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Public Papers - 1989 - July

Remarks to American Embassy Employees and Their Families in Warsaw

1989-07-11

Thank you all very much, and Barbara and I are delighted with this wonderful trip that we've been on. I know Susan and Jim Baker feel exactly the same way. So, we ought to start by singling out our Ambassador and his wife, who have done a superb job in all these deadly arrangements that go into a trip of this nature. [Laughter] I've never seen such wonderful hospitality and such a wonderful way of making people feel at home here. And so, I am grateful to both of them, and it's a great pleasure to be back here at this time of momentous change in Poland.

I want to thank everybody in the Embassy for the support of this visit. And as I keep pointing out as I travel abroad, I've been in an Embassy on the receiving end of a visit almost this bad -- [laughter] -- because, you see, I was in China when Henry Kissinger came to China. And you think we're bad and overdemanding and overloading your circuits? Try that on for size over in China. [Laughter]

But I know it does take a lot of work. I don't know who the admin officer is here. Right over here? Still speaking to us -- albeit through dark glasses. [Laughter] But I want to say thank you, sir, to you and your people, all the communicators, the political office and commercial office, and all those wrestling with the finances of the United States and Poland as we try to hopefully interact on a positive plane there.

I want to thank the Polish nationals that are here. Hold up your hands. Do we have some from here? I knew we did. [Laughter] And look, you're Poles; you are loyal to Poland. But you are a part of the American Embassy, and we are very grateful for what you do to make us a better Embassy. So, thank you very much for your terrific support -- the Ambassador telling me how much he relies on so many of you for the functions of this Embassy. So, we're a team, and I am grateful to recognize the team as one that's going forward and operating well. If the Little Leaguers I saw yesterday can turn out to be as good a team as this Embassy team, Poland may well win the Olympics in baseball a few years from now. [Laughter]

But, thank you, we're off now to Gdansk. I will say, for those who have been dealing with the political substance of this visit, that the talks I've had with Chairman Jaruzelski and the Solidarity leaders right here have been extraordinarily useful. I know the Secretary of State feels exactly the same way. We look to Ambassador Davis as the expert, and he told me that he is relatively pleased with the way things have gone so far. We recognize that the U.S. has a unique role to play in, hopefully, elevating the fortunes of Poland. But I think there is an understanding that -- on the part of the Polish leadership -- that continued reform is absolutely essential if we are going to be able to help Poland as much as we feel in our hearts we would like to help Poland.

So, substantively, the visit has gone very well. I must say I was very moved by the greeting yesterday by both houses of their legislature. It was a very touching thing for an American President to be received with such warmth. And when they sang ``A Hundred Years,'' Mr. Jaruzelski pointed out to me that this had never been done for a political leader before -- de Gaulle and Khrushchev and Brezhnev having spoken in that interesting body. [Laughter] And so, it was quite an honor for our country. And you could feel not only the emotion of it, but you could feel the friendship that exists between Poland and the United States.

So, thank you all very much for what you've done. I promised everybody at the Embassy, in my heart, that I would leave on time, and thus you could breathe one collective sigh of relief. [Laughter] So, if I talk on longer I will violate that promise. But listen, Barbara and I are delighted and indebted to every single one of you for your part in this visit that we consider so successful. Thank you all very, very much.

And now maybe we can have all the children come up here so we can get a picture. Who is going to take -- here, David -- David takes the picture. You guys come up here, all you little guys. Anybody under -- how old are you? Under 12? Come up here. [Laughter] Come on, all you guys over here. You -- hey, come on, bring your flags. Come on, you guys: You've got to get over here. Face David, here we go, over here, here we are. Everybody look at David over here. Ready? Can you see? Wave your flag. We got it. Okay, thank you all. We'll send you these pictures -- to the Ambassador.

Note: The President spoke at 9:18 a.m. on the lawn of the U.S. Ambassador's residence. In his remarks, the President referred to Secretary of State and Mrs. James A. Baker III; U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. John R. Davis, Jr.; Mark Lijek, Administrative Counselor for the Embassy; and David Valdez, Director of the White House Photo Office. Following his remarks, the President traveled to Gdansk, Poland.

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