President Tito, ladies and gentlemen:
Mrs. Ford, our son Jack, and I have looked forward to this visit to Yugoslavia, a country of great beauty and a country with fierce pride in its independence.
It is also a very great pleasure for me to make my first visit here as President of the United States.
Twelve years ago I came to Yugoslavia as a Member of the Congress on a far less happy occasion--Skopje had been devastated by an earthquake. I remember the sad and very grim scene. Mrs. Ford and I visited Skopje. I am very pleased to learn that Skopje has been rebuilt into a beautiful and modern city.
This is representative of the progress made throughout Yugoslavia in recent years. It is a fine example of what creativity, hard work, and determination-well-known characteristics of the Yugoslav people--can achieve.
I am looking forward to my talks with you, Mr. President. You are truly respected in America and throughout the world as one of the great men of the postwar era. I am confident that our discussions of bilateral issues and questions affecting the peace and security and welfare of the world will add to our mutual understanding, to the friendly relations of our two countries, and the friendship between Yugoslavs and Americans.
Mr. President, you and I have just returned from Helsinki where we attended the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This summit was another step in the continuing efforts to reduce tensions and increase international cooperation.
It represents progress which we, together with other Conference participants, must build upon. Full implementation of the Helsinki documents promises greater security, greater cooperation, not only in Europe but among people everywhere.
The meeting of the United States, Yugoslavia, and 33 other states in Finland, also serves as the latest reminder that today's world finds the people of the world increasingly interdependent.
As we meet today and tomorrow in Belgrade, so soon after our participation together in the Helsinki Conference, we are mindful of the need for cooperation by all nations on urgent international problems.
I am confident that our discussions will make a very positive contribution in this direction.
Thank you, the people of Yugoslavia, for your gracious welcome to this great country.
Thank you very much.