PARIS — President Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France sought to defuse simmering pressure over safety and commerce on Saturday as they opened a weekend go to supposed to showcase a century-old trans-Atlantic alliance at a time when it seems to be more and more fraying.
Meeting upfront of a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the top of World War I, Mr. Macron reassured his customer that his proposal to create a “true European military” was in concord with Mr. Trump’s repeated insistence that Europe cease relying a lot on the United States for its protection.
“I do share President Trump’s views that we’d like significantly better burden-sharing inside NATO, and that’s why I do imagine my proposals for European protection are completely per that,” Mr. Macron mentioned with Mr. Trump at his aspect on the Élysée Palace.
Mr. Trump, who had known as the thought of a European military “insulting,” mentioned he was glad to hear the French president’s rationalization. “He understands the United States can solely accomplish that a lot, in equity to the United States,” Mr. Trump mentioned.
The friction on Saturday underscored how a lot the once-budding relationship between the 2 males has soured in latest months. Mr. Macron welcomed Mr. Trump to the presidential palace on a drizzly, dreary day that matched the temper of the second.
Their encounter appeared decidedly chillier than their warm session in Washington in April when they smiled broadly, hugged, kissed each other on the cheeks and lavished praise on each other.
On Saturday morning, the two patted each other’s arms politely and flashed perfunctory thumbs up for cameras, but the tight-lipped smiles appeared strained and forced. During their short, subsequent appearance before reporters, Mr. Trump remained formal and distant. When he avoided sharp language during the five minutes that cameras were present, Mr. Macron appeared relieved and patted Mr. Trump’s leg appreciatively.
“We have become very good friends over the last couple of years,” Mr. Trump said, though without the enthusiasm of last spring. “We have much in common in many ways — perhaps more ways than people would understand. But we are — we’re very much similar in our views.”
Mr. Macron referred to Mr. Trump as “my good friend” and said they had “worked very closely together” in countering Syria’s use of chemical weapons. “Our people are very proud to have you here,’’ he said.
The visit got off to a testy start on Friday when Mr. Trump posted a provocative message on Twitter assailing Mr. Macron just three minutes after Air Force One touched down at Orly Airport outside Paris.
Responding to reports this week that Mr. Macron had suggested that Europe needed to form its own army to defend itself against Russia, China and even the United States, Mr. Trump wrote: “Very insulting, however maybe Europe ought to pay its fair proportion of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes drastically!”
The flap could have resulted from deceptive accounts of Mr. Macron’s feedback, which got here in an interview in French with Europe 1 radio. When Mr. Macron mentioned that Europe wanted to defend itself in opposition to the United States in addition to Russia and China, he was referring to cyber threats, not the American authorities. The dialogue of a European military truly got here up later within the interview and he characterised it as taking among the burden from the United States, not to defend in opposition to it.
Still, Mr. Macron was important within the interview of Mr. Trump’s transfer to scrap the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, a three-decade-old settlement that eradicated a complete class of missiles stationed in and aimed toward Europe. The United States has accused Russia of violating the treaty, and Mr. Trump’s curiosity appears to be centered on whether or not such missiles could be helpful in countering China, however European leaders see it as reopening a menace to their very own international locations.
“When I see President Trump saying that he’s quitting a significant disarmament treaty, which was fashioned after the 1980s euro-missile disaster that hit Europe, who’s the primary sufferer?” Mr. Macron mentioned within the interview. “Europe and its safety.”
Another main level of rivalry is Mr. Trump’s determination to reimpose sanctions on Iran following his withdrawal from the multinational accord supposed to curb the nation’s nuclear program. The French need to proceed to do enterprise with Iran and resent being put underneath stress by the Americans.
The Trump administration made exceptions from its sanctions for eight international locations, however the European Union was not exempted. One of Mr. Macron’s senior advisers complained about bullying by Washington. “Europe refuses to permit the U.S. to be the commerce policeman of the world,” Bruno Le Maire, the financial system minister, informed The Financial Times.
The two sides stay at odds over broader commerce points as properly. Mr. Trump has slapped metal and aluminum tariffs on Europe and different buying and selling companions, and has threatened tariffs on vehicles manufactured in Europe.
Mr. Trump mentioned negotiations to ease the tariff conflict have been promising. “We’ve made loads of progress,” he mentioned. “We’ll see if we are able to get it over the road, as they are saying.”
Mr. Trump stays massively unpopular in France, the place simply 9 p.c of individuals believe in him to do the appropriate factor in worldwide affairs, in accordance to a latest Pew Research Center ballot. Mr. Macron, after making efforts to cozy up to Mr. Trump, has within the final a number of months proven indicators of distancing himself.
In latest days, Mr. Macron has been warning concerning the risks of nationalism, drawing historic comparisons to the forces that devastated Europe within the 20th century. “I’m struck by the resemblance between the second we’re now dwelling and the interval between the world wars,” Mr. Macron mentioned.
By distinction, Mr. Trump through the fall midterm election marketing campaign proudly adopted the “nationalist” label for himself.
Mr. Trump is about to spend nearly 48 hours on the bottom however can have the prospect at a number of occasions hosted by Mr. Macron to work together with different world leaders, together with probably President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
Mr. Trump canceled plans on Saturday to go to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery on the foot of the hill the place the Battle of Belleau Wood was fought, citing dangerous climate that might make flying by helicopter problematic. He is scheduled to attend a dinner hosted by Mr. Macron.
At a solemn ceremony within the woods exterior the northern city of Compiègne the place the armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918, Mr. Macron and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, stood in entrance of a plaque celebrating peace and Franco-German friendship.
It was the primary time a German chief had returned to the spot the place each the World War I and World War II armistices had been concluded, Hitler having pressured the defeated French to the return to the identical railway automobile utilized in 1918 for the signing.
On Saturday, Mr. Macron and Ms. Merkel entered the same automobile that now sits inside a museum on the website, and sat glumly aspect by aspect for a couple of moments. The authentic was destroyed through the conflict, and a lot on the website razed on Hitler’s orders. The ceremony, easy but symbolic, was over in 45 minutes, after the French and German nationwide anthems had been sung.
“The symbolism of it’s, it’s not only a query of navy victory, or navy defeat, however of friendship between France and Germany, and additionally that each side have overcome this defeat,’’ mentioned Sylvain Fort, a prime aide to Mr. Macron. We’ve overcome this defeat to construct a friendship that’s lasted 70 years.”
On Sunday, about 70 world leaders will collect for a ceremony on the Arc de Triomphe commemorating the armistice that ended World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Afterward, they’ll have lunch and then head to the Suresnes American Cemetery exterior Paris.
Mr. Trump will depart for house within the afternoon, skipping
the Paris Peace Forum. That gathering is being inaugurated by Mr. Macron to carry collectively governments and personal organizations to enhance worldwide coordination and discover methods to keep away from the type of tensions that led to World War I and different conflicts.
“Trump’s absence from the Peace Forum tomorrow, apparently alone among the many 72 heads of state and authorities, can have a damaging affect — the person who didn’t even fake to work for peace, because it had been,” mentioned François Heisbourg, chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a analysis group.
Many in Paris had been watching to see whether or not Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin speak. Mr. Trump final month despatched his nationwide safety adviser, John R. Bolton, to Moscow to organize for a gathering between the 2 leaders whereas in Paris, however since then the 2 sides have issued complicated and conflicting accounts of whether or not they’ll speak or not.
No official assembly is scheduled and the 2 sides now say they’ll watch for a extra formal session throughout a global summit assembly in Buenos Aires, later this month. But the 2 shall be in the identical room collectively for this weekend’s occasions and may communicate informally.