[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 16, 1998]
[Pages 568-569]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Eduardo Frei 
Eduardo of Chile in Santiago
April 16, 1998

    President Frei. We're going to start this meeting, and I would like, 
first of all, to extend a very warm welcome to the President of the 
United States, to the Ministers and members of staff, and to the 
Ministers of my Cabinet and the advisers for Chile.
    It is an honor, a pleasure, a source of pride to have you all here. 
We had a very pleasant visit to the United States last year, and we had 
the opportunity to get together in Washington to see the Congress, to 
visit some States, and at that point, I think we kicked off the 
beginning of our bilateral relationships. I would like to, therefore, 
extend a very cordial welcome to the entire delegation and to tell you 
that we are really proud to host the second Summit of the Americas.
    We've been working very hard. We've done a lot of solid groundwork 
with the cooperation of the United States. And I think that this summit 
will be exceedingly interesting because we will not only be talking 
about the problems of democracy and trade but we'll be talking about 
topics that interest the person on the street, like education, justice, 
health, and concerns of poor people.
    I would like to point out that we had a very lengthy meeting with 
the U.S. President. We talked with great frankness about bilateral 
topics. We went over almost every single issue in our bilateral 
relationship with a lot of sincerity and with a positive spirit. We have 
noticed that our relationships are going through a very special moment; 
there is a lot of richness in the agenda; it's very versatile with a lot 
of topics. And the Ministers that are present here will be--have signed 
about 10 different documents on the environment, cooperation, et cetera. 
And I believe that we are looking toward the future with an aim to 
building more open societies, more democratic societies, and to put an 
end to the marginalization of our peoples, and would like

[[Page 569]]

to face squarely the big issues that are important at this point, like 
globalization, world trade.
    I've told the President all that we've done in Chile since 1994, 
when we met at the first Summit of the Americas, and I've told him about 
all the efforts that we've put into channeling problems that arise in 
relationships and overcoming them. We're over the $7 billion of 
exchange. And obviously, there will always be a small amount of disputes 
or friction or conflicts, but the important thing is to find a way to 
settle these. And this is what we've been doing through the bilateral 
commissions. And it seems to me that the real launching of this 
commission in bilateral trade and agriculture will be very important. It 
has been a very basic issue. And I think that what we want is to have a 
very open relationship with the United States in which we will talk not 
only about trade but we'll be able to have a dialog on the entire 
bilateral agenda and especially the hemispheric and global topics.
    For Chile, Mr. President, it's an honor to receive you and your 
delegation. I think that this meeting proves that we will be able to 
find a way to solve the big problems of the world, that we have a great 
deal of agreement on the issues that are facing us in the Americas, that 
we can continue to work for the future of our peoples.
    And I thank you once again for your state visit that is beginning. 
We will be meeting once again this afternoon. We'll be visiting the 
field; we will be meeting with business persons; we'll be having a state 
dinner here tonight. Tonight you'll see our Parliament, which is one of 
the oldest Parliaments in the world. And then we'll go to Cerro 
Castillo, and we'll be able to talk about our relationships, our 
friendships, and about building the future together and improving the 
quality of living of our peoples. And this is what we're interested in. 
And at this point, I would like to give you the floor.
    President Clinton. Thank you for making us all feel so welcome. I 
think it is clear that we have looked forward to this state visit for 
quite a long while, that we value greatly our relationship with Chile, 
and that it is getting broader and deeper, something for which we are 
very grateful.
    We did, as you said, have a very good conversation this morning, and 
we went over a large number of issues--I think virtually everything that 
our Ministers wanted us to discuss with one another. And I would like to 
express my appreciation for all the work that has been done on the 
declaration we are about to sign and announce, because it's quite 
important. It shows a very broad-based relationship; it shows a maturing 
relationship; and it demonstrated the kind of partnership that I think 
will be critical in the years ahead, not only to our own people but to 
the hemisphere as a whole.
    Let me also just say very briefly, I appreciate, more than I am 
capable of saying, I think, the work you have done on the Summit of the 
Americas and the preparation that your entire government has done, 
because it's clear that we're going to come out of this summit with two 
messages loud and clear. Number one, we are going forward with the 
process of hemispheric integration. And number two, we are doing it in a 
way that will change the lives of ordinary citizens in all of our 
countries. And that, I think, is the message we want the world to get, 
and we certainly want our own people to get.
    So I am extremely appreciative of what you have done, how you have 
done it, and of the remarkable progress that our relationship is making. 
And for all that, let me say thank you. I also thank you for keeping 
my Ambassador here for the last few 
years, my old friend and colleague. [Laughter] He's kept me well-
informed. And I thank you also for the work you've done especially with 
Mr. McLarty in his capacity as our 
special representative to Latin America. But we're well pleased, and I 
must say I was very impressed, with the document that all of you have 
produced, and I thank you for your hard work on it.

Note: President Frei spoke at 11:45 a.m. in La Moneda Palace. In his 
remarks, President Clinton referred to Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon, U.S. 
Ambassador to Chile. A tape was not available for verification of the 
content of these remarks.