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Prime Minister Trudeau's Concluding Statement
July 21, 1981
I should wish first on behalf of my colleagues at the table here to express our welcome to the press here and in accordance with the practices, established practices, and as chairman of the Summit meeting this year, I must make a statement summarizing the main points we have dealt with in the course of the last few days, and each of my colleagues will in turn speak to you.
The Ottawa Summit was met [sic] at a time of rapid change and great challenge to world economic progress and peace. East-West relations have been affected by the increase in the armed forces of the USSR and its ever increasing presence in the world. The political and economic situation of many countries has made it difficult for them to adapt to the new changes. The members of the Summit meeting have also been victims of these changes, and whatever we have attempted to do in the course of the last years was not necessarily carried out. We have had to reexamine the situation and restructure our activities so that, of course, there has been some pessimism about this Summit.
Of course, it seemed to have been a difficult one but in my dual capacity as a participant and chairman I am able to say, "No, the pessimists were not justified." We have met for many hours, and these contacts have promoted mutual trust and confidence in facing the crises we may have to -- which challenge us. We've had very comprehensive discussions and frank discussions during our meetings. We have not tried to hide our divergences. We realize that we are dealing with economies which have different structures and have different reactions to the evolving situation. We have agreed that we could not revitalize our economies by isolating ourselves from one another. We have agreed on the fundamentals and realize we must take into account in our politics the impact it may have on our partners.
The whole burden of that fight cannot be made on monetary policy alone. And third, levels and movements of interest rates in one country can make life more difficult for other countries by influencing the exchange rates. This is something to which we must all remain sensitive and which we must try to minimize. We must also pursue responsible trade policies.
Over the years, as Summit partners, we have warned against succumbing to the temptation of protection. These warnings have served us well. If we had drifted into protectionism, we might have conjured up an economic crisis similar to that of the 1930s. We have reiterated our strong commitment to an open, liberal, and multilateral trading system. We have agreed to deal with trade distortions. But we are determined not to lay the burdens of adjustment at the doorstep of our neighbors. We are looking forward to working with others on a trade agenda for the 1980s. I regard this consensus about trade policy as one of the most important to have emerged from our meeting, not least for a major trading nation like Canada.
One of the uncertainties hovering over this Summit was how it would deal with the North-South relationship. It's no secret to anyone that I attach very great importance to that relationship as an element of fundamental equity, of mutual interests and benefits, and of global security.
The Ottawa Summit was the first of a series of important meetings this year where the North-South relationship will be at the center of the agenda. It seemed important to me, therefore, that the signal emanating from Ottawa should be clear and that it should be positive. For the signal to be persuasive, it had to come from all of us jointly. That was the purpose of much of the travel, that as chairman of this year's meetings, I undertook in the weeks immediately preceding the Summit.
The world looked to the Ottawa Summit for some sign of movement, some basis for hope that progress is possible, that the logjam can be broken. I'm very pleased with what we've been able to achieve. Our discussions showed a common appreciation of the magnitude of the problem and a common readiness to respond to it. There is now a disposition on the part of all Summit countries to pursue any opportunity for meaningful progress, including what are known as "global negotiations." That openness to the process of global negotiations represents a consensus which did not exist before our Summit and seemed very remote not too many months ago.
The message we send from this meeting to the developing countries is the following: First, we respect your independence and support genuine non-alignment as a contribution to international peace and stability and as a basis for cooperation. Second, we look to you to play a full part in the international economic system and to become closely integrated to it. Third, we are ready to participate with you in preparations for a process of global negotiations. Fourth, we appreciate the problems of energy supply which you are encountering and are prepared to join with the surplus oil-exporting countries in examining how best we might jointly help you in developing your indigenous energy reserves. Five, we recognize the importance of more food production in your countries and of greater world [food] security and will try to make increased resources available for these purposes. Six, we will maintain our strong multilateral commitment to the international financial institutions and to the role they have played in alleviating the problems of development. And lastly, we will direct the major portion of our aid to the poorer countries.
On the occasion of this year's Summit meeting, it seemed to us we could not ignore the fact that the strengthening of the armed forces in the Soviet Union has had an impact on the resources of our country and on the orientations which we have had to follow. We are convinced of the need for a strong defense capability, but we're also open to the possibility of dialogue and negotiation with the Soviet Union, particularly as regards nuclear armaments and security with less armaments and diminished cost.
I should wish, in conclusion, as Prime Minister of Canada, to say that we were very happy to be the host nation of this Summit meeting. I am particularly grateful to all of those who have accepted the challenge for this great endeavor and have provided the maximum in assuring success. May I be permitted also to express deep gratitude to my colleagues at this table for having made my task so easy and to wish them Godspeed as they return to their own countries.
Source: U.S., Department of State, Bulletin, No. 2053 (August 1981): 10-11.
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