Remarks on Signing the Afghanistan Day Proclamation

March 20, 1987

The President. Well, I think I have a duty here. Incidentally, I want you to know how wonderful it is to have all of you here. We're very honored to have you here with us for this particular occasion. You know, sometimes my friends in the Congress and I have differences on certain subjects, but I think here, on this particular one, I assure you, that we will continue our joint efforts in support of the freedom fighters efforts to win back your country's freedom. Free people everywhere agree that there can be no compromise on the goal of Afghan independence, and that means the total withdrawal of all Soviet forces and the full self-determination of the Afghan people. No other settlement will end that war.

And now I think I'd better get to signing this proclamation, make sure I have everything here -- yes. There.

Reporter. Mr. President, what about President Carter's criticism of your Middle East policy? [Laughter]

The President. I didn't hear that. [Laughter]

Mr. Mayar. I have something for you.

The President. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Mr. Mayar. And God bless you. And God bless you. Thank you very much.

Q. Mr. President, are you satisfied with the advice you've been getting from the Vice President? [Laughter]

The President. Always have been.

Q. Should Carter shut up? [Laughter]

The President. I have to go back to work now. But again, thank you all for being, here and thank all of you.

Mr. Mayar. Thank you very much.

Q. What about Carter, Mr. President? Is he trashing you abroad?

Senator Humphrey. Don't you guys know that a million people have died in Afghanistan? Why don't you ask some important questions?

Mr. Mayar. That's right. Thank you, Mr. Humphrey, for your support.

Note: The President spoke at 11:34 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Among those present at the ceremony were Habibullah Mayar, chairman of the Afghan Community in America, and Senator Gordon J. Humphrey of New Hampshire.