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Public Papers - 1992 - June

Remarks at a Dinner Hosted by President Boris Yeltsin of Russia

1992-06-17

Mr. President, thank you for those very kind words. After what you did on Capitol Hill today, after that sensational speech -- it brought the Members of Congress to their feet over and over again -- there is absolutely no point in my giving a speech tonight. [Laughter]

What we Americans saw was a true democrat who understood the heartbeat of the American people. It came through over and over again, your sensitivity on the prisoners, for example, and many other ways.

I had a note from a very senior person in the communications business; I will give him or her plenty of cover by that definition. And that note said that in all the time that that person had been in Washington, and it's many, many years, there has never been a greater day for mankind than yesterday.

Some of it was clearly the historic agreement on arms control, arms reduction. Some of it was perhaps the agreements that we were to sign today. But I think much more of it was because that person saw a true democrat, a person committed to democracy and freedom, leading the great country of Russia. We could identify with that, as I say, and we salute you, sir. We know the problems at home are extraordinarily difficult, but I think you leave with all of us feeling that you're going to make it. Somehow, you and this wonderful group of young leaders you've brought with you here to Washington are going to make it.

Let me simply say in conclusion, we want to be at your side. We want to be at your side as you complete the democratic experiment and as you move your great country forward.

And so, may I propose a toast to President Boris Yeltsin and to his wonderful wife, to his team that taught us all a great deal about what commitment means, and to the friendship between Russia and the United States of America that has never, ever been stronger. May God bless your country, and may God bless the United States of America, too.

Note: The President spoke at 8:05 p.m. at the Russian Embassy.

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