Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron have tried to defuse the tensions on comments made by both leaders this week, at the start of a weekend of events that marks 100 years since the end of the First World War.
The presidents of the United States and France worked to project the unity of opinion on the fact that Europe had to create its own army, but their meeting had an irritable start.
Trump responded to his guest when he arrived in France on Friday, tweeting that Europe should pay "its fair share of Nato".
The Macron office said that Trump misunderstood the comments of the French president. The leaders met on Saturday at Eliseo Palace and, speaking of the tweet, Trump said that Macron should "understand that the United States can only do so much", adding that the United States wanted to help. Trump said that he and Macron were "going from an equity point of view".
Macron said: "I share President Trump's point of view that we need a much better burden on NATO and that is why I believe my proposal for a European defense [is] absolutely consistent with that. "
A Macron office official said that Trump combined two different comments from the French president and that the comments would be on the table for Saturday's meeting.
Macron said in an interview this week that Europe needs to protect itself from "China, Russia and even the United States" in terms of cyberspace. Subsequently, Macron reiterated that Europe needed to build its own army because it could no longer depend on the United States for defense.
Trump has made similar arguments, in particular to urge the European members of NATO to increase their share of defense spending.
Both leaders waved to journalists waiting outside the Eliseo building, but ignored questions about Macron's comments and Trump's reaction. In a comment before the leaders went to camera for talks, Macron referred to Trump as "my good friend".
Trump will be joining several other world leaders on Sunday for a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe on the occasion of the centenary of the end of the First World War.
While in France, Trump and his wife, Melania, will visit the American cemetery of Belleau on Saturday to pay tribute to American soldiers who died in French soil during the First World War.