Gerald R. Ford photo

Toasts of the President and President Tito of Yugoslavia at a Working Luncheon in Belgrade

August 04, 1975

Mr. President:

As our visit in Yugoslavia draws to a close, let me express my deep appreciation on behalf of Mrs. Ford and our son Jack and all of the American party who join me in thanking you once more for the warm hospitality and deep friendship that you have shown us. We have had a marvelous time in Belgrade.

Mr. President, I especially appreciate having had this chance to hear your views on our bilateral questions and on the issues affecting the international community. I appreciate your long experience and wisdom reflected in each of the subjects discussed during our conversations here.

I have valued our discussions coming, as they do, immediately after the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, in which both you and I participated, representing our two countries.

I am pleased, Mr. President, that you and I are agreed on the need for all participating states to implement its documents fully and in good faith. If we do so, we will contribute to greater stability, increasing contacts between our peoples, greater cooperation throughout Europe. We will contribute, of course, to the important goal we both share--a world in which all peoples enjoy peace, prosperity, and security.

I am pleased that our views have been close on many, many of the matters facing our two peoples and all of mankind. It is essential that we now work to broaden our spirit of understanding and agreement, to achieve a better realization within the international community of the interdependence of human societies and their problems. The need for cooperation in seeking solutions to the universal problems is very critical.

Mr. President, your country, with its own courageous determination to maintain its independence, can fully appreciate the importance to the American people of our celebration of our 200 years of freedom. It is a time for Americans to reflect upon the basic values that brought success to the Original Thirteen Colonies' struggle for self-government.

We are proud of the significant contribution through the years of Yugoslav-Americans to our national growth and development. They constitute a bridge of understanding, good will and kinship between Yugoslavia and the United States--and let us expand that bridge.

As I close, I raise my glass in deepest appreciation to you in a toast to you, Mr. President, and to Yugoslav-American friendship.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 3 p.m. at the Federal Executive Council Building in response to a toast by President Tito.

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

Mr. President:

May I again express once again my great satisfaction for having you in our country. Your visit is one more important contribution to our traditionally good relations, and I am convinced that the further cooperation between our two countries will be promoted in all fields.

Although your stay was short, you could, Mr. President, see for yourself that the peoples of Yugoslavia lavish friendship toward the American people, and they wish the existing ties to be consolidated and sanctioned.

Yesterday and today we had very interesting talks which showed that your country, as well as ours, are very interested to peace in the world and progress in international cooperation. On many questions we have the same views, and we are equally ready to contribute to the solution of major international problems.

I think we are on the good road because even on the question on which our positions are different there has been new consideration being expressed and recognized for further dialog. We know that the United States has a great responsibility for peace in the world and the development of international cooperation and that on your involvement depends, in a large measure, the solution of many questions.

We appreciate the effort you are engaging in this direction. Applying consistently the principles of the policy of nonalignment, Yugoslavia endeavors--and we shall continue to do so in the future--to strengthen the spirit of cooperation between our peoples, to consolidate mutual confidence, and to build such international relations in which independence, equality, and cooperation among all peoples will come to more and more expression.

I wish, Mr. President, to assure you that the talks I had with you gave me great satisfaction. I hope that you will have again the opportunity to visit our country, to stay a little longer, and to get better to know our people and the effort they make in the building of a better life.

I would like, Mr. President, that you convey to the American people the feelings of sincere friendship of the peoples of Yugoslavia and our wishes for further prosperity of the United States of America.

I raise this glass to the good health and personal happiness of you personally, Mr. President, of Mrs. Ford, and your family, to the health of your associates, to friendship between our two countries.

Gerald R. Ford, Toasts of the President and President Tito of Yugoslavia at a Working Luncheon in Belgrade Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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