Following are excerpts from the remarks of President Bush and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela before the two met privately yesterday at the White House. President Bush
Well, welcome to all of you. And it is a great pleasure, a sincere pleasure, for Barbara and me to welcome to the White House Mr. and Mrs. Mandela -- Mr. Mandela, a man who embodies the hopes of millions. . . .
We meet at a time of transition for South Africa. We applaud the recent steps President de Klerk and the government of South Africa have taken to expand the rights and freedoms of all South Africans. These are positive developments, steps toward a fully free and democratic future that we all wish to see for all of the people of South Africa.
In order for progress to continue, we must see on all sides a clear commitment to change. All parties must seize the opportunity to move ahead in a spirit of compromise and tolerance, flexibility and patience. And from all parties we look for a clear and unequivocal commitment to negotiations leading to peaceful change.
I call on all elements in South African society to renounce the use of violence and armed struggle. Break free from this cycle of repression and violent reaction that breeds nothing but more fear and suffering . . . .
Mr. Mandela, in the eyes of millions around the world, you stand against apartheid, against a system that bases the rights and freedoms of citizenship on the color of one's skin. That system is repugnant to the conscience of men and women everywhere -- repugnant to the ideals that we in America hold so dear. . . .
The United States, committed to the concept of free market and a productive private sector, is ready to do its part to encourage rapid and peaceful change toward political and economic freedom. We will continue to urge American firms that are still doing business in South Africa to play a progressive role in training and empowering blacks, and building a foundation for future prosperity. . . .
Our sanctions have been designed to support change. And when the conditions laid down in our law have been met, then and only then will we consider, in consultation with the Congress, whether a change in course will promote further progress through peaceful negotiations. . . .
Mr. Mandela, you said many years ago, before the first of your 10,000 days in prison, that there is no easy walk to freedom. Your years of suffering, your nation's suffering, have borne that out.
But just as this past year so many millions of people in Eastern Europe and elsewhere tasted freedom, so too South Africa's time will come. As Martin Luther King said on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial: "We cannot walk alone." Sir, we here in America walk in solidarity with all the South Africans who seek, through nonviolent means, democracy, human rights, and freedom.
Once again it is a sincere privilege to welcome you to the White House, and may God bless you and all the people of South Africa. Welcome, sir. Nelson Mandela
Mr. President, it is an honor and a pleasure for my wife, my delegation, and I to be welcomed by you. This is a continuation of the rousing welcome which we have received from the people of New York and Boston, black and white.
That welcome has far exceeded our wildest expectations. . . . That mood expresses the commitment of all the people of the United States of America to the struggle for the removal of apartheid.
One thing that is very clear, and it has been made even more clear in the remarks by the president, is that on the question of the removal of apartheid and the introduction of a non-racial democracy in our country, we are absolutely unanimous. . . . And this has been a source of great encouragement to our people.
To receive the support of any government is, in our situation, something of enormous importance. But to receive the support of the government of the United States of America, the leader of the West, is something beyond words.
If today we are confident that the dream which has inspired us all these years is about to be realized, it is in very large measure because of the support we have got from the masses of the people of the United States of America, and, in particular, from the government and from the president.
There are very important political developments that have taken place in our country today and it is my intention to brief the president as fully as possible on these developments. We are doing so because it is necessary for him to understand not only in broad outline what is happening in our country; he must be furnished with the details which may not be so available to the public, so that the enormous assistance that he has given us should be related to the actual developments in the country.
I will also ask the president to maintain sanctions, because it is because of sanctions that such enormous progress has been made in the attempt to address the problems of our country. I will also inform him about developments as far as the armed struggle is concerned. The remarks that he has made here are due to the fact that he has not yet got a proper briefing from us.
I might just state, in passing, that the methods of political action which are used by the black people of South Africa were determined by the South African government. As long as the government is prepared to talk, to maintain channels of communication between itself and the governed, there can be no question of violence whatsoever.
But when a government decides to ban political organizations of the oppressed, intensifies oppression, and does not allow any free political activity, no matter how peaceful and nonviolent, then the people have no alternative but to resort to violence.
There is not a single political organization in our country inside and outside parliament which can ever compare with the African National Congress in its total commitment to peace. If we are forced to resort to violence, it is because we had no other alternative whatsoever.
But even in this regard, there have been significant developments, which I hope to brief the president on. . . .
I am going to urge on the president not to do anything without full consultation with the ANC in regard to any initiative which he might propose to take in order to help the peace process in the country. . . .
Finally, Mr. President, I would like to congratulate you and President Gorbachev for the magnificent efforts that you are making in order to reduce international tensions, and to promote peace.
It is my hope that governments throughout the world will follow your example and attempt to settle problems between governments and between governments and dissidents inside each country by peaceful methods. You and Comrade Gorbachev have opened a chapter in world history which might well be regarded as a turning point in many respects.
And here we congratulate you and wish you every success.