Gerald R. Ford photo

Toast at a Dinner in Warsaw Honoring First Secretary Gierek of Poland

July 28, 1975

Mr. First Secretary, Mr. Chairman of the Council of State, and Prime Minister, and your lovely wives, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a very great privilege and pleasure for me--and in absentia, unfortunately, Mrs. Ford--to tender this dinner to you in Warsaw and to be with you, Mr. First Secretary, and your wife, and your other top officials and your other guests.

As I indicated this afternoon and early this morning, we have enjoyed renewing our acquaintance and friendship with you and Mrs. Gierek.

Mr. First Secretary, the United States is about to enter--in part it has entered-its 200th year of independence. Polish-American ties are even older.

In the late 1500's, 200 years before Kosciuszko arrived to offer his services to George Washington in the American Revolution, a Polish poet evoked an eloquent vision of the new world: "Happy isles, heroic land of bliss; Known to our country long ere this."

Thus, even before our two people were united by the cause of American liberty, a Polish-American affinity existed. During the 200-year history of the United States, millions of your countrymen have come to our shores to add Polish energy and Polish genius to the mainstream of American life.

As in Washington last October, Mr. First Secretary, we have today had very worthwhile discussions. In Washington, I said that I wanted to expand our relationship in a broader effort to improve world relations.

It is, therefore, extremely fitting that we meet again in Helsinki very soon as participants in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. What we do at Helsinki should contribute to an improvement in international relations.

The further development of Polish-American ties and cooperation can point the way for many, many other countries, just as our determination to improve our relations helps to achieve a further relaxation of tensions in Europe and throughout the world.

Mr. First Secretary, I raise my glass to you and to your colleagues and to the Polish people who have sacrificed so much in their struggle for a better and a freer world.

Note: The President spoke at 9:53 p.m. at Wilanow Palace.

Gerald R. Ford, Toast at a Dinner in Warsaw Honoring First Secretary Gierek of Poland Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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