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Toasts of the President and President Tito of Yugoslavia

October 28, 1971

Mr. President, Madam Broz, our distinguished guests from Yugoslavia, and all of our distinguished guests from the United States:

As I was talking to President Tito tonight, my memory went back to other occasions in this State Dining Room of the White House when other world leaders have occupied the chair which he now sits in. The great leaders of the world have been here.

I recall the evening when Winston Churchill was in this chair, Charles de Gaulle, Adenauer, Nehru, Sukarno. I think of those leaders and many others, and then I think of President Tito of Yugoslavia, our distinguished guest tonight.

The men that I have mentioned all headed countries that were bigger than Yugoslavia, both in territory and in numbers. But I think that I can say without fear of contradiction that no world leader who has been honored in this room has personally met and known more world leaders in his capacity as head of state and government than President Tito of Yugoslavia.

This means that one who is so fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to him is able to talk to one who is as well informed, if not better informed, than any world leader in all the world today. This tells us something about both the man and his country.

Yugoslavia is a country about the size of Wyoming. It has 20 million people, a diverse country in terms of its people, just like the people of the United States are diverse. Yugoslavia has followed, under the leadership of President Tito, a policy of what is sometimes called nonalignment, but which I would say simply would be one of trying to have good relations with all nations, whatever their philosophies, whatever their geography, whatever their background.

For this reason, our distinguished guest tonight has traveled throughout the world, has been received, honored, and respected in nations throughout the world; and, consequently, he has demonstrated that it is possible to have good relations with nations who may not have good relations with each other. This makes him rather unique on the world scene today.

For that reason, the talks that I had with him a year ago, and again on this occasion, have been most helpful and constructive. His contribution not only as a leader in war but even more as a leader in peace, to the cause of peace, to which he is dedicated and we all are dedicated, will be one which history will record is unique because of the position that he has held.

In proposing a toast to him tonight, I can refer to him as the President of a friendly country, I can refer to him as a leader in war, but I think that he would prefer to be referred to as one who is a leader in peace.

I know that all in this room, including the several of our guests from America who have backgrounds--as do so many millions of Americans--from Yugoslavia, that all of you will want to join me in the toast that I will propose not just to the man, President Tito, a world renowned figure, but to a country of brave people and courageous people with whom we are fortunate to have friendly relations, and to the future of that country and all countries like it in the world. They may not be large in terms of territory, they may not be numerous in terms of numbers, but they are proud, they cherish their independence, and they have a right to that independence. We respect it.

To the man who stands for the right of every country in the world to choose its own way, to have its own policy, the man who stands for independence and peace in the world, President Tito, I propose his toast tonight.

To President Tito and Madam Broz.

Note: The President spoke at 10:05 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. See also Items 340 and 343.

President Tito responded in Serbo-Croatian. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

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

It is with particular pleasure that I have responded to your cordial invitation to pay my first state visit to the United States of America. On behalf of my wife, my associates, and in my own name, I wish to thank you sincerely for the warm words you have addressed to us. We are greatly honored by this distinguished gathering in the famous building in which so many of the architects of your country have lived and have been engaged in creative activity.

This, Mr. President, is my second meeting with you. I also had the pleasure of meeting Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. Meetings at the highest level between our two countries have already become a tradition and are a reflection of good and friendly relations, as well as of the constant concern shown by our two governments for such meetings.

Your exceptionally significant visit to Yugoslavia has raised relations between our two countries to a higher level. You have deeply impressed us by your broad interest in the intensive development of these relations, and by your efforts to promote meaningful cooperation. It is also our desire that these relations should be constantly expanded, and that our cooperation should be further enriched and expanded. In this connection, I have in mind consultations and exchanges of views in the context of our joint efforts to solve international problems, more developed economic cooperation, and new projects in the scientific, cultural, and other fields.

Constant progress in our relations has been due precisely to the fact that they have always been founded on equal rights and mutual respect, and that, on this basis, we have been successful in discovering new possibilities for their development. Relations built on such foundations correspond best to the interests of our two countries and constitute, at the same time, a contribution by Yugoslavia and the United States of America, with all their specific features, to international cooperation in general.

Mr. President, I have always been impressed by the results of the dynamic development of your country. The great achievements of the American people, who are about to celebrate the 200th anniversary of their revolution and independence, have meant much for the general progress of mankind. The United States has made, and is making, a major contribution to the solution of many problems facing man, the citizens and producers of material goods. Important processes and reforms are underway in Yugoslavia. On the basis of the results achieved so far, they are creating conditions for an ever fuller assertion of man, of his creative initiative and his role in society, for even more democratic relations in our multinational community. We are just as resolutely endeavoring to stabilize our economy and to eliminate difficulties that we have never concealed-although they were not always caused by developments on our soil--and which are understandable in such a fast development as ours. Both actions will further strengthen the power and unity of Yugoslavia and its role in international cooperation.

During your visit to Yugoslavia, Mr. President, I acquainted you with our views of the world and our place in it, and I have tried to explain the basic principles of our foreign policy and how we see the most important international issues. I merely wish to underline on this occasion also that independent and nonaligned Yugoslavia never develops its relations with one country to the detriment of its relations with another country.

We have thrown open the borders of our country to a free flow of people and the widest circulation of ideas and goods. In our cooperation with other countries, we are not guided by any prejudices, and we appraise our partners according to their actual behavior toward the world and ourselves.

We know from experience that differences between countries do not, in themselves, preclude good cooperation, just as similarities do not automatically guarantee friendly relations. Our policy of nonalignment, policy of active coexistence, is aimed at strengthening equitable international cooperation, the independence and unhampered development of all countries, and peace in the world.

Nonalignment, in our view, is an active international factor, and not a policy of some kind of opportunistic "equidistance" or a priori alignment with these or those stands. We support all that we believe to be positive and oppose the use of force, attempts at domination,, and all pressures, no matter where they come from, and we shall persevere along this road.

We have always appreciated, Mr. President, the understanding that the Government and public opinion of the United States have shown for Yugoslavia's progress and its position in the world. Your statement in Belgrade to the effect that the United States of America respects Yugoslavia's nonaligned and independent position was received with particular satisfaction.

Mr. President, we are following with great interest and attention your initiatives, your realistic appraisal of new trends in the world, and your personal contribution to the "era of negotiations." Certain progress has been achieved in international relations in the past year. This has found expression in the expansion of the substance and increase in the number of participants in negotiations, in the alleviation of some major confrontations, and in the finding of solutions for some problems, for instance, those in the center of Europe which have been the constant cause of tension over a number of years. However, we continue to be deeply concerned at the lack of progress with regard to the solution of numerous burning problems and open foci of conflict that threaten world peace, like those in the Middle East and in Indochina.

We are going to continue, Mr. President, our useful and open talks, and, therefore, it is not my intention to deal with international problems at length at the present moment. However, I should like to draw attention to some issues in which the whole world is greatly interested. I have talked about them with many responsible statesmen in the course of the present year. Quite recently, in particular, I have had a series of meetings during my visits to Iran, India, and the Arab Republic of Egypt.

What is involved are grave problems that burden the world--the widening gap between the rich and the poor, between the developed and the underdeveloped, the hotbeds of war, dangerous confrontations, vestiges of colonialism, and so on. In paraphrasing the words of your great President Lincoln, we can say even today, transposing them to the broader international plane, that a world divided against itself, half slave and half free, cannot endure permanently. It is generally felt that all of us together in addition to our awareness and material power--should possess sufficient will and courage resolutely to discard confrontations which have never brought profit even to one's own people, but have always done harm to others. I believe that you share the view that we should proceed with the energetic and rapid solving of outstanding issues and take concrete measures contributing toward that end.

In your last year's message on the foreign policy of your country, you stated so eloquently and rightly that the edifice of peace could not stand if all nations did not take part in its construction and if, in all this, they failed to discern their own interests as well. This is precisely the demand put forward by the largest number of countries which support negotiations, while insisting, at the same time, on their own participation in the solving of acute problems. I feel that we can all agree, Mr. President, that in a world of indivisible peace and freedom, peace and freedom for all can only be the work of all.

The strengthening of the United Nations is, in our opinion, the best way to achieve this. That is why we consider that we all should jointly exert efforts in order to insure that the world organization should become the actual expression of the interests and will of the entire international community. The recently adopted important decision on the inclusion of almost one-third of mankind into the United Nations is a decisive contribution to its universality, and it is in accord with current significant actions aimed at establishing contacts and dialogue between all, conducive to peace and stability in the world.

Yugoslavia is particularly interested in detente and security in Europe and in the development of the broadest cooperation among all European states. Positive processes and achievements have already taken place---as I have just mentioned---in certain parts of Europe. It is our desire, however, that this should also come to pass on the continent as a whole, including the regions directly linked to Europe, such as the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Dear friend, we can state, therefore, that there exist good reasons for and mutual needs in developing relations between our two countries. Our relations are traditionally good; we were allies in great wars against the common enemy; generations of our emigrants have taken part in the great construction of the United States. I am confident that we can go much further in expanding our cooperation.

We shall be gratified if this visit and our talks, too, will contribute to the further development of friendly relations and ties between our Governments, countries, and peoples.

I propose this toast, Mr. President, to your and Mrs. Nixon's personal health and happiness, to lasting friendship between Yugoslavia and the United States, and to the well-being and prosperity of the American people.

I propose to rise in toast to the President of America and Mrs. Nixon for long life, happiness, and health.

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

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