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Remarks of Welcome to Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R.

June 18, 1973

Mr. General Secretary and all of our distinguished guests:

Mr. Brezhnev, it is a very great honor for me to welcome you on your first visit to the United States. It was just a year ago that we met in Moscow, and on that occasion we entered into a number of agreements that changed the relationship between our two great countries in a very profound way.

What has happened since those agreements have been entered into, and the preparations that have been made over many, many months, the correspondence that we have had, and other meetings, lead me to conclude that this year at the summit in Washington, we will not only build on the foundation that we laid last year but that we have the opportunity to make even greater progress than we made last year toward the goals that we share in common--the goals of better relations between our two governments, a better life for our people, the Russian people, the American people, and above all, the goal that goes beyond our two countries, but to the whole world, the goal of lifting the burden of armaments from the world and building a structure of peace.

As you know, Mr. General Secretary, these television cameras mean that fight now millions in America and millions in the Soviet Union are seeing us as we appear together and as we speak.

I could also add that not only are the Russian people, the Soviet people, and the American people watching but all the world is watching as we meet on this occasion, because the people of the world know that if the leaders of the two most powerful nations of the world can work together and their governments can work together, the chance for a world of peace is infinitely increased.

The hopes of the world rest with us at this time in the meetings that we will have. I am confident, Mr. General Secretary, that in our meetings this week we shall not disappoint those hopes.

We wish you a good stay in our country, but above all, on this, which is a trip of such great significance to our two peoples and to the world, we trust that at the end, not only the Soviet people and the American people but the people of the world will look on this event as a great step forward in the goal we all want: not only peace between our two countries but peace and progress for all the people of the world.

Note: The President spoke at 11:10 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House where General Secretary Brezhnev was given a formal welcome with full military honors. The General Secretary responded in Russian, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. The welcoming ceremony was broadcast live on nationwide radio and television in the United States and in the Soviet Union.

The General Secretary's translated remarks follow:

Esteemed Mr. President, esteemed Mrs. Nixon, ladies and gentlemen:

I am happy to have a new meeting with you, Mr. President, and I thank you for the warm words addressed to us, representatives of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

This is my first visit to your country, my first direct acquaintance with America and the American people. We have made a long journey from Moscow to Washington. Our two capitals are separated by over 6,000 miles.

But international politics has its own concepts of relativity not covered by Einstein's theory. The distances between our countries are shrinking, not only because we travel aboard modern aircraft following a well-charted route but also because we share one great goal, which is to ensure a lasting peace for the peoples of our countries and to strengthen security on our planet.

One year ago, in Moscow, we jointly took a major step in that direction. The results of our first meeting laid a good and reliable foundation for peaceful relations between our two countries.

But even then we both took the view that, building on that foundation, we should move further ahead. During the past year a good beginning has been made in that sense. And now we regard our visit to the United States and the forthcoming meetings with you as an expression of our common determination to make a new contribution to what was jointly initiated.

I and my comrades, who have come with me, are prepared to work hard to ensure that the talks we will have with you, Mr. President, and with other American statesmen, justify the hopes of our peoples and serve the interests of a peaceful future for all mankind.

For activities in connection with General Secretary Brezhnev's visit which are not reflected in items printed in this volume, see Appendix B entries for June 16-24.

Richard Nixon, Remarks of Welcome to Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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