President Bush's Remarks in Warsaw, July 9, 1989
President George H. W. Bush visited Poland and Hungary in July 1989 after June elections in which Solidarity candidates won 160 of the 161 seats in the Sejm that were available to them and 92 of the 100 seats of the Polish Senate. In addition, many leaders of the Communist Party failed to secure enough votes to be elected to the parliament they had controlled for four decades. In the following short address given upon his arrival at the Okecie Airport, a venue empty of Polish citizens save for an official welcoming committee led by Polish leader, Chairman General Wojciech Jaruzelski, and a representative of Solidarity, Bush warmly welcomed the political changes, but emphasized that economic reform demanded further sacrifices. Marlin Fitzwater, the president’s press secretary, remarked to the press, “We’re not going to offer bags of money.... We just don’t have it.”
George H. W. Bush, "Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony in Warsaw," 9 July 1989, Bush Presidential Library, Public Papers, Bush Library (accessed April 2, 2008).
In my first moments as President, I told my countrymen that a new breeze was blowing across the world. And the winds of change have surely touched the land here, where so much has happened since my last visit. It is wonderful to be back at such an exciting time. History, which has so often conspired with geography to deny the Polish people their freedom, now offers up a new and brighter future for Poland.
I listened carefully, sir, to your words of welcome, and yes, Poland has started along an ascending path of change -- democratic change. And this climb is exhilarating, but not always easy, and will require further sacrifices. But, if followed, it will lead to a renaissance for this remarkable nation.
These are great days for Poland. Solidarity is legal. The beginnings of a free press now exist. A new Parliament is in place. The Polish Senate has been restored through free and fair elections. And Poland is making its own history -- and America, and the whole world, is watching. The Government of Poland and you, Mr. Chairman, have shown wisdom and courage in taking the path of those roundtable accords. And the world is inspired by what is happening here.