Toasts of the President and Amir Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa of Bahrain at the State Dinner

July 19, 1983

The President. It's been a pleasure for Nancy and me to welcome to Washington today His Highness Shaykh Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, the Amir of Bahrain.

Your Highness, in view of the long history of technical cooperation our two countries have enjoyed, I can think of no more appropriate guests tonight than our five astronauts from the space shuttle Challenger. The members of that crew typify the highest American accomplishments, both in technical skill and teamwork, which benefit all of mankind. And the teamwork between our two countries, Your Highness, has led to growth, prosperity, and development of human and natural resources. We must draw on our foundation of partnership as we search for stability and peace with justice in the Middle East.

I'd like to restate the commitment of the American people to fulfilling our role as a loyal friend and cooperative partner to Bahrain. As an island country, Bahrain has prospered by reaching outward. You have been especially sensitive to the ebb and flow of international events while others were content to look inward. Your recent economic accomplishments have been the result of hard work and effective government, but they also reflect your personal imagination and leadership. That same vision has made you, Your Highness, a leader in the cooperative effort with your friends to strengthen the security of your region.

We in America understand the importance of maintaining steady economic growth in an uncertain world so that the lives of the Bahraini people can continue to improve. The United States stands ready to consult with you on whatever we can do to participate more fully in your remarkable economic and social progress. I'm particularly pleased that you'll be meeting with Secretary of Treasury Regan to discuss the world economic outlook.

As in the days when it was known as Dilman, Bahrain is a crossroad for the cultures of the globe. As a banking and financial center, an important ship-repair port and site of international petrochemical and metallurgic cooperative ventures, your country is an open and inviting land of growth and opportunity where Arabs and Westerners can freely share their lives and views. As such, Bahrain contributes immeasurably to peace and mutual understanding.

Americans deeply respect your personal courage and vision, Your Highness. We've seen you guide your people with confidence through a turbulent period in the history of the Gulf, never sacrificing your personal commitment to a humane and just society.

Your Highness, I salute you. The American people are fortunate to have you as a friend and proud to stand side by side with the people of Bahrain in seeking stability, prosperity, and peace for us all. Thank you very much, and on behalf of the American people, it's been my pleasure to welcome you to Washington and to the White House.

The Amir. Mr. President, Mrs. Reagan, ladies and gentlemen:

Our initial delight in visiting this friendly country has been greatly increased during our useful meeting with you, Mr. President, this morning. Our discussions with Senator Charles Percy and his colleagues today were informative and positive. We are sure that two more happy days are awaiting us.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your invitation to us tonight and for the kind words you have spoken about Bahrain and its people. Needless to say, that we have always admired the enterprising spirit of the American people. Today, we in the Gulf are enjoying many of the fruits of their achievement in all field -- notably in science and technology.

Mr. President, you will be pleased to know of two similarities between American past and the Gulf present. Firstly, two centuries ago, 13 British colonies succeeded in building a free and strong nucleus of future America. Two years ago, 6 Arab States of the Gulf decided to follow a similar path of cooperation and ultimate unity. If your 13 managed to survive and later increase, surely our 6 must have an equal chance.

Secondly, like your country -- that's so an awaking of the American mind during and immediately following the Jacksonian era -- the Arab States of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] are the scene of growing activities in the field of economy, industry, social services, education, communication, and culture. We are confident that the help and understanding of our friends will make the aspiration of our people and the process of achieving those aspiration peaceful for all mankind.

However, Mr. President, there is one notable difference so far: We have not been offered to buy a Louisiana or an Alaska. [Laughter] The oil money seems unable to match the American gold. [Laughter]

We are, indeed, happy and proud that Astronaut Crippen and his colleagues are among us tonight. They surely deserve a decent, earthly meal. [Laughter] We hope that, while cruising in outer space, they noted an island that swam in a sea of spilled oil. For their information, that was Bahrain. [Laughter] We take this opportunity to salute their daring skill and achievement.

God bless you all. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 9:34 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.