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Public Papers - 1989

Toasts at the State Dinner for Prime Minister Robert Hawke of Australia

1989-06-27

The President. Mr. Prime Minister and Mrs. Hawke -- Bob and Hazel to us, to all of you -- we are just delighted to have this opportunity to welcome you back to Washington, sir. I would once more reminisce about the fondness with which I remember our visit to Australia a few years ago, and then, of course, your own previous visits to Washington, DC, as Prime Minister. And now we have been delighted with your gracious company during this all-too-brief stay.

And lest you wonder about the Prime Minister's travel plans, it is my understanding that he and Hazel go right to the airport, climb onto an airplane, and will be seen smiling and greeting the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany about 1 p.m. Federal Republic of Germany time. So, we will be brief, and -- [laughter]. But I think the friendship that we feel towards our distinguished visitor is but a reflection of a deeper closeness.

Wilbur Garrett, the editor of the National Geographic, wrote that, ``Both America and Australia exert an enduring fascination on each other, like brothers growing up in different parts of the world.'' Well, we've borne great sacrifices as brothers in war, and now we share great responsibilities as brothers in peace. And in this century, Australia has risen in stature from a dominion of England to become a nation, a great nation, in culture and in the arts. The world has taken note: Australia, the rising star.

In classic films like ``Gallipoli'' and ``Breaker Morant'' and so many others -- Patrick White's Nobel Prize for literature -- are moving examples of why Australia is emerging as this leading light in world culture. Australia has an even more profound contribution to make to the world: the encouragement and spread of democracy. Australia is the shining light in the Pacific, a lamp of liberty for the oppressed peoples of the East.

And so, Bob, let me just take a moment to acknowledge your own outstanding personal leadership in the region. You've led with ideas to better organize the trading partners of the Pacific Basin, and you've been a champion of freedom's cause. Your nation's magnificent new Parliament building is a fitting monument to democratic principles. Little wonder that so many Americans, including Members of our own Congress, joined you for the inauguration of that building and even contributed to its architecture in a reaffirmation of our kinship. It's a kinship that is more profound than heritage, deeper than a shared language. It is the universal kinship, the brotherhood of democracy.

Recent events in the Asia-Pacific region show that it is not enough to let a man buy what he wants. He must be allowed to say what he believes. He must be allowed a voice in the governing of the society. And economic freedom alone and political freedom, indeed, go hand in hand. They depend one on the other. And therefore, it is very timely for us to meet, consult -- and I mean consult in the real spirit of consultation -- and once again affirm the solidarity of our U.S.-Australian alliance.

The United States is fully engaged in Asia to support the forces of peace, democracy and, yes, human rights. And our abiding commitment to Australia and our friends and allies in the region is going to remain strong and abiding. And I know that you stand with us, sir, not just in favor of the free flow of goods but one of ideas and ideals of freedom.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let me say that Australia is a strong fellow democracy, a very close ally of the United States of America. This visit, in my view, sir, has been an outstanding success. We are delighted that you have been with us, you and Hazel.

And now I would like to offer a toast to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Australia.

The Prime Minister. Mr. President -- George and Barbara -- and friends, I think the people of this country probably imagine that they have a fair idea of the capabilities of their new President, as well they should. He has been in the public eye for a very many, many years. I may say that Barbara has given me a few insights into some aspects of his character that are probably -- [laughter] -- not so well known; but I want to assure you, my friends, that I've come to learn, just in the last 3 days, that he has a capacity for shrewdness which is almost limitless.

It occurred on the golf course. [Laughter] We were lined up there -- the President, the Prime Minister [Secretary of State] Jim Baker, and [House Minority Leader] Bob Michel. And I know that my friend, Jim Baker, will take no offense; and I, with my well-known modesty, take no offense in acknowledging that of the three of us, apart from the President, there was not a doubt that Michel is the best player. [Laughter] So, with an innocence which was all-belying, the President of the United States said, ``We will now work out who plays one with the other.'' So, I thought that there would be a fairly reasonable process that would be followed. It was very exotic, I can assure you. He gets his ball, and he takes a ball from each of us. He puts his on the ground, and he said, ``Now, here they go.'' He said, ``The ball nearest mine will be my partner.'' And there was no doubt which ball was nearest his; it was Michel's, of course. [Laughter] It was never going to be any other way -- a very, very shrewd operator. [Laughter]

Now, we have shrewdness in sport, too, in our country. George, I might say, I've had the opportunity of sitting next to -- here -- to Sarah, who shares my passion for racing. And I can tell you a brief, true story about horse racing in Australia, which will give an indication that there is certain shrewdness in sport in our country. It's a true story, I can assure you.

It was a country race meeting out in the bush in Australia, and this event was a three-horse race -- literally a three-horse race. This punter went up to the bookmaker and said, ``I'll have ,000 on Blue Vein.'' And the bookmaker took his ,000 with a huge grin and shoved it into his bookmaker's bag and said, ``Thank you very much. That's my horse.'' To which the punter replied, ``It's going to be a bloody slow race, isn't it? I own the other two.'' [Laughter]

Well, my friend, George, coming to more serious matters, you and I and our two countries are not in a slow race. We're certainly not in a race in which we're not trying. It's an increasingly fast race. It's an increasingly serious race. It's a race which requires all of our commitments and our courage and devotion and best efforts.

George, you and I are both politicians. We've had a long experience in politics. It would be honest enough to say that there are times when you have to talk about persons, even perhaps some times when you have to talk about nations, and where there is no substance in the relationship with the person or the nation with which you're talking, as politicians you have to delve fairly deeply into the wells of rhetoric and platitudes to do justice to the situation.

But we're fortunately in the situation where we have to do nothing of that kind. Between our nations, there is an enormous, immeasurable substance. It's a substance, a relationship, which has been formed on the battlefields. On four occasions in this century, our soldiers have fought next to one another; they have died next to one another in defense of the fundamental beliefs that we share. And in the times of peace, our nations also have been as one in pursuing not only for the people of their own nations but for others the achievement of those ideals of freedom and liberty.

As for us as individuals, George, we have had the pleasure of not merely knowing one another but of being friends for the greater part of this decade, certainly a friendship which I cherish. And may I say to you, my friends, that in getting to know George Bush I've got to know a man whose integrity I admire, whose courage in defending lasting truths I admire, and whose boldness in testing new frontiers of experience I have also increasingly come to admire.

It is the case, George, that you and I, through the responsibilities of leadership in our nations, have the experience now of living at a point in history which I would suggest by almost any definition is at one and the same time the most exciting and challenging of any time in this 20th century -- certainly the most challenging and promising, in a sense, than at any time in the nuclear age.

We are entitled -- the rest of us in the world -- to say of the leadership of the United States in recent times that, by the discharge of your responsibilities, by the preparedness, as I say, to exercise boldness in testing new frontiers, that you have given us cause for a greater degree of optimism about the possibility of living in a world in peace than at any other time in the nuclear age.

When I was here 12 months ago, in speaking to a Joint Session of the Congress, I referred to that thesis which had been gaining some currency: that this was a nation in some sort of relative decline. I said then that that was a thesis that I dispute, a concept that I reject, because all the evidence of recent times, in my analysis, points in the other direction. It is not merely a question of the continuation of your great economic might but, on all the evidence, of leadership that has been -- the courage of the previous administration of which you were such a leading part, and which you now, as President, have taken to new frontiers.

It is that courage, that leadership, that boldness which, with a certain responsiveness from the leadership in the Soviet Union, has offered to mankind, to this generation and to our children and to theirs, a greater hope for peace than at any other time in this nuclear age, which so frequently -- almost consistently -- has been fraught with the ultimate danger of obliteration.

And it takes courage, it takes strength, it takes leadership, it takes boldness to have done those things. And, George, I want to say to you that my country looks with enormous appreciation to what this country has done and what you now as President are doing. We thank you for the strength of our alliance. May I say in the presence of the Ambassador-elect, who I have just recently gotten to know -- Mel Sembler and his wife, Betty -- I thank you for your decision in choosing them as your representative in our country. We look forward to welcoming them, and I take your selection of Mel Sembler as an indication of the importance that you attach to our relationship.

Our friendship, as I say, the friendship of our two countries, forged in war and advanced in peace, rests on unshakable foundations. It involves a commitment to ensure that the peoples of our own nations, the United States and Australia, shall advance in prosperity and in security. But more importantly even than that, I think the strength of our relationship is in our commitment that we shall do everything in our power to see that those freedoms that we have nurtured and which have given us our strength, our pleasure, our hope for the future shall be freedoms and rights that increasingly, as a result of our efforts, shall be enjoyed by men and women around the globe. That is our great responsibility, it's our great opportunity, and our great challenge.

And may I say, George, for me, that it is an immeasurable pleasure that I have this opportunity at this stage of history of sharing with you the leadership of two great countries so firmly united.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I offer you a toast to the President of the United States and to the abiding friendship and partnership of the United States and Australia.

Note: The President spoke at 9:25 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his remarks, the Prime Minister referred to Sarah Farish, a Bush family friend.

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