Remarks by President Bush yesterday afternoon on the situation in Lithuania and the other Baltic states:
Well, I've been following the situation in Lithuania and the other Baltic states closely. The turn of events there is deeply disturbing. There is no justification for the use of force against peaceful and democratically elected governments, and the brave people and the leaders of the Baltic states have, indeed, acted with dignity and restraint. The thoughts and prayers of the people of the United States are with them, and particularly with the Lithuanian people who have experienced a great tragedy.
For several years now, the Soviet Union has been on a course of democratic and peaceful change, and we've supported that effort, and stated repeatedly how much we admire the Soviet leaders who chose that path. Indeed, change in the Soviet Union has helped to create a basis for unprecedented cooperation and partnership between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The events that we're witnessing now are completely inconsistent with that course. The progress of reform in the U.S.S.R. has been an essential element in the improvement of U.S.-Soviet relations. Events like those now taking place in the Baltic states threaten to set back or perhaps even reverse the process of reform, which is so important in the world in the development of the new international order.
We condemn these acts, which could not help but affect our relationship. At this hour, the United States and the West will redouble our efforts to strengthen and encourage peaceful change in the Soviet Union.
Legitimacy is not built by force. It's earned by the consensus of the people, by openness, and by the protection of basic human and political rights.
So I ask the Soviet leaders to refrain from further acts that might lead to more violence and loss of life. I urge the Soviet government to return to a peaceful course of negotiations and dialogue with the legitimate governments of the Baltic states, and I did have an opportunity when I talked to President Gorbachev not so many hours ago to encourage the peaceful change there, and not the use of force.