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Toasts of the President and Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia at a Dinner Honoring His Royal Highness

May 24, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. I've said several times since I've been President of our country that I don't believe there is any other nation with whom we've had better friendship and a deeper sense of cooperation than we've found in Saudi Arabia.

There have been many times unpublished when we saw a particular need or a particular problem, either in our own country or around the world, and as soon as this need became known by the leaders of that great country, the need has been met in a quiet but very effective and friendly way.

We've shared a friendship for many years. In 1945, for instance, Franklin Roosevelt met with the father of Crown Prince Fahd near the Suez Canal and began a long-standing conversation and mutual commitment toward peace that has stood our nations in good stead since that time.

Three years ago, Crown Prince Fahd came to our country to resubmit his own interest in us and to begin a new approach to peace, particularly in the Middle East.

We have had today some very productive discussions with Crown Prince Fahd and the other great leaders of Saudi Arabia, about the Middle East. We told them that our deep commitment was to the security and peaceful existence of Israel, and they understand this very well. And we emphasized the importance of a fair and permanent peace in the Middle East.

In both these commitments, the Saudi Arabians share our purpose. As we look at this extremely valuable and important crossroads of the whole world in this modern day, there is an increasing realization that peace in that region means to a great degree a possibility of peace throughout the world.

We have seen in clear terms in months gone by the importance of forming a joint economic commission between the United States and Saudi Arabia. The late King Faisal and now King Khalid have strengthened this cooperation between our country and theirs.

Tomorrow, Prince Saud will go to Fairfax County, in Virginia, for instance, to dedicate a solar heating project which has been sponsored by Saudi Arabia. From the memorial fund dedicated to King Faisal, they have also been gracious enough to give two very fine gifts to my alma mater, Georgia Tech.

These projects also involve solar energy, and many of the distinguished leaders from Saudi Arabia tonight wished us well in establishing for our country a comprehensive energy policy based on conservation, which we proposed to the Congress. When Senator Humphrey and Senator Percy and others formed the Alliance for Conservation of Energy in our Nation to save the consumption of oil, the Saudi Arabians came forward and offered to help us with a major part of the financing of this effort. Although their generosity was not accepted in this instance, it shows their deep commitment to reducing the waste of oil around the world.

Saudi Arabia is a nation which has grown in many ways in the last few years in world importance. Their supplies of energy are crucial to the well-being of people in many nations. They produce their own oil for world consumption beyond the level which perhaps would be best for them.

The wealth that has flowed to Saudi Arabia from these sales has been invested around the world in a very responsible and productive and constructive way. This responsible and unselfish action has saved the entire economic structure of the world from disruption and has alleviated the fears that did exist when the price of oil was raised in 1973.

Saudi Arabia has about $60 billion invested in our own country, and they are one of our largest customers since we sell them about $3½ billion worth of United States-produced goods each year. This trade relationship is very important, and it helps to tie us together in dealing with political problems which we face in a mutual way.

I think it is accurate to say that the future of Saudi Arabia and the future of the United States are tied together very closely in an irrevocable way. It is very valuable to us to understand and to preserve and to strengthen this important friendship.

The visit of Crown Prince Fahd to us is another demonstration of the mutual interest that we share. We are proud to have him here. And on behalf of the American people, I would like to propose a toast to King Khalid, to the Royal Family, and to the great people of Saudi Arabia, our friends.

THE CROWN PRINCE. Mr.. President, your excellencies, and friends.:

It gives me a great pleasure and pride to meet with you this evening. I am also delighted and honored to convey to you, Mr. President, and to the friendly American people, through you, the warm greetings of His Majesty King Khalid Ibn Abdulaziz and the esteem of the Saudi Arabian people.

By conveying these genuine feelings, I can clearly see the historical facts and the propitious events reinforcing the strong links between our two friendly nations. Both the United States of America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia follow a free economic system that seeks the well-being of man, not only in their respective countries but also in the world at large.

Both nations believe in individual freedom, necessary for the well-being of man and for justice. Both countries believe in working towards securing a better life for man in every part of the world.

Mr. President, you expressed your belief that international relations should be based on the solid ground of morality, high ideals, and genuine respect for human rights. Sharing your belief, Mr. President, that any policy defying these values and standards is doomed to failure, we hope that this humane conviction on your part will contribute to bringing about a new era in international relations where supremacy will be for right and not for might, for justice and not for oppression.

Your sympathetic attitude towards the Third World's search for a future without hunger, poverty, or backwardness means that we can look forward toward a future full of understanding and cooperation between the industrial nations and the developing nations, between the energyproducing nations and the energy-consuming nations, in order to build an international community free of discrimination, injustice, or exploitation.

Mr. President, what concerns us most in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world in general is to achieve our goals in the areas of development, well-being, and stability. We are concerned with using our own resources and investing them in programs that will enable us to catch up with progress and technology, to shake off the burdens of backwardness and their inherent ills, which infest man's best values and turn him against everything that is good and noble.

The greatest hindrance to achieving this creative, enriching goal is the problem of instability in the Middle East area whose core is the Palestine issue with all its ramifications--this issue, which for more than a quarter of a century has been pleading, has been crying out for free human consciousness hoping to find one with a just and clear vision, to say a word of justice that will restore the situation and return a displaced people to its homeland.

I hope that our discussions here with you, Mr, President, will enhance the peace prospects and clarify the justice of Arab demands. Looking at the developments in the Palestinian issue during the last few months I find it a pleasant task to express my appreciation to the friendly people of the United States of America and my thanks to you, Mr. President, for the realistic view and the increasing understanding of the Palestinian issue.

I believe that this view will give the issue the needed thrust to achieve just peace and permanent stability in the Middle East, where the energy of its peoples might then be devoted to their development and betterment.

We in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia look with optimism to what can be attained through the increased relations between our two nations for our mutual benefit, to what can be coveted through your support and that of the friendly American people for a just solution to the Palestinian issue and its people who suffered displacement, destitution, and expulsion from their homeland, Mr. President.

Mr. President, Excellencies, and friends, please permit me to express my true appreciation and gratitude for your kind reception and genuine warm feelings and to convey the same to the friendly American people from the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I thank you very much, Mr. President, and if you will permit me, I would like to propose a toast in the name of King Khalid and ourselves to the President of the United States of America.

President Carter.

Note: The President spoke at 8:45 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. Crown Prince Fahd spoke in Arabic, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Jimmy Carter, Toasts of the President and Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia at a Dinner Honoring His Royal Highness Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243183

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