Monday, July 19, 2010

11/11/83 - Address before the Japanese National Diet Society In Tokyo

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, distinguished Members of the Diet:
It is with great honor and respect that I come before you today, the first American President ever to address the Japanese Diet.
I have been in your country only 2 days. But speaking for my wife, Nancy, and myself, may I say you have more than made us feel at home. The warmth of your welcome has touched our hearts. In welcoming us, you pay tribute to the more than 230 million Americans whom I have the privilege to represent. From all of us -- all of them to you we reach out to say: The bonds of friendship which unite us are even greater than the ocean which divides us. Nichi-bei no yuho wa eien desu. [Japanese-American friendship is forever.]
It was a dozen years ago on an autumn day like this one that I first visited Japan, and today, as then, I feel energy, initiative, and industry surging through your country in a mighty current for progress. And just as before, I am struck by a unique gift of the Japanese people: You do not build your future at the expense of the grace and beauty of your past.
Harmony is a treasured hallmark of Japanese civilization, and this has always been pleasing to Americans. Harmony requires differences to be joined in pursuit of higher ideals, many of which we share. When former President Ulysses S. Grant visited here in 1878, he discovered Japan is a land of enchantment.
During his stay, he met with the Emperor, and their discussion turned to democracy, the pressing issue of the day. President Grant observed that governments are always more stable and nations more prosperous when they truly represent their people.
I am proud to help carry forward the century-old tradition, meeting first with your Emperor on my arrival and now meeting with you a great milestone in your history: the 100th session of the Diet under the modern Japanese Constitution. In 6 years you will celebrate your 100th anniversary of representative government in Japan, just as we will celebrate the birth of our own Congress. I bring you the best wishes and heartfelt greetings from your American counterparts, the Congress of the United States.
One cannot stand in this chamber without feeling a part of your proud history of nationhood and democracy, and the spirit of hope carrying the dreams of your free people. Of all the strengths we possess, of all the ties that bind us, I believe the greatest is our dedication to freedom. Japan and America stand at the forefront of the free nations and free economies in the world.
Yes, we are 5,000 miles apart; yes, we are distinctly different in customs, language, and tradition; and yes, we are often competitors in the world markets. But I believe the people represented by this proud parliament and by my own United States Congress are of one heart in their devotion to the principles of our free societies.
I'm talking about principles that begin with the sacred worth of human life; the cherished place of the family; the responsibility of parents and schools to be teachers of truth, tolerance, hard work, cooperation, and love; and the role of our major institutions -- government, industry, and labor -- to provide the opportunities and security -- opportunities and security free people need to build and leave behind a better world for their children and their children's children.
America and Japan are situated far apart, but we are united in our belief that freedom means dedication to the dignity, rights, and equality of man. Yukichi Fukuzawa, the great Meiji-era educator, said it for you: ``Heaven has made no man higher or no man lower than any other man.''
Our great American hero Abraham Lincoln put it in political perspective for us: ``No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.'' We both value the right to have a government of our own choosing. We expect government to serve the people; we do not expect the people to serve government.
America and Japan speak with different tongues, but both converse, worship, and work with the language of freedom. We defend the right to voice our views, to speak words of dissent without being afraid, and to seek inner peace through communion with our God.
We believe in rewarding initiative, savings, and risk-taking. And we encourage those who set their sights on the farthest stars and chart new paths to progress through the winds and waters of commerce. Others censor and stifle their citizens. We trust in freedom to nurture the diversity and creativity that enriches us all. I like what your poet Basho said: ``Many kinds of plants and each one triumphant in its special blossoms.''
Finally, our freedom inspires no fear because it poses no threat. We intimidate no one, and we will not be intimidated by anyone. The United States and Japan do not build walls to keep our people in. We do not have armies of secret police to keep them quiet. We do not throw dissidents into so-called mental hospitals. And we would never coldbloodedly shoot a defenseless airliner out of the sky. We share your grief for that tragic and needless loss of innocent lives.
Our two countries are far from perfect. But in this imperfect and dangerous world, the United States and Japan represent the deepest aspirations of men and women everywhere -- to be free, to live in peace, and to create and renew the wealth of abundance and spiritual fulfillment.
I have come to Japan because we have an historic opportunity, indeed, an historic responsibility. We can become a powerful partnership for good, not just in our own countries, not just in the Pacific region but throughout the world. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, my question is: Do we have the determination to meet the challenge of partnership and make it happen? My answer is without hesitation: Yes we do, and yes we will.
For much of our histories, our countries looked inward. Well, those times have passed. With our combined economies accounting for half the output of the free world, we cannot escape our global responsibilities. Our industries depend on the importation of energy and minerals from distant lands. Our prosperity requires a sound international financial system and free and open trading markets. And our security is inseparable from the security of our friends and neighbors.
The simple hope for world peace and prosperity will not be enough. Our two great nations, working with others, must preserve the values and freedoms our societies have struggled so hard to achieve. Nor should our partnership for peace, prosperity, and freedom be considered a quest for competing goals. We cannot prosper unless we are secure, and we cannot be secure unless we are free. And we will not succeed in any of these endeavors unless Japan and America work in harmony.
I have come to your country carrying the heartfelt desires of America for peace. I know our desires are shared by Prime Minister Nakasone and all of Japan. We are people of peace. We understand the terrible trauma of human suffering. I have lived through four wars in my lifetime. So, I speak not just as President of the United States, but also as a husband, a father, and as a grandfather. I believe there can be only one policy for preserving our precious civilization in this modern age. A nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.
The only value in possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they can't be used ever. I know I speak for people everywhere when I say our dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.
Arms control must mean arms reductions. America is doing its part. As I pledged to the United Nations less than 2 months ago, the United States will accept any equitable, verifiable agreement that stabilizes forces at lower levels than currently exist. We want significant reductions, and we're willing to compromise.
In the strategic arms reduction talks, American negotiators continue to press the Soviet Union for any formula that will achieve these objectives. In the longer range INF talks, we are pursuing the same course, even offering to eliminate an entire category of weapons. I'm very conscious of our negotiating responsibility on issues that concern the safety and well-being of the Japanese people. And let me make one thing very plain. We must not and we will not accept any agreement that transfers the threat of longer range nuclear missiles from Europe to Asia.
Our great frustration has been the other side's unwillingness to negotiate in good faith. We wanted to cut deep into nuclear arsenals, and still do. But they're blocking the dramatic reductions the world wants. In our good-faith effort to move the negotiations forward, we have offered new initiatives, provided for substantial reductions to equal levels, and the lower the level the better. But we shall wait. We still wait for the first positive response.
Despite this bleak picture, I will not be deterred in my search for a breakthrough. The United States will never walk away from the negotiating table. Peace is too important. Common sense demands that we persevere, and we will persevere.
We live in uncertain times. There are trials and tests for freedom wherever freedom stands. It is as stark as the tragedy over the Sea of Japan, when 269 innocent people were killed for the so-called cause of sacred airspace. It is as real as the terrorist attacks last month on the Republic of Korea's leadership in Rangoon and against American and French members of the international peacekeeping force in Beirut. And yes, it is as telling as the stonewalling of our adversaries at the negotiating table, and as their crude attempts to intimidate freedom-loving people everywhere.
These threats to peace and freedom underscore the importance of closer cooperation among all nations. You have an old proverb that says, ``A single arrow is easily broken, but not three in a bunch.'' The stronger the dedication of Japan, the United States, and our allies to peace through strength, the greater our contributions to building a more secure future will be. The U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security must continue to serve us as the bedrock of our security relationship. Japan will not have to bear the burden of defending freedom alone. America is your partner. We will bear that burden together.
The defense of freedom should be a shared burden. We can afford to defend freedom; we cannot afford to lose it. The blessings of your economic miracle, created with the genius of a talented, determined, and dynamic people, can only be protected in the safe harbor of freedom.
In his book, ``In Quest of Peace and Freedom,'' former Prime Minister Sato wrote: ``In the hundred years since the Meiji Restoration, Japan has constantly endeavored to catch up and eventually overtake the more advanced countries of the world.'' Well, I don't think I'll be making headlines when I say, you've not only caught up; in some cases, you've pulled ahead. [Laughter] Here again, our partnership is crucial. But this time, you can be teachers.
To all those who lack faith in the human spirit, I have just three words of advice: Come to Japan. Come to a country whose economic production will soon surpass the Soviet Union's, making Japan's economy the second largest in the entire world. Come to learn from a culture that instills in its people a strong spirit of cooperation, discipline, and striving for excellence; and yes, learn from government policies which helped create this economic miracle -- not so much by central planning, as by stimulating competition, encouraging initiative, and rewarding savings and risk-taking.
Our country has made great strides in this direction during the last 3 years. We're correcting past mistakes. Hope is being reborn. Confidence is returning. America's future looks bright again. We have turned the corner from overtaxing, overspending, record interest rates, high inflation, and low growth. The United States is beginning the first stage of a new industrial renaissance, and we're helping pull other nations forward to worldwide recovery.
But some in my country still flinch from the need to restrain spending. Under the guise of lowering deficits, they would turn back to policies of higher taxes. They would ignore the lesson of Japan. A look at Japan's postwar history yields two stunning conclusions. Among the major industrialized countries, your tax burden has remained the lowest and your growth and saving rates the highest. Savers in Japan can exempt very large amounts of interest income from taxation. Your taxes on so-called unearned income -- [laughter] -- are low. You have no capital gains tax on securities for investors. And the overwhelming majority of your working people face tax rates dramatically lower than in the other industrial countries, including my own. And incentives for everyone -- that's the secret of strong growth for a shining future filled with hope, and opportunities and incentives for growth, not tax increases, is our policy for America. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't further our friendship by my sending our Congress here and you coming over and occupying our Capitol Building for a while.
Partnership must be a two-way street grounded in mutual trust. Let us always be willing to learn from each other and cooperate together. We have every reason to do so. Our combined economies account for almost 35 percent of the world's entire economic output. We are the world's two largest overseas trading partners. Last year Japan took about 10 percent of our total exports, and we bought some 25 percent of yours. Our two-way trade will exceed $60 billion in 1983, more than double the level of just 7 years ago.
At the Williamsburg summit last May, the leaders of our industrial democracies pledged to cooperate in rolling back protectionism. My personal commitment to that goal is based on economic principles, old-fashioned common sense, and experience. I am old enough to remember what eventually happened the last time countries protected their markets from competition: It was a nightmare called the Great Depression. And it was worldwide. World trade fell at that time by 60 percent. And everyone -- workers, farmers, and manufacturers were hurt.
Let us have the wisdom never to repeat that policy. We're in the same boat with our trading partners around the globe. And if one partner in the boat shoots a hole in the boat, it doesn't make much sense for the other partner to shoot another hole in the boat. Some say, yes, and call that getting tough. Well, forgive me, but I call it getting wet all over. Rather than shoot holes, let us work together to plug them up so our boat of free markets and free trade and fair trade can lead us all to greater economic growth and international stability.
I have vigorously opposed quick fixes of protectionism in America. Anticompetitive legislation like the local content rule, which would force our domestic manufacturers of cars to use a rising share of U.S. labor and parts -- now, this would be a cruel hoax. It would be raising prices without protecting jobs. We would buy less from you. You would buy less from us. The world's economic pie would shrink. Retaliation and recrimination would increase.
It is not easy for elected officials to balance the concerns of constituents with the greater interests of the Nation, but that's what our jobs are all about. And we need your help in demonstrating free trade to address concerns of my own people. Americans believe your markets are less open than ours. We need your support to lower further the barriers that still make it difficult for some American products to enter your markets easily. Your government's recent series of actions to reduce trade barriers are positive steps in this direction. We very much hope this process will continue and accelerate. In turn, I pledge my support to combat protectionist measures in my own country.
If we each give a little, we can all gain a lot. As two great and mature democracies, let us have the faith to believe in each other, to draw on our long and good friendship, and to make our partnership grow. We are leaders in the world economy. We and the other industrialized countries share a responsibility to open up capital and trading markets, promote greater investment in each other's country, assist developing nations, and stop the leakage of military technology to an adversary bent on aggression and domination.
We believe that the currency of the world's second largest free-market economy should reflect the economic strength and political stability that you enjoy. We look forward to the yen playing a greater role in international financial and economic affairs. We welcome the recent trend toward a stronger yen. And we would welcome Japan's increasingly active role in global affairs. Your leadership in aid to refugees and in economic assistance to various countries has been most important in helping to promote greater stability in key regions of the world. Your counsel on arms reduction initiatives is highly valued by us.
We may have periodic disputes, but the real quarrel is not between us. It is with those who would impose regimentation over freedom, drudgery over dynamic initiative, a future of despair over the certainty of betterment, and the forced feeding of a military goliath over a personal stake in the products and progress of tomorrow.
You and your neighbors are shining examples for all who seek rapid development. The Pacific Basin represents the most exciting region of economic growth in the world today. Your people stretch your abilities to the limit, and when an entire nation does this, miracles occur. Being a Californian I have seen many miracles hardworking Japanese have brought to our shores.
In 1865 a young Samurai student, Kanaye Nagasawa, left Japan to learn what made the West economically strong and technologically advanced. Ten years later he founded a small winery at Santa Rosa, California, called the Fountaingrove Round Barn and Winery. Soon he became known as the grape king of California. Nagasawa came to California to learn and stayed to enrich our lives. Both our countries owe much to this Japanese warrior-turned-businessman.
As the years pass, our contacts continue to increase at an astounding rate. Today some 13,000 of your best college and graduate students are studying in America, and increasing numbers of U.S. citizens are coming here to learn everything they can about Japan. Companies like Nissan, Kyocera, Sony, and Toshiba have brought thousands of jobs to America's shores. The State of California is planning to build a rapid speed train that is adapted from your highly successful bullet train. In 1985 the United States will join Japan in a major exhibition of science and technology at Tsukuba, another symbol of our cooperation.
For my part, I welcome this new Pacific tide. Let it roll peacefully on, carrying a two-way flow of people and ideas that can break from barriers of suspicion and mistrust and build up bonds of cooperation and shared optimism.
Our two nations may spring from separate pasts; we may live at opposite sides of the Earth; but we have been brought together by our indomitable spirit of determination, our love of liberty, and devotion to progress. We are like climbers who begin their ascent from opposite ends of the mountain. The harder we try, the higher we climb and the closer we come together -- until that moment we reach the peak and we are as one.
It happened just last month. One American and two Japanese groups began climbing Mt. Everest -- the Japanese from the side of Nepal and the Americans from the side of Tibet. The conditions were so difficult and dangerous that before it ended two Japanese climbers tragically lost their lives. But before that tragedy, those brave climbers all met and shook hands just under the summit. And then, together, they climbed to the top to share that magnificent moment of triumph.
Good and dear friends of Japan, if those mountaineers could join hands at the top of the world, imagine how high our combined 350 million citizens can climb, if all of us work together as powerful partners for the cause of good. Together there is nothing that Japan and America cannot do.
Thank you very much. God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at 9:35 a.m. in the Assembly Hall of the House of Representatives at the National Diet Building. At the conclusion of the session, the President and Mrs. Reagan attended a reception with the leadership of the Diet and other Japanese officials in the Speaker's Drawing Room. Following the reception, the President and Mrs. Reagan returned to Akasaka Palace, where they stayed during their visit to Japan.

11/4/83 - Address at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station on the U.S. Casualties in Lebanon & Grenada

Officers and men and women of the corps, ladies and gentlemen, I came here today to pay homage to the heroes of Lebanon and Grenada. We grieve along with the families of these brave, proud Americans who have given their lives for their country and for the preservation of peace.
I have just met with the families of many of those who were killed. I think all Americans would cradle them in our arms if we could. We share their sorrow. I want all of you who lost loved ones and friends to know that the thoughts and prayers of this nation are with you.
If this country is to remain a force for good in the world, we'll face times like these, times of sadness and loss. Your fellow citizens know and appreciate that marines and their families are carrying a heavy burden.
America seeks no new territory, nor do we wish to dominate others. We commit our resources and risk the lives of those in our Armed Forces to rescue others from bloodshed and turmoil and to prevent humankind from drowning in a sea of tyranny.
In Lebanon, along with our allies, we're working hard to help bring peace to that war-torn country and stability to the vital Middle East. In seeking to stabilize the situation in Lebanon, you marines and sailors -- and our French, Italian, and English companions -- are peacekeepers in the truest sense of the word.
The world looks to America for leadership. And America looks to the men in its Armed Forces -- to the Corps of Marines, to the Navy, the Army.
Freedom is being tested throughout the world. In Burma, that government has announced conclusive evidence of North Korean responsibility for the atrocity taking the lives of many members of the Korean Government. We stand with South Korea, and I will be going there next week to carry our message to them, a message of revulsion of this atrocity, determination to stand with our friends in support of freedom.
In the Middle East this morning, we have learned of yet another terrorist assault similar to the attack against our marines, this time against an Israeli site in Tyre, Lebanon.
In spite of the complexity and special hardships of the Lebanese crisis, we have stood firm. As ever, leathernecks are willing to accept their mission and do their duty. This honest patriotism and dedication to duty overwhelms the rest of us.
In Grenada, our military forces moved quickly and professionally to protect American lives and respond to an urgent request from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. We joined in an effort to restore order and democracy to that strife-torn island. Only days before our actions, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop had been brutally murdered, along with several members of his Cabinet and unarmed civilians. With a thousand Americans, including some 800 students, on that island, we weren't about to wait for the Iran crisis to repeat itself, only this time, in our own neighborhood -- the Caribbean.
In a free society there's bound to be disagreement about any decisive course of action. Some of those so quick to criticize our operation in Grenada, I invite them to read the letters I've received from those students and their families. They know this was no invasion; they know it was a rescue mission. Marines have a saying -- ``We take care of our own.'' Well, America, with the help of marines, will take care of our own.
And our brave marines, soldiers, and special forces -- including the truly gallant Navy Seals -- were not just coming to the aid of our students. I hope every American will be able to hear the stories of the political prisoners who have been freed. The citizens of Grenada, who watched helplessly as their country was being stolen from them and turned into a staging area for totalitarian aggression -- these same Grenadians are hailing us as liberators, and they're doing everything they can now to help. Every American can be proud of the professional and gallant job that our Armed Forces have done. And all of us can rejoice that they're coming home.
I came here today to honor so many who did their duty and gave that last, full measure of their devotion. They kept faith with us and our way of life. We wouldn't be free long, but for the dedication of such individuals. They were heroes. We're grateful to have had them with us.
The motto of the United States Marine Corps: ``Semper Fidelis'' -- always faithful. Well, the rest of us must remain always faithful to those ideals which so many have given their lives to protect. Our heritage of liberty must be preserved and passed on. Let no terrorist question our will or no tyrant doubt our resolve. Americans have courage and determination, and we must not and will not be intimidated by anyone, anywhere.
Since 1775, marines, just like many of you, have shaped the strength and resolve of the United States. Your role is as important today as at any time in our history.
Our hearts go out to the families of the brave men that we honor today. Let us close ranks with them in tribute to our fallen heroes, their loved ones, who gave more than can ever be repaid. They're now part of the soul of this great country and will live as long as our liberty shines as a beacon of hope to all those who long for freedom and a better world.
One of the men in the early days of our nation, John Stuart Mill, said, ``War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The ugliest is that man who thinks nothing is worth fighting or dying for and lets men better and braver than himself protect him.'' You are doing that for all of us.
God bless you, and thank you for what you're doing.
Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station.
Earlier, following his arrival at the air station, the President went to Camp Lejeune, where he attended a memorial service for those killed in Lebanon and Grenada and in honor of those wounded or missing. After the service, he went to the Second Marine Divison Headquarters Building, where he met with families of the honored dead.
Following his remarks, the President returned to Washington, D.C.

11/2/83 - Address upon establishing the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. as a holiday

The President. Mrs. King, members of the King family, distinguished Members of the Congress, ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, I'm very pleased to welcome you to the White House, the home that belongs to all of us, the American people.
When I was thinking of the contributions to our country of the man that we're honoring today, a passage attributed to the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier comes to mind. ``Each crisis brings its word and deed.'' In America, in the fifties and sixties, one of the important crises we faced was racial discrimination. The man whose words and deeds in that crisis stirred our nation to the very depths of its soul was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King was born in 1929 in an America where, because of the color of their skin, nearly 1 in 10 lived lives that were separate and unequal. Most black Americans were taught in segregated schools. Across the country, too many could find only poor jobs, toiling for low wages. They were refused entry into hotels and restaurants, made to use separate facilities. In a nation that proclaimed liberty and justice for all, too many black Americans were living with neither.
In one city, a rule required all blacks to sit in the rear of public buses. But in 1955, when a brave woman named Rosa Parks was told to move to the back of the bus, she said, ``No.'' A young minister in a local Baptist church, Martin Luther King, then organized a boycott of the bus company -- a boycott that stunned the country. Within 6 months the courts had ruled the segregation of public transportation unconstitutional.
Dr. King had awakened something strong and true, a sense that true justice must be colorblind, and that among white and black Americans, as he put it, ``Their destiny is tied up with our destiny, and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom; we cannot walk alone.''
In the years after the bus boycott, Dr. King made equality of rights his life's work. Across the country, he organized boycotts, rallies, and marches. Often he was beaten, imprisoned, but he never stopped teaching nonviolence. ``Work with the faith'', he told his followers, ``that unearned suffering is redemptive.'' In 1964 Dr. King became the youngest man in history to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr. King's work brought him to this city often. And in one sweltering August day in 1963, he addressed a quarter of a million people at the Lincoln Memorial. If American history grows from two centuries to twenty, his words that day will never be forgotten. ``I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.''
In 1968 Martin Luther King was gunned down by a brutal assassin, his life cut short at the age of 39. But those 39 short years had changed America forever. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had guaranteed all Americans equal use of public accommodations, equal access to programs financed by Federal funds, and the right to compete for employment on the sole basis of individual merit. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 had made certain that from then on black Americans would get to vote. But most important, there was not just a change of law; there was a change of heart. The conscience of America had been touched. Across the land, people had begun to treat each other not as blacks and whites, but as fellow Americans.
And since Dr. King's death, his father, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., and his wife, Coretta King, have eloquently and forcefully carried on his work. Also his family have joined in that cause.
Now our nation has decided to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by setting aside a day each year to remember him and the just cause he stood for. We've made historic strides since Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus. As a democratic people, we can take pride in the knowledge that we Americans recognized a grave injustice and took action to correct it. And we should remember that in far too many countries, people like Dr. King never have the opportunity to speak out at all.
But traces of bigotry still mar America. So, each year on Martin Luther King Day, let us not only recall Dr. King, but rededicate ourselves to the Commandments he believed in and sought to live every day: Thou shall love thy God with all thy heart, and thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself. And I just have to believe that all of us -- if all of us, young and old, Republicans and Democrats, do all we can to live up to those Commandments, then we will see the day when Dr. King's dream comes true, and in his words, ``All of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, `. . . land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.'''
Thank you, God bless you, and I will sign it.
Mrs. King. Thank you, Mr. President, Vice President Bush, Majority Leader Baker and the distinguished congressional and senatorial delegations, and other representatives who've gathered here, and friends.
All right-thinking people, all right-thinking Americans are joined in spirit with us this day as the highest recognition which this nation gives is bestowed upon Martin Luther King, Jr., one who also was the recipient of the highest recognition which the world bestows, the Nobel Peace Prize.
In his own life's example, he symbolized what was right about America, what was noblest and best, what human beings have pursued since the beginning of history. He loved unconditionally. He was in constant pursuit of truth, and when he discovered it, he embraced it. His nonviolent campaigns brought about redemption, reconciliation, and justice. He taught us that only peaceful means can bring about peaceful ends, that our goal was to create the love community.
America is a more democratic nation, a more just nation, a more peaceful nation because Martin Luther King, Jr., became her preeminent nonviolent commander.
Martin Luther King, Jr., and his spirit live within all of us. Thank God for the blessing of his life and his leadership and his commitment. What manner of man was this? May we make ourselves worthy to carry on his dream and create the love community.
Thank you.
Note: The President spoke at 11:06 a.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.
As enacted, H.R. 3706 is Public Law 98 - 144, approved November 2.

10/27/83 - Address to the Nation on Lebanon and Grenada

My fellow Americans:
Some 2 months ago we were shocked by the brutal massacre of 269 men, women, and children, more than 60 of them Americans, in the shooting down of a Korean airliner. Now, in these past several days, violence has erupted again, in Lebanon and Grenada.
In Lebanon, we have some 1,600 marines, part of a multinational force that's trying to help the people of Lebanon restore order and stability to that troubled land. Our marines are assigned to the south of the city of Beirut, near the only airport operating in Lebanon. Just a mile or so to the north is the Italian contingent and not far from them, the French and a company of British soldiers.
This past Sunday, at 22 minutes after 6 Beirut time, with dawn just breaking, a truck, looking like a lot of other vehicles in the city, approached the airport on a busy, main road. There was nothing in its appearance to suggest it was any different than the trucks or cars that were normally seen on and around the airport. But this one was different. At the wheel was a young man on a suicide mission.
The truck carried some 2,000 pounds of explosives, but there was no way our marine guards could know this. Their first warning that something was wrong came when the truck crashed through a series of barriers, including a chain-link fence and barbed wire entanglements. The guards opened fire, but it was too late. The truck smashed through the doors of the headquarters building in which our marines were sleeping and instantly exploded. The four-story concrete building collapsed in a pile of rubble.
More than 200 of the sleeping men were killed in that one hideous, insane attack. Many others suffered injury and are hospitalized here or in Europe.
This was not the end of the horror. At almost the same instant, another vehicle on a suicide and murder mission crashed into the headquarters of the French peacekeeping force, an eight-story building, destroying it and killing more than 50 French soldiers.
Prior to this day of horror, there had been several tragedies for our men in the multinational force. Attacks by snipers and mortar fire had taken their toll.
I called bereaved parents and/or widows of the victims to express on behalf of all of us our sorrow and sympathy. Sometimes there were questions. And now many of you are asking: Why should our young men be dying in Lebanon? Why is Lebanon important to us?
Well, it's true, Lebanon is a small country, more than five-and-a-half thousand miles from our shores on the edge of what we call the Middle East. But every President who has occupied this office in recent years has recognized that peace in the Middle East is of vital concern to our nation and, indeed, to our allies in Western Europe and Japan. We've been concerned because the Middle East is a powderkeg; four times in the last 30 years, the Arabs and Israelis have gone to war. And each time, the world has teetered near the edge of catastrophe.
The area is key to the economic and political life of the West. Its strategic importance, its energy resources, the Suez Canal, and the well-being of the nearly 200 million people living there -- all are vital to us and to world peace. If that key should fall into the hands of a power or powers hostile to the free world, there would be a direct threat to the United States and to our allies.
We have another reason to be involved. Since 1948 our Nation has recognized and accepted a moral obligation to assure the continued existence of Israel as a nation. Israel shares our democratic values and is a formidable force an invader of the Middle East would have to reckon with.
For several years, Lebanon has been torn by internal strife. Once a prosperous, peaceful nation, its government had become ineffective in controling the militias that warred on each other. Sixteen months ago, we were watching on our TV screens the shelling and bombing of Beirut which was being used as a fortress by PLO bands. Hundreds and hundreds of civilians were being killed and wounded in the daily battles.
Syria, which makes no secret of its claim that Lebanon should be a part of a Greater Syria, was occupying a large part of Lebanon. Today, Syria has become a home for 7,000 Soviet advisers and technicians who man a massive amount of Soviet weaponry, including SS - 21 ground-to-ground missiles capable of reaching vital areas of Israel.
A little over a year ago, hoping to build on the Camp David accords, which had led to peace between Israel and Egypt, I proposed a peace plan for the Middle East to end the wars between the Arab States and Israel. It was based on U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 and called for a fair and just solution to the Palestinian problem, as well as a fair and just settlement of issues between the Arab States and Israel.
Before the necessary negotiations could begin, it was essential to get all foreign forces out of Lebanon and to end the fighting there. So, why are we there? Well, the answer is straightforward: to help bring peace to Lebanon and stability to the vital Middle East. To that end, the multinational force was created to help stabilize the situation in Lebanon until a government could be established and a Lebanese army mobilized to restore Lebanese sovereignty over its own soil as the foreign forces withdrew. Israel agreed to withdraw as did Syria, but Syria then reneged on its promise. Over 10,000 Palestinians who had been bringing ruin down on Beirut, however, did leave the country.
Lebanon has formed a government under the leadership of President Gemayal, and that government, with our assistance and training, has set up its own army. In only a year's time, that army has been rebuilt. It's a good army, composed of Lebanese of all factions.
A few weeks ago, the Israeli army pulled back to the Awali River in southern Lebanon. Despite fierce resistance by Syrian-backed forces, the Lebanese army was able to hold the line and maintain the defensive perimeter around Beirut.
In the year that our marines have been there, Lebanon has made important steps toward stability and order. The physical presence of the marines lends support to both the Lebanese Government and its army. It allows the hard work of diplomacy to go forward. Indeed, without the peacekeepers from the U.S., France, Italy, and Britain, the efforts to find a peaceful solution in Lebanon would collapse.
As to that narrower question -- what exactly is the operational mission of the marines -- the answer is, to secure a piece of Beirut, to keep order in their sector, and to prevent the area from becoming a battlefield. Our marines are not just sitting in an airport. Part of their task is to guard that airport. Because of their presence, the airport has remained operational. In addition, they patrol the surrounding area. This is their part -- a limited, but essential part -- in the larger effort that I've described.
If our marines must be there, I'm asked, why can't we make them safer? Who committed this latest atrocity against them and why?
Well, we'll do everything we can to ensure that our men are as safe as possible. We ordered the battleship New Jersey to join our naval forces offshore. Without even firing them, the threat of its 16-inch guns silenced those who once fired down on our marines from the hills, and they're a good part of the reason we suddenly had a cease-fire. We're doing our best to make our forces less vulnerable to those who want to snipe at them or send in future suicide missions.
Secretary Shultz called me today from Europe, where he was meeting with the Foreign Ministers of our allies in the multinational force. They remain committed to our task. And plans were made to share information as to how we can improve security for all our men.
We have strong circumstantial evidence that the attack on the marines was directed by terrorists who used the same method to destroy our Embassy in Beirut. Those who directed this atrocity must be dealt justice, and they will be. The obvious purpose behind the sniping and, now, this attack was to weaken American will and force the withdrawal of U.S. and French forces from Lebanon. The clear intent of the terrorists was to eliminate our support of the Lebanese Government and to destroy the ability of the Lebanese people to determine their own destiny.
To answer those who ask if we're serving any purpose in being there, let me answer a question with a question. Would the terrorists have launched their suicide attacks against the multinational force if it were not doing its job? The multinational force was attacked precisely because it is doing the job it was sent to do in Beirut. It is accomplishing its mission.
Now then, where do we go from here? What can we do now to help Lebanon gain greater stability so that our marines can come home? Well, I believe we can take three steps now that will make a difference.
First, we will accelerate the search for peace and stability in that region. Little attention has been paid to the fact that we've had special envoys there working, literally, around the clock to bring the warring factions together. This coming Monday in Geneva, President Gemayel of Lebanon will sit down with other factions from his country to see if national reconciliation can be achieved. He has our firm support. I will soon be announcing a replacement for Bud McFarlane, who was preceded by Phil Habib. Both worked tirelessly and must be credited for much if not most of the progress we've made.
Second, we'll work even more closely with our allies in providing support for the Government of Lebanon and for the rebuilding of a national consensus.
Third, we will ensure that the multinational peace-keeping forces, our marines, are given the greatest possible protection. Our Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Kelley, returned from Lebanon today and will be advising us on steps we can take to improve security. Vice President Bush returned just last night from Beirut and gave me a full report of his brief visit.
Beyond our progress in Lebanon, let us remember that our main goal and purpose is to achieve a broader peace in all of the Middle East. The factions and bitterness that we see in Lebanon are just a microcosm of the difficulties that are spread across much of that region. A peace initiative for the entire Middle East, consistent with the Camp David accords and U.N. resolutions 242 and 338, still offers the best hope for bringing peace to the region.
Let me ask those who say we should get out of Lebanon: If we were to leave Lebanon now, what message would that send to those who foment instability and terrorism? If America were to walk away from Lebanon, what chance would there be for a negotiated settlement, producing a unified democratic Lebanon?
If we turned our backs on Lebanon now, what would be the future of Israel? At stake is the fate of only the second Arab country to negotiate a major agreement with Israel. That's another accomplishment of this past year, the May 17th accord signed by Lebanon and Israel.
If terrorism and intimidation succeed, it'll be a devastating blow to the peace process and to Israel's search for genuine security. It won't just be Lebanon sentenced to a future of chaos. Can the United States, or the free world, for that matter, stand by and see the Middle East incorporated into the Soviet bloc? What of Western Europe and Japan's dependence on Middle East oil for the energy to fuel their industries? The Middle East is, as I've said, vital to our national security and economic well-being.
Brave young men have been taken from us. Many others have been grievously wounded. Are we to tell them their sacrifice was wasted? They gave their lives in defense of our national security every bit as much as any man who ever died fighting in a war. We must not strip every ounce of meaning and purpose from their courageous sacrifice.
We're a nation with global responsibilities. We're not somewhere else in the world protecting someone else's interests; we're there protecting our own.
I received a message from the father of a marine in Lebanon. He told me, ``In a world where we speak of human rights, there is a sad lack of acceptance of responsibility. My son has chosen the acceptance of responsibility for the privilege of living in this country. Certainly in this country one does not inherently have rights unless the responsibility for these rights is accepted.'' Dr. Kenneth Morrison said that while he was waiting to learn if his son was one of the dead. I was thrilled for him to learn today that his son Ross is alive and well and carrying on his duties in Lebanon.
Let us meet our responsibilities. For longer than any of us can remember, the people of the Middle East have lived from war to war with no prospect for any other future. That dreadful cycle must be broken. Why are we there? Well, a Lebanese mother told one of our Ambassadors that her little girl had only attended school 2 of the last 8 years. Now, because of our presence there, she said her daughter could live a normal life.
With patience and firmness, we can help bring peace to that strifetorn region -- and make our own lives more secure. Our role is to help the Lebanese put their country together, not to do it for them.
Now, I know another part of the world is very much on our minds, a place much closer to our shores: Grenada. The island is only twice the size of the District of Columbia, with a total population of about 110,000 people.
Grenada and a half dozen other Caribbean islands here were, until recently, British colonies. They're now independent states and members of the British Commonwealth. While they respect each other's independence, they also feel a kinship with each other and think of themselves as one people.
In 1979 trouble came to Grenada. Maurice Bishop, a protege of Fidel Castro, staged a military coup and overthrew the government which had been elected under the constitution left to the people by the British. He sought the help of Cuba in building an airport, which he claimed was for tourist trade, but which looked suspiciously suitable for military aircraft, including Soviet-built long-range bombers.
The six sovereign countries and one remaining colony are joined together in what they call the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The six became increasingly alarmed as Bishop built an army greater than all of theirs combined. Obviously, it was not purely for defense.
In this last year or so, Prime Minister Bishop gave indications that he might like better relations with the United States. He even made a trip to our country and met with senior officials of the White House and the State Department. Whether he was serious or not, we'll never know. On October 12th, a small group in his militia seized him and put him under arrest. They were, if anything, more radical and more devoted to Castro's Cuba than he had been.
Several days later, a crowd of citizens appeared before Bishop's home, freed him, and escorted him toward the headquarters of the military council. They were fired upon. A number, including some children, were killed, and Bishop was seized. He and several members of his cabinet were subsequently executed, and a 24-hour shoot-to-kill curfew was put in effect. Grenada was without a government, its only authority exercised by a self-proclaimed band of military men.
There were then about 1,000 of our citizens on Grenada, 800 of them students in St. George's University Medical School. Concerned that they'd be harmed or held as hostages, I ordered a flotilla of ships, then on its way to Lebanon with marines, part of our regular rotation program, to circle south on a course that would put them somewhere in the vicinity of Grenada in case there should be a need to evacuate our people.
Last weekend, I was awakened in the early morning hours and told that six members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, joined by Jamaica and Barbados, had sent an urgent request that we join them in a military operation to restore order and democracy to Grenada. They were proposing this action under the terms of a treaty, a mutual assistance pact that existed among them.
These small, peaceful nations needed our help. Three of them don't have armies at all, and the others have very limited forces. The legitimacy of their request, plus my own concern for our citizens, dictated my decision. I believe our government has a responsibility to go to the aid of its citizens, if their right to life and liberty is threatened. The nightmare of our hostages in Iran must never be repeated.
We knew we had little time and that complete secrecy was vital to ensure both the safety of the young men who would undertake this mission and the Americans they were about to rescue. The Joint Chiefs worked around the clock to come up with a plan. They had little intelligence information about conditions on the island.
We had to assume that several hundred Cubans working on the airport could be military reserves. Well, as it turned out, the number was much larger, and they were a military force. Six hundred of them have been taken prisoner, and we have discovered a complete base with weapons and communications equipment, which makes it clear a Cuban occupation of the island had been planned.
Two hours ago we released the first photos from Grenada. They included pictures of a warehouse of military equipment -- one of three we've uncovered so far. This warehouse contained weapons and ammunition stacked almost to the ceiling, enough to supply thousands of terrorists. Grenada, we were told, was a friendly island paradise for tourism. Well, it wasn't. It was a Soviet-Cuban colony, being readied as a major military bastion to export terror and undermine democracy. We got there just in time.
I can't say enough in praise of our military -- Army rangers and paratroopers, Navy, Marine, and Air Force personnel -- those who planned a brilliant campaign and those who carried it out. Almost instantly, our military seized the two airports, secured the campus where most of our students were, and are now in the mopping-up phase.
It should be noted that in all the planning, a top priority was to minimize risk, to avoid casualties to our own men and also the Grenadian forces as much as humanly possible. But there were casualties, and we all owe a debt to those who lost their lives or were wounded. They were few in number, but even one is a tragic price to pay.
It's our intention to get our men out as soon as possible. Prime Minister Eugenia Charles of Dominica -- I called that wrong; she pronounces it Dominica -- she is Chairman of OECS. She's calling for help from Commonwealth nations in giving the people their right to establish a constitutional government on Grenada. We anticipate that the Governor General, a Grenadian, will participate in setting up a provisional government in the interim.
The events in Lebanon and Grenada, though oceans apart, are closely related. Not only has Moscow assisted and encouraged the violence in both countries, but it provides direct support through a network of surrogates and terrorists. It is no coincidence that when the thugs tried to wrest control over Grenada, there were 30 Soviet advisers and hundreds of Cuban military and paramilitary forces on the island. At the moment of our landing, we communicated with the Governments of Cuba and the Soviet Union and told them we would offer shelter and security to their people on Grenada. Regrettably, Castro ordered his men to fight to the death, and some did. The others will be sent to their homelands.
You know, there was a time when our national security was based on a standing army here within our own borders and shore batteries of artillery along our coasts, and, of course, a navy to keep the sealanes open for the shipping of things necessary to our well-being. The world has changed. Today, our national security can be threatened in faraway places. It's up to all of us to be aware of the strategic importance of such places and to be able to identify them.
Sam Rayburn once said that freedom is not something a nation can work for once and win forever. He said it's like an insurance policy; its premiums must be kept up to date. In order to keep it, we have to keep working for it and sacrificing for it just as long as we live. If we do not, our children may not know the pleasure of working to keep it, for it may not be theirs to keep.
In these last few days, I've been more sure than I've ever been that we Americans of today will keep freedom and maintain peace. I've been made to feel that by the magnificent spirit of our young men and women in uniform and by something here in our Nation's Capital. In this city, where political strife is so much a part of our lives, I've seen Democratic leaders in the Congress join their Republican colleagues, send a message to the world that we're all Americans before we're anything else, and when our country is threatened, we stand shoulder to shoulder in support of our men and women in the Armed Forces.
May I share something with you I think you'd like to know? It's something that happened to the Commandant of our Marine Corps, General Paul Kelley, while he was visiting our critically injured marines in an Air Force hospital. It says more than any of us could ever hope to say about the gallantry and heroism of these young men, young men who serve so willingly so that others might have a chance at peace and freedom in their own lives and in the life of their country.
I'll let General Kelley's words describe the incident. He spoke of a ``young marine with more tubes going in and out of his body than I have ever seen in one body.''
``He couldn't see very well. He reached up and grabbed my four stars, just to make sure I was who I said I was. He held my hand with a firm grip. He was making signals, and we realized he wanted to tell me something. We put a pad of paper in his hand -- and he wrote `Semper Fi.' ''
Well, if you've been a marine or if, like myself, you're an admirer of the marines, you know those words are a battlecry, a greeting, and a legend in the Marine Corps. They're marine shorthand for the motto of the Corps -- ``Semper Fidelis'' -- ``always faithful.''
General Kelley has a reputation for being a very sophisticated general and a very tough marine. But he cried when he saw those words, and who can blame him?
That marine and all those others like him, living and dead, have been faithful to their ideals. They've given willingly of themselves so that a nearly defenseless people in a region of great strategic importance to the free world will have a chance someday to live lives free of murder and mayhem and terrorism. I think that young marine and all of his comrades have given every one of us something to live up to.
They were not afraid to stand up for their country or, no matter how difficult and slow the journey might be, to give to others that last, best hope of a better future. We cannot and will not dishonor them now and the sacrifices they've made by failing to remain as faithful to the cause of freedom and the pursuit of peace as they have been.
I will not ask you to pray for the dead, because they're safe in God's loving arms and beyond need of our prayers. I would like to ask you all -- wherever you may be in this blessed land -- to pray for these wounded young men and to pray for the bereaved families of those who gave their lives for our freedom.
God bless you, and God bless America.
Note: The President spoke at 8 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House. The address was broadcast live on nationwide radio and television.

10/3/83 - Ronald Reagan The Heritage Foundation Remembers

It's wonderful for Nancy and me to be here tonight and see old friends like Joe Coors. Actually, I was a little surprised by the warmth of Joe's introduction. I'm not sure how many of you know this, but there's a certain coolness between Joe and me tonight. I guess maybe that's my fault. When I arrived at the reception here I said, “Joe, it's been a long, hard day in the Oval Office, but now it's Miller time.” [Laughter] That's when he showed me his Mondale button. [Laughter]
Seriously, though, where are those Democratic candidates with their grandiose solutions now that we need them? The America's Cup race, for example. Now, there was a problem that could have been solved with more money and a lot of wind. [Laughter]
And I'm delighted to be here with Heritage. I remember the days when a conservative intellectual was considered a contradiction in terms -- you know, like “thrifty liberal” -- [laughter] -- “modest government,” and “penny-pinching Congressman.” [Laughter] But it's a great privilege to be here tonight at an extraordinary moment not only in the history of The Heritage Foundation but, I firmly believe, in the intellectual history of the West.
Historians who seek the real meaning of events in the latter part of the 20th century must look back on gatherings such as this. They will find among your numbers the leaders of an intellectual revolution that recaptured and renewed the great lessons of Western culture, a revolution that is rallying the democracies to the defense of that culture and to the cause of human freedom, a revolution that I believe is also writing the last sad pages of a bizarre chapter in human history known as communism.
Now, we have been living in an age when the cult of overwhelming government was the reigning ideology. It dominated our intellectual thought and claimed some of the best minds of our society and civilization. And now all of that is changing. The evidence is before us in this room and in the astonishing growth of a remarkable institution called The Heritage Foundation.
You know, during the years when I was out on the mashed-potatoes circuit I was sometimes asked to define conservatism, and I must confess that, while I have the cream of the conservative intellectual movement before me, I'm tempted to use Justice Potter Stewart's definition. He gave it for another subject, by the way. He said he couldn't define it exactly, but “I know it when I see it.” [Laughter] He was talking about pornography. [Laughter] Well, I can see conservatism here tonight. There is no better evidence that the time of the conservative idea has come than the growth of The Heritage Foundation.
Back in the mid-seventies this foundation was begun, as you've been told by Paul Weyrich and Ed Feulner, with only a few staff members, some modest offices, and not very much in the way of funding. And today, of course, you know Heritage has more than a hundred staff members, many more associates and consultants, as you've been told, a brand-new office building -- its picture is on the program there -- a budget that's gone from 3 million to 10 million in five years. But it's not money or numbers of people or size of the offices that measure Heritage's impact. Your frequent publications, timely research, policy papers, seminars, and conferences account for your enormous influence on Capitol Hill and -- believe me, I know -- at the White House. Yes, the Heritage Foundation is an enormous undertaking and achievement.
It's great to see old friends from California that are also Heritage activists, like Frank Walton. But I particularly want to single out here for their enormous efforts some who've already been mentioned: Joe Coors, the Noble family, our master of ceremonies, Frank Shakespeare, and, of course, Heritage's guiding light, Ed Feulner.
Ed likes to say that not too many years ago a phone booth was just about big enough to hold a meeting of conservative intellectuals in Washington; he said it here tonight. I know what he means. Washington has a way of being the last to catch on. [Laughter] Just as the growth of Heritage has stunned the pundits, the conservative cause itself -- the Goldwater nomination in 1964, the growth of the New Right in the 1970s, the conservative victory in 1980, and the tax-cut victory of 1981 -- all of these came as huge surprises to the Washington technocrats who pride themselves on knowing what's going on in politics.
Well, the reason is plain. Many people in the power structure of our capital think that appealing to someone's narrow self-interest is the best way to appeal to the American people as a whole, and that's where they're wrong. When the American people go to the polls, when they speak out on the issues of the day, they know how high the stakes are. They know the future of freedom depends not on “what's in it for me,” but on the ethic of what's good for the country, what will serve and protect freedom.
Success in politics is about issues, ideas, and the vision we have for our country and the world -- in fact, the very sum and substance of the work of the Heritage Foundation. Don't take my word for it. In a book called “The Real Campaign,” a study of the 1980 campaign, commentator Jeff Greenfield argues that gaffes or polls or momentum and all those other issues Washington experts thought were important in the election of 1980 were not. Mr. Greenfield argues that issues and ideas did count, that the electorate voted the way they did in large part because they rejected what liberalism had become, and they agreed with the coherent conservative message they heard from our side.
This point about politics and elections is reflected in what some have been saying about our economic system. As George Gilder points out, it isn't just self-gain or personal profit that drives the free market and accounts for the entrepreneurial spirit. There are larger issues involved: faith, a clear vision of the future, a hidden altruism, that simple human desire to make things better.
One current bestseller, “In Search of Excellence,” has caused a great flurry in the business management world, because it argues that intangibles like shared values and a sense of mission are the great overlooked factors in accounting for the success of business institutions. Well, this is true of nations as well. The American electorate seeks from its national leadership this sense of shared values, this reaffirmation of traditional American beliefs. They do not want a President who's a broker of parochial concerns; they do not want a definition of national purpose, a vision of the future. And I believe that we conservatives have provided that vision during the past few years.
When this administration took office, we declined to go with patchwork solutions and quick fixes. We delivered, instead, on the promises we'd made to the American people, promises that were part of a consistent and coherent view of this nation's needs and problems. We had a policy; we put it into effect. We made our promises, and we kept them. We said we would stop the juggernaut buildup of 40 years of increased federal spending, and we did.
Despite the momentum accumulating from a host of new social welfare and entitlement programs, we still managed to cut the growth in federal spending by nearly 40 percent. For the first time since 1964 all personal income tax rates have been cut -- and cut by a hefty 25 percent across the board. And we made the most important reform of them all; in 1985, your income taxes will be indexed, so never again will you be pushed into higher tax brackets by inflation.
The story is the same for our efforts to deregulate the American economy. It was only a few years ago that every time you turned around, some government bureau had slapped on more restrictions on our commerce, our trade, and our lives. We were at the point where we could hardly adjust our thermostats or use our credit cards without checking first with Washington. Our regulatory task force has already cut the number of final regulations issued by almost 25 percent and saved American industry some 300 million hours of filling out forms.
And now that inflation has been reduced to 2.6 percent and the economy is on the move again, I'm just wondering where are all those folks who kept insisting that Reaganomics would lead to crippling recession or runaway inflation. In fact, how come no one calls it Reaganomics anymore? I never did call it that. That was their name when they thought it wouldn't work. I just called it common sense. But is it because our program is doing what we said it would, making America prosperous and strong again?
I think the picture on the foreign front is very much the same. You can all remember the days of national malaise and international humiliation. Everywhere in the world freedom was in retreat, and America's prestige and influence were at low ebb. In Afghanistan the liberty of a proud people was crushed by brutal Soviet aggression. In Central America and Africa, Soviet-backed attempts to install Marxist dictatorships were successfully underway. In Iran international law and common decency were mocked, as 50 American citizens were held hostage. And in international forums the United States was routinely held up to abuse and ridicule by outlaw regimes and police state dictatorships.
That was an America that, once upon a time not too long ago, knew that an American in some distant corner of the world could be caught up in revolution or conflict of war of some kind, and all he had to do was pin a little American flag to his lapel, and he could walk through that war and no one would lay a finger on him because they knew this country stood by its people wherever they might be. We're going to have that kind of America again.
Verifiable and equitable arms-control agreements were nowhere in sight, and our own military might had sharply declined. Even friendly governments were toning down their pro-American rhetoric, abandoning their anti-Soviet declarations, withdrawing support for our diplomatic initiatives, and beginning to be influenced by Soviet diplomatic and commercial programs they had previously dismissed outright.
All this is changing. While we cannot end decades of decay in only a thousand days, we have fundamentally reversed the ominous trends of a few years ago.
First, our economic program is working, and our recovery sets the pace for the rest of the world. We strengthen the hand of other democracies.
Second, the willingness of the American people to back our program for rebuilding America's defenses has added to the respect, the prestige, and deterrent capability we need to support our foreign policy goals.
Third, we have significantly slowed the transfer of valuable free-world technology to the Soviet Union.
Fourth, throughout the world today the aspirations for freedom and democracy are growing. In the Third World, in Afghanistan, in Central America, in Africa and Southeast Asia, opposition to totalitarian regimes is on the rise. It may not grab the headlines, but there is a democratic revolution underway.
Finally, our new willingness to speak out forthrightly about communism has been a critically effective foreign policy step. We're making clear that the free world, far from plunging into irreversible decline, retains the moral energy and spiritual stamina to tell the truth about the Soviets, to state clearly the real issues now before the world. That issue is not, as our adversaries would have us believe, the choice between peace and war, between being dead or Red, but, rather, the choice between freedom and servitude, human dignity and state oppression.
And now let me speak a word for a moment about a matter that needs to be cleared up. There are a number of congressmen on the Hill -- including conservatives -- who, while being inclined to vote for our defense policies, want to be absolutely sure of our desire for arms-control agreements. Well, I hope my recent speech at the United Nations has helped to clarify this. But just let me add a personal note -- and this is a matter of conscience.
Any American President, anyone charged with the safety of the American people, any person who sits in the Oval Office and contemplates the horrible dimensions of a nuclear war must, in conscience, do all in his power to seriously pursue and achieve effective arms-reduction agreements. The search for genuine, verifiable arms reduction is not a campaign pledge or a sideline item in my national security agenda. Reducing the risk of war and the level of nuclear arms is an imperative, precisely because it enhances our security.
In our relations with the Soviet Union, we're engaged in a comprehensive agenda of major arms-control negotiations. And for the first time, the Soviets are now talking about more than nuclear arms ceilings; they're talking about nuclear arms reductions. And tomorrow I will be meeting with Ambassador Ed Rowny to give him the new instructions he will carry back to the START talks in Geneva on Wednesday. In fact, let me take this a step further and explain why it's our willingness to be candid about the Soviet Union, about its nature and expansionist policies. It improves the chances of success in the arms control area.
History shows us what works and doesn't work. Unilateral restraint and good will does not provide similar reactions from the Soviet Union, and it doesn't produce genuine arms control. But history does teach that when the United States has the resolve to remain strong and united, when we stand up for what we believe in, and when we speak out forthrightly about the world as it is, then positive results can be achieved. Weakness does not offer the chance for success; strength does. And that strength is based on military capability, strong alliances, a willingness to speak the truth and to state our hope that someday all peoples of the world will enjoy the right to self-government and personal freedom.
You can remember one administration that tried to minimize the differences between the Soviets and the democracies. They lectured us on our “inordinate fear of communism.” Under that administration arms control efforts not only failed, but the hope of improved East-West relations ended in Soviet expansionism on three continents, the invasion of Afghanistan, and an actual discussion by an American President before a joint session of Congress about the use of military force against any attempt to seize control of the Persian Gulf.
We must never be inhibited by those who say telling the truth about the Soviet empire is an act of belligerence on our part. To the contrary, we must continue to remind the world that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly, that whatever the imperfections of the democratic nations, the struggle now going on in the world is essentially the struggle between freedom and totalitarianism, between what is right and what is wrong. This is not a simplistic or unsophisticated observation. Rather, it's the beginning of wisdom about the world we live in, the perils we face, and the great opportunity we have in the years ahead to broaden the frontiers of freedom and to build a durable, meaningful peace.
Let us never underestimate the power of truth. Not long ago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn reminded us that righteousness, not just revolutionary violence, has such power. Indeed, that's why I believe the struggle in the world will never be decided by arms, but by a test of wills -- a test of Western faith and resolve.
And this brings me to a second point: The goal of the free world must no longer be stated in the negative, that is, resistance to Soviet expansionism. The goal of the free world must instead be stated in the affirmative. We must go on the offensive with a forward strategy for freedom. As I told the British Parliament in June of 1982, we must foster the hope of liberty throughout the world and work for the day when the peoples of every land can enjoy the blessings of liberty and the right to self-government.
This, then, is our task. We must present to the world not just an America that's militarily strong, but an America that is morally powerful, an America that has a creed, a cause, a vision of a future time when all peoples have the right to self-government and personal freedom.
I think American conservatives are uniquely equipped to present to the world this vision of the future -- a vision worthy of the American past. I've always had a great affection for the words of John Winthrop, delivered to a small band of Pilgrims on the tiny ship Arabella off the coast of Massachusetts in 1630: “We shall be a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.”
Well, America has not been a story or a byword. That small community of Pilgrims prospered and, driven by the dreams and, yes, by the ideas of the Founding Fathers, went on to become a beacon to all the oppressed and poor of the world.
One of those early founders was a man named Joseph Warren, a revolutionary who would have an enormous impact on our early history -- would have had, had not his life been cut short by a bullet at Bunker Hill. His words about the perils America faced then are worth hearing today. “Our country is in danger,” he said, “but not to be despaired of. On you depends the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question on which rests the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.” Well, let his idealism guide us as we turn conservative ideas into political realities.
And as I urged in those closing days of the 1980 campaign, let us remember the purpose behind our activities, the real wellspring of the American way of life. Even as we meet here tonight some young American coming up along the Virginia or Maryland shores of the Potomac is looking with awe for the first time at the lights that glow in the great halls of our government and the monuments to the memory of our great men.
We're resolved tonight that young Americans will always see those Potomac lights, that they will always find here a city of hope in a country that's free, so that when other generations look back at this conservative era in American politics and our time in power, they'll say of us that we did hold true to that dream of Joseph Winthrop and Joseph Warren, that we did keep faith with our God, that we did act worthy of ourselves, that we did protect and pass on lovingly that shining city on a hill.
Thank you very much, and God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at 9:30 p.m. in the International Ballroom at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

9/26/83 - Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations

Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen of the world:
Thank you for granting me the honor of speaking today, on this first day of general debate in the 38th Session of the General Assembly. Once again I come before this body preoccupied with peace. Last year I stood in this chamber to address the Special Session on Disarmament. Well, I've come today to renew my nation's commitment to peace. And I have come to discuss how we can keep faith with the dreams that created this organization.
The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of World War II to protect future generations from the scourge of war, to promote political self-determination and global prosperity, and to strengthen the bonds of civility among nations. The founders sought to replace a world at war with a world of civilized order. They hoped that a world of relentless conflict would give way to a new era, one where freedom from violence prevailed.
Whatever challenges the world was bound to face, the founders intended this body to stand for certain values, even if they could not be enforced, and to condemn violence, even if it could not be stopped. This body was to speak with the voice of moral authority. That was to be its greatest power.
But the awful truth is that the use of violence for political gain has become more, not less, widespread in the last decade. Events of recent weeks have presented new, unwelcome evidence of brutal disregard for life and truth. They have offered unwanted testimony on how divided and dangerous our world is, how quick the recourse to violence. What has happened to the dreams of the U.N.'s founders? What has happened to the spirit which created the United Nations?
The answer is clear: Governments got in the way of the dreams of the people. Dreams became issues of East versus West. Hopes became political rhetoric. Progress became a search for power and domination. Somewhere the truth was lost that people don't make wars, governments do.
And today in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and the North Pacific, the weapons of war shatter the security of the peoples who live there, endanger the peace of neighbors, and create ever more arenas of confrontation between the great powers. During the past year alone, violent conflicts have occurred in the hills around Beirut, the deserts of Chad and the western Sahara, in the mountains of El Salvador, the streets of Suriname, the cities and countryside of Afghanistan, the borders of Kampuchea, and the battlefields of Iran and Iraq.
We cannot count on the instinct for survival to protect us against war. Despite all the wasted lives and hopes that war produces, it has remained a regular, if horribly costly, means by which nations have sought to settle their disputes or advance their goals. And the progress in weapons technology has far outstripped the progress toward peace. In modern times, a new, more terrifying element has entered into the calculations -- nuclear weapons. A nuclear war cannot be won, and it must never be fought. I believe that if governments are determined to deter and prevent war, there will not be war.
Nothing is more in keeping with the spirit of the United Nations Charter than arms control. When I spoke before the Second Special Session on Disarmament, I affirmed the United States Government's commitment, and my personal commitment, to reduce nuclear arms and to negotiate in good faith toward that end. Today, I reaffirm those commitments.
The United States has already reduced the number of its nuclear weapons worldwide, and, while replacement of older weapons is unavoidable, we wish to negotiate arms reductions and to achieve significant, equitable, verifiable arms control agreements. And let me add, we must ensure that world security is not undermined by the further spread of nuclear weapons. Nuclear nonproliferation must not be the forgotten element of the world's arms control agenda.
At the time of my last visit here, I expressed hope that a whole class of weapons systems, the longer range INF -- intermediate nuclear forces -- could be banned from the face of the Earth. I believe that to relieve the deep concern of peoples in both Europe and Asia, the time was ripe, for the first time in history, to resolve a security threat exclusively through arms control. I still believe the elimination of these weapons -- the zero option -- is the best, fairest, most practical solution to the problem. Unfortunately, the Soviet Union declined to accept the total elimination of this class of weapons.
When I was here last, I hoped that the critical strategic arms reduction talks would focus, and urgently so, on those systems that carry the greatest risk of nuclear war -- the fast-flying, accurate, intercontinental ballistic missiles which pose a first-strike potential. I also hoped the negotiations could reduce by one-half the number of strategic missiles on each side and reduce their warheads by one-third. Again, I was disappointed when the Soviets declined to consider such deep cuts, and refused as well to concentrate on these most dangerous, destabilizing weapons.
Well, despite the rebuffs, the United States has not abandoned and will not abandon the search for meaningful arms control agreements. Last June I proposed a new approach toward the START negotiations. We did not alter our objective of substantial reductions, but we recognized that there are a variety of ways to achieve this end. During the last round of Geneva talks, we presented a draft treaty which responded to a number of concerns raised by the Soviet Union. We will continue to build upon this initiative.
Similarly, in our negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces, when the Soviet leaders adamantly refused to consider the total elimination of these weapons, the United States made a new offer. We proposed, as an interim solution, some equal number on both sides between zero and 572. We recommended the lowest possible level. Once again, the Soviets refused an equitable solution and proposed instead what might be called a ``half zero option'' -- zero for us and many hundreds of warheads for them. And that's where things stand today, but I still haven't given up hope that the Soviet Union will enter into serious negotiations.
We are determined to spare no effort to achieve a sound, equitable, and verifiable agreement. And for this reason, I have given new instructions to Ambassador Nitze in Geneva, telling him to put forward a package of steps designed to advance the negotiations as rapidly as possible. These initiatives build on the interim framework the United States advanced last March and address concerns that the Soviets have raised at the bargaining table in the past.
Specifically, first, the United States proposes a new initiative on global limits. If the Soviet Union agrees to reductions and limits on a global basis, the United States for its part will not offset the entire Soviet global missile deployment through U.S. deployments in Europe. We would, of course, retain the right to deploy missiles elsewhere.
Second, the United States is prepared to be more flexible on the content of the current talks. The United States will consider mutually acceptable ways to address the Soviet desire that an agreement should limit aircraft as well as missiles.
Third, the United States will address the mix of missiles that would result from reductions. In the context of reductions to equal levels, we are prepared to reduce the number of Pershing II ballistic missiles as well as ground-launched cruise missiles.
I have decided to put forward these important initiatives after full and extensive consultations with our allies, including personal correspondence I've had with the leaders of the NATO governments and Japan and frequent meetings of the NATO Special Consultative Group. I have also stayed in close touch with other concerned friends and allies. The door to an agreement is open. It is time for the Soviet Union to walk through it.
I want to make an unequivocal pledge to those gathered today in this world arena. The United States seeks and will accept any equitable, verifiable agreement that stabilizes forces at lower levels than currently exist. We're ready to be flexible in our approach, indeed, willing to compromise. We cannot, however, especially in light of recent events, compromise on the necessity of effective verification.
Reactions to the Korean airliner tragedy are a timely reminder of just how different the Soviets' concept of truth and international cooperation is from that of the rest of the world. Evidence abounds that we cannot simply assume that agreements negotiated with the Soviet Union will be fulfilled. We negotiated the Helsinki Final Act, but the promised freedoms have not been provided, and those in the Soviet Union who sought to monitor their fulfillment languish in prison. We negotiated a biological weapons convention, but deadly yellow rain and other toxic agents fall on Hmong villages and Afghan encampments. We have negotiated arms agreements, but the high level of Soviet encoding hides the information needed for their verification. A newly discovered radar facility and a new ICBM raise serious concerns about Soviet compliance with agreements already negotiated.
Peace cannot be served by pseudo arms control. We need reliable, reciprocal reductions. I call upon the Soviet Union today to reduce the tensions it has heaped on the world in the past few weeks and to show a firm commitment to peace by coming to the bargaining table with a new understanding of its obligations. I urge it to match our flexibility. If the Soviets sit down at the bargaining table seeking genuine arms reductions, there will be arms reductions. The governments of the West and their people will not be diverted by misinformation and threats. The time has come for the Soviet Union to show proof that it wants arms control in reality, not just in rhetoric.
Meaningful arms control agreements between the United States and the Soviet Union would make our world less dangerous; so would a number of confidence-building steps we've already proposed to the Soviet Union.
Arms control requires a spirit beyond narrow national interests. This spirit is a basic pillar on which the U.N. was founded. We seek a return to this spirit. A fundamental step would be a true nonalignment of the United Nations. This would signal a return to the true values of the charter, including the principle of universality. The members of the United Nations must be aligned on the side of justice rather than injustice, peace rather than aggression, human dignity rather than subjugation. Any other alignment is beneath the purpose of this great body and destructive of the harmony that it seeks. What harms the charter harms peace.
The founders of the U.N. expected that member nations would behave and vote as individuals, after they had weighed the merits of an issue -- rather like a great, global town meeting. The emergence of blocs and the polarization of the U.N. undermine all that this organization initially valued.
We must remember that the nonaligned movement was founded to counter the development of blocs and to promote detente between them. Its founders spoke of the right of smaller countries not to become involved in others' disagreements. Since then, membership in the nonaligned movement has grown dramatically, but not all the new members have shared the founders' commitment of genuine nonalignment. Indeed, client governments of the Soviet Union, who have long since lost their independence, have flocked into the nonaligned movement, and, once inside, have worked against its true purpose. Pseudo nonalignment is no better than pseudo arms control.
The United States rejects as false and misleading the view of the world as divided between the empires of the East and West. We reject it on factual grounds. The United States does not head any bloc of subservient nations, nor do we desire to. What is called the West is a free alliance of governments, most of whom are democratic and all of whom greatly value their independence. What is called the East is an empire directed from the center which is Moscow.
The United States, today as in the past, is a champion of freedom and self-determination for all people. We welcome diversity; we support the right of all nations to define and pursue their national goals. We respect their decisions and their sovereignty, asking only that they respect the decisions and sovereignty of others. Just look at the world over the last 30 years and then decide for yourself whether the United States or the Soviet Union has pursued an expansionist policy.
Today, the United States contributes to peace by supporting collective efforts by the international community. We give our unwavering support to the peacekeeping efforts of this body, as well as other multilateral peacekeeping efforts around the world. The U.N. has a proud history of promoting conciliation and helping keep the peace. Today, U.N. peacekeeping forces or observers are present in Cyprus and Kashmir, on the Golan Heights and in Lebanon.
In addition to our encouragement of international diplomacy, the United States recognizes its responsibilities to use its own influence for peace. From the days when Theodore Roosevelt mediated the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, we have a long and honorable tradition of mediating or damping conflicts and promoting peaceful solutions. In Lebanon, we, along with France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, have worked for a cease-fire, for the withdrawal of all external forces, and for restoration of Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In Chad we have joined others in supporting the recognized government in the face of external aggression. In Central America, as in southern Africa, we are seeking to discourage reliance upon force and to construct a framework for peaceful negotiations. We support a policy to disengage the major powers from Third World conflict.
The U.N. Charter gives an important role to regional organizations in the search for peace. The U.S. efforts in the cause of peace are only one expression of a spirit that also animates others in the world community. The Organization of American States was a pioneer in regional security efforts. In Central America, the members of the Contadora group are striving to lay a foundation for peaceful resolution of that region's problems. In East Asia, the Asian countries have built a framework for peaceful political and economic cooperation that has greatly strengthened the prospects for lasting peace in their region. In Africa, organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States are being forged to provide practical structures in the struggle to realize Africa's potential.
From the beginning, our hope for the United Nations has been that it would reflect the international community at its best. The U.N. at its best can help us transcend fear and violence and can act as an enormous force for peace and prosperity. Working together, we can combat international lawlessness and promote human dignity. If the governments represented in this chamber want peace as genuinely as their peoples do, we shall find it. We can do so by reasserting the moral authority of the United Nations.
In recent weeks, the moral outrage of the world seems to have reawakened. Out of the billions of people who inhabit this planet, why, some might ask, should the death of several hundred shake the world so profoundly? Why should the death of a mother flying toward a reunion with her family or the death of a scholar heading toward new pursuits of knowledge matter so deeply? Why are nations who lost no citizens in the tragedy so angry?
The reason rests on our assumptions about civilized life and the search for peace. The confidence that allows a mother or a scholar to travel to Asia or Africa or Europe or anywhere else on this planet may be only a small victory in humanity's struggle for peace. Yet what is peace if not the sum of such small victories?
Each stride for peace and every small victory are important for the journey toward a larger and lasting peace. We have made progress. We've avoided another world war. We've seen an end to the traditional colonial era and the birth of a hundred newly sovereign nations. Even though development remains a formidable challenge, we've witnessed remarkable economic growth among the industrialized and the developing nations. The United Nations and its affiliates have made important contributions to the quality of life on this planet, such as directly saving countless lives through its refugee and emergency relief programs. These broad achievements, however, have been overshadowed by the problems that weigh so heavily upon us. The problems are old, but it is not too late to commit ourselves to a new beginning, a beginning fresh with the ideals of the U.N. Charter.
Today, at the beginning of this 38th Session, I solemnly pledge my nation to upholding the original ideals of the United Nations. Our goals are those that guide this very body. Our ends are the same as those of the U.N.'s founders, who sought to replace a world at war with one where the rule of law would prevail, where human rights were honored, where development would blossom, where conflict would give way to freedom from violence.
In 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower made an observation on weaponry and deterrence in a letter to a publisher. He wrote: ``When we get to the point, as we one day will, that both sides know that in any outbreak of general hostilities, regardless of the element of surprise, destruction will be both reciprocal and complete, possibly we will have sense enough to meet at the conference table with the understanding that the era of armaments has ended and the human race must conform its actions to this truth or die.'' He went on to say, ``. . . we have already come to a point where safety cannot be assumed by arms alone . . . their usefulness becomes concentrated more and more in their characteristics as deterrents than in instruments with which to obtain victory. . . .''
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we persevere in the search for a more secure world, we must do everything we can to let diplomacy triumph. Diplomacy, the most honorable of professions, can bring the most blessed of gifts, the gift of peace. If we succeed, the world will find an excitement and accomplishment in peace beyond that which could ever be imagined through violence and war.
I want to leave you today with a message I have often spoken about to the citizens of my own country, especially in times when I felt they were discouraged and unsure. I say it to you with as much hope and heart as I've said it to my own people. You have the right to dream great dreams. You have the right to seek a better world for your people. And all of us have the responsibility to work for that better world. And as caring, peaceful peoples, think what a powerful force for good we could be. Distinguished delegates, let us regain the dream the United Nations once dreamed.
Thank you.
Note: The President spoke at 10:34 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations Headquarters Building. Upon arrival at the United Nations, the President met with Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar de la Guerra and then with Jorge Illueca, President of the 38th Session of the General Assembly, who introduced the President to the session.
Following his address, the President returned to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.