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Toast at a State Dinner in Buenos Aires, Argentina

December 05, 1990

Mr. President, my friend Carlos Menem, thank you for those very kind words. And it has been a very great honor for Dorothy, our daughter, and me and for the rest of us on the American side to be received in this magnificent setting, to be received so warmly by your people, and to be received so warmly by your very special President, Carlos Menem. We are simply delighted to be here in this beautiful country that has rejoined the ranks of the world's great democracies, a democracy built on what your national anthem refers to as the "sacred cry" of freedom.

I liked what your President said about a nation together for the final takeoff. And Carlos -- or Mr. President -- [laughter] -- I have the feeling that you have involved the people and that the people are proud in their support. And this week, by your firm action, supported by the people, you proved again that no one will take away the freedom of the Argentinean people.

You've helped reestablish this wonderful democratic tradition, and I salute your bold reform of the economy. You're rising to the challenges laid out in the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative for all nations in the hemisphere to join together to boost trade, investment, and growth.

Today President Menem and I talked at length about these issues and how best to bring economic recovery to this hemisphere. We recalled progress already made. And I spoke at some length about these ideas, which are of immense importance to our nations, during my speech at your Congress earlier today. And tonight President Menem has given an eloquent response, and I thank him.

But even though we've been here just a short time, this visit has again reminded me of the likenesses that unite our peoples. Think of our nations' beauty. One of America's patriotic songs -- "purple mountains' majesty" and "amber waves of grain" -- that would define Argentina, as would the words of Jose [Jorge] Luis Borges, describing this city's "silent magic that captures newcomers almost totally." Think of the splendor of the Andes, the jungles of Misiones, or the valleys of Patagonia; and they match the sweep of the continent that is America. And think, also, of other likenesses. We both were founded on equality and liberty. Each of us reveres the individual: you, the gaucho; we, the cowboy. We both honor values like work, family, belief in country, belief in God.

These likenesses have helped Argentina create a world where, as President Menem said last year, "More and more, every day, we all depend upon one another." And I agree. And I want to thank you, Mr. President, and your people for standing as allies in the Persian Gulf against Saddam Hussein's naked aggression. Together, we will do what is right, and we will do what is good -- and we will prevail.

In that spirit and with real gratitude in my heart, I ask our guests to stand and raise their glasses: To the nation of Argentina; to friendship between us that has never been more strong; and to the health of my friend and distinguished colleague, Carlos Menem, the President of Argentina.

Note: President Bush spoke at 10:06 p.m. at the Sociedad Rural Restaurante. In his remarks, he referred to his daughter, Dorothy LeBlond, and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Following the dinner, President Bush went to the U.S. Ambassador's residence, where he stayed overnight. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

George Bush, Toast at a State Dinner in Buenos Aires, Argentina Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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