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Toasts of President Reagan and President-elect Miguel de la Madrid of Mexico at a Luncheon Honoring the Mexican President-elect in Coronado, California

October 08, 1982

The President. Buenos tardes and welcome. I'm aware, Mr. President, that today instead of welcoming you, I should be saying welcome back. My country is most honored that the Mexican people have selected as their new President a man who studied for a time at one of our universities. And this should be no surprise to any of us. The citizens of our two countries are inextricably linked. In commerce and in culture, we're both proud and independent; yet, at the same time, each of our societies is enriched and strengthened by its relationship with the other.

Here in the Southwest, and especially California, we're keenly aware of our debt to Mexico—the fountainhead of so much of our heritage. It's fitting that we began our day by placing a wreath at the statue of Benito Juarez—a man who also visited the United States before emerging as a great Mexican leader. Juarez, a contemporary of Lincoln, a man acclaimed in the highest levels of our diplomatic community, once said that respect for the rights of others, between individuals as between nations, is the basis of peace.

Today, his words still ring true. With the mutual respect of which he spoke, we will continue the peaceful, amicable, and mutually beneficial relations that are the pride of our two nations.

Juarez led your country in a period of great uncertainty. Both Mexico and the United States were engulfed in civil strife. And today, again, both of our people suffer—this time from serious economic problems, a malady which is worldwide in scope.

You and your country, Mr. President-elect, as we in the United States, are dedicated to restoring health to a troubled economy. Each nation must confront the crisis in its own way. But as your friend we stand ready to work with you, recognizing that in times such as these friendships are put to the test.

Let there be no doubt that our affection will not only withstand these difficulties but triumph over them. Indeed, out of economic adversity may spring new incentives to expand the vast economic potential that exists on this proud continent.

Our meetings today continue a tradition which began in the first decade of this century. My meetings as President-elect with the incumbent President of Mexico opened lines of communication and established a personal relationship that proved indispensable. And after getting acquainted today, I am certain that the same cordiality and trust that have played such a significant role in Mexican-American cooperation during these last 21 months will continue and, hopefully, expand.

Mr. President-elect, I know of your admiration for Jose Maria Morales, a leader in your country's fight for independence and a man who championed constitutional government. We must never forget that the United States and Mexico represent more than friendly neighbors—something to be proud of in itself—but also two peoples who are dedicated to certain ideals of freedom, found in only a few countries.

Over these last 21 months, my administration has worked closely with its counterpart in Mexico City in many areas of concern, with particular attention to the stability and independence of Western Hemisphere nations. Your generous contributions to the Caribbean Basin have been much appreciated. And while we've not always agreed on everything, we've developed a firm respect for your opinions and for the vital role that Mexico plays in international affairs.

It's my sincere hope that we can build upon the current spirit of cooperation, and that with respect for the rights and dignity of each other, with recognition of our affection and common interests, the friendship of our two countries will serve as a model for free nations everywhere and that our personal relationship will be marked with trust and admiration. I'm confident that will be the case, Mr. President-elect, because even after our short meetings today, I know you're a man in whom I can confide as a friend.

So now, I ask all of you to join with me in a toast to Miguel de la Madrid, the next President of Mexico.

The President-elect. Mr. President, I do appreciate the kind and cordial hospitality that you have shown me throughout this meeting. I particularly thank you for your willingness to begin our meeting with a ceremony in honor of President Benito Juarez, a gesture that represents a symbol providing a good auspice for our personal relations. Benito Juarez represents for the Mexican people a precious piece of our history and everlasting values. He consolidated our national independence in the face of foreign intervention, and he led a generation of brilliant Mexicans who laid the foundations for our modern democratic and liberal state.

I consider our meeting highly beneficial. It is a good prolog to the relations we are to have once I become President of Mexico next December 1st. This personal and friendly contact has allowed a free and spontaneous exchange of opinions, without formalities or stiffness, in an atmosphere of cordiality and dignity—elements that should be the cornerstones in the relations between countries that are neighbors and friends.

Mexico and the United States have been building throughout different periods of time—some of them not always easy or pleasant—a relation based on the reciprocal recognition of our respective sovereignty and interests.

Our long border unites us, and the divergence of our cultures and of the stages of our economic and social development compel us to get to know and understand each other better each day. We have differences and similarities. If we recognize them and understand them, we can continue developing our relations for the benefit of our peoples.

We have, although in a different expression, the same goals: democracy, liberty, and social justice. Each nation works in its own way to obtain those objectives, just as every man should have the right to guide his own destiny. In the dignity of our conduct lies the strength and favorable outlook for our relations.

I have asserted the Mexican peoples' conviction that the solution for our economic problems should be based, essentially, on our own efforts. We will do this with responsibility and energy. The Mexican people are capable of facing adversity and rise above it through our strength and organized effort.

But I have also pointed out, Mr. President, that in the interdependent world in which we live, international cooperation is necessary so as to ensure that nations may effectively solve their own problems. A negative international environment, such as the one we live in today, makes the internal efforts of each country more difficult.

It is in the interest of Mexico that the United States have a healthy and prosperous economy and that it becomes a stable and vigorous market for Mexican goods and services. I know that you're working hard to achieve these aims.

It is in the interest of the United States, as you know, that Mexico overcome its current difficulties and that it regain its strength for economic growth and for the creation of jobs. It is only natural that the United States should watch with a constructive interest a country which is its third most important client. The Mexican recovery is also an important element in world economic development and in international trade.

I am absolutely confident, Mr. President, with respect to the future of my country. We have ample and varied natural resources and a significant progress in our social development. That is not to say we do not have inequality. But we have the most precious wealth of any nation—a strong and nationalistic people, each day better prepared for the tasks of development. I am sure that with effort, with equality, and discipline we will overcome the crisis in which we find ourselves, which is not a crisis of stagnation or decline but a crisis of growth and dynamism.

We Mexicans have, moreover, a solid asset—a stable and dynamic political system, the product of our historical tradition. It binds together the strongest political forces of the nation and unites Mexicans around a vigorous and deeply rooted nationalism. Our nationalism does not imply hostility or exclusivism; it attends to the understanding of our problems, to the optimum use of our resources, to the defense of our political independence, to the assurance of our economic independence, and the continuity and advance of our culture.

We Mexicans want peace for all nations, the peaceful solution of conflicts, respect for the principle of nonintervention and the strengthening of international economic cooperation. We also want to live in peace and friendship with our neighbors, enjoying friendly, respectful, and fruitful relations with dignity.

Mr. President, I am sure that the friendship and personal relationship we have built during this meeting will contribute to those goals and shall benefit both our great peoples. I leave testimony of the good will and sympathy from the people of Mexico that you have expressed to me on this opportunity. I believe that this is the prolog and the preamble to a relationship of friendship.

I wish to raise my glass and toast to the friendship and prosperity of the United States and Mexico. I toast to the people of the United States, to your personal happiness, Mr. President, and to your well-being.

Note: The President spoke at 2:17 p.m. in the Coronet Room at the Hotel del Coronado. President-elect de la Madrid spoke in Spanish, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Earlier in the day, the President went to Tijuana, Mexico, where he met President-elect de la Madrid. They placed a wreath at the statue of Benito Juarez, which is located in front of the Government Center office building in the city's Civic Center. The site is approximately 2 miles from the U.S.-Mexican border.

Following the wreath-laying ceremony, the President and President-elect de la Madrid went to the Hotel del Coronado. They met in the Presidential Suite for approximately an hour and were then joined by members of the U.S. and Mexican delegations for an expanded meeting. The luncheon followed the expanded meeting.

Ronald Reagan, Toasts of President Reagan and President-elect Miguel de la Madrid of Mexico at a Luncheon Honoring the Mexican President-elect in Coronado, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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