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  • Ronald Reagan: ;A Time for Choosing; ( October 27,1964, Los Angeles)Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasnt been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, ;Weve never had it so good.;But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isnt something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collectors share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We havent balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. Weve raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we dont own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And weve just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. Were at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and its been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think its time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, ;We dont know how lucky we are.; And the Cuban stopped and said, ;How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.; And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, theres no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of mans relation to man.This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well Id like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. Theres only an up or down -- [up] mans old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the ;Great Society,; or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But theyve been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will e have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, ;The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism.; Another voice says, ;The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state.; Or, ;Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century.; Senator Fullbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as ;our moral teacher and our leader,; and he says he is ;hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document.; He must ;be freed,; so that he ;can do for us; what he knows ;is best.; And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as ;meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government.;Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as ;the masses.; This is a term we havent applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, ;the full power of centralized government; -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments dont control things. A government cant control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.Now, we have no better example of this than governments involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- thats regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years weve spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we dont grow.Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because hell find out that weve had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. Hell also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. Hell find that theyve also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldnt keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.At the same time, theres been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. Theres now one for every 30 farms in the ed States, and still they cant tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know whats best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of b goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a ;more compatible use of the land.; The President tells us hes now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore weve only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units theyve taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, weve sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.Theyve just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you youre depressed, lie down and be depressed.We have so many people who cant see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So theyre going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and theyve had almost 30 years of it -- shouldnt we expect government to the score to us once in a while? Shouldnt they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now were told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than it was in the dark depths of the Depression. Were spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and youll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, wed be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.Now -- so now we declare ;war on poverty,; or ;You, too, can be a Bobby Baker.; Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion were spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesnt replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isnt duplicated. This is the youth feature. Were now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and were going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that were going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, dont get me wrong. Im not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman whod come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. Shes eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood whod aly done that very thing.Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, were denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say were always ;against; things -- were never ;for; anything.Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that theyre ignorant; its just that they know so much that isnt so.Now -- were for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end weve accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.But were against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. Theyve called it ;insurance; to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term ;insurance; to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And theyre doing just that.A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until hes 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we cant put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when theyre due -- that the cupboard isnt bare?Barry Goldwater thinks we can.At the same time, cant we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldnt you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think were for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think were against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. Theyve come to the end of the road.In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollars worth, and not 45 cents worth?I think were for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think were against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the worlds population. I think were against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.I think were for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but were against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. Were helping 107. Weve spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So.governments programs, once launched, never disappear.Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life well ever see on this earth.Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nations work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a mans property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, ;If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the ed States.; I think thats exactly what he will do.But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isnt the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.Now it doesnt require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery aly exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that were to choose just between two personalities.Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well Ive been privileged to know him ;when.; I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally Ive never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldnt work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, ;Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such,; and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, hed load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, ;There arent many left who care what happens to her. Id like her to know I care.; This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, ;There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start.; This is not a man who could carelessly send other peoples sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems Ive discussed academic, unless we realize were in a war that must be won.Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy ;accommodation.; And they say if well only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, hell forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, ;Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, were willing to make a deal with your slave masters.; Alexander Hamilton said, ;A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one.; Now lets set the record straight. Theres no argument over the choice between peace and war, but theres only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.Admittedly, theres a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that were retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side hes heard voices pleading for ;peace at any price; or ;better Red than dead,; or as one commentator put it, hed rather ;live on his knees than die on his feet.; And therein lies the road to war, because those voices dont speak for the rest of us.You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didnt die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well its a simple answer after all.You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, ;There is a price we will not pay.; ;There is a point beyond which they must not advance.; And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwaters ;peace through strength.; Winston Churchill said, ;The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn were spirits -- not animals.; And he said, ;Theres something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.;You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.Well preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or well sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.Thank you very much. /201205/182116。
  • We are living through a time of global economic challenges that cannot be met by half measures or the isolated efforts of any nation. Now, the leaders of the Group of 20 have a responsibility to take bold, comprehensive and coordinated action that not only jump-starts recovery, but also launches a new era of economic engagement to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.No one can deny the urgency of action. A crisis in credit and confidence has swept across borders, with consequences for every corner of the world. For the first time in a generation, the global economy is contracting and trade is shrinking.Trillions of dollars have been lost, banks have stopped lending, and tens of millions will lose their jobs across the globe. The prosperity of every nation has been endangered, along with the stability of governments and the survival of people in the most vulnerable parts of the world.Once and for all, we have learned that the success of the American economy is inextricably linked to the global economy. There is no line between action that restores growth within our borders and action that supports it beyond.If people in other countries cannot spend, markets dry up — aly we've seen the biggest drop in American exports in nearly four decades, which has led directly to American job losses. And if we continue to let financial institutions around the world act recklessly and irresponsibly, we will remain trapped in a cycle of bubble and bust. That is why the upcoming London Summit is directly relevant to our recovery at home.My message is clear: The ed States is y to lead, and we call upon our partners to join us with a sense of urgency and common purpose. Much good work has been done, but much more remains.Our leadership is grounded in a simple premise: We will act boldly to lift the American economy out of crisis and reform our regulatory structure, and these actions will be strengthened by complementary action abroad. Through our example, the ed States can promote a global recovery and build confidence around the world; and if the London Summit helps galvanize collective action, we can forge a secure recovery, and future crises can be averted.Our efforts must begin with swift action to stimulate growth. Aly, the ed States has passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — the most dramatic effort to jump-start job creation and lay a foundation for growth in a generation.Other members of the G-20 have pursued fiscal stimulus as well, and these efforts should be robust and sustained until demand is restored. As we go forward, we should embrace a collective commitment to encourage open trade and investment, while resisting the protectionism that would deepen this crisis.Second, we must restore the credit that businesses and consumers depend upon. At home, we are working aggressively to stabilize our financial system. This includes an honest assessment of the balance sheets of our major banks, and will lead directly to lending that can help Americans purchase goods, stay in their homes and grow their businesses.This must continue to be amplified by the actions of our G-20 partners. Together, we can embrace a common framework that insists upon transparency, accountability and a focus on restoring the flow of credit that is the lifeblood of a growing global economy. And the G-20, together with multilateral institutions, can provide trade finance to help lift up exports and create jobs.03/65373。
  • President Bush Meets with President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. President, welcome back. You and I have met a lot since I have been the President and you have been the President. And I appreciate your determination and your desire to have a Palestinian state, and I share that desire with you.It's not easy -- no doubt it must be frustrating at times for you, because it's hard work to get a state after all these years. But nevertheless, there is a firm determination on your part and on my part to give the Palestinians a place where there can be dignity and hope.We are working hard with you on security matters. We're working hard with you on helping the international community help you get the economy going in the West Bank. And I welcome you back.As you know, I've got four more months left in office and I'm hopeful that the vision that you and I have worked on can come to pass. And my only pledge to you is that I'll continue to work hard to see that it can come to pass. And so I welcome you back -- and I think it's safe for me to say I welcome you back, my friend.PRESIDENT ABBAS: Thank you. (As translated.) Thank you very much, Mr. President. I am delighted, as well as the members of my delegation, to come here again to Washington and meet with you. We've met together for numerous times. Mr. President, we know very well how important this issue is for you and we will continue to work very hard together in order to realize your vision of two states living side by side.There is no doubt that you have done a great deal, Mr. President, and you have exerted a great deal of efforts aiming at achieving that vision that we will work together to achieve. Your efforts, Mr. President, as well as your vision, both help us and the Israelis to work very hard during the last year and since the convening of the Annapolis Conference. Hope will remain, Mr. President. We cannot live without hope. We will continue to work to achieve and realize that hope.And Mr. President, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and thank the ed States for the help and the support and the aid that you have given us, and as well as the efforts that you led to mobilize the world to help the Palestinian Authority on the economic front as well as on the security front.Mr. President, we will continue to work with you and we will continue to keep the hope alive in order to reach a political solution for our issue and for the Middle East.PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir.200809/50525。
  • President Bush Participates in Signing Ceremony with NATO Secretary General De Hoop Scheffer for NATO Accession Protocols for Albania and CroatiaPRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Secretary General, it's good to have you here in the White House. SECRETARY GENERAL DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you for your steadfast leadership and your courage. Ambassadors, thank you for joining us. The ambassador of Croatia and Albania are here for a special reason. Congressman Engel -- I think he's here. (Laughter.) Right in front of us. Congressman, we are so honored you have taken time to be here. Deputy Secretary England, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, thank you for coming. Ambassadors, members of the administration, members of the Diplomatic Corps, friends of freedom: Welcome, we are glad you're here. This is a special moment in the hopeful story of human liberty, as America formally declares its support for Albania and Croatia's entry into NATO. With today's ceremony, we celebrate two young and vigorous democracies seeking to assume new responsibilities in a time of terrorism and a time of war. We strengthen America's partnership with nations that once found themselves in the shackles of communism. We rejoice in taking a major step toward welcoming the people of Albania and Croatia into the greatest alliance for freedom the world has ever known. The ed States is proud to have supported the NATO aspirations of these nations from the beginning. Laura and I fondly remember our visits to Tirana and Zagreb, where we met people who are showing the world the potential and the promise of human freedom. The citizens of Albania and Croatia have overcome war and hardship, built peaceful relations with their neighbors, and helped other young democracies build and strengthen free societies. The people of Albania and Croatia are helping move the world closer to a great triumph of history: A Europe that is whole, a Europe that is free, and a Europe that is at peace. The invitation to join NATO is recognition of the difficult reforms these countries have undertaken on the path to prosperity and peace. In return, NATO membership offers the promise of security and stability. The ed States and our NATO allies will stand united in defense of our fellow members. Once Albania and Croatia formally join NATO, their people can know: If any nation threatens their security, every member of our Alliance will be at their side. The road of reform does not end with acceptance into NATO. Every member of the Alliance has a responsibility to enhance, promote, and defend the cause of democracy. I'm confident that Albania and Croatia will deliver on their commitments to strengthen their democratic institutions and free market systems. Albania and Croatia's entry into NATO is an historic step for the Balkans. In the space of a single decade, this region has transformed itself from a land consumed by war to a contributor to international peace and stability. America looks forward to the day when the ranks of NATO include all the nations in the Balkans -- including Macedonia. I thank Macedonia's ambassador for joining us today. We're proud of the steps you're taking to strengthen your democracy. The great NATO alliance is holding a place for you at our table. And we look forward to your admission as a full NATO member as soon as possible. Our nations seek a path to NATO -- other nations seek a path to NATO membership, and they have the full support of the ed States government. Today I reiterate America's commitment to the NATO aspirations of Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro. The door to NATO membership also remains open to the people of Serbia, should they choose that path. All these nations treasure the blessings of liberty because they remember the pain of tyranny. And they share NATO's solemn commitment to defend the free against the unfree, and the weak against the strong. The lasting strength of the NATO Alliance is a testament to the enduring power of freedom. And the expansion of this Alliance will lead the way to a safer and more hopeful world. On behalf of my fellow Americans, I offer congratulations to the people of Albania and Croatia on this historic achievement. May your children always honor the struggles you endured. May the stories of Albania and Croatia be a light to those who remain in the darkness of tyranny. And may your example help guide them to a brighter day. It's now my honor to welcome the Secretary General to the podium. Mr. Secretary General. (Applause.) SECRETARY GENERAL DE HOOP SCHEFFER: Credit where credit is due. Mr. President, Madam Ambassador, Mr. Ambassadors, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: Almost 60 years ago now, when NATO's founding treaty was signed right here in this city, one delegate expressed the hope that it would prove to be a continuous creation. Today's ceremony is ample proof that this hope has been realized. With Albania and Croatia, two more proud democracies will soon enter our transatlantic family. What started with 12 nations will soon comprise 28. There is no stronger vindication of the enduring nature of the Washington treaty and of the values that it enshrines. Our Atlantic Alliance was born in the Cold War, but it has long outlasted the circumstances that brought it into being. NATO today is an active Alliance and actively working to defend its values against threats from wherever they may come; an Alliance whose members are committed to developing the instruments and the capabilities that are needed to fulfill their demanding missions; and an Alliance determined to work with other nations and organizations to deal with the many challenges before us. Today we will be witnessing the ed States of America ratification of the Protocols of Accession. Given the indispensable political and military role of this nation in our Alliance, this is a most significant moment. We are now one major step nearer to welcoming into the Alliance Albania and Croatia, two more countries who have demonstrated, by word and by deed, that they are willing and able to shoulder the responsibilities of NATO membership. Their accession will be a boon for NATO, as it will strengthen our common effort to safeguard and promote security and stability. But -- and you, Mr. President, said it aly -- it will also be a boon for southeast Europe and a vivid demonstration that southeast Europe can shed its tragic past. Both countries have set an example for others to follow and we will encourage and support all those who aspire that same goal -- for the Europe we are seeking to build should be a continent where nations are free to determine their own future and not have their future decided by others. Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen: Even after almost 60 years, the Washington treaty indeed remains a continuous creation. This treaty has not only sparked a unique Alliance, it has also helped to create a unique transatlantic community, a strong community of shared values and interests, a community which shall be strengthened further with the joining of Albania and Croatia. And let me end, Mr. President, by crediting you for your relentless investment and your relentless energy of making NATO a larger and more successful Alliance. I think we have seen in your eight years the energy this Alliance deserves -- but without your personal commitment, I think this would not have been possible. Let me add that finally, on a personal note. Thank you very much. (Applause.) 200810/53915。
  • President Bush Meets with Prime Minister of Ireland Bertie Ahern   PRESIDENT BUSH: Taoiseach, welcome, and Happy St. Patrick's Day. It's always a joy to welcome the Taoiseach here to the Oval Office. And it's a reminder of the unbelievably powerful influence the Irish have had on the development and prosperity of the ed States of America. We're a richer country because of Irish Americans. And Mr. Prime Minister, Ireland is a great friend and ally, and I want to thank you for your friendship over these years.   We discussed a variety of issues. In particular, we talked about Northern Ireland, and the Taoiseach gets a lot of credit for showing a steady hand during a difficult period. And yet, as a result of perseverance and hard work, Northern Ireland is a different place than it was last year. And we congratulate the leaders there. And I just want the folks to know what I told the Taoiseach is true, that the ed States will continue to stay engaged and will be very supportive of helping the process move forward.   And there's more work to be done, we fully understand, in Northern Ireland. But also it's a really interesting chance for people from our country to see the investment opportunities available in Northern Ireland. And this May there's a Northern Ireland investment conference, which the ed States will strongly support. And Taoiseach, like I told you, we'll send a strong delegation to look at the opportunities available there.   So thanks for coming. Thanks for your friendship. And once again, Happy St. Patrick's Day.   PRIME MINISTER AHERN: Thank you very much, President. And I want to thank the President, it's the eighth year that he's afforded us the opportunity of representing the Irish people here. And always, we've had a very fruitful discussion on a range of issues. And obviously important to me is the ongoing process in Northern Ireland. And the President and his people have been really helpful as we move now to the remaining issue, (inaudible) policing, which we've discussed.   And the investment conference which is just around the corner, is a -- I've said it several times before, the investment conference is really a one-off chance, an opportunity for Northern Ireland to bring some of the big investors of the world to see the opportunities that are there, the opportunities that they had not had a chance of being able to get any benefit from for the last 30 or 40 years, and now they have that. And I think it will show Northern Ireland is a place with well-educated people, hard-working people, people who are good at business if given half a chance.   And it is hugely important to us that in the organization of this that the President has helped both the British government and the Irish government to get this together. We've gone through that today, and I think the (inaudible) of the President to make sure that there's a high-powered delegation to ed States is hugely helpful. I want to thank President for that.   And I always want to thank him for the assistance that he's given to us on a range of issues that we've had the opportunity of talking about. Thank you very much.   PRESIDENT BUSH: Thanks for coming. 200806/41103。
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