Public Papers

Remarks to Members of the American Embassy Community in San Jose, Costa Rica


Thank you very, very much for this warm welcome. Mr. Secretary, thank you, my partner. We blind-sided those guys. We totally destroyed them. It was -- [laughter] -- no, it was wonderful.

It was a great day. And I'll tell you, I don't know how you all feel driving around this marvelous country, but for us, you get that really feeling of good will towards the United States. You couldn't help but feel it since we've been here. And I think that reflects on a lot of things, and I am sure it reflects on the good work of the Americans that are here, those in the Embassy and the students and others from across our culture that come here to live in Costa Rica who have respect for their democracy. And so, for me, it's been a wonderful visit, and I expect I speak for the Secretary of State in that regard.

You've got a good Ambassador, one of the best in the entire professional corps, and I am very, very proud of Deane Hinton and of Mrs. Hinton for all they do -- and he and I have interlocked in different incarnations around the world -- and seen him, and we have something in common because I know what a pain in the neck it is to have a visit of this nature, a visit from a President. But we promise to go on time. [Laughter]

And I keep telling people at the Embassies, you see, I'm sympathetic to you. I feel sorry for the admin officer or the Ambassador's wife or the political counselor or the communications people or whatever, because I have been on the receiving end of such a visit when I was the equivalent of Ambassador in China. We survived one visit from the President of the United States, which wasn't bad, and two from Henry Kissinger. [Laughter] So, you're talking to a guy that knows what you've been through here, and I wanted to thank you for all you've done to make the visit go smoothly.

It's not easy when you have as many Presidents from democratic countries coming here at the same time, but the Costa Ricans have extended their warmth and hospitality. And I might say this: I think our Embassies have a little more vitality, a little more understanding, a little more representation, if you will, because we have Costa Rican citizens working in our Embassy. And I want to salute those from Costa Rica, the citizens who work side by side with all of you in the Embassy of the United States.

Thank you for this welcome. What I really want to do, what we sometimes do -- you know, maybe we're outnumbered here, but what I really -- Dave? Where's Valdez? Can we get a picture with the kids? We need to bring all the kids up here, all the kids.

Note: The President spoke at 12:29 p.m. on the lawn of the U.S. Ambassador's residence. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of State James A. Baker III and David Valdez, Director of the White House Photographic Office. In his opening remarks, the President referred to a doubles tennis game he played with Secretary Baker.