Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks on Arrival at Warsaw, Poland

July 28, 1975

Mr. First Secretary, Mrs. Gierek, Mr. Chairman of the Council of State, Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished hosts:

Mrs. Ford and I are deeply grateful for your very cordial words of welcome. It is a great privilege and pleasure for me to return to Poland. Mrs. Ford and I had the privilege and honor of being here a number of years ago and spent some 11 days in Warsaw and in Poland, and we have fond memories of that wonderful experience.

During the 16 years since my first visit to your country, the friendly ties between our peoples have developed in a way that should provide us much mutual encouragement. Building on a foundation laid nearly 200 years ago, when courageous Poles came to our shores and helped make American independence a reality, we have worked hard to broaden the scope of our common interests.

I am deeply gratified by the expansion of contacts between our two countries, by the rapid growth in trade, and by the new forms of bilateral cooperation which have been able to develop between our two nations.

During your visit to Washington last October, Mr. First Secretary, we signed the joint agreements of principles of U.S.-Polish relations, the joint statement of the development of economic and industrial cooperation, and our two countries, Mr. Secretary, entered into agreements on coal research, health, environmental protection, the avoidance of double taxation, and the cooperation in science and technology.

These agreements are the latest evidence, Mr. Secretary, of our ability to work together to improve the lives of our peoples, and I hope that we can achieve even greater cooperation during this visit.

I look forward to our discussions, Mr. Secretary. I am confident that in reviewing our relationships we can strengthen the traditional friendship between our two peoples and improve the prospects for world peace.

I am also very anxious to share our thoughts about the future and to hear your views, Mr. Secretary, as we both prepare to participate in the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki.

I believe that we will find areas in which both our countries can further contribute to the achievement of lasting peace and progress among all nations.

In conclusion, let me express the greetings I bring with me from all Americans, including the millions of our citizens who are so proud of their Polish background and their Polish heritage.

Niech zyje Polska! [Long live Poland!]

Note: The President spoke at approximately 12 noon at Okecie International Airport in response to remarks of welcome by Edward Gierek, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party. In his opening remarks, the President also referred to Henryk Jablonski, Chairman of the Council of State, and Piotr Jaroszewicz, Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister).

First Secretary Gierek spoke in Polish. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

The Right Honorable Mr. President, Madam Ford, ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of the highest authorities of the Polish People's Republic, in the name of our people, I wish to welcome you, Mr. President, on the Polish soil. We are extending to you a welcome of most genuine cordiality, while I myself am particularly satisfied over our meeting again.

We are pleased to be able to play host to Mrs. Ford and persons accompanying you, and among them the Secretary of State, Mr. Kissinger. The doors of Warsaw and of the entire country of ours stay wide open for you with traditional Polish hospitality.

This is not your first visit to Poland, but it is for the first time that you are visiting us as President of the United States of America, as a leader of the nation which for over two centuries our people have been linked to with numerous and strong ties, mutual friendship, and respect.

In your person, Mr. President, we welcome and extend greetings to the American people, with whom we desire to develop cooperation and share the happiness of peace.

During my visit to the United States, which indeed has left indelible memories of the hospitality, accorded to me there, I found that desire shared on both sides and that you, sir, are personally the advocate of friendly cooperation of our peoples and states. Your present visit to Poland is about the most eloquent testimony of that.

We are glad that while in this country you will be able to acquaint yourself with the great record of achievement of the Polish People's Republic, with her dynamic development, with our plans for the near and more distant future.

I am sure you will find, Mr. President, that the Polish people, who have rebuilt their country from the ravages of war with toil and self-sacrifice, are working perseveringly to build a strong, modern, and prosperous country worthy of both its best traditions and of its Socialist ideals and aspirations of today.

I am sure you will find also, Mr. President, that the most profound desire of our people is peace. You will see no ruins of Warsaw, which 30 years ago proved to be such a shocking experience to one of your predecessors, General Eisenhower.
Our capital has been restored to life--beautiful and modern--yet the memory of the immensity of sacrifice and suffering remains, as does the desire impressed upon the hearts and minds--no more war.

Our people--and according to their will, also the authorities of the Polish People's Republic---conceive of the establishment of lasting peace as of the most important and supreme cause.

We are pleased that we are receiving you, Mr. President, on the eve of the final phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and only soon after the Soviet-American cooperation, one of paramount importance to the world peace, has been reaffirmed in the joint Soyuz-Apollo project, crowned as it was with such a magnificent success.

You are arriving in Poland, Mr. President, at a time when the process of international detente is acquiring new dimensions, a process which our country, along with her Socialist allies and friends, deem to be one of great importance.

We are greeting you as a leader of the great nation which plays its important role in the world of today, and we trust it will be making an ever greater contribution to the cause of strengthening peace.

We are happy to see you in Poland, Mr. President. We are happy to see Mrs. Ford in Poland.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks on Arrival at Warsaw, Poland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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