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Public Papers - 1992 - May

Remarks at the Arrival Ceremony for President Patricio Aylwin of Chile


Friends of Chile and the United States and ladies and gentlemen. President Aylwin, I'm honored to welcome you to the White House, an opportunity not only to exchange views but to return that wonderfully warm hospitality that I received in Chile.

Mr. President, you once described Chile's success in this way: ``The reflection of a mature country that knows what it wants and is able to achieve it by means of the democratic process.''

Well, that maturity has been hard won; Americans shared your pain during some dark days in Chile when democracy was a fading dream and peace a faded hope. But it has been won. Today, your government serves its people and serves as a model to others. The same may be said of your leadership. Since taking office, you have revived Chilean democracy. In 1913, Teddy Roosevelt visited Chile and spoke of a ``democratic experiment on a far vaster scale than has ever been attempted anywhere else in the world.'' Next month, your people will salute that experiment through Chile's first local elections in 20 years.

And democracy has also spurred your economy. Chile has married a free people with free markets, a union that has resulted in faster economic growth than any other economy in Latin America over the last decade. A successful conclusion to the Uruguay round of GATT will enhance that trend. Already, your trade barriers are falling, your exports rising. As a member of the Cairns Group, you've led the way against agricultural subsidies and protectionism. The United States and Chile are two of the world's foremost proponents of free trade, and we look forward to working with you to expand bilateral and global trade as rapidly as possible.

I applaud your achievements, and so did the Inter-American Development Bank, turning first to Chile to implement its investment policy support program. Under our Enterprise for the Americas Initiative, Chile was first to have a portion of its official debt to the United States forgiven because we want democracy to succeed. Not only do our people share what your government called the ``community of ideas, of feelings and needs,'' we share this land. We share more than the New World; we share a responsibility to keep our world new. So, last February, under the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative, we signed an agreement helping Chile create an environmental project fund with money which would have otherwise serviced debt.

And we will continue to address bilateral economic concerns under our 1990 trade and investment framework agreement. Our challenge now is to build on those beginnings and show why Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile's great champion of freedom, wrote, ``The Americans are giving great hope to philosophers and patriots alike.''

Today, Chile gives hope to an entire hemisphere. With market-oriented reforms, you've led by example. In international relations, you're leading through integrity. Other nations count on Chilean leadership in the Organization of American States, in the United Nations, and then in the community of nations. Your people are working for peace and freedom in Kuwait, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Cambodia. You joined your neighbors to defend democracy, first at last year's OAS General Assembly, then most recently in Haiti, Peru, and Venezuela.

There's a poem called Machado's ``Caminante.'' There's one line that stands out, and here it is: ``Traveler, there is no road, you make a road in traveling.'' Mr. President, I believe Chile is that traveler, traveling the road of history, a history made one step at a time. Chile offers an eloquent rebuke to those enemies of democracy on the extremes of left or right who try to mislead and confuse the people. Chile shows how liberty can not only shape a nation of great promise but ensure its people a legacy of promises kept.

So, traveling together, Mr. President, we will keep our promises, and we will make ours a road to a better tomorrow. We are honored to welcome you to Washington as our guest, one of this hemisphere's truly great leaders. Welcome, sir.

Note: The President spoke at 10:13 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to the Cairns Group, a 13-nation group supporting agricultural trade liberalization and free market policies in the Uruguay round of multilateral trade negotiations.

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