Gerald R. Ford photo

Toasts of the President and President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt at a Working Luncheon in Salzburg

June 01, 1975

Mr. President, and distinguished guests:

I have long looked forward to meeting you, and I am especially happy that the arrangements were made for us to meet in this historic area in these beautiful surroundings.

I have heard so much from our Secretary of State concerning your forward-looking, statesmanlike views and attitudes, I am sure that we can have many, many constructive moments here in this wonderful area.

My great hope, of course, Mr. President, is that our next meeting will take place in the United States, where we can reciprocate for the warm and very gracious hospitality recently extended by you and the Egyptian people to so many of my fellow Americans, for which I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Mr. President, we can take great pride in the accomplishment achieved through the very close cooperation of the past year and a half between your country and mine. Inevitably, there have been some disappointments. Nevertheless, I do not feel that these frustrations and difficulties should turn us away from our mutual goal, which is the establishment of a durable peace, just and fair to all peoples of the Middle East.

I would like to take this opportunity to say with emphasis that the United States will not tolerate stagnation in our efforts for a negotiated settlement-stagnation and a stalemate will not be tolerated. A just and durable peace, fair and equitable to all parties, can and will be achieved.

Mr. President, you have impressed the American people and the world, in my judgment, by your statesmanship and by your wisdom. We understand quite clearly the historic significance of your policies and we will, in every way, attempt to be responsive to the opportunities that you have created.

I think you have demonstrated beyond any doubt, Mr. President, Egypt's sincere desire for peace by deeds as well as by your own fervent desire to turn the energies and the talents of your people toward the creation of a better life for them and all peoples.

The United States is prepared. We recognize the problems you have and will do our utmost to be a helpful partner in your programs for progress of Egypt.

Mr. President, I would like to propose a toast: to your health and to your efforts on behalf of your people, and to the people of your country.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 2:30 p.m. at Schloss Fuschl in response to a toast by President Sadat, who hosted the luncheon. President Sadat spoke as follows:

Mr. President, distinguished friends:

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you and look forward to our talks. This is so in the light of my firm conviction that we should grant this historical moment and combine our efforts in order to defuse the explosive situation in the Middle East and pursue the course of action we have initiated in the recent past for laying down a solid foundation for a just and durable peace.

Mr. President, it is seldom in history that the heads of state of two countries on which peace or war depends in such a strategic area as the Middle East meet together to build the foundation of normalcy, tranquillity, and the legitimacy for the peoples of the Middle East.

Salzburg, this beautiful city, will go into the annals of history marking a new development in our area, together with the evolution of our bilateral relations in such a manner that would promote more contact and understanding between the American and Egyptian people.

Mr. President, in a moment of such magnitude, what it needs is not only vision and wisdom but most of all leadership, coupled with the readiness and ability to take major decisions and implement them.

This is really the crux of the whole matter, and it is up to both of us to take the decision and restore peace and justice in conformity with the norms of international law and legitimacy.

Mr. President, it is often said that the Middle East problem is a complex one, and that this is the reason why it is not possible so far to find an equitable solution to that problem.

In my opinion and in all candor, I believe that there is no other problem which is easier to solve than the Middle East problem. It is a simple question as long as the parties concerned--including the super powers who are, in one form or the other, wittingly or unwittingly involved in the problem-adhere to the basic and undisputed principle, namely, the recognition of independence and territorial integrity of states, the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force, the acceptance and respect of the basic kind of self-determination for the Palestinian people and their right to live in a national home.

If all these principles are adhered to and respected by all the parties, then and only then belligerency can be terminated, and peace could reign over the Middle East with its strategic importance. Only then could the countries of the area contribute to the progress and development of the international community at large. Hence, all countries existing in the area will continue to develop in their own way, and the state of peace and nonviolence will prevail.

In short, Mr. President, we are facing a historical challenge, and the whole world is watching our meeting. And I do not think that either of us will shrink his responsibility. Let us meet the challenge and prove to the world that we are people worthy of our own civilization and that the horizons of peace are not very far along as we act, and act with determination and vigor.

Distinguished friends, as a tribute to the wisdom of President Ford and his constructive efforts towards peace and friendship among nations and the mutual cooperation between our two countries, I invite you to drink a toast and wish him all the success and fulfillment.

Thank you.

Gerald R. Ford, Toasts of the President and President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt at a Working Luncheon in Salzburg Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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