President Reagan flew home today from his controversial 10-day European tour boasting “mission accomplished” and playing down protests that greeted him in foreign capitals.
A buoyant Reagan flew back to Washington with his wife, Nancy, from Lisbon, the last stop on a 10-day, four-nation journey.
They arrived on the White House lawn to the cheers of about 200 White House staffers and guests waving American flags.
With Vice President George Bush at his side, Reagan said, “After every summit leader agreed that steady economic growth means each government getting spending under control, how sweet it is to return with a 50-49 Senate victory for spending restraint and no tax increase.”
Bush cast the tie-breaking vote early today that passed a deficit-cutting budget bill that had Reagan’s backing.
Reagan pronounced his journey--which included controversy over a stop at a German military cemetery and allied rebuffs on trade and U.S. policy in Nicaragua--"a fine trip.” He also repeated his comment from an earlier news conference in Lisbon, “We think we’re returning home (with) mission accomplished.”
Despite his upbeat assessment, Reagan left Europe without a set date for a new round of world trade talks and without support for his Nicaraguan embargo from the Continent’s leaders. He also endured heckling and walkouts at several stops.
First Lady Praised
The President praised his wife as “one of the best ambassadors America has ever had. When I look at the press she got, I’m taking flamenco lessons,” he said, referring to her whirl at flamenco dancing in Madrid.
Reagan told the crowd, “I know you’ve heard that because there were a few demonstrations, some things might have been going wrong. Well, you know, every time I noticed who was demonstrating I felt reassured we were doing and saying the right things.”
He was referring to catcalls and walkouts by leftist members of the Spanish and Portuguese legislatures, as well as heckling and walkouts at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. Protesters also met Reagan in Germany when he visited a concentration camp and the Nazi military cemetery at Bitburg.
Before leaving Lisbon, Reagan held a 30-minute news conference and said that while the trip had brought some “anguished moments,” his talks with allied leaders had bolstered economic and defense ties.
During the news conference in the stately garden of the 18th-Century Queluz Palace, the President said that his speeches throughout the trip, particularly the centerpiece address Wednesday to the European Parliament, stressed the need of allied unity and improved superpower relations.