Reagan, in Ireland, makes plea for peace
Dublin — In an address to the Irish Parliament Monday, President Reagan said the United States was ready to ''to halt and even reverse the deployment of our intermediate-range missiles from Europe as the outcome of a verifiable and equitable agreement'' with the Soviet Union.
Speaking at the end of a four-day visit to Ireland, ''before this body and the people of Europe,'' Mr. Reagan called on the Soviet Union to return to the negotiation table in Geneva.
''I believe we must not be pacified, and we dare not rest, until the day we have banished these terrible weapons of war from the face of the earth forever, '' he stated.
White House officials accompanying the President said the speech was not a major initiative but that the US was putting forth a ''specific, substantial, and realistic agenda'' for disarmament talks, should the Soviet Union choose to return to the bargaining table. (The Soviets walked out of all arms talks last year to protest the deployment of cruise and Pershing II missiles in Western Europe.)
Analysts here said the speech, though not specific, appeared conciliatory in tone. Mr. Reagan defended US strategy for disarmament talks and tried to reassure Western Europeans who are concerned over new missile deployment and an increase in world tension.
In the other major part of the President's speech, he made a stout defense of US policy in Latin America. This issue, even more than that of nuclear weapons, has aroused anxiety and protest in Ireland, because of the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church, both here and in the US, in that area.
Mr. Reagan said great strides had been made in recent years in the democratization of Latin American countries.
''I think it also is advisable to understand that the United States' current program of assistance to several Central American countries is designed precisely to assist this spread of democratic self-rule,'' he said.
Aside from the substantive portion of the address, this was also an emotional occasion. Mr. Reagan reminded his audience of the last time they had met in joint session, when they were addressed by another Irish-American President, John F. Kennedy, who promised to return to Ireland but was assassinated shortly afterward.
The proceedings were marred only by an attempt to speak by three left-wing deputies, who were shouted down and then walked out of the chamber. This was the most dramatic of the protests against the Reagan visit.
The Irish authorities had been extremely nervous about the possibility of large and uncontrollable demonstrations. Protests about US nuclear and Central American policy were all small, however, the largest being a march of 10,000 people through Dublin last night while the President was being entertained at a state banquet in Dublin Castle.
The high point of the visit came earlier Sunday when the President visited the tiny village of Ballyporeen from which his great-grandfather emigrated to the US in the last century.
Mr. Reagan attended a prayer service in the local Catholic church and was shown the name of one of his ancestors in the baptismal register.
He spoke with emotion of the new contentment and joyous feeling, ''like coming home after a long journey,'' which his return to his Irish roots brought him.
More than 3,000 people, 10 times the population of the village, came to see the President and watched the entertainment of traditional Irish music, singing, and dancing, provided for him.
Demonstrators were not allowed into Ballyporeen until President had left. At other occasions during his Irish tour, demonstrators outnumbered those who came out to cheer. This was largely because the routes of his motorcade were not published in advance for security reasons. On several occasions Mr. Reagan denounced terrorism in Northern Ireland and appealed to Irish-Americans not to send money or arms to the outlawed Irish Republican Army.
He praised the work of the New Ireland Forum, in which the democratic nationalist parties recently drew up proposals for a peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland and expressed the belief that Irish people would in time themselves bring peace and reconciliation in Ireland. But he said that while the US offered its goodwill and support for these efforts, it would not interfere in Irish affairs.
The Irish government clearly hopes that the visit will encourage American tourism and investment in Ireland. During the visit the President lauded the beauties of Irish scenery in a radio address to the US, and encouraged Americans to invest in Ireland.