Richard Nixon photo

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

October 01, 1970

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

As we complete this visit of 2 days to Yugoslavia, I wish to express appreciation on behalf of Mrs. Nixon and myself and all the members of our party for the very warm reception we have received, both officially and from all the people of Yugoslavia that we have had the privilege to meet.

We shall always remember the welcome we received in Belgrade, in Zagreb, and at the President's birthplace, the third city we visited in Yugoslavia.

PRESIDENT TITO. I thought it was the second city.

PRESIDENT NIXON. After our visit, it will be the first city in Yugoslavia.

Speaking now officially, I believe that this visit has contributed significantly to as goal to which all of us are dedicated-better relations in every way between Yugoslavia and the United States, friendship, economic cooperation, and working together in the cause of peace and' progress.

But it has also been, it seems to me, very helpful and constructive on a much brooder scale, beyond the bilateral interests of the United States and Yugoslavia. Over the period of the last 25 years, it has been my privilege to meet and to talk with over 70 chiefs of state around the world. No chief of state or head of government that I have met has had more experience all over the world and has known more government leaders around the world than President Tito.

It has been very helpful to me to get his appraisal of the various trouble spots in the world and his best advice as to what policies could be adopted which could lead to peace and cooperation throughout the world.

It has been for us a very worthwhile visit, if only we had the opportunity to know this country, the beauty of the countryside, the warmth of its people. But the visit beyond that has had very great significance in contributing to our joint thinking about the problems of the world and how we can develop better approaches to them.

That is why I looked to a continuing discussion with President Tito on these problems in which he gives me his best judgment, and I, in return, share with him my thoughts on problems that we have. Because after all, despite differences in systems of government, we have common goals: peace in the world and the right of each nation, each people, to choose its own system of government without outside interference.

And now, to put this visit in perspective-President Tito, to all of us who knew him only by what we read and what we heard, has built a worldwide reputation as a leader of his nation in war. But I am convinced, after this visit, that his great legacy will be that he will be remembered in history as a man of peace.

That is why I would ask that you all join me in raising our glasses to peace and friendship between the United States and Yugoslavia, and to the world peace to which President Tito is dedicated and to which I am dedicated, working together, if possible, toward that great goal.

Note: The President proposed the toast at 9:47 p.m. in the Old Palace. President Tito responded in Serbo-Croatian. A translation follows:

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

First of all, I wish to thank you very much indeed for this sincere and warm toast on behalf of my wife, on behalf of my associates, and in my own name.

And now, at the same time, I have to say how sad we are--and this is not a very pleasant feeling to know--that your visit to our country has been, alas, too short and thus you have not had the possibility to see much of what our working people have achieved since the Second World War. But you could convince yourself everywhere you went--your visit to Belgrade, Zagreb, and Kumrovec--how much the people of this country appreciate and love the American people and the United States, and how much they appreciate you personally, Mr. President.

Our people have very close contacts and roots, so to say, with people of your country. From Yugoslavia they went in large numbers in the days when poverty reigned here--in Croatia, in Slovenia, and also in Serbia--they went to win their bread to the United States, in order to earn their bread there. Many remained there. Some of them returned. And those who returned, they were actually those who were the bearers of sympathies towards the people of the United States, because there they saw something new, they saw a new democracy which made it possible for every man to live a life worthy of a human being.

Of course, they didn't say that milk and honey flowed in that country. They also spoke of very hard work, but that the efforts that people working there were making enabled them to lead a life, the same life, as the one I have just described.

And now a few words about your visit. I share your opinion that your visit has been very successful. We had talks together, with our associates, also talks on these problems of bilateral and on international issues. And our talks were conducted in a spirit which permeates talks between leaders of countries having different social systems.

We talked about very acute, very difficult problems, which are now around the world and which are fraught with the danger of leading to a new tragedy for all mankind, and we agreed that all has to be done in order to preserve peace and all has to be done in order to insure that all questions under dispute, all conflicts are settled peacefully.

I think that the time has come when during their talks statesmen coming from countries having different social systems should try to find a way for solving all questions in the world in a peaceful way and also for eliminating all elements of escalation and aggravation, and we have such elements in both the Middle East and in the Far East.

I agree with your view, Mr. President, that it is our duty to work together and to do our utmost in order to insure the peaceful solution of international problems in order to promote detente, and to prevent tragedies similar to those which befell mankind during the First and Second World Wars.

As to bilateral questions, I think that we are on the best way. I share your opinion and our wish that these bilateral relations should be expanded still further. There is still very much room for promoting our relations, both in the economic field and in other fields, and also, in the field of political relations regarding the solution of international problems.

I think that sound economic cooperation in the interest of the two countries is also a very powerful factor in promoting better understanding with regard to many other issues.

And I think--I wish, Mr. President, that this visit of yours to our country, should yield fruitful results for our relations and I raise this glass to the health of the President of the United States of America, who, for the first time in history, visited this country as the representative of the friendly country of the United States, to the health of President Nixon, to the health of your associates, and to friendship and cooperation between the United States and Yugoslavia.

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

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives