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Remarks at a Reception for General Secretary Brezhnev in San Clemente, California

June 23, 1973

Mr. General Secretary and all of our distinguished guests:

We have met in Washington and also at Camp David, and as this historic week is concluded, we think it is most appropriate that we meet here in California.

Mr. General Secretary, I told you a lot about California, our most populous State, our most diverse State. There are 20 million people that would like to be here tonight to welcome you, but these are representative of California, and they receive you, as you note, very warmly.

As you have pointed out, the name of this house is La Casa Pacifica, which means "The House of Peace," and in Russian, I just heard him translate it, that is Dorn Mira.

The General Secretary thought this was a particularly appropriate place--this house and this State--on the Pacific, to have our concluding talks. We believe that the agreements that we have reached this week will contribute to the peaceful world that everybody here wants and that the General Secretary and I have been working for in our respective positions.

As we look back to this day, we hope that this name, "The House of Peace," will be a reality--a reality in terms of the agreements that have been reached and in terms of the promise those agreements mean for not just the Soviet people and the American people but for all the people of the world.

Mr. General Secretary, we are going to meet all the guests, but I should point out to our guests that we will have in our receiving line, in addition to Mrs. Nixon and the General Secretary, Foreign Minister Gromyko, Ambassador and Mrs. Dobrynin, both of whom have come from Washington, and Secretary of State and Mrs. Rogers.

Incidentally, the Secretary of State is celebrating his birthday, and nobody has celebrated his 60th birthday more often and in more auspicious places than the Secretary of State. We celebrated it Wednesday when the General Secretary toasted him 2 days in advance at Camp David. The next day we celebrated it in the Soviet Embassy at the brilliant dinner party that was given there when both the General Secretary and I toasted him, thinking that was either the day or the day before. We finally have learned from Mrs. Rogers that today is the day, so we say "Happy Birthday to the Secretary of State."

Then, finally, in this distinguished company, our leaders from political and business life, as well as some of the people that both of us have seen and admired on the screen. I find in my personal chats with the General Secretary that he likes western movies as well as some others, but he likes westerns in particular, and so do I. We have several western movie stars that you will recognize.

But because this is a house of peace, every one of them has checked his holster belt with the pistols at the door before he came in. [Laughter]

Thank you.

[At this point, General Secretary Brezhnev responded to the President's remarks. The President then resumed speaking.]

You will be interested to know that the General Secretary's speech on television, which was filmed right here at the Western White House this afternoon, will be carried Sunday night.1 When I was in the Soviet Union, my remarks were carried to the Soviet audience, and his remarks will be carried to the American people.

1 General Secretary Brezhnev's address to the American people was broadcast on nationwide radio and television at 6 p.m., on June 24, 1973. A text of his address is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 9, P. 836).

Note: The President spoke at 5 p.m. at a poolside reception at his home in San Clemente, Calif.

General Secretary Brezhnev spoke in Russian. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Ladies and gentlemen:

I have spent already several days in the United States of America. Every day, President Nixon arranges for me and for the comrades who are accompanying me on this trip new surprises. I would also say that we are conducting very necessary and important negotiations, and we have already managed to sign quite important agreements which are confirming and consolidating the good, friendly relations which are existing between our peoples and between our states. And I might stress that especially significant in this respect is the agreement we have concluded yesterday on the prevention of nuclear war.

Every day, I meet old acquaintances in America, and I make new friendships, and this is a fact which is a fact of great pleasure.

And I would like to stress that it is important that today I am here in the home of the President and Mrs. Nixon, and I feel happy. We are continuing with our serious and beneficial work here, and we have spent many hours in business-like negotiations.

Today, here on the territory of California quite near to the home of the President, I have addressed the American people through American television. I am not sure when they will have this program, today or tomorrow, but when you see it, you will hear my thoughts and the thoughts of the Soviet people.

I would very much like that the name of this house, La Casa Pacifica, would be symbolic. I would very much like that our relations go down in history as relations of peace, of friendship, of mutual respect between our peoples so that there is no more war.

And in conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude to the President and Mrs. Nixon for this wonderful party which he arranged for us today. I believe that this gathering will permit me to acquaint myself with the representatives of various walks of life, of various professions, and I feel very happy and grateful.

And to all of you, I would like to wish good health, personal happiness, and success in all your endeavors.

Mr. President, I would also like to congratulate you and all the American people on the successful completion of the heroic space flight, on the occasion of the successful return of your astronauts, and I would like to wish them new successes in this very important area of human discovery and knowledge, and please convey my best greetings to them.

I would like to wish that our spacemen continue their cooperation. I would like to wish them new, brilliant successes in their wonderful profession which combines courage with science.

Of course, I cannot but mention what has happened here--by the way, I was the first who congratulated Secretary of State Rogers on his birthday, and now I am all confused. What is really the day when State Secretary Rogers was born? [Laughter] But anyway, I would like to say that I also congratulate Mr. Rogers and wish him all the best.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at a Reception for General Secretary Brezhnev in San Clemente, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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