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Toasts of the President and President Ceausescu at an Official Dinner at the Council of State in Bucharest

August 02, 1969

Mr. President, Mrs. Ceausescu, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

Before I make my formal reply to the very eloquent remarks of the President, I would like to say that for all of us today, the wonderful welcome we have received here in Bucharest, in Romania, has touched our hearts, and we are most grateful for the reception we have received.

I have traveled to many countries in the world and have gone through the great capital cities of the world, but perhaps never in all of the years I have traveled have we received a warmer welcome, and we are most grateful to the people of Romania for the warmth of your hearts.

This visit to your country is a brief one and I regret that it is not longer, for though your country is smaller geographically than ours, we share many of the same qualifies of diversity.

You have magnificent valleys and great mountains and seashores and forests and farm lands.

In addition, several peoples make up the Romanian nation, just as the American Nation is made up of many different peoples who came to our country from different lands.

Indeed, one bond we share is that of ancestry. Today almost a quarter of a million Americans can claim one or both parents born in Romania.

While our visit here is brief, we will have the opportunity to view some of your nation's natural beauty and also some visible manifestations of your economic progress in recent years.

From my previous visit in 1967, and also because of our information, we are aware in the United States of the strides your nation has made in building a modern industrial society. We welcome the opportunity to see examples of that progress, as we will tomorrow, and we wish you more progress in the future.

When I arrived, I spoke of a cause very close to the hearts of the American people, the cause of a just peace, a peace among peoples of differing races and differing beliefs about the nature of man and of God, a peace among nations of different interests and vastly different social systems.

Of this one thing we are sure: We know mankind cannot build a just and lasting peace until all nations recognize and respect the sovereignty and rights of other nations, large and small. There are great similarities between the United States and Romania, but as I have mentioned, there are also great differences. Our political and social systems are different. Our economic policies are different. We do not share each other's views on many issues about the nature of our world and the shape of the future. But having mentioned the differences, let us look at some of those areas where we agree.

Both Romania and the United States are members of the family of nations, and we both enjoy the rights of all nations. Each of us wishes to preserve its national institutions and unique national character in a shrinking world. Each of us wishes to advance the economic well-being of its own people. Each of us seeks peaceful solutions to international disagreements. Each believes in better understanding and greater communication between those who disagree---and that is why these meetings are being held.

Mr. President, your country pursues a policy of communication and contact with all nations--you have actively sought the reduction of international tensions. My country shares those objectives.

We are seeking ways of ensuring the security, progress, and independence of the nations of Asia, for, as recent history has shown, if there is no peace in Asia, there is no peace in the world. My country will bear the proper share of the burdens in that part of the world.

In Europe, we are prepared to consider all concrete and promising possibilities of removing tensions. We favor negotiations on disputed issues--not just for the sake of negotiations, but for the sake of resolving the disputes in order to improve the existing situation and advance the security of all nations.

We are prepared to negotiate seriously on the crucial and complex problem of strategic arms, and will consider any arrangement that equitably protects the security of all concerned while bringing the qualitative and quantitative growth of arsenals under control.

We seek a stable peace in the Middle East, a peace in which all the countries of the region, and those outside of it, can repose confidence--and a peace which no one, whether inside the region or outside, will seek to exploit for narrow purposes.

Mr. President, as I told you today in our meetings, we seek normal relations with all countries, regardless of their domestic systems. We stand ready to reciprocate the efforts of any country that seeks normal relations with us.

We are flexible about the methods by which peace is to be sought and built. We see value neither in the exchange of polemics nor in a false euphoria. We seek the substance of detente, not its mere atmosphere.

We seek, in sum, a peace not of hegemonies, and not of artificial uniformity, but a peace in which the legitimate interests of each are respected and all are safeguarded.

Mr. President, as we came into the city today, I noticed a number of people holding up signs with a picture of the three astronauts on them. More than a billion people around the world saw and heard the landing on the moon. And thoughtful men all over the world saw the earth in a new perspective--as the home of a human family whose similarities and common interests far outweigh their differences.

Because all nations must search for understanding, I value the very frank discussions we had today, and I look forward to those that we will have tomorrow. I note the growth of bilateral relations between us in recent years; our bilateral ties in many fields have expanded, and as a result of our talks they will continue to grow.

And now, Mr. President, I wish to express again to you, on behalf of all of the members of our party, our appreciation for this superb dinner tonight, for the magnificent music, and for the warm welcome you have extended to us.

I know that the welcome we received, as we rode in from the airport, was not for me or for my wife individually, but for our country, for the American people, and for all of the American people we express our appreciation. And speaking for the American people, I want you to know that we respect and admire your national independence and sovereignty. We wish you success and prosperity in the development of your country.

In the United States, as you may know, if you followed our inaugural ceremonies, we have occasionally used the phrase "Forward 'together." I have discovered that that concept is not original with me. And for my toast tonight, may I, therefore, use the words of a great Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu: "May your sons go forward, brothers hand in hand."

And so I ask you all to join me in raising your glasses to the President of Romania and to Romanian-American friendship.

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 p.m. in response to a toast proposed by President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania. An advance text of 'President Nixon's remarks was also released by the White House Press Office. A translation of President Ceausescu's remarks follows:

Dear Mr. President, dear Mrs. Nixon, ladies and gentlemen:

I am glad to be in a position to greet you, high representatives of the American people, at this dinner. The welcome given to you, Mr. President, by the citizens of our capital reflects the feelings of appreciation and esteem which our two peoples have for each other, it expresses our people's desire to live in peace and friendship with the American people, with all the peoples of the world. It is an undisputed fact that the presence in Romania, for the first time in history, of the President of the United States of America, has a special significance for the development of the relations between our two states.

At the same time this visit mirrors the favorable changes which have taken place in the modern world and bears proof to the vitality of the policy of peaceful coexistence, which asserts itself in international affairs ever more strongly.

It is well known that Romania and the United States are two countries with different systems and therefore our views on the social and political development of the world also differ. We believe, however, that the existing difference between social systems should not prevent the development of relations and cooperation between nations; on the contrary, this very fact calls for active work to promote in international affairs the policies of peaceful coexistence, a realistic, sober, and constructive policy, the wide cooperation of all countries with an aim to consolidate peace and security.

Your visit to Romania, Mr. President, takes place on the eve of the anniversary of a quarter-century since the liberation of our people from the Fascist yoke. Taking its fate in its own hands and energetically proceeding along the path of a free and independent life, the Romanian people were able, during a short period in history, to change the country's image, from the very foundations, to develop the economy, science, and culture, to build a new system, the paramount goal of which is the well-being and happiness of those who work. Our people are determined to continue with intensity their vast, peaceful, and creative work, to ensure the steady and many-sided progress of the nation to turn Romania into an advanced country of the world. It is on this basis that it participates more and more actively in the exchange of material and spiritual assets of the contemporary world.

In our country the outstanding achievements of your people in the field of economy, science, technology, and culture are well-known. The magnificent space voyage of the American astronauts--the first inhabitants of the earth who stepped on the moon and brought back to our planet fragments of matter from another celestial body--was a source of joy for us for it represents a brilliant victory of human genius and of universal knowledge. This event shows once more how necessary it is to establish peaceful coexistence and cooperation between all nations on our own planet. We express our hope that this achievement of the human mind will contribute not only to the progress of science and technology, but also to the development of cooperation between peoples, in the interest of peace and civilization.

We appreciate the fact that the relations between Romania and the United States--two countries between which there are no interstate disputes--have seen an upward trend of development. During our talks it has been put into evidence that the stage reached by the cooperation between our two countries is still far from exhausting the existing opportunities, and a mutual desire has been expressed to explore new ways of expanding our economic, scientific, technological, and cultural exchanges and cooperation. I express my firm belief that your visit to Romania, Mr. President, will prove to be a significant step in the development of many-sided, mutually advantageous relations between our two countries.

We also appreciate favorably the fact that our talks have outlined some possibilities to broaden our cooperation in the world arena, in the interest of the cause of peace. Naturally, in the course of our discussions different opinions were also voiced on certain problems pertaining to the present international situation, but this can not inhibit joint action along the way of detente and the search for new ways of improving the world political atmosphere. Romania proceeds from the idea that all the countries of the world, big and small, bear the responsibility for the fate of peace, for the development of international relations, and that they are duty bound to contribute to the settlement of the thorny issues of contemporary life and to the establishment of confidence and cooperation between nations.

Being a socialist country, Romania places in the center of her foreign policy the many-sided cooperation with the socialist countries, to which she is bound by a common social system. At the same time, she steadily develops fruitful relations in all the fields with the other countries of the world. In our opinion, when more and more new nations assert themselves in the world arena, showing their firm desire to step as independent entities on the way to progress and civilization to secure the conditions enabling each nation to decide its own future and the road of its social and political development is the essential imperative requirement of international life. In our view, at present the condition sine qua non of peace is to establish in the relations between all states the principles of independence and national sovereignty, to liquidate once and for all the policy of domination and interference in the internal affairs of others, to instate the full equality among nations. These principles acquire an ever wider international recognition, they assert themselves more and more strongly in the relations between countries and enjoy broad adhesion from public opinion everywhere. The infringements upon these principles endanger world security, breed tension, conflicts, and new hotbeds of war.

In this connection, we cannot fail to express our concern, which is indeed the concern of the whole world, about the continuation of the war in Vietnam. During our discussions we explained our position on this problem. We hope that the negotiations in Paris will lead to the cessation of the war and the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, thus creating the conditions for the Vietnamese people to decide by itself the course of its economic and social development, in an independent way, without any interference from outside. Romania also believes that it is necessary that all efforts should be made to solve the conflict in the Middle East in the spirit of the Security Council resolution of 1967, aiming to bring about the withdrawal of the Israeli troops from the occupied territories and to ensure the right of every state in the area to independent existence, to development and progress.

Romania believes that one of the crucial problems of the international affairs today, the solution of which could make a radical contribution to the strengthening of peace, is to achieve disarmament, nuclear disarmament in the first place, to carry out concrete measures aimed at reducing and liquidating the thermonuclear danger. To this effect, the liquidation of the present division of the world into military blocs confronting each other, the dissolution of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and, concurrently, of the Warsaw Treaty, the liquidation of the foreign military bases and the withdrawal of all troops within their national boundaries would be of particular importance.

An important progress in the direction of detente would be achieved, in our opinion, by the establishment of lasting security on the European continent. European security can be accomplished only by proceeding from the realities established as a result of World War II, from the existence of the two German states, from the recognition of the inviolability of the postwar frontiers, including the frontier on Oder-Neisse. A favorable impact would be produced by holding a European conference, a desideratum expressed by an increasing number of states. The accomplishment of security on this continent is a matter in which not only the European peoples are vitally interested, but also all the peoples of the world; the attainment of this objective would exert a particularly favorable influence on the political climate, on all countries.

I express my firm belief, Mr. President, that the meeting and the talks we had together, our determination to develop the cooperation between Romania and the United States, will make a substantive contribution to the cause of peace and international cooperation, to the ever wide promotion of the principles of peaceful coexistence in the world.

Our meeting, taking place only a few days after the accomplishment of the millenary dream of mankind to voyage on celestial bodies, gets a particular significance. It symbolizes the possibility for peoples to live in peace and mutual understanding on this planet--the ancient cradle of their existence--to unite their efforts for the achievement of the other millenary dream: a world without war, without destruction, a world of cooperation and progress. We are confident that this meeting and our talks signify a decisive moment in expanding the many-sided cooperation and collaboration between Romania and the United States, between our two peoples. At the same time we would like this visit, which is appreciated by the public opinion as an outstanding event of the international life, to mark a progress on the way of improving the relations between all nations of the world, free and equal in rights.

Allow me to propose this toast to the triumph of peace, this grand ideal of human beings on all continents regardless of their race, creed, political and philosophical beliefs.

To your health, Mr. President, to your health, dear Mrs. Nixon, to the health of our other guests, to the health of all here present.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and President Ceausescu at an Official Dinner at the Council of State in Bucharest Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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