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Toasts at a State Dinner During the Visit of President Tito of Yugoslavia

March 07, 1978

PRESIDENT CARTER. First of all, I would like to say that my wife, Rosalynn, and I welcome all of you to the White House. We here tonight and all the people of the United States are deeply honored by the visit of a great world leader, President Tito of Yugoslavia.

We've had a delightful conversation during supper. I found that he has some things in common with us. He has a private farm where he grows .grapes and produces wine. It's my second favorite vine, the first one being peanuts, of course. [Laughter]

Although we do have differences there, my brother, Billy, as you know, is- [laughter] —he produces beer, not wine. [Laughter]

President Tito is a man of great courage. He was telling me that there is an island—which some of our guests here at the head table, the Harrimans at least, have visited—about 2 1/2 miles wide, 5 miles long, where he has a tremendous collection of puma, lions, camels, elephants, other animals, wild boar. I know very well how he feels when he goes there for a weekend, very similar to the way I felt when I came to Washington 13 years ago. [Laughter]

President Tito is a leader who has welcomed many great Americans to his country. One of the first was in 1944. President Tito, then an early leader of Yugoslavia toward freedom, was in his headquarters when a B-24 crashed in a barnyard while he watched the plane go down.

Out of the B-24 stepped the crew. The first man out of the plane was George McGovern. [Laughter] This is a true story. And ever since, President Tito has welcomed American visitors of great distinction to his country. [Laughter]

This is a world leader who has led his people and protected their freedom almost for the last 40 years. Through peace and war, he has been part of the personal history of the world during our own generation and the previous generation.

James Reston, who interviewed President Tito recently, said that he is the last political giant of this century. He's a man of eternal strength, of eternal youth, of eternal vigor, and of eternal courage.

The Nation of Yugoslavia has been close to us in the United States since its very foundations, when Woodrow Wilson, our President, was instrumental in helping Yugoslavia become a country.

President Tito was a contemporary of great men, Prime Minister Churchill, President Roosevelt, General de Gaulle, and, as you know, many others, particularly Stalin. And he, along with President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, originated the concept of the strength of the nonaligned nations.

Not only the world but he's watched the history of the United States evolve. I'm the seventh American President in succession whom he has known.

He is a man who is very vigorous in his leadership. Within the last 8 or 9 months he's visited many countries personally, including the People's Republic of China, Peking; the Soviet Union, 'Moscow; our own country, Washington.

He's constantly searching for common beliefs and common hopes and common dreams that can unite people who might otherwise be separated by a lack of communication or differences in philosophical or political outlook.

He's a man who believes in disarmament. As a matter of fact, he is a father of the upcoming United Nations conference on disarmament.

He's a man who believes in human rights. He was the host this past few months of the human rights conference which was designed to assess the progress of the Helsinki agreement in that matter, human rights, plus searching for a more common ground on which the nations of Eastern and Western Europe might unite and resolve our differences.

Early in the present conflict between Israel and her neighbors, he told me today, on a trip to Egypt he reminded that Arab nation, which was then involved in disharmony and even hatred and war with Israel, that a time had come to recognize the right of Israel to exist and to exist in peace.

There is a feeling of personal friendship and warmth and admiration that exists among the people of the United States toward this great leader and the land which he has guided through very difficult times in recent decades.

On behalf of the American people, I would like to offer a toast to the great and courageous leader, President Tito, and to the independent and proud country which he leads, Yugoslavia.

PRESIDENT TITO. Mr. President, dear Mrs. Carter, ladies and gentlemen, friends:

May I first thank you sincerely for the expressions of welcome, the exquisite hospitality you are surrounding us with, and particularly for the friendly words you have addressed to the peoples of Yugoslavia and to me personally.

I wish straightaway to underscore my pleasure at the successful development of relations and ever broader cooperation in numerous fields between our two countries, to which you, Mr. President, are contributing so much.

In founding the relations on the familiar principles of equality, noninterference, and mutual respect, Yugoslavia and the United States have, by the results that we have achieved, reaffirmed to the full extent the vitality and the irreplaceable validity of these principles.

This can only encourage us to proceed along that path and these bases in developing increasingly our cooperation in political and economic fields, in science, technology, engineering, culture, tourism, and other spheres.

I am certain that this is also a safe way for the constant strengthening of friendship between our peoples, for the building of mutual confidence and respect, and thereby also for a constructive contribution to the creation of better conditions in the world.

I am convinced—and your words, Mr. president, encourage me in it—that this visit and our talks will serve these objectives in the best possible manner.

While speaking of the tradition of our friendship and the invaluable links between our two countries, I should like to recall the exceptional contribution to it made by many Yugoslavs who found in your country their new homeland, and who have been devoting their talents and work and who continue to devote them to the development of your country and to the well-being of mankind.

Mr. President, in the endeavors towards peace, stability, and progress today, detente is undoubtedly that major preoccupation of both the United States and Yugoslavia, as well as of almost all countries in the world.

We are deeply convinced that detente can fulfill the expectations of all the peoples of our planet if it becomes a universal process and if it encompasses all the burning problems of the day—first and foremost political, military, and economic-as at present, we live in a world of such interdependence that its fate is ultimately common.

Crises and problems necessarily affect everybody by the same token as the progress and achievements of each people become the possession and inspiration of the entire humanity. It is for this reason that we deem it indispensable that parallel with avoiding confrontations between big powers, basic problems of development should be resolved, as well as those in the field of disarmament, that the policy of power and interference into the internal affairs of others should be eliminated from international relations, and that the efforts of all countries should be aimed at the overcoming of bloc and other divisions in the world, as well as the establishment of a new and more just international economic order.

All these problems bear on the vital interests of the whole mankind. Widely acceptable solutions have to be found to them if we are to secure survival, peaceful development, and prosperity for everybody.

I should like to point out that Yugoslavia, like many other countries, is especially interested in the elimination of existing focal points of armed conflicts which at any time may become the source of new, still greater crises of widest proportions.

Particularly worrying at the present juncture is the crisis in the Middle East, which is increasing tension in the region of the whole Mediterranean. Any complication or any further aggravation of the situation in the Middle East constitutes-and this we are profoundly convinced of—constitutes an extremely serious threat to peace and security in this region, with consequences affecting a wide range of countries.

We have been pointing out on numerous occasions our views, founded on the decisions of the United Nations and nonaligned countries, on the irreplaceable ways for bringing about a just and durable solution to the crisis and thereby also for the creation of the indispensable preconditions for the security and cooperation of all the countries and all the peoples in the region.

Here I would just like to point out that it would be extremely dangerous indeed to allow the possibility of having the policy of force and forceable acquisition of foreign territories—those in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world-even partly pay.

Likewise, I should like to voice my firm conviction that it is quite inadmissible that today an entire nation—I mean the Palestinians should be denied the elementary national rights that other nations have been enjoying for centuries, and that the settlement of the Palestinian problem is essential and is the core of the solution and lasting settlement of the crisis in the Middle East as a whole.

During our recent exchange of messages, we could, Mr. President, note a considerable closeness of our positions on the need for the parties to the conflict in the Horn of Africa to find a peaceful solution to their problems trader this spirit without interference from outside, and on the basis of mutual respect, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and nonintervention in each other's affairs.

I think that such an approach should be applied also to other parts of Africa. It must not be allowed that any region, either in that or in any other continent, should become the ground for the contention of blocs of big powers. Any such rivalry carries in itself the danger of a broader conflict with consequences that necessarily affect the entire international community.

I am confident that our views are also close in that it is necessary within the framework of the efforts of all member states of the United Nations further to promote constantly, integrally, universally, human rights as one of the essential ingredients in the strengthening of the equitable international cooperation and peace in the world. And an end should be put as soon as possible to colonialism, racism, and apartheid in southern Africa and everywhere else in the world where these deplorable vestiges of the sinister past of part of mankind still survive.

I should also like to stress that Yugoslavia fully shares the concern by the overwhelming number of countries over the unabated continuation of the arms race, which exposes mankind to tremendous dangers and, it is needless to say, greatly encumbers the settlement of the essential political and economic problems in the world we live in.

For this reason, we view the forthcoming special session of the General Assembly of the United Nations devoted to disarmament as an exceptional opportunity for a joint effort of all the world organizations, member countries, to its opening up for the sake of the security of the present and future generations a process of genuine disarmament.

We cherish a deep hope, Mr. President, that both you, personally, and your country will provide your share which will give an impetus to this process, which will, beyond any doubt, earn you well-deserved recognition.

May I also on this occasion emphasize how great importance for peace, security, and the prosperity of all countries have the building of new, more just economic relations in the world and particularly the promotion of an accelerated economic development of developing countries and the finding of solutions to the problems of energy, raw materials, food, the transfer of technology, and others.

The solution of this, I would say, major problem of the present-day world would constitute is the historic imperative of our time. Any delay of this resolution constitutes a serious risk of creating an atmosphere in which a search for solutions reached by common agreement would be made considerably more difficult.

Mr. President, the movement of nonalignment: to which Yugoslavia belongs and within which it has been active ever since its beginning, has become today a recognized factor in the world due to its consistent struggle for peace and security, for equality and unimpeded development, for the settlement of burning issues of the present-day world.

A comprehensive emancipation of nations and countries, decolonization and creation by means of the establishment of the new economic order of genuine preconditions for the prosperity of all countries are inseparably linked with the activities of nonaligned countries. These ideals and objectives are in no way new. They permeated our aspirations also at a time of the founding of the United Nations.

The movement of nonaligned is a logical expression of the objective need of the present, still considerably divided world. It is an exceptionally important part, an active factor of the process of detente. It can be discerned that there is growing consciousness and awareness in the world of such a role of the movement of nonaligned countries in the current development of international relations.

Therefore, every attempt at weakening the nonaligned movement and that linking its parts to one or the other bloc is inevitably directed against detente itself, against the strengthening and expansion of peaceful coexistence. And this leads to dangers that might affect the nonaligned countries and countries belonging to blocs alike.

I have already mentioned the interdependence of the world, which requires from all countries—irrespective of their size, might, and affiliation—close cooperation, coupled with mutual respect. The nonaligned countries always stand ready for such cooperation. Their decisions and activity are inspired by it, and it is my firm belief that the only way for mankind to move towards a more secure future lies in this very cooperation, rather than confrontation.

We have been guided by it also in our activity during the Belgrade followup meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, at which Yugoslavia, as the host, has special responsibilities.

We certainly believe that it is paramount for all the states participating in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe to equally exert efforts towards a constant strengthening of the process of relaxation and cooperation in the spirit of Helsinki, for only thus may this process yield results which millions of people in Europe, the United States, and Canada, as well as in the rest of the world, expect from it.

Any attempt to impose unilateral interests casts a shadow over the already attained level of confidence and throws us back into the past, while the very nature of the process of detente makes it incumbent on us, due to the accountability of all countries and peoples to themselves, to move constantly forward.

Yugoslavia and the United States of America have been cooperating successfully in the international field already for a number of years. This cooperation dates back to a time when sharing on the same side the hardships of the past World War, we were searching for the best means to make it possible for the world to live in peace, understanding, and friendship.

I profoundly believe that now we shall deepen this cooperation still further in our mutual and even broader interest. The United States is a big power. Yugoslavia's part of the nonaligned movement. It is for this very reason, this very reason, which calls for our two countries to cooperate more closely in the search for widely acceptable solutions to pressing international problems.

Such a Yugoslav-American cooperation can only contribute to a broader international understanding so greatly needed in the present world.

Our view is that differences, sometimes substantial and often unavoidable, are not nor ought to be an obstacle to cooperation; but, quite on the contrary, one more reason for dialog and for search for agreed solutions. In this respect, we already have very positive experience.

Mr. President, I wish to point out that we highly appreciate the contribution made by your country and by you, personally, to the cause of understanding and cooperation in the world.

You have invested a great amount of good will in resolving certain problems. May I mention the Panama Canal agreement as an illustration.

In this agreement you have, together with the Government of Panama, encouraged the hope that it is possible-and I would also add, indispensable-to resolve in a similar way other outstanding international problems as well. Your country has thereby only gained in the eyes of the world.

Mr. President, I am sure that our talks will show that we have much in common and will provide a strong impetus to our future cooperation in all fields, as well as that by our candid and constructive approach we shall contribute to better knowledge of each other and broader understanding in the world. For this reason, I think that our talks transcend the Yugoslav-American framework and reflect far broader interests.

It is with this in mind, and in a sense of satisfaction and gratitude for such a warm reception, that I propose this toast to your health, Mr. President, to that of Mrs. Carter, for the further prosperity of the friendly American people, for the comprehensive development of relations and ever closer cooperation between our two countries, for Yugoslav-American friendship, for increasing understanding, respect, and cooperation in the world.

Note: The President spoke at 9:35 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. President Tito spoke in Serbo-Croatian, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Jimmy Carter, Toasts at a State Dinner During the Visit of President Tito of Yugoslavia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244692

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