Mr. Vice President, Mr. Secretary of State:
We leave today on a mission of peace and progress on behalf of all Americans. Tomorrow, I will meet with our valued friends and allies in the Federal Republic of Germany. Later, I will visit Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia to assure the peoples there of America's continuing affection and to seek additional improvements in our relations. And I will pursue increased cooperation and stability between the East as well as the West.
During my first trip to Europe as President, the Atlantic Alliance--I vigorously reaffirmed our solidarity with them and our purposes with them.
On this journey, I will meet in Helsinki with the leaders of 34 other nations. We will sign the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This conference represents useful progress in our continuing efforts to achieve a more stable and productive East-West relationship.
The provisions of the Helsinki Declaration represent political as well as moral--not legal--commitments. United States policy supports--as I have supported through my entire public life--the aspirations for freedom and national independence of peoples everywhere. The results of this European Security Conference will be a step in that direction. The outcome of this Helsinki Conference remains to be tested, but whether it is a long stride or a short step, it is at least a forward step for freedom.
This Conference aims at expanding East-West contact--more normal and healthier relations. This is in the best interest of the United States and of world peace.
If honored by all signatories, the Helsinki Declaration holds great promise. It can promote wider cooperation and greater security across the entire continent of Europe. This is of great importance to the United States and to all peoples. It is in this spirit and with these objectives that we take off.
Thank you very, very much.