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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks at the American School in Brussels


Thank you all very much. I love this enthusiasm -- anything to get out of school. [Laughter] And here we are. [Laughter] But speaking of which, first, let me thank Dr. Beckwith, Jennifer Beckwith, for extending us this hospitality: a large one-room schoolhouse and the great American tradition of basketball. But I also want to pay my respects to, and recognize, Ambassador Glitman over here. You all know every one of these three, but I am so grateful to each one of them for the leadership they've given the various embassies -- Mike Glitman; Al Keel, whom we've been living with for 48 hours; and of course, my old friend, Al Kingon. So, I want to say to them that I am deeply grateful to each of them for the job he is doing.

And I hope that this result of this NATO meeting today will make your lives here much better, because I do think that the alliance, having come together in this meeting, sent a strong signal. And many of you in this room, although you might be in Brussels, or you might be in Al Kingon's office, helped work on this whole NATO initiative and helped spend your time working at NATO. So, I'm grateful to those who have been a part of all of this -- but in a way, you all are, because under [Secretary of State] Jim Baker, we have an outstanding team.

Let me say, I have great respect for those of you in the Foreign Service. And you're talking to one who was supported so strongly when I first went up to the United Nations as Ambassador -- didn't really know what I was walking into, and here was this fantastic, dedicated service ready to carry out the instructions of the Secretary of State and help this new Ambassador. And it made a profound impression on me. And then I saw it again when I was in China as the head of the liaison office there. So, I have respect for the Foreign Service. I have respect for those of you who are attached to the embassies, be it as career people, from Commerce, and certainly our military, USIA [U.S. Information Agency], and many other organizations. Public service is a noble calling, and you who serve overseas exemplify its very best. So, thank you all very much for what you do all the time.

I didn't quite know how to receive the welcome that I received when I went in here to one of Jennifer's offices, right there outside the girls' locker room. [Laughter] This one caught my eye: ``Yo, President Bush!'' [Laughter] I think that's what it said. [Laughter] ``I think you're really cool.'' I want the press to listen to this one. ``You make all the right decisions,'' and ``I'm glad you're coming to school,'' and ``I love your hair.'' [Laughter] I wonder -- that might have been for Barbara -- that might have been yours. Maybe that was for the Silver Fox -- who knows? Anyway, it was signed ``Kohl K.,'' and both Bushes appreciate it.

And this one caught my eye out there -- I didn't have long to digest these: ``Dear President Bush, remember me?'' [Laughter] Funny thing is, I do. ``I am Margaret Hogg. I have come to the last three Christmas parties when you were Vice President.'' And yes, she did, her dad being a distinguished naval officer. ``The first one we came to, my brothers and I ate all the strawberries.'' [Laughter] ``The second time, we took five big candy bars -- five each when we were only supposed to take two.'' It really would -- but nice to see you. ``We're waiting for you across the road. We'll be waving,'' she said. Well, what better welcome can a President have? [Laughter]

But we are heading on to Bonn in just a minute, but I really wanted to just pop in here and tell you that you are not forgotten -- you are loved; you are respected. And thank you all very much. And to you, Jennifer, thank you for taking the lead in this trilingual -- I thought I heard -- maybe it was only two -- but nevertheless -- [laughter] -- teaching these kids. And I tell you, one of the things that has been marvelous about this summit is the understanding that our values, the alliance's values -- but our values are winning the battle around the world. There's no longer a question of whether we've been on the right side on democracy and freedom and those things; we are. And now the beautiful thing about it is, I think, as we look at Eastern Europe and we look in other places in the world, we see that it's the American values that are prevailing. And I think that right here in this wonderful school, the kids -- in addition to their families, they get it right here in this school, inculcating in them the values that are carrying the day worldwide for the great United States of America.

Thank you all, and God bless you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:40 p.m. in the school gymnasium. In his opening remarks, he referred to Dr. Jennifer Beckwith, principal of the school; Maynard W. Glitman, U.S. Ambassador to Belgium; Alton G. Keel, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to NATO; and Alfred Kingon, U.S. Ambassador to the Commission of the European Communities.

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