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Public Papers - 1989

Advance Text of Remarks Upon Departure for Europe

1989-07-09

This morning, I depart for Europe, my second visit in 2 months to a continent in the midst of change, a time of unprecedented opportunity for peace, prosperity, and freedom. I'm especially pleased to make my trip at this time. Just 5 days ago, we celebrated the birth of our nation. Just 5 days from now, France will celebrate its rebirth as a modern nation -- the 14th of July. This year, it's a special celebration: the bicentennial of Bastille Day.

Two hundred years ago, the democratic revolution that began here in America crossed the Atlantic. The gates of the Bastille opened onto a new era, the era of the rights of man. In Europe, as in America, an idea was unleashed that would change the face of history, an idea that is still shaping our world today. That idea is democracy.

Then and now, freedom finds its allies everywhere. Lafayette and Rochambeau, Kosciuszko and Pulaski -- these names are engraved in American history, patriots not only in their own countries but in America as well. And the Revolution of 1789 had its roots in the spirit of 1776. Remember what James Monroe said about the French who fought at our side for America's independence: ``They caught the spirit of liberty here and carried it home with them.'' Today that spirit of liberty remains strong, and the United States remains the friend of any nation, any people, who love freedom and cherish the rights of man.

This morning I begin a journey that will take me to Europe -- East and West -- a journey that underscores the tremendous changes, challenges, and opportunities ahead of us. I travel first to Poland and Hungary, nations on the threshold of a new era, nations where the spirit of freedom is strong. In both countries, we're witnessing remarkable changes, welcome developments no one would have thought possible even a year ago. New voices are shaping the course of national affairs, and both countries are on the path towards economic rebirth and political pluralism. My visit underscores the growing importance our nation sees in the changing face of central Europe.

I will travel from Poland and Hungary to France, to join leaders from the six major industrial democracies in my first economic summit as President. Together, we are working to spread the benefits of political freedom and economic prosperity around the world. The summit is a unique opportunity to assess our progress. It's also an opportunity to show that we can forge a common response to new challenges, such as the need to protect the global environment.

Our agenda at the economic summit will include both political and economic issues of global impact. We will review the international economic scene, and we'll identify where we can improve coordination. We'll focus on the problem of debt in the developing world. I expect summit leaders to make a firm commitment to complete the Uruguay round of trade negotiations by December 1990.

And we will discuss ways of dealing with a number of critical environmental issues that affect us all, problems including global warming, deforestation, and the pollution of the world's oceans. We know there are no easy solutions. Provided we work together, I'm confident we can find common solutions to problems none of us can solve alone.

And finally, before returning home, I will visit an old and honored ally, the Netherlands. Our friendship with the Dutch is older than our own Constitution, with a nation whose long tradition of union and liberty shaped and inspired our own. Today our two nations are partners in commerce and common defense, and the common values that bind us have never been stronger.

Europe is at a turning point. A continent cruelly divided for more than four decades now dreams of being whole and free. Our task is clear: to see that we mend old divisions, that we fulfill the decades-old dream, and that the new Europe emerges secure, prosperous, peaceful, and free.

Note: The President spoke at 7:10 a.m. on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base, MD. The remarks as delivered were not released by the Office of the Press Secretary.

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