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Toasts of the President and President Medici of Brazil

December 07, 1971

Mr. President, Mrs. Medici, and our very distinguished guests from Brazil and from the United States of America:

It is always a very special occasion when the largest country in South America and the most populous country in North America meet, today, as they do, on a state visit. But this occasion is distinguished from other occasions in which the leader of Brazil and the leader of the United States have met, whether here or in that country.

Brazil is a country that, for us in the United States, has always been one of great promise, great mystery, great excitement, and I think the description of Brazil which is contained in one section of its national anthem perhaps tells us why Brazil has such a special meaning to those of us in the United States who look to this great country to the south and think of its future.

As I recall, Brazil is described there as a great sleeping giant lying eternally in a magnificent cradle. That was true of Brazil 150 years ago when it had its independence, and the United States was the first country in the world to recognize its independence. It was true of Brazil 100 years ago, 50 years ago, maybe even 25 years ago, or 10 years ago. But it is not true today.

The giant is awakened. The people of Brazil know it. The people of the world are discovering it, and the visit of the President of Brazil to this country will tell this message to our people and tell it better, also, to the people of the world. This great giant is now awake--100 million people, unlimited natural resources, developing now not only on the coast, the beautiful cities that we all know, but developing, due to the leadership of our guest of honor tonight and those who have worked with him, developing the heartland of the country through highways and cities and exploration such as was only dreamed of before, but now is being actually done.

This has meant that Brazil and all of its promise that people have dreamed about through the years is now being realized. The international historian, Arnold Toynbee, in 1934, wrote that Brazil's possibilities would be unlimited once it had the leadership in its government that would attract the kind of investment from its own people and from abroad that would explore and develop its resources. And I think the greatest tribute that I can pay to our distinguished guest tonight is that in the brief time that he has been President of Brazil there has been more progress than in any comparable time in the whole history of that country.

This is a great record. It is one which the people of Brazil thank him for. It is one that we, his very good and devoted and dear friends from the north, also respect him for, and we, in our country, Mr. President, welcome the opportunity to work with this great giant of the south, no longer sleeping, very much alive, with its future so unlimited.

Working with you as the leader of that country--because we know that as Brazil goes, so will go the rest of that Latin American Continent--the United States and Brazil, friends and allies in the past, and as this dinner tonight reaffirms, strong and close personal and official friends today, we shall work together for a greater future for your people, for our people, and for all the people of the American family, for which we have a special place in our hearts.

I know that in that spirit all of us would like to reaffirm our affection for Brazil, for its people, for the American family, by raising our glasses to the health of our distinguished guest, the President of Brazil.

Note: The President spoke at 9:51 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.

President Medici responded in Portuguese. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President, Mrs. Nixon:

In the words of Your Excellency, I find not only a gesture of fraternal welcome but also the determination to preserve and to strengthen the traditional solidarity that exists between our homelands.

My wife and I, and all the members of my party, shall always cherish unforgettable memories of the fellowship that is prevailing here this evening, of the joy that permeates these moments, thanks to the generous hospitality of Mrs. Nixon and yours, Mr. President.

Here we are, Mr. President, to engage in a frank conversation between friends, to exchange views and share experiences, to reminisce about the past of common struggles, to discuss the problems of the present, and particularly to formulate long-range plans for the future. Here we are to carry out a joint effort in establishing a new point of departure mutually beneficial for the relations that have always been peaceful between the two nations which we represent.

We met at length this morning, fully aware that our points of view are not always in coincidence. We did not, however, lose sight for a single moment of this objective of trying to harmonize them and integrate them in the broadest cooperation which is not only beneficial for both countries, but it is also important for the handling and the solving of the problems, problems of the hemisphere as well as worldwide problems.

Our friendship has undergone the tests of both war and of peace, and the United States always knows that it will find in Brazil a loyal and independent ally. Brazil cannot display indifference and apathy in the presence of new events and new circumstances, in the presence of a reality which is ever changing and above which we must rise in order to build a new world order in the spheres of political, diplomatic, economic, financial, and monetary activity.

We must approach this new world without preconceived ideas and without inflexible positions. And what seems imperative to us is that this new world order must also bring about an entirely new phase of peace, justice, and progress for all the members of the family of nations.

The Brazilian and American voices which are blending around this table are all imbued with the same feeling of friendship, and they share an equal yearning for achievement. These voices do not find it difficult to make themselves heard and understood and fully appreciated. These are voices which are joining in common purposes, still without giving up their own identity, which is autonomous and spontaneous.

It is on the basis of reciprocal trust, of mutual respect, and equality of rights that we are going to preserve the great friendship, a friendship which is indicated to us and imposed upon us by the common interests.

It is in this spirit, and with these thoughts in mind, that I ask all those present here to raise their glasses in toasting the health of Mrs. Nixon and the President of the United States of America, and also toasting the greatness and the happiness of the great American Nation which was born and which has been prospering under the aegis of freedom.

On December 9, 1971, at the conclusion of President Medici's meetings with President Nixon, an agreed-upon statement was read by Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler at his regular news briefing. The agreed-upon statement read as follows:

The visit of President Medici to Washington provided an excellent opportunity for conversations in depth between the Heads of State of two of the largest and most populous nations on the Western Hemisphere. Talks between President Medici and President Nixon were conducted in an atmosphere of warm friendship, and both agreed that recent world developments made their frank exchanges most timely and mutually profitable.

Their discussions covering the broad aspects of the international situation were particularly significant and timely in the light of President Nixon's upcoming meetings with other world leaders.

There was an exchange of evaluations and views on many of the issues of world significance affecting, as they do, the interests of both nations. They reviewed action taken and contemplated to bring greater order to the international monetary system to further international trade and development.

The two Presidents consulted closely on important hemispheric issues, recognizing the need for continuing and intensified cooperation among the nations of the region with respect to economic and social development, as well as their common security interest. They agreed that the primary goal of an era of peace and prosperity for the region can be achieved only by cooperation which in turn must be rounded on the principles of freedom and self-determination.

The Presidents extensively reviewed relations between the United States and Brazil. Bilateral relationships embracing all facets, including common security interests, and political, economic, military, scientific and cultural matters were discussed in the spirit of the traditionally close and friendly ties between the two countries.

The meetings provided an excellent basis for continued and intensified cooperation between the two nations over a wide range of matters which both Presidents considered of primary importance.

The two Presidents also discussed the impressive economic progress made by Brazil under the leadership of President Medici, progress which has marked Brazil as one of the most rapidly developing nations of the world.

The conversations were particularly marked by the two Presidents' mutual grasp and understanding of problems and issues facing both nations. Their talks provided not only an opportunity for a review of past and present relations, but importantly established a firm basis for continuing consultations in the future of world, hemispheric, and bilateral problems of mutual concern.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and President Medici of Brazil Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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