Jimmy Carter photo

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

June 16, 1979

I have a brief toast, with your permission, Mr. President.

Mr. President, we have come to Vienna in search of common understanding in a spirit of common sense. We have come to explore, to clarify, and to attempt to resolve all our differences. We have come to take one more step towards avoiding a nuclear conflict in which some few might survive, but which no one can win.

Mr. President, if I had one thing to mention in my toast tonight, it would be to propose our two nations' success in holding a steady course towards control of weapons and then halting any drift towards uncertainty that might come from our failure to control and to regulate the arms competition.

We must consider the wider possibilities of SALT II. As we worked to conclude our agreement on strategic arms, we have found that we could work together for other positive change. In fact, our new SALT II treaty could provide the basic framework that we seek to reduce tension and conflict around the world.

The world is moving quickly towards more varied forms of government. Young nations are asserting a new independent place for themselves. We are seeing the decline of racism, the end of colonialism, and there is a worldwide movement against poverty and social injustice. At the same time, we face dangers that create combat in some regions of the world, trouble [in] international relations on a global scale, and encourage the spread of nuclear and conventional arms in many nations.

Very briefly, Mr. President, let me say that we believe in restraining conflicts that could undermine the goals that we have established for ourselves. We are working for cooperation among nations, for the peaceful settlement of disputes, for economic development with social justice and for human rights around the world. These are the ideas we would like to explore with you as we discuss the unique responsibilities of the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union.

And, finally, Mr. President, I believe that our successful effort to limit nuclear weapons can be a framework for guidance toward new areas of cooperation and for facing peacefully those areas in which we still compete.

Mr. President, we raise our glasses to toast our success for SALT II. Let us pledge to seek new areas of common understanding in the same spirit of common sense. Let us pledge our continuing cooperation and honesty in our discussions, enhanced security of both nations, and, above all, a peaceful world.

Mr. President, I would like to propose a toast to you, Mr. President, and to the heroic people of the Soviet Union, our present and future friends.

Note: President Carter spoke at 9:15 p.m. at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Austria.

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

As printed above, the item follows the press release.

Jimmy Carter, Toast at a Working Dinner Hosted by the United States Delegation at the Vienna Summit Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250268

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