Toasts at the State
Dinner for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of
The President. Nancy and I are delighted to again host an evening that brings Americans and Canadians together. No gathering could be more enjoyable and nothing is less unusual. Canadians and Americans congregate the world over on the least provocation. An inviting border has made us close and easygoing neighbors.
The essence and the strength of the relations between our two countries are people. Our people naturally get along well together. We share our triumphs and victories as we share our adversities. And when at times we spar, we do so without rancor, and we work out our differences. May this very special and productive spirit of cooperation remain in place. As John Diefenbaker so ably put it, ``Our peoples are North Americans; we are the products of the same hope, faith, and dreams.''
Well, your visit comes as we're on the threshold of a major event, important and historic to you and me and the nations we lead. I speak of our recently signed free trade agreement. Years ago British Admiral Beatty voiced the sense of our trade agreement when he explained what defends our common border: ``nothing but the sound common sense and sound good will of two practical nations.'' Well, our new agreement makes much common sense and sets the stage for much good will. We shall avoid the perils of protectionism and gain the advantages of each country producing what each is best able to bring to market. Generations of Canadians and Americans will know you as the farsighted leader who proposed the free trade agreement. It will prove to be as big and as important as the magnitude of our bilateral trade. It signals to our trading partners that we are sincere in our belief that lowering tariffs and trade barriers is clearly the only answer to the distortions growing in world trade.
Your visit has allowed us to address issues other than trade. We share common concerns regarding the many aspects of the environment. Progress is being made. There is yet much we can do to make our shared continent a more comfortable and healthy place on which to live.
had important discussions of questions of peace and security.
is our fourth and my final summit. They started high on the ramparts of
Prime Minister, you can look back on the years of our summits as a period in
which you successfully achieved the goals you set out before you took office.
You've achieved an important constitutional breakthrough. You have seen the
Canadian economy grow and unemployment fall during your tenure in office. You
have achieved a special place in history with our free trade agreement. Above
all, you've been a strong and persistent advocate for
And now, excuse me just one second. To the Queen of Canada, to my good friend and good neighbor, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Mrs. Mulroney, and to the enduring bond between our two North American peoples.
The Prime Minister. Mr. President and Mrs.
Reagan, and chers amis [dear friends], I rise to propose a toast to the
President of the
suppose that too much can be made of special relationships between countries,
and too much can probably be made of personal relationships between leaders. I
don't think that's the case between these two countries or these two leaders.
But the fact is that
Those of us who hold elective office are called politicians. There's no dishonor in that. But I have seen Ronald Reagan, the statesman. I want briefly to speak to that tonight from the perspective of a friend in the eighth year of his Presidency. We're looking tonight at a period in American and world history that will in large measure, when the day is done, be known as the Reagan era. For the first time in almost 30 years an American President is completing two full terms of office.
The Reagan years have been a time of peace and prosperity. There have been moments of great difficulty and regional crisis, but the peace has been preserved. When Ronald Reagan came to this house as President, he was accused of saber rattling. In the event while strengthening Western security, he paved the way for historic arms reductions in the INF agreement and opened the door to strategic arms reductions. This is the legacy of a man of peace.
Ronald Reagan came to this house, the world was on the brink of the deepest
recession in half a century. As he prepares to leave it next January, the
want to just say, parenthetically, something that happened to me in August of
1987. It was a Sunday, and I was reading the New York Sunday Times. And I was
struck by this headline. And here's, I think, a direct quote, though I'm
speaking from memory. The quote is, ``Reagan's Popularity Plummets To 59
Percent.'' [Laughter] You see, right there, one sees the fundamental difference
Every leader of a democracy knows the turbulence and the challenges that free societies exemplify. Every leader worth his salt knows the joys of high accomplishment and the sadness of hopes unfulfilled. But history is usually generous to those who show leadership, who brought prosperity, who strengthened freedom, and who kept the global peace. Ronald Reagan has done these things, while never losing his engaging manner and his warm, good humor.
you look around this house, you get a sense not only of history but of serenity
and continuity and of how much Nancy Reagan has contributed to that. She has
brought her own brand of commitment and elegance to the White House. She has
brought as well her own sense of public purpose to addressing the tragedy of
drug abuse not only in your country but throughout the
On an occasion such as this, one speaks briefly of the achievements, the agenda between our countries, and I'll be very brief. The agenda is comprehensive, the issues are complex, and the solutions are, as President Kennedy once said in regard to Canada-U.S. relations, ``neither easy nor automatic.'' As for the achievements, there is still work for you, Mr. President, to get the free trade agreement ratified by Congress. This is a tremendous accomplishment -- the largest trade agreement ever negotiated between two sovereign countries -- and it opens up a world of new possibilities and prosperity for both our peoples on both sides of the border. And one of the reasons we made that agreement is that President Reagan believed in the initiative from the beginning and stayed with it to the end.
on the mantlepiece of this room, there is a
quotation, I believe, from the first occupant of this house. I quote it because
it applies to the present occupant of this house: ``May none but honest and
wise men,'' President John Adams wrote, ``ever rule under this roof.'' Ronald
Reagan has been both honest and wise, and for us and for
and gentlemen, I ask you to rise as I propose a toast to the President of the
Note: The President spoke at in the State Dining Room at the White House.