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Public Papers - 1992

Remarks During a Luncheon Cruise in Sydney Harbor, Australia


Mr. Premier, thank you, sir. I prepared rather extensive remarks I'd hoped to give, but the Premier said we're making short remarks here at lunch. So, I tore up this. I will forego these, but simply to say that Barbara and I first want to thank everyone involved for this extraordinary hospitality.

There is no way that I can tell you what it feels like to travel with so little hostility on the street. And I'm starting right at home, you know. [Laughter] I'm a man that knows every hand gesture you've ever seen -- [laughter] -- and I haven't learned a new one since I've been here, so something is terribly wrong. [Laughter] Because we just feel a genuine warmth from the people along the way, right from the airport into town. And then this morning I went running, and early birds, those that were sober enough to get up, were out there waving away. And so, it has been a really heartwarming experience for us to be back.

I will note that this relationship is of fundamental importance to the United States. I also know that there's some apprehension in this part of the world -- here, then north to the ASEAN countries, maybe even in Japan, possibly in Korea -- about the United States role in the world. And I understand that because people look at the evolution of change in the Soviet Union; they see the freedom of the Baltic States; they see the interest that we all had, and thank God for Australia's early support, steadfast support, in the war against Iraq; they see us working very hard to bring parties together in this Middle East, people that have never even spoken to each other. And they're saying to themselves, ``I wonder if the U.S. cares? I wonder if the United States really wants to remain involved?''

They see us working on a trade agreement with Mexico in which Canada would participate. And some in commerce in this part of the world are understandably saying, ``Where are we going to fit in? Does this mean we're going to have one trading bloc in Europe and one trading bloc in America, and then somebody else look to some different kind of trading bloc in Asia and Australia?'' And the answer to that is no. And the only thing I want to say here, having been denied my full speech which would have taken 45 minutes, is -- [laughter] -- that we will be involved. We're going to stay totally involved in this part of the world.

That's the first point. And the second point is, we know friends when we see them. And the longer I am in this job, the more important true friends are. And we have a couple of differences, and we'll talk about those in Canberra. We talked about them here today privately. But the differences are so overwhelmed by the common purpose and the genuine friendship that they're not even registering on the radar screen.

So, we are blessed. We Americans are blessed by having this long and tremendously important relationship with this wonderful country in which you all live. And we're grateful to you. We won't let you down. And we will stay involved right up until the very end of eternity because we know it's fundamentally in our own interests. And we hope like hell it's in yours.

But I just want to wish each and every one of you a wonderful new year. And yes, sir, Mr. Premier, you have started the year off in a glorious and grand way not just for the Bushes but for all of those Americans that are privileged to be with us here today. Thank you for your hospitality. And may God bless Australia. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:16 p.m. aboard the ``John Cadman III'' in Sydney Harbor. In his remarks, he referred to Nick Greiner, Premier of New South Wales.

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