Remarks Following Discussions With Pope John Paul II in Miami, Florida


September 10, 1987


For the second time this year, I have met in private audience with His Holiness Pope John Paul II. We discussed the practical aspects of ideals we share: peace, justice, and the expansion of freedom. We agreed that, as the Pope first remarked when I visited him at the Vatican City in 1982, peace is not only the absence of war, it also involves reciprocal trust between nations.


His Holiness and I had the opportunity to share our views on the progress that has been made toward the establishment of a genuine peace in Central America. I assured His Holiness that the United States is committed to the extension of democracy throughout Latin America.


The Pope and I also discussed the prospects for improved relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. And I told him that the United States is unshakeably committed to the establishment of an enduring world of peace and to the extension or expansion of human freedom around the globe. Indeed, without freedom, there can be no peace.


On arms control, we discussed the nearness of an agreement that would eliminate all American and Soviet INF missiles for the first time in history, achieving not just a limitation but an actual reduction in nuclear weapons. Of course, all of this depends upon Soviet willingness to get down to the hard work of completing an agreement. We stand ready as well for another historic agreement -- one that would reduce strategic arms on both sides by half.


With regard to the economic needs of the world's poor nations, I thank the Pope for speaking so eloquently about what he terms the moral causes of prosperity, among them hard work, honesty, thrift, initiative, and daring. Generous aid from the wealthier nations to the poorer is certainly of great importance, but in the long term it's even more important to share the conditions -- the moral causes of prosperity, including respect for the economic rights of the individual that represents such a powerful force for economic growth and human betterment.


And once again, Your Holiness, welcome back to the United States. I must leave you now, but I know that Nancy is looking forward to greeting you in Los Angeles. In the meantime, and throughout your visit, millions of our fellow Americans will welcome you with affection, listening joyfully to your message of human dignity and peace.


Note: The President spoke at 7:15 p.m. outside the Vizcaya Museum. Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, DC.