[G7 Summit --
Versailles, June 4-6, 1982]


[ Help | Search | Year | Country
| Subject
| G7 Centre ]

[Summit
Contents]

[UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION:] PRESIDENT MITTERRAND'S PRESS CONFERENCE AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE SUMMIT OF INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES

June 6, 1982

We shall now, if you wish, start this press conference which was preceded, as you know, by a declaration that I made as president of the Summit of Industrialized Nations. That declaration was unilateral, with no discussion and no dialogue. I was speaking on behalf of the Eight, but I was not able to give a detailed account of the discussions. Now is the time to do that -- though this is not an invitation to discuss more than necessary, it is not an encouragement, it is not an incitement to excessive dialogue; I have, at the most, three quarters of an hour, but I would be satisfied with half an hour, if you are willing. It depends on you.

What are the texts?

A declaration.

That declaration is called "Declaration of the Seven Heads of State and Government, and Representatives of the European Communities." You know what it is about.

This declaration, which covers many topics, is followed by an attached document called "Statement on International Monetary Undertakings."

Another text, which has already been released and is not linked to this one, is about Lebanon. You must have seen it.

Other questions were not the subjects of communiqués, among them the matter of the Falklands or Malvinas; discussions were held among concerned ministers, on the one hand, Foreign Affairs, on the other, Economy and Finance, sometimes together.

Some of the debates from these meetings explain the texts in question. Everything must be examined to judge the results of the Versailles Summit.

If you don't mind, I will quickly go over the issues covered in the declaration.

It starts with general affirmations, mostly centered on the fight against inflation and unemployment and on the development of growth, lasting growth, on the necessity to safeguard the security of the Western world and of Japan, and on the confidence in democratic values.

It is clearly understood that the actions in the fight against inflation, for [higher] levels of employment and for growth go hand in hand.

A certain number of resolutions, on growth and employment, follow to realize these objectives: control of inflation, as I just told you, to bring down the interest rates that are nowadays unacceptably high, and to achieve more stable exchange rates ... that's the introduction, we will talk more about it later.

To realize this essential reduction of the high interest rates, the Declaration provides a series of means: prudent monetary policies and control of budget deficits, intensification of economic and monetary cooperation, particularly between the currencies of North America, Japan, and the European Community.

Then comes the growth of world trade; we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen the open multilateral trading system as embodied in the GATT and to maintain its effective role.

Refusal of protectionist measures: thus opening of the markets. An active participation in the forthcoming GATT ministerial conference, late August or early September.

To come back to general considerations: we have agreed to maintain toward the USSR and the Eastern European countries a prudent and diversified approach, consistent with our political and security interests.

Therefore, action in three key areas: improvement of the international system of exports of strategic goods, exchange of economic, commercial and financial information, and cautious handling of the financial relations with the USSR and the Eastern [European] countries, so as to insure that they are conducted on a sound economic basis taking into account the caution required by trade relations, within the general framework of economic and financial relations, also limiting export credits and proceeding to a periodic examination of the development of these relations, and so forth.

The progress we have already made does not diminish the need to pursue policies for economizing on energy; there, we went further than during the previous conferences.

A whole section of the Declaration is concerned with developing countries, with a few major points. We must maintain a high level of financial flows of public assistance and even increase its amount and effectiveness. Launching of global negotiations: it's the major objective, referring to the recent draft resolution of the Group of 77, recognized as constructive. At Versailles, a general agreement was reached on the fact that this agreement can serve as the basis of consultation with the Third World countries.

A positive perspective for the forthcoming start of global negotiations and their success, provided that the independence of the specialized agencies is guaranteed, a theme that is already known by the specialists, but one that isn't bad to set down in black and white.

Cooperation, innovation within the World Bank, support to the regional development banks, progress to be made in the the struggle against instability of raw-material export earnings. At the same time, encouragement for the development of public assistance, encouragement for private assistance and capital. You will note that we also recognize the necessity of special temporary arrangements to overcome funding problems for IDA VI and for an early start of IDA VII.

Those who followed these problems know what I am talking about: most countries have reduced their contribution to IDA. Only a few resisted the trend: the Scandinavian countries, France, and, partly, Great Britain in relation to countries like India; and we have requested that the contributions which were maintained be managed in a particular way. That is what brings up the possibility of special temporary arrangements.

Food and energy production in developing countries, balance of payments: we strongly wish, regarding the balance of payments, that progress be made at the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund in September to settle the question of the increase in the Fund's quotas.

The last paragraph exploits the propositions that I made on the technological level: technology, growth, employment, with an explicit reference to my report and the clearly stated will to pursue concretely the different directions that I had proposed. A working group has already been formed; it will submit its report before 31 December 1982.

The conclusions of the report, the resulting actions, will be examined and followed up at the next Summit, in 1983, in the United States of America.

Finally, on the issue of the international monetary undertakings, if you ask me questions, I will read the statement to you.

I think that I have talked enough.

Would you please ask me questions ... not all at once ....

Q: At Ottawa, you considered as a plus that the Seven accepted to fight inflation and unemployment together. Since Ottawa, what progress have you noted and, in particular, in relation to that Conference, what successes or what failures, what steps forward or backward?

A: There is no step backward, there is a step forward between Ottawa and Versailles.

As for the idea that the different ways of fighting inflation and unemployment, and the solution to the growth problems are linked: concepts of employment, full employment and growth, previously often missing, now appear more and more in our texts and, I hope, in our action. I explained this yesterday.

It is an empty debate to believe that some want to fight inflation but not unemployment while others fight unemployment but not inflation!

But, as they are the two parts of an infernal couple, depending on whether the stress is placed on one or the other, the one that is not cited first seems to be neglected, and that's where political differences appear, not in the objectives -- the political objective of a responsible authority can only be reduction of inflation and unemployment for a resumption of growth -- but at what rate?

That is where the differences intervene: some countries want to crush inflation, whatever the risk to employment. Others want to fight inflation without piling up debris on the side of employment.

So, it is a difficult choice. As a result, in some countries, inflation rates have decreased a great deal -- it is the case of the U.S. and also of Germany -- they have in fact decreased everywhere, but very noticeably when unemployment increased very rapidly. And then, there is the case of a country like France, where inflation has decreased, though at a less rapid rate than in the countries I mentioned, but which, on the other hand, has considerably limited the continued growth of unemployment that has existed for the last eight years, in other words, where there is a flattening of the curve of increase.

We have not yet managed to reverse the trend, that is to diminish the increase of unemployment.

I have to speak precisely to avoid any ambiguities.

So, the results on inflation were more apparent where unemployment problems were considered to a lesser extent; they were less apparent where the priority of fighting unemployment was recognized.

But everywhere inflation decreased, everywhere unemployment increased; there it increased considerably following a continued curve; elsewhere -- as in our case -- the curve has begun to flatten. It is an interesting indication of a trend, but of course, in the end, only the countries that will be able to produce will dispose of the determining factor against any form of unemployment.

Q: Mr. President, [as] you mentioned it, the text on Lebanon agreed upon by the Seven was finalized before the last developments were known.

The approach of two Syrian brigades into the combat zone has just been announced.

Since the last communiqué, have the Seven issued a new communiqué, a new declaration, and what will France do in that region?

A: Evidently, we are faced with a constantly changing situation. The action of the Israeli troops in Lebanon, going in two different directions, in particular along the coast and in the area controlled by Syria, was probably not meant to stop immediately. As long as it goes on, the developments are constant and we cannot publish a communiqué every fifteen minutes.

Nonetheless, and you were right to say so, some events are landmarks and, although one deplores, we deplore and I deplore it, the Israeli intervention on the territory of Lebanon, a country which, despite its conflicts, remains a sovereign county, although we deplore and thus reproach the choice of violence as a way to solve the problem in question, we know that it is a new event if a third country intervenes.

But you are telling me ... I didn't know about it. I knew that there were troop movements within Syria, I hadn't heard about any outside of Syria. I will thus comment on that event, if it occurs, after it has occurred.

The Heads of State and Government will be gathered, not in session but nonetheless gathered, in Versailles until 9, 10 PM for Mrs. Thatcher, 11, 11:30 PM for the others; we will still have time, if necessary, to react to an event of that importance.

For the rest, I repeat, unfortunately, it is an evolution of the direct relations of Israel and Lebanon that could be foreseen.

Q: Mr. President, on that subject, what are the means at France's disposal, means to which you alluded at the end of the Declaration, where it says that each country reserves the right to use the means at its disposal to reestablish peace and security?

Did the Seven talk about it? What are France's means?

A: No, no .... The means of France are of several kinds. They are diplomatic, with the role of France in the international arena. We are members of the Security Council and thus have a particular responsibility within the framework of the United Nations. There, we can act in conformity with our ideas which have always aimed, as you know, at defending Israel's integrity and which have also always aimed at recognizing the right of others to a homeland, and to a peaceful solution of the conflict, not to a violent one.

By our actions within the United Nations, we can constantly adapt our practice to this definition.

And then, on site, France is not directly involved in the events in Lebanon. It is represented there by soldiers, but those soldiers are not under French command, they are there as part of an international force. It is thus a question that must be asked of the United Nations, not of France.

What does the presence of French soldiers mean?

First of all, that France almost always volunteers when a peace-keeping mission must be carried out within the framework of the United Nations.

It also means that the problem of Lebanon is of prime interest to us because there are traditional friendly relations between Lebanon and France.

But, I must insist, we do not want to, we have no intention of substituting ourselves for the sovereign decision of Lebanon itself, which has a legitimate government. It is up to that government to take initiatives, to make advances, that we will examine if they are made toward us. We have no interventionist intentions. We simply want Lebanon to know -- the Prime Minister said so during a recent trip to Beirut -- that France is part of its circle of friendly countries, but is respectful, above all, of the sovereignty of that country.

Q: Mr. President, you said earlier at the Palais des congrès that the common Declaration had been drafted so it could not lend itself to divergent interpretations.

So, you will doubtless be able to help us dissipate a double ambiguity that has reigned in this Conference for two days.

The first concerns monetary affairs. The French delegation, in the words of the different ministers who have spoken, perhaps even yourself, said that the principle of intervention in the market had been unanimously accepted. The Americans, for their part, say: yes, intervention in the case of erratic movements -- "disorderly conditions" -- and they add: this conforms to our constant doctrine, conforms also to article IV of the [International] Monetary Fund, thus nothing is fundamentally new in our measure, even adding that the study group that will meet will have to decide whether there should be more or less intervention.

Consequently the question remains open.

The second misunderstanding had to do with the matter of trade with the East, the French delegation insisting especially on the fact that the Declaration does not include any particular restriction to the granting of credits, while the Americans insist on the fact that there are limitations -- "to limit," I think the verb has the same meaning in English and in French -- to credit grants.

Could you enlighten us on those two points?

A: First of all, I generally know what I say, and I am responsible for what I say. I don't know about the "it was said," and in your first remark I did not observe such a difference between what the Americans would have said -- in your first remark on the monetary subject, not in the second one on trade -- and what I said. I never said anything else. I even used the expression -- it was in the paper, I didn't make up anything new last night -- "at medium-term."

The text that was added -- after all, you are the commentator, so I will read it to you, and then you will see what you think of it -- the text says: "interventions, if necessary ...," the "if necessary" including of course unacceptable fluctuations, which at present are not occurring. The last time it happened was when the European Community came to the assistance of the dollar, a few years ago. It hasn't happened the other way around.

So, as it would be useless to discuss it, I will try to find you the text, first the text of the general Declaration, then the attached document. Then I will add an element that is in neither of them.

We have agreed to maintain a prudent and diversified approach toward the USSR and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Fabra is talking about the section which says: "Third, taking into account existing economic and financial considerations, we have agreed to handle cautiously financial relations with the USSR and other Eastern European countries in such a way as to ensure that they are conducted on a sound economic basis, including also the need for commercial prudence in limiting export credits. The development of ... relations will be subject to periodic ex-post review;" -- that is another story, you are not questioning me on that.

So, you want to know if there is a limitation; limitation of what?

The limitation, or the caution tending toward limitation, applies to all the economic and financial relations with the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries.

That is the first point.

Secondly, since specific information is wanted (the discussion was supposed to be on that point) there was the difficulty of the export credits. If you followed that discussion closely, which I do not doubt, you know that initially the purpose was to ask for the limitation of public assistance to exports considered as subsidies to the Soviet Union. Public assistance given by whom? By two countries, Italy and France.

Yes, I admit that I refused that rather limited view of things. Moving a herd of elephants to squash that flea called "Italian or French public export credits to the Soviet Union and the Eastern Countries," it seemed to me out of proportion.

I emphasized that it should be applied with the same caution everywhere. Each country must judge caution. It had to be applied to export credits. If it were private credits, then you would be justified in saying: isn't it applicable to public credits as well?

For export credits, I will give an example: Japan has a significant movement of private credits through its banks, without any State control, without any State intervention, at eight percent. French public assistance, which has been very high in the last months, is at twelve percent.

Should private aid at eight percent be allowed and public aid at twelve percent be forbidden? Do some help the Soviet Union by subsidies while the others don't?

I am giving you these elements of appreciation that explain this sentence, which I don't know if it is ambiguous or not; but if it is, then it is permissive, and if it permissive, it is so for each of us, and not only for the two countries that practice public aid, I repeat, Italy and France.

That is the explanation which will appear simple to those who follow these problems very closely, and which might appear complicated to those who are not specialists. All they have to do is refer to the text, which I will accomplish by reading the following document that is called: "International Monetary Undertakings."

"1. We accept a joint responsibility to work for greater stability of the world monetary system." There, I am already answering the second question; I am finished with the issue of the export credits (and not of public assistance to exports) and I am getting to the monetary system, to the outline of the monetary system or to the real thing: the one on which you are questioning me.

Is it a question of disorderly conditions?

I am going back to my earlier speech, but clarifying it through international monetary language and, rather than to comment, it might be better if I read you the text that you perhaps already have.

"1. We accept a joint responsibility to work for greater stability of the world monetary system. We recognize that this rests primarily on convergence of policies designed to achieve lower inflation, higher employment and renewed economic growth; and thus to maintain the internal and external values of our currencies. We are determined to discharge this obligation in close collaboration with all interested countries and monetary institutions.

"2. We attach major importance to the role of the IMF as a monetary authority and we will give it our full support in its efforts to foster stability.

"3. We are ready to strengthen our cooperation with the IMF in its work of surveillance; and to develop this on a multilateral basis taking into account particularly the currencies constituting the SDR [special drawing rights].

"4. We rule out the use of our exchange rates to gain unfair competitive advantages.

"5. We are ready, if necessary, to use intervention in exchange markets to counter disorderly conditions, as provided for under Article IV of the IMF Articles of Agreement."

This is linked to what is said in the first page of the general Declaration:

"In order to achieve this essential reduction of real interest rates," -- it will help to bring down interest rates which are now unacceptably high and to bring about more stable exchange rates -- "we will as a matter of urgency pursue prudent monetary policies and achieve greater control of budgetary deficits .... In this regard, we will work towards a constructive and orderly evolution of the international monetary system by a closer cooperation among the authorities representing the currencies of North America, of Japan and of the European Community in pursuing mediumterm economic and monetary objectives. In this respect, we have committed ourselves to the undertakings contained in the attached statement" that I just read to you.

One must conclude that the idea of coordinating, by a constructive evolution, what is called here the international monetary system, although there is no such thing, by specifying the cooperation of the currencies of North America, of Japan and of the European Communities in pursuing the medium-term economic and monetary objectives is, Mr. Fabra, what I told you last night. Thus, I did not say: "it's right away, it's tomorrow morning," I said "at medium-term."

The statement on the international monetary undertakings can include in the short term, if necessary, interventions in foreign exchange markets.

Finally, there is a third document, which is not a document of the same level, it is the document that links the Finance Ministers of the seven countries -- and I see: "working group, to be followed up" (it is the title of this note) -- to the preceding text:

"1. Our representatives will meet here, today and tomorrow, to propose to us the manner in which we should cooperate with the IMF, to implement the decision that will be adopted in accordance with the third paragraph of the international monetary declaration."

The third paragraph is what I read to you earlier.

"2. As early as June our representatives within a working group, presided over by a French national, will take the appropriate measures to define the field and form of the study on the interventions.

"3. The ministers and the representatives of the European Economic Community who are participating in the Summit will meet in Toronto on the occasion of the meeting of the International Monetary Fund to examine the progress accomplished in regard to this study ... ." Briefly, the principle of coordination and of regulation: to regulate is not only to coordinate an international monetary system (an expression that had not been seen for a long time in this type of declaration), it is to foresee an effective system in the medium term.

The joint declaration specifies that, if necessary, interventions could be made in the foreign exchange markets to counteract disorderly situations.

Last, the Finance Ministers have already met to start their work immediately.

So, of course, I do not want now to force the interpretation. All this starts from a divergence of points of view. I believe that we have achieved real progress in relation to the previous situation in which even speaking about these things was avoided. Is progress sufficient to consider that disorderly movements will be controlled tomorrow? It corresponds to a commitment that we made. As to the rate and the extent of these decisions, only practice will let you judge.

I tarried on this subject, not only because the reporter who asked me that question deserved to be answered this way, but also because I know that many of you have questions about that and it will save me having to repeat myself, at least I hope so.

Q: Lebanon is the victim of an international conflict. Doesn't it deserve the convocation of an international conference to reestablish peace and independence? Will France make such a proposal?

A: It's certainly an idea as good as any other. You might have found the key, I'm still looking for it. Anything that will allow international society to preserve or rather to reestablish the independence and the unity of Lebanon, and by peaceful means and not by violent actions, will be welcome. But that always supposes that the Lebanese government gives the go-ahead.

As to the Security Council, you know that this morning the Secretary-General of the United Nations convened or called for the convening of the responsible people who are currently in New York. It is thus a matter to follow.

Q: May I ask you, Mr. President, going back to the previous question, to tell us in which areas you think you have progressed the most and those in which you think you have progressed the least during this Summit?

A: You know, it wasn't a race where one worked unceasingly to know who had arrived one length ahead of the other. None of us was in the situation of Sébastien Coen who last night was trying to break the world record of 2000 meters in Bordeaux, with several lengths on his competitors.

So, it doesn't happen that way, it's not a sporting event. Let's say that personally I have a slight sense of frustration about the interest rates ....

Q: Mr. President ...

A: I haven't finished yet. I was answering Mr. Vernay .... I have a slight sense of frustration concerning interest rates, although there is an explicit reference to real interest rates in a framework of action that, nonetheless, is starting to mark the willingness, which I was mentioning earlier to Mr. Fabra, to regulate this detrimental situation.

I consider that it is a step forward on the level of relations with the Third World, in relation to what happened during these last six months, that we are talking again about the IDA, that we are talking again about global negotiations, and that the resolution of the 77 is approved. It is hardly necessary to note that this wasn't the language heard for many months, maybe since the return from Cancun.

On the level of the international monetary system, I will not repeat myself, but I will say this to Mr. Vernay: there is a terminology that had been abandoned. It is used once again and, practice will attest to it -- I am not the only one who controls it -- the mere fact of being able to examine interventions on the foreign exchange market, while there had been no question of it, is for me a source of satisfaction. Not as far as I would have liked, since I desire the establishment, as quickly as possible, of an international monetary system; so it isn't going as fast I would wish, but it's going much faster than others would like.

I do not want to show an author's pride but I believe that the dimension brought to the Summit by our technological proposals to fight for employment, for growth and, especially, to give a new impetus to our societies, now and in the coming years, was introduced very clearly in the text; it's new and it's important.

As for the relations with the Eastern countries, let us say that the situation is about the same. We were undoubtedly more specific in the common will not to make available goods of high technological value that could have military applications. The text is clearer that it was previously. Or rather, let us say that the will is greater.

As for credits, I have explained myself. I would be very interested to know which one of our countries will be the first to announce that it has reduced its credits.

In that regard, I hope that it will be clear to everyone. I always favor measures of cooperation in that area, but the trade between the Soviet Union and the Western world is so low -- it represents less than one percent of the gross domestic product of the Soviet Union -- that to think that an action on that trade of less than one percent could change the policies of Russia and diminish its military potential, personally, I don't go that far. On the other hand, we run the risk of starting an economic blockade, albeit a very partial form of it, for which two countries -- Italy and France -- would have been solely responsible if the initial proposals had been followed.

If the idea is not to help the Soviet Union anymore, then all trade, all exports, should also be stopped. What does it mean to speak of "subsidies" because there is public assistance, if one subsidizes the farmers to sell wheat? I mean by that that it is a general measure, and that if it is a matter of particular measures, their effect will be very reduced.

But still, I want to be totally honest. Just as I welcome the idea of the international monetary system, just as I welcome the idea of global negotiations, I accept the idea that if efforts are common to all, there might be, depending on the circumstances, a limitation. That is all I have to say on this subject.

Q: Mr. President, I think that it is in the monetary area that the most precise language is found. For the first time since the IMF was established, it has obtained a right of surveillance of the Western national economies. I find this extremely serious because, as Michel Jobert said yesterday, the IMF depends for 85 percent [of its funds] on the United States and, I will add personally, on the Anglo-Americans.

So, that decision has a bearing on national security.

On the other hand, I am surprised that development of the Third World is discussed at the same time as the doors of our economies are opened to the IMF, which is precisely the institution that set atrocious conditions of austerity for the developing countries.

I would like you to clarify this question.

A: It's a fictitious point of view: this is not to say that forms of fiction are necessarily detestable, but in this case, it is a novel of imagination. For I don't see where is the quarter of a sentence, the half word, the two joined letters that allow one to think that we have just given new prerogatives to the IMF. I absolutely do not see that. I add in regard to the IMF that one would have to be in my place to know the steps I am taking in the name of the peoples of Africa or of Madagascar to get the IMF to adopt such or such a measure that will contribute to the development of the economies of the countries in question.

Indeed, those countries often complain that the IMF has conceptions that are either slightly archaic, or conform too closely to the manner in which one considers a balanced budget in an advanced capitalist country ... although none of the advanced capitalist countries has a balanced budget. The most balanced one is ours ... and if I understand you correctly that is saying a lot.

So, first of all, the IMF has not obtained a new right of surveillance that might allow one to say that there is a loss or a danger for national independence. There is nothing new. If it is a question of preserving national independence, it's as much my problem as yours and you can count on me as much as on yourself. I can't see anything, anything, that allows you to affirm what you just said, and that by deduction you say that since the IMF has just altered our national independence, it will encroach even more on the developing countries: it is the last chapter of this fictitious version of a declaration that does not allow for any of these conclusions.

If one considers that the IMF weighs too heavily on the national economies, than one should blame the governments that accepted the creation of the IMF which, to me, as far as I remember, depended on the Bretton Woods agreements, that was in 1945 .... That's it, isn't? And all governments, since that time, have continued to accept it, and that covers about the totality of the French political horizon, apart from those who do not have an aptitude to govern, even if they have a natural aptitude to participate in the political debate.

Q: Mr. President, concerning the Iraq-Iran war, you dealt with the subject, but in which sense and why wasn't there a communiqué about Lebanon, for example?

A: Indeed, we talked about it. We generally consider -- but there I am not in charge of interpreting a resolution that was not adopted -- that the extent of the conflict is becoming more and more apparent. For a long time, it was contained regionally, let us say locally, but today its consequences appear to be much wider.

We talked about it but we don't have at present a real possibility of peace based on the readiness of one or the other [belligerent] and certainly not on the readiness of both at the same time.

So, in general, we try not to make any resolutions that are totally ineffective or empty.

What I mean is that as far as France is concerned, we are very preoccupied by it. The day when it will be discussed at length, you will know that we were not absent when steps were taken to reach a cessation of the hostilities.

Q: If you will allow me, Mr. President, I do not wish to evoke the question of Lebanon, although it is my own mother and my eight brothers and sisters who are stuck, at this time, between the artillery, the tanks, the air force a few kilometers east, but, while recognizing your generosity, I must also see the limits of the powers of your position and I will thus ask a question about the unemployment rate.

I understand that your partners have admitted the evidence, which was always defended by the French delegation, that there is a threshold, there are limits beyond which unemployment would not be tolerated.

Isn't there also a threshold for assassination or death, or must one set one's faith in the precision, the sophistication of the American matériel that will be able to distinguish this time between civilian and noncivilian objectives, so that people like mine will be spared or will have more chance than others.

I am sorry to have introduced this question, but it is General Haig who opened the way, since he rejoiced yesterday to be back in Cancun, and when it comes to Cancun ...

A: Sir, you made some emotional observations about Lebanon. I understand; we are among those who love Lebanon, I am among those and I wish to participate as much as possible in the reestablishment of a just situation for that country, to safeguard human lives, to safeguard goods, to safeguard that people and that nation.

But you mixed with those considerations words about unemployment in France that have much altered, you will know, the quality of your intervention because it took on the color of a little political attack on a subject that did not deserve it.

I did not understand what you were expecting from France except that it should do more to help you.

I repeat that France does not hesitate to condemn the Israeli intervention, any more than it did not hesitate to condemn the other military interventions on Lebanese territory, as long as they were made against the wishes of the legitimate leaders of Lebanon.

We have never ceased by our diplomacy to contribute to defending those principles of unity, independence, sovereignty, and assistance. We restricted ourselves to diplomatic actions because such is our role.

If we are involved militarily, it is within the framework of the international forces and not in the name of France. In any case, if it were in the name of France, it would not be possible by French initiative, only the Lebanese government has authority in that area.

We will examine the proposals of the Lebanese government if it makes any and when it makes them.

That is all I can say on the subject.

Q: I am going back to your comment on credits to the USSR; how do you explain that the Americans are so satisfied that they said: it is the first time that the industrialized nations have accepted to limit the "package deal," that is the commercial relations with the USSR.

Isn't there a source of misunderstanding?

A: It's possible, right now it is admitted that it is everyone or no one. I am ready, if there is any danger to peace, to consider that restrictions might be necessary.

As American trade is much more important than French trade, I would certainly act in that case as they would, in case of danger, naturally .... In sum, it is everyone or no one .... Right now, it's no one.

It will perhaps be everyone, but each country will remain sovereign judge of the caution required by commercial relations; that is expressed in every letter of the text, perhaps you didn't notice.

Q: Excuse me, Mr. President, but I would like to get back to Lebanon.

In the communiqué of the summit on the latest developments, you say in the last sentence that "each of our governments will use all the means at its disposal to achieve this objective."

I would like to know if the measures and the means that you will authorize will be similar to those that you already took toward Argentina.

A: Maybe yes, maybe no. What is certain is that the responsible nations have to be a little more logical with themselves, that is, violence must be refused everywhere. When the delegate of France expresses himself on that subject, he will no doubt consider that violence must be rejected equally everywhere.

In the Argentina matter, the great difficulty derives from the fact that Argentina initiated the aggression. If one condemns violence, one starts by condemning Argentina. Then, it is the chain of circumstances that is difficult to avoid.

But as the purpose -- of France in any case -- (in that area, I can only commit myself, my country) is to affirm its solidarity with Great Britain against that violation of right and to preserve as much as possible the very important relations that unite France, also Western Europe, and Latin America, that means that, in the coming days, a whole series of actions will be necessary.

Q: Mr. President, my previous question. I would like to ask you if the declaration of the Heads of State and Government goes further in the direction of solidarity with Great Britain than the positions that had been taken until now, and also if the heads of State and Government have agreed not only on the necessity of a local cease-fire, but also of a cease-fire that would include all nations that are engaged in the present conflict, in other words on the fact that Argentina cannot continue to harass the British positions in the Falklands when law will have been reestablished?

A: Listen, let's keep it simple. No text has been adopted on the matter of the Falklands-Malvinas ... I say Falklands-Malvinas because if I say Malvinas, you will translate Falklands and if I say Falklands, others will translate Malvinas. But it is the same thing. So, I will not make any unnecessary speech on that subject.

What is true is that Argentina preferred to solve by violence an old debate with Great Britain. What is also true is that many countries never recognized or defined the sovereignty of Great Britain, and still we have sided with Great Britain.

Why? Because it was attacked, because it is our friend and our ally and that from the moment when the aggression occurred, a set of events started which we cannot control.

We supported from the beginning Resolution 502 of the United Nations. We stand by that. On the other hand, we adopted within the European Community an embargo on trade exchanges with Argentina, which seemed to us the normal consequence of our condemnation of violence.

What has happened since then, particularly in the British advance on the Falklands-Malvinas, is part of an event in which France has no influence, except, it is true, indirectly, due to the fact that it participates in the embargo. Simply, we consider that what one could call a new event in this game of fate will be constituted by the fact that Great Britain will have recovered the land to which its right was disputed.

From then on, a new phase will begin -- this is not a principle, it is a political fact -- that, I hope, will result as soon as possible in a cease-fire or an armistice, call it what you will, and France will naturally be on the side of those who will plead that case.


[University of Toronto G7 Summit
Information Centre]
[Top of Page]
This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
Please send comments to: g8info@library. utoronto.ca
Revised: .

All contents copyright © 1995. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.