding generations.
you, President Reagan. Believe me, your economic
policies leading to the recovery of the American economy are also leading to
the recovery of economies throughout the world. You will continue always to be
an inspiration and a guide to me. I am always conscious of your struggle to
increase the defense of human rights, to reduce unemployment, to solve the
social problems of the world -- things that we will do together and we will always
remember in the Dominican Republic.
again, thank you, Mr. President.
Reporter. Mr. President, sir, the Senate wants you
to take stronger action against Panama. They voted today. Will
you consider that?
Reagan. We're considering everything, but I can't take any more questions.
What do you want Secretary Shultz to say to the Palestinians, Mr. President?
Reagan. I can't now.
Note: President Reagan spoke at in the Rose Garden at the White House.
President Balaguer spoke in Spanish, and his remarks
were translated by an interpreter. Earlier, the two Presidents attended a
luncheon in the Residence.