Toast at the State Dinner in Moscow
President Bush. May I first thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Gorbachev, and all the Soviet people who have welcomed Barbara and me so warmly to this great city and this great country in this historic time.
And I want to pay a special tribute to our host and friend -- a man that my country greatly admires, and a man that I greatly admire. When he came to Washington last year, I took him up to Camp David, and while there, we played a game called horseshoes -- a game in which you throw a horseshoe as close as possible to a stake far away. And on his very first try, he hit the stake. And I gave him that horseshoe as a symbol of good luck. But, as with everything he's accomplished, I think his success was due more to his unique mixture of determination, courage, and skill.
Dramatic changes have reshaped our world since we first met 6 years ago, Mr. President. The relationship between our great nations has moved from confrontation to friendship. Our growing ties remind me of an old proverb from your land: There's no road too long and no obstacle too hard for friendship. Our nations friendship, built on mutual respect and personal trust, is changing the world.
For almost a decade, the START negotiators sought to achieve real and stabilizing reductions in our strategic arsenals. And tomorrow, we will sign a START agreement -- a treaty that bolsters the promise of peace and advances the security of both of our nations -- the first agreement ever to reduce the number of strategic nuclear arms. START and CFE both testify to our new spirit of cooperation and to its potential for building world peace.
But arms control is only one element of our new relationship. We will spend much of our 2 days together discussing the issues that will shape our future: democracy, free markets, prosperity, and peace.
A peaceful revolution has unfolded in the Soviet Union, and we wholeheartedly support your progress towards a society based upon the rule of law, democratic institutions, and a system of free enterprise.
We stand ready to work with you in transforming your economic system by normalizing bilateral ties, deepening our trade relations, and taking concrete steps to support market reforms in many sectors -- food and energy and defense conversion.
Today, we spoke of ways to follow up on President Gorbachev's successful visit to London. The United States supports your integration into the global economy, but a successful integration will ultimately depend on your democratic and market reforms.
Internationally, our growing partnership as peacemakers and peacekeepers continues to deepen. In the past year, we've worked together to deter aggression and to encourage nations to resolve their differences peacefully.
And now, our common efforts may help bring peace to the Middle East. In this region where dangerous confrontations once divided our nations, we may consolidate our partnership as peacemakers.
Our people will face tough challenges in the days ahead. And I understand that it's an ancient custom in your land that when you prepare for a long journey, you sit for a moment of quiet reflection. Perhaps that is what we need to do now, at least in the silence of our hearts. Individually and together, you see, we face a long, exciting journey of change.
We can gain strength from the words of Chekhov, who once wrote of our responsibility to our world: Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he has been given.
And let us add then, to the relationship we have developed in recent years. And let us build a better future. And as we begin, may I echo your traditional toast: To the future of our countries. And may I add, the health and happiness of President and Mrs. Gorbachev.
Note: The President spoke at 7:37 p.m. in the Hall of Facets at the Grand Kremlin Palace. In his remarks, he referred to President Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa of the Soviet Union.
George Bush, Toast at the State Dinner in Moscow Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/265537