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Toast at the State Dinner in Bali, Indonesia

May 01, 1986

Mr. President, Mrs. Soeharto, the Ministry, ladies and gentlemen, Nancy and I are delighted to be with you tonight. It's a great honor to be visiting Indonesia again and to receive the warm hospitality and gracious welcome for which the Indonesian people are justly famous. I remember how much I enjoyed my visit to Indonesia in December of 1973 when I was Governor of California and here representing our President at the time. I also recall with pleasure, Mr. President, your visit to the United States in October of 1982. I remember well that in your dinner toast you suggested, "Like it or not, we must consider the world as the common homeland of all nations."

Well, Mr. President, the American people are honored that, as citizens of the world, we count as our close and trusted friends the people of Indonesia. Americans see Indonesia as an impressive success story. In just over 40 years, this vast and beautiful nation has made enormous strides. We Americans appreciate that the path to national union is not easy for a country that spans over 3,000 miles and is scattered across more than 13,600 islands. The challenges you face in developing your country, with its wide expanse and rich diversity, are not unlike the obstacles and hazards Americans faced in settling and developing our own country.

Despite regional diversity, Indonesia, under your leadership, Mr. President, is a united country, a country that is assuming an increasingly significant role in the region and in the world. Your commitment to Indonesian resilience, drawing on your own resources and your own traditions and institutions, serves to enrich your people materially and spiritually. In the United States our governing institutions celebrate the wisdom of a balance of power that works to shape our laws and traditions. Indonesia's governing philosophy of consultation and consensus is different from our own, yet its ultimate goal is blending diversity into national unity. Even though our methods of government differ, the friendly and open nature of the discussions we've had here and when you were in Washington reflect the positive and constructive day-to-day, year-to-year conduct of relations between our two countries.

I want to congratulate you, Mr. President, on Indonesia's achievement in reaching self-sufficiency in rice production. This is an enormous accomplishment of which you can be justifiably proud. Having moved so far, so fast in providing ample food resources is another indication of your government's effective management. The attainment of rice self-sufficiency is just one indication that Indonesia's economic development program has been wide-reaching and impressive. This program of growth and advancement has been directed toward bringing the benefits of development to all levels of society. Mr. President, not too long ago you said, "It is impossible to reach equity in development, impossible to wipe out poverty, if there is no economic growth." Well, we applaud that emphasis. We have a saying in the United States that rather than talk about how to divide a small pie, let's work and build and bake a bigger pie so everyone can have a bigger slice. Mr. President, we have been happy to cooperate with you in a number of social and economic fields, including food production, off-farm employment, private sector development, and health care. We look forward to continuing our work together. In this regard, we have found the growing cooperation between our two nations in the field of science and technology to be particularly beneficial.

Indonesia is also to be congratulated, Mr. President, for its humanitarian policy of granting first asylum to almost 100,000 refugees from Indochina. The international community and the American people applaud Indonesia for its generous response to the plight of these unfortunate people who are seeking freedom and refuge. Many of these refugees have also resettled on our shores and have enriched the fabric of American life. The plight of these friends in distress is very important to Americans. I want to express to you, Mr. President, my personal appreciation for the sacrifice and consideration your government has shown in this humanitarian endeavor.

I am struck by how our discussions have reflected a mutuality of interests and a harmony of views. And I am confident the spirit that has prevailed here will enable us to forge even stronger relations in the years ahead. And I would ask you all to join me then in toasting the people of Indonesia; their distinguished leader, President Soeharto; and the friendship between the Indonesian and American people.

Note: The President spoke at 7:47 p.m. at the Putri Bali Hotel. The representatives to the ministerial meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations also attended the dinner.

Ronald Reagan, Toast at the State Dinner in Bali, Indonesia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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