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 Home > News & Policies > September 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2001

Presidents Exchange Toasts at State Dinner
Remarks by President Bush and President Fox in an Exchange of Toasts
The State Dining Room

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8:30 P.M. EDT

     PRESIDENT BUSH:  It's my honor to offer a toast to the -- our guests from Mexico.  After I do so, President Fox will offer a toast, and then Cardinal Mahoney of Los Angeles, California, will offer to bless the meal. Mexican President Vicente Fox and his wife Martha Sahagun de Fox talk privately with President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush on the Truman Balcony of the White House before greeting guests at the state dinner Wednesday evening. After the dinner, the two couples and their friends watched fireworks from the balcony. White House photo by Eric Draper.

     Mr. President and Mrs. Fox, on behalf of the American people, Laura and I welcome you to the United States and to the Casa Blanca.  (Laughter and applause.)

     This is not only a state dinner, it's like a family gathering.  The most important ties between your country and mine, Mr. President, go beyond economics and politics and geography.  They are the ties of heritage, culture and family.  This is true for millions of Mexican and American families, including my own.

     The Mexican people have changed and enriched America.  Together, our nations are now working to strengthen the Americas.  A long border lies between us, but it does not divide us.  Nearly one million people cross that border every day; a quarter trillion dollars worth of trade crosses it every year.  Because of the visionary NAFTA agreement of 1994, the trade between us crosses in ever greater freedom.  That's a benefit to both our peoples, and a model to the world.

     A sound foreign policy begins by ensuring the safety and security of the neighborhood we share.  A good neighborhood is made by good neighbors. And good neighbors work as we are working, with shared obligations and mutual respect.

     Mr. President, you and I are keeping the pledges we made in Guanajuato this past winter, to expand the freedom of trade, to build an equitable prosperity, and to honor the rule of law.

     We have before us a great prospect, an era of prosperity in a hemisphere of liberty.  In this task, our cooperation is broad and unprecedented; our sense of trust is strong, and it's growing.

     A century and a half ago, another occupant of this house, Abraham Lincoln, paused in the darkest hour of this country's history to send a word of hope to Mexico.  Lincoln knew how closely the fates of our two countries were linked.  And he never lost faith in the character of our two people.  In April of 1861, he directed his Secretary of State to tell Mexico of his high respect for the heroism of their people, and above all, their inextinguishable love of civil liberty.

     My message to the Mexican people is the same.  The respect of my nation endures, and it deepens.  The United States has no more important relationship in the world than our relationship with Mexico.  Each of our countries is proud of our independence, our freedom, and our democracy.  We are united by values and carried forward by common hopes.

     And so, Mr. President, speaking friend to friend, partner to partner, neighbor to neighbor, I offer a toast to you, to your gracious wife, and to your great nation.

     (A toast is offered.)

     PRESIDENT FOX:  Well, tonight I have a few words here, but this is so warm, so friendly, so inspiring, that I just want to address directly to the President of the United States, his wife, our friends.

     I was recalling five years ago when we met at the Governor's Office in Texas.  You gave me a baseball.  (Laughter.)  I don't forget that. (Laughter.)  I don't know what was the purpose.  (Laughter.)  Maybe you didn't see a future on your friend.  (Laughter.)  At least in politics. But I did see a leader.  I did see a person which is very close to Mexico; a person that has in his heart, Mexicans, Mexican families.  And of course, he's got in his heart his own people, the people of the United States.

     Later on, we had the pleasure to meet again at the University of Texas.  And there, we spoke about plans.  We spoke about the future.  And again, the visionary leader showed in that conversation.

     We were just the two of us together in that university.  And to me, it was motivating.  To me, I came back to Mexico to do my work, knowing by that time that we had a friend.

     And then, we met again.  We met again in Rancho San Cristobal. The home of all of you and the home where we again spoke about concrete plans, actions that we will take, responsibilities that we would assume.  And then again, I had the feeling that we were making true commitments, that we were working together to enhance the relationship between the United States.

     We were talking as friends, as neighbors, and then as partners -- as partners looking for prosperity to both of our nations.  And there, I did feel that I was talking to a man that was not only committing to follow on what we were discussing, I was talking to a man of word and a man of action, because from then on, meetings after meetings developed among our working teams.  Every day, communication; every day, discussing; every day, coming with new ideas; every day, thinking about the families and the people of our countries.  Every day, building up for the future.  But also, every day, following up; every day, making sure that things would happen.

     So we not only have in common that we wear boots, Western boots. (Laughter.)  We not only have in common that we like to go to rest to our farms.  We have in common that we like to see things happen.  And I learned to see President Bush as a man of action, as a man of word, and as a man of results.

     And this is what makes me sure, confident that we are going to build a future; that we are going to come up with answers to migration; that we are going to come with answers to confront organized crime on the international arena.  And I am sure now that we will develop and grow together; that we will enrich both of our societies; that we will move with success into the 21st century; that we will write this success story that we both have in our minds, not only for the United States, not only for Mexico, we dream about extending that success story all throughout Latin America, combatting poverty, including everybody to development, building human capital.  And this is our dream, and this is something we are going to be building up and working every day since we met.

     So I am really honored, pleased to be here, close to my friend, Jorge. I wish you the best of the best.  I wish you success.  God bless all of you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                           END                   8:40 P.M. EDT