Remarks on Departure for Europe

April 30, 1985

Nancy and I leave tonight for the economic summit in Bonn and our state visits to the Federal Republic of Germany, Spain, and Portugal. And I'll also have the opportunity to speak to the Parliament in Strasbourg, France, to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe and the beginning of an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity.

Forty years ago, World War II was nearing its end, much of Europe lay in ruins. The destruction and terrible human losses were matched by fear and doubt about an uncertain future.

We leave tonight for a Europe that is rebuilt from the disaster of war and morally restored from the despair of 1945. The strong, confident alliance of free people who've done this can take satisfaction in their achievements and look to the future with confidence. So, we leave on this journey infused with pride and hope. We are proud of our Atlantic partnership that anchors the freedom and democracy which our nations have created from the rubble of 40 years ago.

Our hopes for the future are high. Despite the hectic pace of change in today's world, we know that by allowing the freest expression of individual human aspirations, we can surmount our challenges and build a more secure and peaceful future. We know this because of a simple truth which makes our societies strong: Freedom works.

The economic summit conference, now an annual event, spans the free world from the Federal Republic of Germany to Japan, providing the clearest possible symbol of our modern economic interdependence. At this year's summit, we will strive for agreement to meet the challenge of greater growth on which our good fortunes depend. In doing so we will work to ensure cooperation among our economies. We approach this challenge with vigor, vision, and optimism.

We visit Europe determined to carry forward the spirit of peace and reconciliation among old adversaries and the power of our democratic ideals. The friendship between the American and German peoples -- a great blessing that has grown rich and strong over our three centuries of shared national experience -- is dramatic proof of how former enemies can be brought together again.

What better example of the success of democracy could we find than the strong new democratic systems in Spain and Portugal? We're pleased to salute the accomplishments of these countries, whose contribution to the New World was so great. The partnerships that we've built in Europe, the Atlantic community, and across the Pacific are the underlying foundation for the freedom that protects peace and security and strengthens the prosperity for hundreds of millions of people across this planet.

So, we leave tonight, eager to see again our European and Japanese friends and confident that, together, we can meet the challenge of expanding freedom and of preserving the blessings of the peace that we share.

Note: The President spoke to administration officials and members of the White House staff at 9:37 p.m. at the South Portico of the White House.