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Public Papers - 1989

Advance Text of Remarks at the Departure Ceremony in Gdansk


This has been the first visit of an American President to Poland in almost 12 years. That, in itself, is something of a milestone. And it has been a great honor to be here. But what has made this visit most noteworthy, in my mind, are the extraordinary opportunities and challenges now faced by Poland and her people. In my 2 days here, I met with leaders of a government that is both responsive and responsible, and determined that Poland shall find her own road to recovery.

I met with the chairman of the Free Solidarity Trade Union, Lech Walesa, whose courage and moral guidance have carried Poland's people from the dark of night to the threshold of a brilliant future. I met with Senators and parliamentary leaders of a democratic opposition, now legalized. We discussed their new and weighty responsibilities as Poland enters a new era. And I met with Polish citizens from all walks of life, including the citizens of the great city of Gdansk, at a monument to courage and freedom.

Poland is blazing her own path to a better life for all of her people. With every meeting, with every conversation, we have had meaningful discussions about the possibilities and challenges of Poland's unique experiment in reform. I have explained that the United States will respond with specific, appropriate measures designed to encourage future economic and political reform, reform that is crucial to Poland's long-term economic health. But the real work begins now, as Poland joins the community of nations committed to open elections and open markets and the open exchange of ideas.

I add my voice to those of so many around the world who are impressed with Poland's courage and committed to help a great nation fulfill its destiny. Poland's wisdom and strength will be tested. But such a nation, fully engaged in such an enterprise, need only summon the will of her people to succeed. The world watches, confident that they will triumph.

Note: The President spoke at 4:50 p.m. on the tarmac at Gdansk Airport. The remarks as delivered were not released by the Office of the Press Secretary. Following his remarks, the President traveled to Budapest, Hungary.

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