Jimmy Carter photo

Toasts at a Dinner Honoring President Carter in Alexandria, Egypt

March 09, 1979

PRESIDENT SADAT .... for the very noble cause of peace. My people have welcomed President Carter yesterday and today. For me, I want to tell you how happy I am and how proud I am to have our dear friend and brother among us on Egyptian soil. All I can say is this: Let us raise our glass for a great President of a great nation, and to Mrs. Carter.

PRESIDENT CARTER. On a rare occasion in a person's life and on extremely rare occasions in the history of all humankind, there comes along a man or person with extremely great courage, a man who has the sensitivity to understand a complicated issue, who recognizes the deep feelings that exist because of historical animosities and hatreds, who has himself suffered through tortuous political evolutionary times, even revolutionary times, and one who's seen his own people suffer on many occasions from combat and war. And when all others are too timid, too fearful—or whose horizons are too narrow, fear to act—that great leader acts and, therefore, inspires others to join with him in a common, noble effort.

President Anwar al-Sadat is such a man. He has aroused the admiration of the entire world. He has become a hero in many. nations, and he deserves this esteem and admiration completely.

I have never seen so many people as were along our route today from Cairo to Alexandria. And it was the most impressive political event that I have ever witnessed-hundreds of thousands of Egyptian citizens, millions of Egyptian citizens. The number itself was impressive, but the most impressive aspect of this tremendous outpouring of emotion was their love and respect for their President and their obvious appreciation for our common search for peace.

I look upon President Sadat as a partner, sharing with him a common past, a common present, and a common future. But I also look upon him as a brother. The closeness with which he and I work and communicate, consult and plan and act, is reassuring to me. And I can well understand, now that I know him better, how he could have made such a momentous decision to slice through generations of hatred and, through a great expression of generosity, attempt to heal wounds.

I also have a great admiration for the Egyptian people. Tomorrow I will speak to your parliamentary leaders and make a more substantive description of my hopes for the future. But tonight I would say that I bring from 200 million Americans to 40 million Egyptians a heartfelt expression of the same kind of friendship and the same kind of mutual purpose that binds me with your President. I said today, as we watched the adoring crowds shouting out their slogan of a pledge of their heart and soul for President Sadat, that I would certainly hate to run against him for a public office in Egypt. But I would add very quickly, that I would also hate to run against him for a public office in the United States of America. [Laughter] I think it's accurate to say that he's, perhaps, the most popular person in our own country.

Tonight he and I share great hopes for the future. We recognize the difficulties that we face. Some of the distrust, some of the difficulties in communication, some of the ancient animosities still exist. But we share common faith in two things: One is that the people of Israel and Egypt pray for peace, and the other one is that the leaders of Israel and Egypt pray for peace.

This will be a first step only to a common peace for all the citizens of the Middle East and for the redressing of wrongs, for the realization of dreams and hopes. And I would like to offer a toast tonight to my friend, to a great and courageous leader who, himself, with the strength of his character, the nobility of his ideals and the purpose—which I share—is responsible above all others for this kindling of new hope in the hearts of those that join with us in this common effort.

To President Anwar al-Sadat, to the people of Egypt, to his lovely wife, and to peace.

Note: President Carter spoke at approximately 9: 45 p.m. at Ras-al-Tin Palace. Because of technical difficulties, the White House Press Office was unable to provide a complete transcript of President Sadat's toast. The press release contains only the concluding portion, as printed above.

Prior to the dinner, the President received the Nile Collar award from President Sadat.

Jimmy Carter, Toasts at a Dinner Honoring President Carter in Alexandria, Egypt Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248983

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives