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Remarks at the Arrival Ceremony in Moscow

July 30, 1991

President Gorbachev. Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, I would like to extend a warm and sincere welcome to you on Soviet soil within the walls of our ancient Kremlin.

It has been little more than a year since I visited the United States. This year has seen events of tremendous importance, both in our two countries and in the world. For us in the U.S.S.R., it was a year that put to a daily test our capacity to act constructively at a critical time in the process of transition in our progress along the path of democratic transformation and reform.

It was also a challenging year for the international community. It too, is going through a period of transition to a new unprecedented system of international relations. The beginning of a new era in history has been a tough test, indeed, for leaders of states, requiring enormous effort, a sense of high responsibility, strictest realism, and vision.

A great deal in world politics will continue to depend on how the Soviet Union and the United States interact with each other. For the first time ever, our two countries have a chance to build their relations on the natural basis of universal human values and national interest. We are beginning to realize that we need each other, that the security, internal stability, and dynamic development of each of our two countries benefits both of them. Not only our two nations but the entire world needs this kind of U.S.-Soviet relationship. The world has realized this and has given us support in our joint efforts. Today and tomorrow we will be discussing with you, Mr. President, these and many other matters. The Soviet people welcome you as the leader of a great power, as a statesman who is making a great contribution to the shaping of new world politics.

Mr. President, in recent months and weeks, the Kremlin, a symbol of our nation's centuries-old history, has been the scene of events that will shape this country's future. Tomorrow it will witness another such event, the signing of the treaty on the reduction of strategic offensive arms. It is more than just a major step in the process of disarmament. It is a sign of a growing irreversibility of the fundamental change for the better in world development.

The results of the G - 7 meeting in London further solidified this irreversibility. It was the beginning of a new type of international economic relations, which will form the material foundation for world politics in the 21st century.

All this, I hope, will allow our peoples to benefit more directly from the improving Soviet-U.S. relationship.

Allow me, Mr. President, to assure everyone who will be following our work with you in the coming days that we shall try to live up to the hopes of our fellow citizens, the peoples of the United States and the Soviet Union.

Once again, Mr. President and Mrs. Bush, welcome to the Soviet Union.

President Bush. Thank you very much, sir.

Well, first, let me thank President Gorbachev, leaders that met us last night, people along the way for their warm welcome here. We've been looking forward to this visit. And I'm honored to be in Moscow to meet with President Gorbachev for this historic summit at a time when tension gives way to a new season of hope. We need only compare the words of the cold war with our historic accomplishments in recent years to realize that a new age of promise has dawned. No visitor to this country can fail to see the signs of change.

Since my last visit in 1985, we've witnessed the opening of Europe and the end of a world polarized by suspicion. That year, Mikhail Gorbachev assumed leadership of the Soviet Union, put many monumental changes into motion. He began instituting reforms that basically changed the world. And in the United States, everyone now knows at least two Russian words: glasnost and perestroika. And here everyone appreciates the English word: democracy.

Our nations have moved forward in every sphere: political, military, and economic. And we stood together for the first time in 50 years to face down aggression in the Gulf -- the Persian Gulf. And this week we take, as the President just said, another historic step away from the cold war with the signing of the START treaty.

In the next 2 days, President Gorbachev and I hope to build upon this beginning, to forge a U.S.-Soviet agenda, built not upon military confrontation but upon economic and security cooperation. In the economic sphere, we hope to build upon the agreements we made in Malta -- to normalize economic relations and work toward helping the Soviet Union integrate itself into the international economy. In the Middle East, we see new prospects for peace where once there was only contention. And together, we will work toward building a lasting peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors. And we'll also work together to resolve difficulties and conflicts in Afghanistan and Cambodia, just as we worked to build peace and democracy in Angola, Namibia, and Nicaragua.

No longer must all the world serve as a stage for superpower standoffs. Instead, let everyplace from Central America to Angola to Afghanistan offer new hopes, new opportunities. And let us pursue shared goals: a stable world no longer polarized, mutually beneficial economic ties, cooperation on everything from weapons proliferation to environmental problems.

President Gorbachev has earned our respect and admiration for his uncommon vision and courage in replacing old orthodoxy with glasnost and perestroika. But more fundamental than the relations of leaders are the shared values of their people, and here our common humanity offers the greatest hope for mankind.

And yes, we have differences, but this hope can enable us to address our differences -- differences over Cuba or the future of the Baltic States or what Japan calls the Northern Territory. But let's conduct all our affairs in the spirit of enduring partnership, based on politics -- peaceful and democratic, on economies -- productive and free. You see, Americans want to work with all levels of Soviet society. Beyond our central Governments, we look for greater interaction between the citizens of our States and your Republics. And beyond government, we seek greater understanding throughout the broad spectrum of society -- among businessmen, students, artists, and scientists.

So, I come here on a state visit to the Soviet Union, but I also come to discover a rapidly changing country. For the sake of peace and new prosperity, on behalf of all Americans I come here today to assure President Gorbachev, the leaders, the great people of this land in each of its Republics, that we stand with you in your historic struggle for democracy and reform.

Fifty years ago, we united as allies to fight a horrible war, a war that cost the Soviet Union hundreds of thousands of lives. So this week, let us come together to seek a newer world -- more stable, more just, more peaceful.

Thank you. And may God bless the Soviet people, the sovereign people of this Soviet Union. We are delighted to be here, Mr. President.

Note: The remarks began at 10:23 a.m. in St. George's Hall at the Kremlin. President Gorbachev spoke in Russian, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George Bush, Remarks at the Arrival Ceremony in Moscow Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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