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Toasts at a Luncheon at the United States Ambassador's Residence in Warsaw

July 10, 1989

The President. First, my thanks to our host and hostess, our able Ambassador and his wife, for this informal, lovely luncheon. It's an honor and privilege to be with you here today.

Some of us met 2 years ago in Warsaw, and so much has changed. These are hopeful times for Poland. It's a special moment in Poland's history, perhaps the most profoundly challenging period in many decades. I told Chairman Jaruzelski this morning that my country and the world are inspired by Poland's success at the roundtable and by the implementation of the roundtable's provisions. And I hope you've noticed that today we are all sitting at round tables. [Laughter]

But look, we are also aware of the many difficulties and the economic pressures that lie ahead. And your challenge is to rise above the mistrust, to bring the Polish people together for a common purpose. The United States will stand with Poland; we will support Poland's hopeful mission, unparalleled in your history.

And so, with deep respect for you, Mr. Chairman, and your colleagues and for Solidarity and for the roundtable process and for all the guests at this luncheon that made that process work, I would like to lift my glass -- if I can find it -- [laughter] -- to the Nation and the people of Poland.

Chairman Jaruzelski. Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, Mr. Ambassador, Mrs. Davis, let me, first of all, thank you very much for this nice hospitality and for the fact that we could meet in this beautiful scenery and have this excellent lunch.

I have been taken by surprise by your President with the offer to come and speak to you. So, let me just share with you a few loose observations. But I consider as a significant fact that it is here at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador we could meet in such a pluralistic company. What is more, we were able to meet in a friendly atmosphere, and I believe we have felt well together.

One other personal reflection for me: I live perhaps 50 or 80 meters away from here for 16 years, and it is for the first time that I have come to this building and this residence. [Laughter] I think it is also a sign of time, and I and Mrs. Jaruzelski doubly appreciate this meeting.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your kind and well-wishing words. I value very highly these long conversations today with you. I believe they allowed us to better come to know each other and better understand each other, and I have no doubt that it will benefit the cooperation and friendship between our two countries and people.

Once again, thank you very much for this meeting today, and I wish you all the best. I know that the important person in this company according to the protocol is the U.S. President, but may I be allowed to fracture the protocol and follow the old Polish tradition of offering to everybody to raise our glasses to the good health of Barbara Bush and all the ladies present with us here today.

Mr. Geremek. Mr. President of the United States and Mr. Chairman, even this very beginning tells us of what Poland stands for now. A man from Solidarity, a member of Solidarity, I, who have been in this house several times in the past -- even though I don't live that far from it -- I can admit and say openly that something new is arising, emerging, in the ties between Poland and the United States.

Roughly 2 years ago, the Vice President of the United States and Mrs. Barbara Bush talked with members of Solidarity right in this house. And even though at that time we heard words of hope, I believe that none of us at that time expected that we would meet in 2 years in a situation like the present. Poland is still divided, but it's possible that what's taking place right now is actually taking place, that together we have the representatives of Solidarity, of the opposition, and of the authorities. We feel that what's happening now, what's taking place -- the political and economic reform, all of that, is in the interest of Poland, not just one particular side. And at moments like these, we think of the Founding Fathers of the United States, whose message about freedom has not lost any of its current significance.

First of all and above all, we seek understanding for what is happening in our country. The future of Polish reforms depends on Poles alone. We do not expect that they will be carried at somebody else's cost or by others' hands. But we believe that these reforms will be understood the world over as serving the whole world: serving the purposes of not only Poland but also of Czechoslovakia and Hungary and the interests of that part of the world and the whole world itself.

And in this house, the house of Helen and John Davis, who have done so much for the Polish cause, let me say that this is exactly what we expected from the President of the United States. The words he uttered, that the United States will support the reforms taking place in Poland, are the words that we were hoping for. And for that, let me propose a toast to the President of the United States and the United States of America.

Note: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. on the patio of the U.S. Ambassador's residence. In his remarks, he referred to Ambassador and Mrs. John R. Davis, Jr.; Wojciech Jaruzelski, Chairman of Poland's Council of State; and Bronislaw Geremek, parliamentary opposition leader and a senior adviser for Solidarity. A tape was not available for verification of the contents of the remarks.

George Bush, Toasts at a Luncheon at the United States Ambassador's Residence in Warsaw Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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