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Public Papers - 1991

Joint Declaration of the United States and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic

1991-10-22

The United States and Czechoslovakia are bound by a commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy, human liberty and the rule of law. These values form the basis of the U.S. Constitution as well as of the Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence, which was written in the United States and signed in 1918. Slovak and Czech representatives, led by Tomas Garrigue Masaryk and Milan Rastislav Stefanik, inspired by the concepts of freedom and democracy, brought to life the idea of a common Czecho-Slovak State. It became a model parliamentary democracy in the heart of Europe that flourished until falling victim to Nazism and Stalinism. The United States remained steadfast in its belief that democracy and freedom must come to Czechoslovakia. The monuments to American soldiers and airmen who gave their lives for the freedom of Czechs and Slovaks bear witness to that commitment.

The Czechoslovak democratic revolution of 1989 opened the way to a new beginning in Czechoslovak-U.S. relations. The United States reaffirms its commitment to Czechs and Slovaks as they work to consolidate a free, prosperous, and independent society. The United States values the participation of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in the commonwealth of free nations and considers its security and independence integral to the new Europe, whole and free.

Our relations are based on the United Nations Charter, on the principles embraced in the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other CSCE commitments. Our nations and peoples understand that to promote fundamental human rights is also to accept the responsibility to look beyond personal, ethnic, or regional self-interest and work toward the common good. We are committed to developing our new partnership through an enhanced political dialogue and regular contacts at all levels in areas of common interest.

We will work together as members of the growing Euro-Atlantic community, supported by the Atlantic link, European integration, and regional cooperation. The CSFR considers the presence of the United States in Europe as indispensable to peace and security in this new community. Czechoslovakia and the United States will help to build a new system of cooperative security in Europe based on democracy and respect for the Helsinki principles which will complement NATO and its indispensable role in safeguarding European security. The CSFR welcomes the proposal to develop new institutional relationships with NATO, including regular meetings, participation in some of the meetings of NATO committees and groups, and increasing civilian and military exchanges.

We share the conviction that only a market economy releases the creative potential of individuals and constitutes an essential condition for economic and social development and prosperity. The United States hopes to assist Czechoslovakia in making the transition to a free market economy as rapid and as smooth as possible. It is our mutual hope that the Czech and Slovak-American Enterprise Fund and the new Bilateral Investment Treaty will advance the progress of the reform now underway. Similarly, we support the efforts undertaken, in the context of the Group of 24, to provide assistance to the reforming economies of Central and Eastern Europe.

The CSFR and the United States call for the early conclusion of the Uruguay Round of the GATT. This agreement on trade is essential to the successful pursuit of our common goals of economic reform and growth in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and globally. Recognizing the importance of free trade, the CSFR welcomes the steps taken by the United States to provide expanded market access.

The United States and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic reaffirm the importance of cooperative regional ties. We recognize that the strengthening of the traditional economic, cultural, and political ties which bind together the states and people of Central Europe will help them overcome historic national antagonisms and will advance their integration into Europe. The United States welcomes the increasing cooperation undertaken by Czechoslovakia and other countries of the region, and believes that such cooperation will help assure the irreversibility of democratic change and the peaceful settlement of all disputes.

The United States of America and the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic are convinced that the principles of this declaration will further strengthen the bonds of lasting friendship and cooperation between both states, as an integral element of the broader partnership that binds the United States and Europe and of a new world order based on democratic values and the rule of law.

Note: This declaration was not issued as a White House press release. The Group of 24 are the industrialized democracies that have pledged support for economic and political reform in Central and Eastern Europe.

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