Jimmy Carter photo

Toast at a Working Dinner Hosted by the Soviet Delegation at the Vienna Summit Meeting

June 17, 1979

Today, Mr. President, we discussed a range of issues important not only to each of us but to the entire world. On some of the issues, particularly in the arms control field, we were able to further our joint efforts to develop rules curbing the military competition between us and to lay the groundwork for further progress on the control and the regulation of nuclear weapons.

On some other issues, particularly international problems in troubled areas of the world, we did not always agree. And we were not able to develop a common approach. We did agree, however, to continue searching for a peaceful solution of these differences.

Both our countries face risks that stem from the changes sweeping many parts of the world today. As the two major nuclear powers, we have a special responsibility to deal with that change.

I believe that two possible roads lie before us. There is a road of competition and even confrontation. Any effort by either of our nations to exploit the turbulence that exists in various parts of the world pushes us towards that road. The United States can and will protect its vital interests if this becomes the route we must follow.

But there is another way, Mr. President-the path of restraint and, where possible, cooperation. This is the path we prefer.

I hope, Mr. President, that detente, which has been growing in Europe because of your great work, can now encompass other regions of the world. I hope that we can work together so that the rules of restraint, the mutual respect accorded each other's interests, and the recognition of the danger of unbridled competition will lead to an even more stable peace in Europe and can progressively be applied to other troubled regions of our planet.

In southern Africa there is a struggle for racial justice. We Americans know that violence is not the solution, and so we seek peaceful resolution of the conflicts there.

In Southeast Asia war continues, with national territories being invaded and occupied by foreign troops. We believe the war in Kampuchea can only be ended by the withdrawal of foreign forces and the honoring of national independence and international borders.

We must all show compassion, Mr. President, for the tens of thousands of suffering people who have been driven from their homes and their homelands. The callous indifference with which the world ignored refugees in Europe in the 1930's must not be repeated in the Asia of the 1970's.

In the Middle East, Israel and Egypt have taken an historic step toward a comprehensive peace. Thirty years of hatred had brought only war and terrorism. Only the courage of Egyptian and Israeli leaders has now enabled us to start down the road of a comprehensive peace.

On all these major international questions the United States stands for the peaceful reconciliation of differences and against the use of force. So, too, we stand for measures to control the instruments of war.

The SALT agreement which we will sign here tomorrow provides a good foundation, one that will be strengthened by the other arms control initiatives that we are pursuing together.

Let us build on that foundation so that we can narrow our differences in a spirit of respect for the independence of all nations and the value of every human being.

Let us both agree never to use offensive weapons against any nation in an act of aggression.

Let us discourage the use of foreign forces in troubled regions of the world and encourage the peaceful settlement of disputes among the people who are directly. involved.

Mr. President, in all the world's history, no two nations have ever had a greater responsibility to act with restraint and to seek mutual accommodation than do the United States and the Soviet Union. We do have many differences of history, ideology, and economic and social systems.

Mr. President, we are both concerned about the future, and I am sure that with honesty and good will we can make progress toward a safer and more peaceful world.

Now, Mr. President, I would like to propose a toast: First of all, to my friend, President Brezhnev; secondly, to the heroic people of the Soviet Union; and thirdly, to our strong, determined, constant, unswerving commitment toward peace in the world and a control of all weapons.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Note: President Carter spoke at 8:10 p.m. at the Soviet Embassy.

Earlier in the day, President Carter, President Brezhnev, and their delegations held morning and afternoon meetings at the Soviet Embassy.

As printed above, the item follows the press release.

Jimmy Carter, Toast at a Working Dinner Hosted by the Soviet Delegation at the Vienna Summit Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250269

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives