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Mulroney Visits Bush at Kennebunkport for Business, Pleasure

August 30, 1989

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) _ President Bush welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on Wednesday to ″show off this heaven″ by the sea and discuss the environment, trade and the drug crisis in Colombia.

The visit was billed as a private time for two longtime friends, but National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft told reporters the two leaders would no doubt exchange views on the changes in Poland, the Colombian drug war, the violence in Lebanon and other issues.

Mulroney arrived by helicopter at Bush’s vacation home on Walker’s point with his wife, Mila, and four children.

They were to stay until Thursday evening.

″We’re going fishing,″ said Mulroney, wearing a bright green sweater and casual slacks. When asked that they would discuss, he quipped, ″Probably fish.″

It was unclear whether they would talk about the lobster controversy in which Maine fishermen complain that U.S. law requires them to throw back lobsters of less than 3.25 inches, while Canadians can keep smaller ones and sell them in the United States.

Gov. John R. McKernan has written to Bush asking to speak to Mulroney about Canada’s minimum legal lobster size.

As the Mulroneys arrived, Bush who earlier had said, ″I can’t wait to show off this heaven to the prime minister″ and his family, did just that.

He and his wife, Barbara, took the Mulroneys from the helicopter pad on a walking tour of Walker’s Point, pointing out the pier and the small cove where Bush’s boat, Fidelity, was anchored.

Earlier Bush spoke to a gathering of the Chamber of Commerce of Kennebunkport and neighboring Kennebunk.

Bush, who has been on vacation in the coastal resort since Aug. 16, spoke of his love for the town where he has spent all but one summer of his life.

″You can converse, you could relax, you could really get to know one another in a wonderful setting,″ he said, discussing visits by French President Mitterrand and Danish Prime Minister Poul Schlueter.

Bush, named Citizen of the Year by the local chamber, made the comments on an outdoor stage by the sea before an audience of about 200 local residents. The stage was flanked by a huge American flag of red, white and blue balloons.

The president was presented with a painting of Walker’s Point as it appeared in 1906.

Bush and Mulroney share ″a close similarity of views ...on world affairs and a kind of unique personal closeness and frankness in exchanging views,″ Scowcroft told reporters.

He said U.S.-Canada relations are ″in basically pretty good shape,″ after the sweeping Free Trade Agreement signed last year by President Reagan and Mulroney, and efforts by Bush to deal with acid rain pollution through his proposed Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act would sharply curb emissions from utility plants and other industrial sources of airborne acid rain that causes pollution in Canada.

Scowcroft said the two also would discuss assassinations by drug barons in Colombia and attempts by President Virgilio Barco Vargas to crack down on traffickers.

In his remarks at the Chamber presentation, Bush was applauded when he asked the local businessmen to support his push for a cut in the capital gains tax for businesses when he returns to Washington.

That, he said, ″stimulates the economy. It encourages risk-taking.″

Bush made light of press reports noting that he has yet to catch any fish despite daily fishing excursions on his speedboat, and called the reports ″a vicious assault on my ability.″

He also denied reports that he had run over a lobster pot or a rock with Fidelity. A Coast Guard inspector took a look at the site and ″started to tell me that he thought maybe accidently I had hit a rock.″

The president, noting he has piloted boats there his entire life, told the man: ″Find some other answer. Even if there is metal on the rock out there, I did not hit that rock.″

The Coast Guard man, hearing the words of his commander in chief, ″changed his mind as I was talking to him and - we now think it was a submerged board,″ Bush said.