Bush Vows Solidarity With Poland : Says Struggles Bring ‘Time When Dreams Can Live Again’
President Bush today made a dramatic pilgrimage to Gdansk, Poland, the birthplace of the Solidarity labor movement, and told cheering thousands their struggle has produced “a time when dreams can live again” in the democratic transformation of Poland.
“For those who say that freedom can forever be denied, I say let them look at Poland,” the President said in the emotional climax of a two-day visit.
“Poland is not alone. America stands with you,” he said, renewing his pledge to help the Poles redeem their shattered economy and seek greater political freedoms. “America stands shoulder to shoulder with the Polish people in solidarity.”
“Long live Bush!” came back the reply from the crowd of 25,000 people. Another 25,000 lined the streets of this seaport to cheer Bush’s motorcade, and some threw flower petals at his limousine.
The President was introduced to the chanting, flag-waving audience by Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, who said he hoped the visiting American realized “our country should and deserves to be helped. . . . God Bless America. May God bless our homeland,” Walesa said.
The speech concluded, Bush and Walesa stood together to accept the cheers of the crowd, then turned to the monument to slain workers and held up their hands in a V-for-victory sign favored by the union movement.
Later, Bush flew to Hungary, another Communist country in the throes of extraordinary political and economic reform.
Scrapping his prepared text in Budapest, Bush told the crowd that waited in the rain in Kossuth Square: “I salute the leaders of Hungary. I salute the reforms and change that is taking place in this wonderful country.”
“We want to work with Hungary to continue the changes and reforms,” said Bush.
Bush was understood to be taking to Hungary proposals for improved trade opportunities with the United States, as well as ideas to strengthen cultural and business ties.
Earlier in Poland, Bush and Walesa met for a private lunch at Walesa’s home before the President made the trip to the Solidarity Workers Monument outside the main gate to the Lenin shipyard.
The President said Walesa had asked for private investment assistance in their talks. “I can give strong support for that standing right here in his yard,” Bush said.
He said he would take Walesa’s call for private investment to the economic summit starting Friday in Paris, and “we’ll see where we come out.”
After the shipyard speech, Bush joined Communist Party leader Wojciech Jaruzelski and laid a wreath at the Westerplatte Monument commemorating where the first shots of World War II were fired.
At the airport, Jaruzelski hailed the departing President as “an experienced and far-sighted statesman.”