George W. Bush photo

Remarks at a Luncheon Hosted by President Laszlo Solyom and Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany of Hungary in Budapest

June 22, 2006

President Solyom. Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, distinguished guests, it is indeed a great honor and great privilege to have the President of the United States of America here in Hungary on the occasion of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution and freedom fight.

This visit demonstrates that community of shared values that is a very strong bond between us. It was freedom, democracy, self-determination, and human rights—were the values for which so many people sacrificed their lives in Hungary in 1956.

This year, in March, in the Capitol, President Bush said, on the occasion of the commemoration, that the Hungarian Revolution was an example of patience and is a value which is deeply rooted in everybody's soul. We were, indeed, very patient. We carried this value in the heart of our hearts for 35 years, and not only in the heart, and finally, after 35 years, it became reality.

This set of values is a must for us, to authentically represent it all over the world. During our bilateral meetings, we were able to exchange views on the various techniques that can help people to have these values take deep roots in the hearts of the people.

Only a few of us know, though, the great importance of the practice of the Supreme Court of the United States, especially in the field of human rights, the lesson we learn from them and started to exercise them, and then radiate the lesson to the neighboring countries in east-central Europe and even beyond that, down to South Africa. And these techniques are just as important as is another important initiative by the father of President Bush, who initiated the establishment of environmental center, which radiated an impact and influence all over the region.

In the course of our bilateral relations, I reiterated our commitment to fight and enhance sustainable economic growth in the world. We touched upon several foreign political issues as from the Balkans down to Iraq, Iran, and Russia. We agreed that there are vast opportunities to further expand our bilateral cooperation, and our two respective countries have their own role to play. And Hungary, because of its geopolitical situation and tradition, can help a lot to materialize our common goals and objectives.

In the spirit of this common cooperation, may I propose a toast to the health of Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, and the cooperation between our two respective countries.

President Bush. Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Laura and I thank you and your wives for such gracious hospitality in this beautiful country. It is a joy to be in Hungary. It is an honor to be here.

I bring the greetings from my country. I bring the greetings from Hungarian Americans who are so proud of their heritage. I bring the thanks of the American people for supporting the freedom movement. I'm looking forward to sharing some thoughts about the unbelievable events that took place in 1956. And all of us who have the blessings of freedom must remember the spirit that took place then and must never take freedom for granted.

I congratulate your political leaders for doing the hard work necessary to make sure democracy takes hold. And I assure the Hungarian people that we're proud to be your friend and ally. And so it is in the spirit of respect and friendship that I would like to offer a toast to the people of Hungary.

Prime Minister Gyurcsany. Mr. Presidents, ladies and gentlemen, freedom and love, these are the two things I need. That's how we Hungarians, many Hungarians sing but this is also how Americans or anybody else in the world could sing and celebrate like we do here in Hungary all the time. Freedom and love really link together the two basic conditions for public and private happiness. Neither of these can exist without enthusiasm. Neither of these can tolerate selfishness. And both of these require unselfishness and sacrifice. So we are prepared to do our best for a better world, unselfishly and with some self-sacrifice sometimes.

And we know that this better world needs more democracy, more understanding, and sometimes, perhaps, more love. Well, this is perhaps where we are linked together, Europe and the United States, Hungary and the United States, in this effort, in this struggle. Sometimes we might have debates; we might have discussions; but after all, we know that we must work together and fight together for the objectives that we have together.

So, welcome, Mr. President. Let's make this a better world, better Hungary, and better United States.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 12:20 p.m. in Hunter Hall at the Parliament Building. In his remarks, he referred to Erzsebet Solyom, wife of President Solyom; and Klara Dobrev, wife of Prime Minister Gyurcsany. President Laszlo and Prime Minister Gyurcsany spoke in Hungarian, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter.

George W. Bush, Remarks at a Luncheon Hosted by President Laszlo Solyom and Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany of Hungary in Budapest Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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