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Public Papers - 1990

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Meetings With National Leaders in Prague, Czechoslovakia

1990-11-17

President Bush and President Havel met at 10 o'clock this morning at Hradcany Castle in the first meeting of the visit. President Havel welcomed President Bush on this historic occasion, the first-year anniversary of the revolution. The two leaders discussed the economic development of Czechoslovakia, including the need to get U.S. investment. President Bush said the United States is concerned about the international oil situation. President Bush said there is a disruption in supply, but it is the speculation about the Persian Gulf that has driven up prices. President Havel said their economy depends on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Soviet Union, and that has been a problem in the current situation.

The two leaders discussed the CSCE and the prospects for locating a new Secretariat in Prague. Both leaders stressed the interest in seeing a successful CSCE meeting, particularly on issues of arms control and human rights.

Federal Leaders

President Bush met at approximately 10:40 with Federal leaders to discuss economic conditions. The President said the talks with the IMF and World Bank are progressing well. They also discussed oil supplies and their impact on this country. They emphasized the important role of private investment in improving the economy of Czechoslovakia.

Czech Leaders

President Bush met with Czech leaders at approximately 11 a.m. They emphasized that they wanted to help themselves economically as much as they can. One of the leaders quoted Mark Twain by saying ``a helping hand is usually found at the end of your arm.'' President Bush spoke of the strength of the U.S. system in which 50 States have strong views, but cooperate comfortably with the Federal Government. President Bush also spoke of the need for stability in Czechoslovakia as they deal with private investors from the United States. President Bush also raised the matter of the environment, saying that pollution is a high cost that we must be concerned about.

Slovak Leaders

President Bush met at approximately 11:30 with Slovak leaders. He wished them success and emphasized the need for stability. The Slovak leaders commented on the United States as a melting pot that has accepted nationalities from all over the world. They pointed out they are working hard to get private investment and asked if more of their people could come to the United States for training in various production skills.

President Bush said ``our vision is a Europe whole and free.'' President Bush remarked on the warm welcome of the crowds that lined the streets on the way into Prague from the airport.

Dubcek

At approximately 12:15 President Bush called on Alexander Dubcek, President of the Federal Assembly, and greeted him warmly, acknowledging his historic role in the move towards freedom in Czechoslovakia. President Dubcek recalled his visit to the United States and said that President Bush's visit constitutes a most prominent day for U.S.-Czechoslovak relations. President Bush and President Dubcek discussed the role of the Federal Assembly and its important role in the building of democracy. President Bush concluded the meeting by signing a large, brown leather guest book, giving the signing pen to President Dubcek. President Bush signed: ``With great happiness and warm best wishes, George Bush, November 17, 1990.''

Note: In the morning, President Bush arrived at Ruzyne Airport, where he was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors.

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