President Aylwin, thank you for your hospitality and for your generosity during my visit to your beautiful country. We first met earlier this year at the White House, and I hope we will have many more opportunities to exchange views and to work together.
In accepting Ambassador Silva's credentials as Chile's representative in the United States, I said: ``We are happy for Chile and optimistic about its future. Your country's deep democratic tradition, its strong economy, and the richly deserved reputation of the Chilean people for dynamism and creativity reinforce our confidence.'' I shouldn't have been so restrained. Now that I've had the opportunity to visit Chile, I am even more convinced that Chile's future is bright. You deserve your reputation as an economic model for other countries in the region and in the world. Your economic growth is the pride of Latin America, and your commitment to market-based solutions inspires the hemisphere.
It is a pleasure to hear freedom spoken of as the recognized right of all people not only to elect their own government but to control their own destiny and follow their dreams. And it's a pleasure to listen to the language of optimism: to hear trade barriers spoken of as obstacles to eliminate and openness as the path to prosperity. Today I've heard economic growth and development discussed not as ends in themselves but as the means to raise the standard of living and to broaden opportunity for all Chile's citizens, as the means to a better life for her people.
Earlier this year, Mr. President, you observed, ``Chileans, with a tradition of democratic institutions, of respect for human rights, of the rule of law, have chosen to remake their society based on those values which honored their country in the past. At the same time,'' you went on, ``we want to seek progress and economic development based on an open and competitive system in which all creative initiatives find space for expression.''
And so, it is with a noble spirit and honorable values that the Chilean people are remaking their society, a society founded on democracy and economic liberty. To achieve this, the people of Chile have freely chosen leaders of vision and courage. And you, President Aylwin, are an outstanding example. Earlier today, when I met your children and your grandchildren, I got a glimpse of the values underlying your leadership: family and faith in God and faith in the future.
To the bright future of this nation; to the freedom-loving people of Chile; to all the government officials who came to greet me at the airport; and to you, Mr. President, I raise my glass in a toast: May the renewed friendship between our two great nations remain as strong and healthy as the optimism that characterizes our two peoples.
Thank you, and may God bless your great country.
Note: The President spoke at 9:40 p.m. in the Patio de Los Naranjos at La Moneda Palace. Following the dinner, he went to the U.S. Ambassador's residence, where he stayed overnight. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.