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Toasts of President Reagan and President Soeharto of Indonesia at the State Dinner

October 12, 1982

President Reagan. Well, tonight, we welcome good friends back to the White House, friends who have been too long absent.

In the years since your last visit, President Soeharto, much has transpired in your country and in ours, and in Asia and the Pacific, where we both share so many interests. Yet, during these dynamic and often turbulent years, there have been elements of stability, important elements.

Foremost among these has been the wise and steadfast leadership which you have given Indonesia since 1966. Out of a period of uncertainty and disorder, you have guided your country into the forefront of the Asian community of nations and made its influence felt throughout the world.

You will pardon me I hope, Mr. President, if I recognize here tonight what is already apparent to the nations of the world—that Indonesia, under your leadership, has assumed its rightful position as a great nation of Asia and of the world.

The second factor of stability since the 1960's, Mr. President, has been the excellent bilateral relations which have existed between Indonesia and the United States. Our relationship has stood the test of time in a changing world. It's firmly rooted in mutual respect and a clear-sighted recognition of where the interests of both our nations lie.

Mr. President, I fully share the importance that you attach to the further strengthening and expansion of the relationship between our two countries. To that end, it is my pleasure to announce tonight my decision to nominate as my personal representative to your government someone well known to you, and in whom I have the utmost confidence, Assistant Secretary John H. Holdridge.

As you are aware, Assistant Secretary Holdridge is our most senior diplomat experienced in East Asian affairs. In commending him to the Senate for its advice and consent, I shall do so assured that no one is better qualified to continue, on my behalf, the frank and mutually beneficial dialog which has marked your visit here, and which is so essential to the advancement of mutual understanding between our two countries and the achievement of our common purposes.

During our most fruitful discussions today, I've had the benefit of your experience and insight. You've clearly outlined the great challenges facing your country, the Association of South East Asian Nations, and the other nations of Asia which seek to live in peace. I come away from our talks more convinced than ever that we share this common view: that the greatest need for the countries of Southeast Asia is for rapid, equitable development free from outside interference and in an atmosphere of peaceful change.

I also appreciated your views on the situation in the Middle East. The special interests of both our nations in that troubled region make it imperative that peace be pursued vigorously. Lasting solutions will not come easily, however, and I earnestly ask that all nations support efforts in this pursuit of peace.

In our talks, we devoted much attention to global economic recovery. I'm convinced the world economic conditions will improve with national self-restraint and sound financial management for continued growth. These qualities have characterized Indonesia's economic policies since 1966 and serve as a persuasive example for other nations of the developing world.

I would also take note of the important role which Indonesia plays in the Association of South East Asian Nations. In our view, ASEAN offers the best hope for the fulfillment of national aspirations in the region, and it provides an important example of common purpose for us all.

Finally, I wish to compliment the wide range of charitable and humanitarian programs inspired by Madam Soeharto.

Nancy and I personally wish you both good health and the utmost success in realizing the aspirations of your people.

President Soeharto. Your Excellency, Mr. President, and Mrs. Reagan, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, once again, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded me during my present visit to the United States in accepting the invitation of Your Excellency, Mr. President.

Your kind words, Your Excellency, have impressed me as indication of the close friendly relation and mutual understanding between our two countries. As I have said this morning, Your Excellency, the main purpose of my current visit is to reiterate the friendship between our two countries.

Your Excellency, Mr. President, the friendship between our two countries has a solid foundation because of the similarity of our two nations with regard to the noble values which we hold dearly—such as freedom and independence, democracy and humanitarianism. We perceive the manifestation of such friendship from the deep understanding and support of the American nation when we struggled for and defended our national independence 37 years ago. We acknowledge such deep understanding again are, among other things, the willingness of the United States, together with other IGGI [Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia] countries a dozen of years ago, to assist our economic and social development.

For all this, I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to extend once again the highest appreciation of the Government and people of Indonesia to the Government and people of the United States of America.

We consider that the problem of development that we face is also actually a part of the problem of the human race. If until now, two-thirds of the human race are still striving in the struggle against poverty, backwardness, ignorance, and disease, this clearly indicates the real situation of what I have said earlier. It is, therefore, necessary to create an international climate that enables the unhindered development of all nations. But today such a climate is still far from expectation. Today the world is suffering from a long, drawn out economic recession beside the upheavals occurring in various regions.

Indeed, there have been many efforts made to overcome these various disturbances. But the outcome has not ensured its total solution. In the framework of trying to find a fundamental solution and to achieve an overall improvement of the inequalities in the world, the one and only answer is that all nations, big or small, strong or weak, strive together, motivated by the firm determination to build a new world order which guarantees political justice, economic justice, and social justice.

Unavoidably, it must be the common stand and concerted efforts of all nations on our unitary planet, because with the growingly closer relation amongst nations, due to the progress brought about by the human civilization at present and in the future, whether we like it or not, we must consider the world as the common homeland of all nations.

I'm aware that it is not easy to build a new world order. There must be, therefore, concrete steps which will at least prevent the deterioration of world developments, which may cause our solitary world to fall into the abyss of greater disaster, which may probably terminate the history of man and mankind. In such a world situation, filled with anxiety, obviously the world's attention, particularly of the developing countries, is focused for its umpteenth time on the United States.

We hope and believe that under the wise leadership of Your Excellency, Mr. President, the United States will try unceasingly to create world stability and peace and to prevent catastrophe to the human race. The strengths of this great nation, its glorious past history, its commitments to mankind, provide ample chance to the United States to play an important role in the endeavors of the whole of mankind to create a stable, peaceful, and prosperous world.

It is primarily to carry the common responsibility of creating such a world that I consider as highly significant the exchange of views that I have had with Your Excellency, Mr. President, and other American leaders during my current visit. I am convinced that my present visit will further reinforce the friendship, enhance the mutual understanding, and expand the cooperation between our two countries, particularly in the economic field.

In conclusion, permit me to kindly invite the distinguished guests to raise your glass and join me in a toast to the health and happiness of His Excellency, Mr. President, and Mrs. Reagan, to the prosperity of the people of the United States of America, and to the everlasting friendship between our two countries.

Thank you.

Note: President Reagan spoke at 9:50 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. President Soeharto spoke in Indonesian, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Ronald Reagan, Toasts of President Reagan and President Soeharto of Indonesia at the State Dinner Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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