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Toasts of the President and Piotr Jaroszewicz, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Polish People's Republic, at a Dinner in Warsaw

May 31, 1972

Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Gierek, Mr. President, and all of the distinguished guests:

On behalf of all the Americans present, we express our appreciation for this beautiful dinner and for the hospitality which you have extended to us on our visit to Warsaw.

I recall that it was 13 years ago that Mrs. Nixon and I had the privilege of visiting this beautiful city. Each time we have come, the schedule has permitted us only 24 hours. All that I can say is that is an insult to our intelligence, because having visited most of the great capitals of the world, I can truthfully say that we only wish we could spend days--as a matter of fact, weeks--in this capital city of Poland.

I say that for two reasons: One, because of the traditional hospitality for which the Polish people, wherever they are in the world, are famous; and second, because the people of Poland and the Polish Government had the good sense, after their city suffered so terribly during the war, not to erect horrible monstrosities of modern buildings, but to rebuild Warsaw with the grace that it had been known for through the centuries, and if anyone claims after that remark that I do not like modern architecture, he is absolutely right. I prefer the beautiful buildings of Warsaw.

As we are here tonight in Warsaw, we cannot help thinking that this city, and this country, has been often the subject of very difficult conflicts in the past, from which it has suffered. The partitions of Poland through the centuries are well known, but vivid in our memories is that Poland was the victim of aggression in 1939, that it was cruelly occupied for many long years. But now I believe we can look ahead with some assurance that the history of war and suffering which has been inflicted upon this city and this country will not repeat itself.

Last week in Moscow, major steps were taken to slow and eventually, we trust, halt the arms race. This week, treaties vital to the peace and security of Europe, and of Poland, are nearing their moment of completion. And in the months ahead, we can look forward to new progress in the building of a broad structure of friendship and cooperation throughout Europe. Already, Polish-American relations, based on a long history of friendship and of ties between our peoples, are marked by extensive programs of contact and cooperation.

After a very long discussion with Mr. Gierek today, I believe I can confidently say that this trend of cooperation between Poland and the United States will continue and be developed even further in the future.

As we move toward broader negotiations in Europe, we recognize the efforts which Poland has long made in this field. Our two countries have not always agreed on specific proposals, but we do not question the desire that we both have to live in peace and dignity. We know that Poland's contributions to the coming negotiations will be major contributions.

In our view, the European Conference, when it meets, should have real promise of achievement. That is why we believe it should be carefully prepared.

We see particular importance in measures that will reduce the division of Europe, that will open new avenues for contact among its peoples and ideas, new opportunities for exchanging experience and knowledge.

We hope that a European Conference could elaborate realistic principles by which the states involved will conduct their relations in the decade to come. And we particularly hope that the multilateral consultations in which Poland will participate, as well as the United States-that are to take place later this year-can prepare the ground for progress in these and other areas.

Also, we should like to see early talks on the reduction of the ground forces facing each other in Europe. We recognize that this is a complex subject and we have done much intensive study of this subject within our Government and with our allies.

One objective is a reciprocal reduction of forces that will leave both sides more secure, or at least not less secure. And we hope the preparatory talks among the countries involved can get under way soon; preferably paralleling the multilateral consultations on the European Conference.

And here it is important to point out the major role that Poland, in the heart of Europe, has played in the past and will continue to play in the future in reducing the tensions that divide Europe today.

The journey that we are concluding tonight and tomorrow has been described as a "journey for peace." And to our Polish friends here tonight, I would say that to have Warsaw as the last stop of that journey is altogether appropriate.

America knows, the world knows, the fortitude, the character, the courage of the Polish people. And America knows and the world knows that no country in the world has suffered more from war than has Poland.

And so, in a very real sense, peace in the world means peace for Poland and, therefore, it is fitting that we should end in this capital what we hope will be recorded in history as a Journey for Peace.

Niech zyje przyjazn Polsko-Amerykanska. [Long live Polish-American friendship.]

To the health of all our Polish friends.

Note: The President spoke at 10:27 p.m. in the Palace of the Council of Ministers. He spoke from a prepared text.

Eduard Gierek was First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party and Henryk Jablonski was President of the Council of State of the Polish People's Republic.

Chairman Jaroszewicz spoke in Polish. A translation of his toast was made available by the White House Press Office as follows:

Mr. President, Madame Nixon, ladies and gentlemen:

I am very glad to have the honor to welcome you Mr. President, Madame Nixon, and members of your party.

We hope that the first visit of a United States President in Poland's history will exert a profound influence on the development of our bilateral relations, and at the same time will make it possible to discuss a number of important international issues of interest to Poland and the United States.

Mr. President, the ties between our two nations have behind them agelong, fine traditions. Many eminent Poles had fought for independence of the United States. Millions of Polish hands and minds have participated in building the American statehood, American society, and American economy.

Neither will we ever forget that in a lifespan of a single generation we have fought twice on the same side in two World Wars. This imposes on us an obligation to cooperate in the building of peace, too.

People's Poland which has bound her fate to socialism and which is an unflinching, important unit in the community of socialist countries, has been lifted by a selfless effort from war ravages and has now considerable achievements in peaceful construction. At present, in liberating the creative energies of the Polish people, she finds herself at a stage of dynamic economic, social, scientific, and cultural development. This permits Poland to look into the future with confidence, and to assign herself new ambitious tasks on her way to modernity, mindful of the people, their prosperity and personal advancement. In carrying out our program we assign an important place--over and above our own capabilities--to development of cooperation with foreign countries. A crucial part in this cooperation is being played by socialist countries, especially our tested friend--the Soviet Union. Simultaneously we are actively advancing our relations with all countries willing to do so. We see great opportunities for substantially expanding Polish-American bilateral relations.

We welcome with satisfaction the United States interest in developing these relations. We are convinced that great possibilities exist for substantially developing Polish-American economic, scientific, and technical cooperation which has, incidentally, a good, long past record. We believe that development of economic cooperation between our countries may bring about in the near future mutual benefits in the form of multiplying our trade turnover.

May I be allowed to express the hope, Mr. President, that your visit here and our talks will greatly contribute to mutual knowledge of our standpoints and to major progress in our bilateral relations.

Mr. President, Poland's development and future are inseparably bound to world peace. From this results our activity aimed at strengthening peace and security in Europe, at holding a European Security and Cooperation Conference.

We think that the United States may bring an important, positive contribution to the cause of the European Security and Cooperation Conference. We welcome with satisfaction the United States expressed readiness to participate in the many-sided, practical preparations for this conference.

We have always held that recognition of political and territorial realities resulting from the victory over Nazi Third Reich and from postwar developments are of crucial significance for Europe's lasting peace and security, for progress, detente, and mutual trust in international relations. At present, when the treaties which Poland and the Soviet Union have concluded with the Federal Republic of Germany are becoming effective, this requirement is being met. This is particularly important because it closes the postwar chapter in European history, and opens a new one. To our people it also means that our national frontiers are universally recognized as final and are no longer disputed by anyone. The accord on West Berlin, furnishing conditions for eliminating a major source of tension, will be put into effect parallel with the treaties referred to.

General recognition of the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, admission of both German states to the United Nations should be--we believe-the next, important step along the newly entered way toward a peaceful Europe.

Speaking of European affairs, dear to our heart, we remember however, that world peace is indivisible. We consider it indispensable to extinguish all hotbeds of war and tension which are a threat to world peace. In asserting this we are backed by the tragic historical experience our nation has lived through--as probably no other nation has---of the bitterness of being partitioned and of the cruel horrors of destructive wars.

Mr. President, before coming here you have had meetings and important talks with Secretary General of CPSU CC Leonid Brezhnev and other Soviet leaders. Poland welcomes with gratification the historic outcome of these talks and lends them her full support. We consider that the treaties and agreements concluded in Moscow are of fundamental importance to international detente, to consolidation of peace in the interest of all nations.

We congratulate you, Mr. President, and the leaders of the Soviet Union on this success.

We see in the results of Soviet-American talks a practical confirmation of the principle of peaceful coexistence and an indication of transition from an era of confrontation to an era of negotiations.

In this spirit, too, we welcome your arrival in Warsaw.

Ladies and gentlemen. Allow me to raise a toast:

--your health, Mr. President, and that of Madame Nixon;
--to successful progress of your visit here;
--to the health of all American guests;
--to prosperity of the American people;
--to friendship between the Polish and American peoples.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and Piotr Jaroszewicz, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Polish People's Republic, at a Dinner in Warsaw Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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