THE WHITE HOUSE
the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN AN EXCHANGE OF TOASTS
9:14 P.M. (L)
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. President, Mrs. Sampaio, Mr. Prime Minister, members
of the government, members of the diplomatic corps. I would like to thank you,
Mr. President, the government and the people of Portugal, for the welcome that
I and my party have received. I'd like to thank you for the meeting we had
today. It has been a pleasure for me to spend time with another President who
likes to read detective novels, listen to good music, and play golf. We could
have had a two-day summit on those three topics, alone. (Laughter.) My staff
suggested it, so that they could go to the beaches.
Let me say that
five centuries ago, the vision and courage of Portugal helped Europe to find
its way across the Atlantic. You were the first to set foot in South America,
to sail down West Africa, to cross the Equator, to round the Cape of Good Hope,
to reach India by sea from the west, to trade with China and Japan. It is
little wonder then that Portuguese is now spoken by more than 200 million
people in countries throughout the world. One of these nations, of course, is
the United States.
Two centuries ago, Portugal was the very first
neutral state to recognize our independence. And as you noted yourself, Mr.
President, the United States has been strengthened by the contributions of
Portuguese Americans -- from John Philip Sousa, who wrote the music we use to
celebrate the Fourth of July, to John Dos Passos, whose voice helped to define
America in the 20th century. Today, we are proud to stand with you as partners,
allies and friends.
Twenty-six years ago, Portugal turned from
dictatorship to democracy. Ten years ago, Eastern Europe followed your lead.
Today, Eastern Europe is still learning from your example. When finally we
build a Europe that is undivided, democratic and at peace for the first time in
history, there will be a great debt owed by all freedom-loving people to
Today, this nation that once brought the four corners of the
world together is working with its EU allies and America to bring the world
together to advance democracy and human rights. Portugal has taken a leading
role in NATO and the EU. In Kosovo, nearly half the sorties that led us to
victory flew out of Lajes Air Base in the Azores. In East Timor, Portugal's
leadership rallied the international community. In Mozambique, our two nations
are working together to lead the relief effort. From the Balkans to East Timor
to Africa, our troops serve side by side to keep the peace and build a better
Here in Portugal, Prime Minister Guterres has charted new ways
to solve old challenges, and to make the global economy work for all your
people. I admire that as well.
Two years ago, a Portuguese author was
awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. A short time later, we in the United
States had the honor of hosting Jose Saramago as he received an honorary degree
from the University of Massachusetts. Looking out at generations of Portuguese
who had traveled to America to enrich our culture and our country, he said that
they are a part of "an unremitting human chain that has always been and will
continue to be an example of living history." That living history links not
only past and present, but the people of our two countries -- from Lisbon and
Porto to New Bedford, Fall River, Providence, Newark -- all the places
Portuguese Americans have made their own.
Today, we look ahead to a new
century. We celebrate our friendship and embrace common challenges. We hope
that the values we share will spread across the Earth and bear fruit in more
places for more people than ever before. We hope that we will always stand
together as friends, in the defense of those values and in their advance.
I ask now that all of you join me in a toast to the President of
Portugal and Mrs. Sampaio, to the people of this great nation and to our long
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)
END 9: 19 P.M.