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HistoryThe big dates

1982 The Versailles Summit

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4 - 6 June 1982

President Mitterrand, host of the seven most industrialised nations for the first international summit of his mandate in 1982, called on all the pomp and ceremony of the 5th Republic to ensure its success.

Initiated in 1975 by Giscard d’Estaing at Rambouillet, the G7 summit brought together the planet’s seven most powerful democracies. It was designed to facilitate direct exchanges of views between Heads of State or government leaders on the international problems of the moment, away from the strict protocol of international assemblies. Organised in each country in turn, France was once again the host of the summit in June 1982 at Versailles.

On 4 June, President Mitterrand welcomed the foreign delegations at the Grand Trianon where they were accommodated. The leaders present were: Ronald Reagan for the United States, Margaret Thatcher for Great Britain, Helmut Schmidt for Germany, Giovanni Spadolini for Italy, Pierre Eliott-Trudeau for Canada, and Zenko Suzuki for Japan. Also present were Wilfried Martens and Gaston Thorn for the EEC. The welcome was followed by a “family photo” under the peristyle. A stroll in the gardens gave an opportunity for informal discussions between the participants. The day ended with dinner in the Gardens Salon.

On 5 June, Mitterrand lunched with Schmidt before going to the Coronation Room of the Château where the conference was being held. The delegations took their place around an immense table decorated with flowers. The agenda covered: East-West and North-South relations, the economic difficulties linked to inflation, the growth of world trade, the necessity to find new sources of energy, the development of new technologies, the Falklands crisis and the invasion of Lebanon by Israel. Lunch was served in the Gallery of the Battles. A press conference was held in the late afternoon. The delegations returned to Trianon for the next dinner served in the Gardens Salon.

On 6 June, the last meeting in the Coronation Room was followed by lunch in the Peace Salon. Then came the final communiqué and a press conference. The end of the summit was truly royal: dinner in the Hall of Mirrors, a performance in the Royal Opera House and a concert in the chapel. A splendid fireworks display with the fountains illuminated took place in the gardens lit up for the occasion, with the mounted band of the Garde Républicaine providing the music. A spectacular summit indeed, but without any concrete solutions according to the observers.