[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1995, Book I)]
[April 20, 1995]
[Pages 561-562]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at the State Dinner for President Fernando Cardoso of Brazil
April 20, 1995

    Mr. President, Mrs. Cardoso, members of the Brazilian delegation, to 
all of our distinguished guests, Hillary and I are delighted to welcome 
you to the White House this evening.
    Mr. President, I learned many things about you today. But one thing 
sort of surprised me: I learned that as a young man you were drawn to a 
life of the cloth. The reason I learned that and found it surprising was 
my grandmother told me that I would make a good minister if I were just 
a little better boy--[laughter]--and failing that, that I should go into 
politics. [Laughter]
    But I think for a long time your family and friends believed you 
were more likely to wear a Cardinal's red hat than a President's sash. 
Well, you embraced politics, and now you lead your great nation. But I 
can't help wondering whether after 4 months in office, after spending 
2,880 hours dealing with Congress and fielding questions from the media, 
whether you ever wonder if you made the right choice. [Laughter]
    Let me say from the point of view of the people of the United 
States, you clearly made the right choice. And it is obvious to all of 
us that your faith has remained a powerful part of your life. Otherwise, 
it would be difficult to explain how you have endured arrest, 
blacklisting, and exile without giving in to despair; difficult to 
explain that although the enemies of democracy forced you to listen to 
your friends being tortured and later bombed the office where you 
worked, you never wavered from the ideals of tolerance and openness.
    Those ideals animate your leadership in Brazil today and your quest 
for social justice for all the people whom you proudly represent. And 
you have added to them an academic's expertise in policy and economics, 
which I am pleased to note, you have refined by teaching at some of our 
finest universities. We have all been impressed by the results you have 
achieved, especially the success of your ``Real Plan.''
    Mr. President, I have been very pleased for the opportunity to 
continue the personal conversation we began in Miami last year at the 
Summit of the Americas. The warm and productive relationship that we 
have established mirrors the relationship that is growing closer every 
day between our two countries. We have common interests, bringing free 
trade to the Americas, promoting sustainable development throughout our 
hemisphere, keeping peace around the world. And that relationship is 
more important than ever.
    I know from our discussions that we both believe Brazil and the 
United States have an opportunity, indeed an obligation, to be partners 
for progress in the Americas for all the years ahead. Today we have 
taken that partnership to a new level.
    Let me also say, Mr. President, you know that you have come here, 
along with your wife and your fine delegation, at a very difficult time 
for our country. And all the American people have been profoundly 
impressed and grateful by your expressions of condolence and sympathy 
and your assertion that we are all partners in the struggle against evil 
and inhumanity. For that we are especially grateful, and we will never 
forget it.

[[Page 562]]

    So I ask all of you to stand and raise your glasses in a toast to 
President and Mrs. Cardoso and to the people of Brazil.

Note: The President spoke at 8:25 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the 
White House.