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Toasts of the President and President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia at a State Dinner in Belgrade

September 30, 1970

Mr. President, Madame Broz, friends of Yugoslavia and the United States:

I am honored to be the first American President to visit Yugoslavia; and on this occasion, before this very distinguished company, with this beautiful banquet, I wish, Mr. President, to extend to you and to Madame Broz an invitation to visit our country again.

You have seen Washington and New York. But we would like for you to come again to Washington and then to see the Midwest and our State of California. Both areas are very proud to have many citizens of Yugoslav background who will give you a very warm welcome. We look forward to your visit to the United States.

Tonight, I think, after hearing you speak, Mr. President, of the many things our countries have in common--you have referred to some of them--l, of course, think first of the many Americans whose roots are here in Yugoslavia, personal friends that Mrs. Nixon and I have, for example, in California, and who have contributed so much to the life of our country.

Beyond this, both of our nations take pride in our diversity. Each of our societies is made up of people of diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. Yet in each of our countries they have joined together to form one great, strong nation.

Both of our nations have worked to reconcile regional diversity and national harmony within our countries. Now we must be leaders in reconciling national diversity and international harmony elsewhere in the world.

I think, too, of the steadfast independence, the courage, the love of freedom that are so much a part of the Yugoslav spirit and the Yugoslav strength, and of the times each of our nations has fought to preserve its freedom and its independence.

I think of the efforts Yugoslavia is making to help other nations, and of those places in the less developed parts of the world where our experts, your experts and ours, have worked side by side to assist with development programs.

I think of the exciting new industrial ventures that are being undertaken or planned here in Yugoslavia, in which Americans and Yugoslavs are investing together in the future of Yugoslavia, working together, to develop new enterprises.

I think also on an occasion like this of the great importance of the changes that have taken place in the world in the past 25 years, and of what those changes make possible in terms of a new structure of stability and mutual respect among nations.

A quarter of a century after World War II, we do live in a new world, a world of new nations, of altered relationships, of greater experience, and of new opportunities to strengthen that structure of orderly procedures of mutual respect that is the foundation of peace.

Even in this new world, we still confront many of the same old problems, but often in a new form.

The problem of European security still is high on the world's agenda. Yugoslavia has tried to demonstrate to the rest of Europe the basic truth that true security must rest on a firm foundation of mutual respect for the independence and integrity of all European countries and of noninterference in their internal affairs.

This same principle lies at the heart of our policies, and there could be no better example of it than the relationship that we have developed with each other and that you have sought to develop with your neighbors, far and near, on this continent.

Long ago Yugoslavia made a decision. It chose the path of nonalignment, and for more than two decades Yugoslavia and you, Mr. President, have personally played major roles in the nonaligned movement throughout the world. We in the United States respect that position.

But the great question today is not whether a nation is aligned or nonaligned, but whether it respects the rights of others to choose their own paths, and Yugoslavia, by its example, has given heart to those who would choose their own paths. The great goal that we share in this decade is the building of a stable and a lasting peace. This far transcends differences in ideology, in geography, or in systems of internal order.

It is toward this end that we in the United States are seeking to put an end to the crises and confrontations that have plagued the postwar world.

In our relations with the Soviet Union, we are prepared to discuss the requirements of a stable strategic relationship and a limit on the deadly competition in nuclear arms.

In Europe, we are prepared to join with others in helping overcome the division in this continent, at reducing the military confrontations, at developing a full range of economic, cultural, and human contacts with each of the nations in Europe.

We respect the legitimate interests of others, including those interests that relate to their security. But we do not accept doctrines by which one power purports to abridge the right of other countries to shape their own destinies and to pursue their own legitimate interests. Every nation, large or small, has the duty to maintain its own security; but no nation has the right to do so by infringing on the security of others.

You can be our friend without being anyone else's enemy.

The pursuit of "total security" by one nation can only lead to the insecurity of others and, therefore, it will not bring order and peace.

Our sole objective in the Middle East, in Vietnam, and all other areas of the world is to help insure that people and nations will live in peace and be able to build their own lives in accordance with their own aspirations with due regard for those of others.

We oppose policies by powers outside the region that are designed to gain unilateral advantage or paramount influence.

Building a true peace requires more than coping with wars and the threat of wars. We recognize, as Yugoslavia does, that we cannot have true peace if many of the world's nations are frozen permanently into a "have-not" status. That is why we shall continue to help others who need help--and we welcome the efforts of Yugoslavia toward that same end.

As we look to the remaining decades of this century, as we attempt to plan for what Europe has not had, and America has not had, thus far in this century, a full generation of peace, it is this pattern of mutual respect among nations, of respect for their right to independence, their right to choose their own way, their right to live without interference from their neighbors, whether large or small--it is these rights that we must preserve, that we must protect.

In politics, in the arts, in the development of its economy, and the life-styles of its people, in its distribution of rights and responsibilities, Yugoslavia has pursued its own national model. And this is what national independence means: the right of each nation, of each people, to pursue its own chosen destiny in its own way, limited only by its recognition of the fact that every other nation has that same right.

And so I ask all of you to join me in a toast to President Tito, whose courage, whose determination, whose independence, have been an example to the world, and also to the principles of mutual respect for which he stands, for which Yugoslavla stands, and which embody the hope of the world for a true and a lasting peace.

Zivila [Long live] Yugoslavia; ziveo [long live] President Tito.

Note: The President spoke at 9:47 p.m. in the White Palace in response to a toast proposed by President Tito. An advance text of President Nixon's remarks was released by the White House Press Office.

President Tito spoke in Serbo-Croatian. A translation of his remarks, which was posted for the press by the White House Press follows:

Mr. President, Madame Nixon, ladies and gentlemen, comrades:

It is my pleasure, Mr. President, to greet you, on behalf of the peoples and the Government of Yugoslavia, in the name of my wife and my own, as the first President of the United States of America visiting our country. May I take this opportunity to extend to you, to Madame Nixon, and your associates our warm welcome.

In 1960, in New York, I had a cordial meeting with President Eisenhower, and in 1963, during my visit to your country, I had friendly and useful talks with President Kennedy. These talks contributed to the further development of relations between our two countries. We appreciate, Mr. President, your personal interest in, and contribution to, the promotion of cooperation between Yugoslavia and the United States of America. Your visit marks, no doubt, a very important date in the history of these relations and will further encourage their continuous progress.

The relations between Yugoslavia and the United States of America are of long standing and rest on a positive, friendly tradition dating back to the establishment of relations between the U.S.A. and Serbia and the signing of a convention on consular and trade relations in 1881. Our two countries were allied in World War I. In World War II we fought together and each of us contributed his share to the struggle against the most sinister forces that threatened mankind. In those trying days of war, our partisans saved hundreds of American pilots from falling into the hands of the enemy. On our side, we have not forgotten the substantial assistance and support extended to us by the American people during our People's Liberation Struggle and after the war.

Your country, Mr. President, is a land of many nations. People from our country, too, by their work, talent, and thought have made a significant contribution to the development of America--from miners, fishermen, and farm laborers, at the time when the foundations of the progress of your country were being laid, to Nikola Tesla, Louis Adamic, Mihajlo Pupin, and many others who played an outstanding role in American scientific thought, culture, and public life. American citizens of Yugoslav origin have always been, and we wish them to remain, one of the bridges linking our two countries.

Your great country is about to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its independence. The world has always held in great esteem the deeds of the great sons and intellects of your country, such as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and many others. Your Revolution and the Declaration of Independence have become an integral part of freedom-loving and democratic aspirations and of progress in the world.

Mr. President, we live in a world of interdependence, a world which is becoming ever smaller and which--as the brave explorers of outer space saw it--reminds of a small ship, the fate of which we all share. The achievements of every people are today property of, and source of inspiration for the whole of mankind. By epoch-making advances in the field of science and technology, to which your country has also made a historic contribution, mankind has stepped into the 2 1 st century.

Yet, the majority of the world population still lives in misery, and many peoples are not free and truly independent. In different parts of the world, wars are still claiming precious human fives and destroying all that has been so painfully built. The world of today is characterized, on the one hand, by the existence of boundless possibilities for unparalleled progress and prosperity and, on the other, by desperate needs, injustices, and problems, by which international relations are so heavily and dangerously burdened.

Mr. President, it is only natural that mankind should expect from so vast and developed a country as the United States of America a major contribution to the well-being of peoples and peace in the world. We welcomed the significant words pronounced by you in your inaugural address that mankind should move from the era of confrontation into the era of negotiation. We have been consistently devoting our efforts to this end. It was in 1961 that the Belgrade conference of nonaligned countries appealed to the big powers to start a dialogue in order to avoid a general catastrophe.

Yugoslavia views positively the present orientation of the big powers to negotiate. Having at their disposal weapons which can destroy the world as well as enormous potentials, the big powers bear a special responsibility for the fate of the world. That is why they are expected to use this immense might and strength for the benefit and the well-being of mankind.

We all agree that the world is becoming ever smaller and ever more closely interdependent and that whatever happens in one of its parts--whether for the better or for the worse-is bound to affect the rest as well. Any conflict, any crisis has global repercussions. The whole experience of the postwar period testifies to the fact that universal peace and stability cannot be achieved by the big powers alone. Therefore, all countries, irrespective of their size and strength, must take an active part in the affairs of the world community, not only because it is their right but because it is also an indispensable precondition for the maintenance of peace and the development of international cooperation. In the same way as a "larger" peace cannot rest for long on "smaller" wars, so international cooperation cannot be promoted on the basis of anyone's monopoly or on the negation of the legitimate interests of other countries and peoples. In the absence of peace and progress for the small and underdeveloped, there can be no stable peace nor durable progress for the large and developed either.

There is, we feel, a growing consensus in the world that mere negotiations and the avoidance of confrontation between the big powers are in themselves no longer sufficient. If the basic world problems continue to remain unsolved, if we do not undertake with full responsibility the solution of the burning issues of development, disarmament, the elimination of the policy of force and interference in the internal affairs of others, the overcoming of the division of the world into blocs--then we shall gain only shorter or longer intervals of respite between periods of cold war and we shall continue to live under the permanent threat of the outbreak of a conflict with unforeseeable consequences. Actually, the postwar development has clearly shown that stable peace and cooperation cannot rest on the balance of strength and terror.

For all these reasons, Mr. President, we are striving for the negotiations and peaceful solution of controversial issues to become the generally accepted practice in international relations, in the relations among all states. Small and medium-sized countries, as well as all developing countries, are well aware of their obligations and responsibilities, both with respect to their own internal development and with regard to the solution of international problems.

Besides, what I have been saying so far reflects also the essence of the message of the recently held conference of nonaligned countries in Lusaka. The nonaligned countries were unanimous in their demand for the democratization of international relations, respect for and realization of the inalienable rights of peoples to independence and sovereignty, accelerated development of the developing countries, strengthening of the United Nations, achievement of its universality, etc. They also manifested their determination to exert utmost efforts and make their own contribution towards the fulfillment of these aims.

Mr. President, our views concerning the most dangerous hotbeds of conflict--such as, in the first place, the long-continued war in Vietnam, which has been expanded to new areas in Indochina, and the crisis in the Middle East, which is becoming ever more dangerously entangled-are known. The peoples of these areas are being subjected to dreadful ordeals and suffering and peace in the world as well as the security of all of us are being jeopardized. We have always endeavored, within the limits of our possibilities, to contribute to the search for just solutions, and we shall continue to do so. Our position has always been, and still is, that the cessation of intervention by any foreign power and the securing of the legitimate rights of the peoples of these countries to full independence and free development, without any outside interference whatsoever, are preconditions for any equitable settlement.

As regards the Middle East, I wish to say that we received with profound grief and anxiety the news of the death of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, an outstanding statesman and a relentless fighter for peace. His loss, particularly in the present critical situation in the Middle East, makes it incumbent on all factors to exert maximum efforts to arrive at a peaceful and just political solution, for which President Nasser strove consistently and with dedication to his very end.

Mr. President, we are also urging the immediate eradication of colonialism which is still being maintained in vast areas of Africa. This is, indeed, the greatest shame for mankind, in this very century of general emancipation of peoples, generations, and races.

The positive processes underway in Europe, which have resulted in a certain relaxation of tension, are paving the way for the gradual overcoming of the division into blocs and the establishment of European security on new foundations. As an independent and nonaligned country, which has in actual practice opted for a policy of open frontiers and free flow of ideas and goods, Yugoslavia is vitally interested in the promotion of all-round cooperation among all European states. We cannot conceive a stable system of European security in a permanently divided Europe.

Likewise, as a European and Mediterranean country, we are fully aware of the close interdependence between the European Continent and the entire Mediterranean region. It is, consequently, understandable that we are directly interested in the restoration of peace in the Middle East, which is so close to us, as well as in the transformation of the Mediterranean into a sea of peace and peaceful international cooperation, where the rights and interests of the peoples living on its shores will be fully respected.

Mr. President, I trust that I am sharing your opinion in saying that world peace and cooperation cannot be strengthened unless the principles of the United Nations are fully and consistently observed. The principles of independence, sovereignty, equality, noninterference, territorial integrity, and the like must be respected with no exception in the relations among all states, and the infringement of these principles cannot be justified by any political, ideological, or any other motives.

I am glad to say that the friendly relations between the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the United States of America are developing precisely on the basis of these principles and in mutual respect. Mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries is progressing satisfactorily. There have been problems from time to time. It is only natural that it should be so. However, thanks to a realistic approach and good will on both sides, we have succeeded in preserving continuity and ensuring constant progress.

There has been, indeed, manifest progress in the relations between our two countries in recent years. This can be partly ascribed to contacts and exchanges of views among high level representatives of the two countries and it is our wish that this useful practice be maintained. Particularly important are the results achieved in the field of economic cooperation; and we believe that there exist very good possibilities for its further expansion, especially as regards industrial cooperation, joint ventures, etc. We also attach great importance to the furtherance of scientific and, particularly, technological cooperation.

We have always been striving, Mr. President, for good relations with all countries, and it has always been our earnest desire that the promotion of relations with one country should not be to the detriment of relations with other countries. The promotion of friendly and stable relations with as many countries as possible in Europe and outside it, starting with our neighbors, is in our view a prerequisite for our accelerated development and for the strengthening of the security and the international position of Yugoslavia. Within this context, we attach great significance to the development of good relations in all fields with your country, considering them as an important factor of stability and peace in this part of the world and more widely, as well as an important factor of our economic, scientific, and technological advance.

Let me stress that the status of Yugoslavia as an independent, nonaligned, and socialist country is the unalterable basis of our entire policy and of our approach to international relations and problems. We are determined to maintain our independence, for which we paid such a high price. This is guaranteed primarily by the unity of our country and the readiness of our peoples to defend their independence and free internal development against any threat or attack.

Mr. President, the relations between the United States of America and Yugoslavia, between a large and a small country, with different social systems, testify to the viability and realism of the policy of peaceful and active coexistence. They make thereby a major contribution to wider international cooperation.

True, there have been and still are differences in our views and stands on different international issues. Such differences exist in our relations with other countries as well. But these differences have been no obstacle to the development of friendly relations and cooperation between our two countries.

Mr. President, I am looking forward to our talks which will afford us the opportunity to exchange opinions on the international situation and the furtherance of relations between our two countries.

In the course of your visit, you will see some of our achievements. We regret that your visit is too short to enable you to become better acquainted with the accomplishments of our people and the beauties of our country.

I hope your stay among us will be a pleasant one.

May I now propose this toast to your health, Mr. President, to the health of Madame Nixon and your associates, to friendship and cooperation between the peoples of Yugoslavia and of the United States of America.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and President Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia at a State Dinner in Belgrade Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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