For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 5, 2001
Remarks by President Bush
And President Fox
in An Exchange of Toasts
the State Dining Room
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.
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
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
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.)
8:40 P.M. EDT