the People of Poland
Wawel Royal Castle
May 31, 2003
12:18 P.M. (L)
My friend, Mr. President. It's really good to be with you again and, of course,
the First Lady. Mr. Prime Minister, Your Eminence, distinguished guests, citizens
of Poland. I'm honored to be in the city of Krakow, where so many landmarks
give witness to Poland's history and Poland's faith.
From this castle, Polish kings ruled for centuries in a tradition of tolerance.
Below this hill lies the market square, where Kosciuszko swore loyalty to
the first democratic constitution of Europe. And at Wawel Cathedral in 1978,
a Polish Cardinal began his journey to a conclave in Rome, and entered history
as Pope John Paul II -- one of the greatest moral leaders of our time. (Applause.)
In all the tests and hardship Poland has known, the soul of the Polish people
has always been strong. Mrs. Bush and I are pleased to make our second visit
to this beautiful country, and we bring with us the friendship and the good
wishes of the American people. (Applause.)
In Warsaw two years ago, I affirmed the commitment of my country to a united
Europe, bound to America by close ties of history, of commerce and of friendship.
I said that Europe must finally overturn the bitter legacy of Yalta and remove
the false boundaries and spheres of influence that divided this continent
for too long.
We have acted on this commitment. Poland, the United States and our allies
have agreed to extend NATO eastward and southward, bringing the peace and
security of our alliance to the young democracies of Europe. (Applause.)
And as the Atlantic alliance has expanded, it has also been tested. America
and European countries have been called to confront the threat of global
terror. Each nation has faced difficult decisions about the use of military
force to keep the peace. We have seen unity and common purpose. We have also
seen debate -- some of it healthy, some of it divisive.
I have come to Krakow to state the intentions of my country. The United
States is committed to a strong Atlantic alliance, to ensure our security,
to advance human freedom and to keep peace in the world. (Applause.) Poland
struggled for decades to gain freedom and to fully participate in life in
Europe. And soon you will be a member of the European Union.
You also struggled to become a full member of the Atlantic alliance, yet
you have not come all this way -- through occupations and tyranny and brave
uprisings -- only to be told that you must now choose between Europe and
America. Poland is a good citizen of Europe and Poland is a close friend
of America -- (applause) -- and there is no conflict between the two. (Applause.)
America owes our moral heritage of democracy and tolerance and freedom to
Europe. We have sacrificed for those ideals together, in the great struggles
of the past. In the second world war, the forces of freedom came together
to defeat Nazism. In the Cold War, our transatlantic alliance opposed imperial
communism. And today our alliance of freedom faces a new enemy, a lethal
combination of terrorist groups, outlaw states seeking weapons of mass destruction,
and an ideology of power and domination that targets the innocent and justifies
This is a time for all of us to unite in the defense of liberty and to
step up to the shared duties of free nations. This is no time to stir up
divisions in a great alliance. (Applause.)
For America, our resolve to fight terror was firmly set on a single day
of violence and sorrow. The attacks of September the 11th, 2001, changed
my country. On that morning, the American people saw the hatred of our enemies
and the future of grief they intend for us. The American government accepted
a mission to strike and defeat the terror network and to hold accountable
all who harbor it and all who support it.
For my country, the events of September the 11th were as decisive as the
attack on Pearl Harbor and the treachery of another September in 1939. (Applause.)
And the lesson of all those events is the same: aggression and evil intent
must not be ignored or appeased; they must be opposed early and decisively.
We are striving for a world in which men and women can live in freedom and
peace, instead of fear and chaos. And every civilized nation has a stake
in the outcome. By waging this fight together, we will speed the day of final
One of the main fronts in this war is right here in Europe, where al Qaeda
used the cities as staging areas for their attacks. Europe's capable police
forces and intelligence services are playing essential roles in hunting the
terrorists. And Poland has led the effort to increase anti-terror cooperation
amongst central and eastern European nations. And America is grateful. (Applause.)
Some challenges of terrorism, however, cannot be met with law enforcement
alone. They must be met with direct military action. The Taliban regime in
Afghanistan chose to support and harbor al Qaeda terrorists. And so that
regime is no more. The dictator in Iraq pursued weapons of mass murder, cultivated
ties to terror and defied the demands of the United Nations -- so his regime
has been ended.
In the battles of Afghanistan and Iraq, Polish forces served with skill
and honor. America will not forget that Poland rose to the moment. Again
you have lived out the words of the Polish motto: for your freedom and ours.
In order to win the war on terror, our alliances must be strong. (Applause.)
Poland and America are proud members of NATO, and NATO must be prepared to
meet the challenges of our time. This is a matter of capability and a matter
of will. Our common security requires European governments to invest in modern
military capabilities, so our forces can move quickly with a precision that
can strike the guilty and spare the innocent.
NATO must show resolve and foresight to act beyond Europe, and it has begun
to do so. NATO has agreed to lead security forces in Afghanistan and to support
our Polish allies in Iraq. A strong NATO alliance, with a broad vision of
its role, will serve our security and the cause of peace.
The greatest threat to peace is the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological
weapons. And we must work together to stop proliferation. The countries of
the G8 committed last year to aiding Russia and others in securing and eliminating
deadly weapons that remain from the Soviet era. I welcome Poland's decision
to join this effort.
And I call on America's G8 partners to follow through on their financial
commitments so that we can stop proliferation at one of its sources. When
weapons of mass destruction or their components are in transit, we must have
the means and authority to seize them. So today I announce a new effort to
fight proliferation called the Proliferation Security Initiative. The United
States and a number of our close allies, including Poland, have begun working
on new agreements to search planes and ships carrying suspect cargo and to
seize illegal weapons or missile technologies. Over time, we will extend
this partnership as broadly as possible to keep the world's most destructive
weapons away from our shores and out of the hands of our common enemies.
In the last 20 months, the world has seen the determination of my country
and many others to fight terror. Yet, armed force is always the last resort.
And Americans know that terrorism is not defeated by military power alone.
We believe that the ultimate answer to hatred is hope. And as we fight the
forces of terror, we must also change the conditions in which terror can
Terrorism is often bread in failing states, so we must help nations in crisis
to build a civil society of free institutions. The ideology of terror takes
hold in an atmosphere of resentment and hopelessness, so we must help men
and women around the world to build lives of purpose and dignity.
In the long-term, we add to our security by helping to spread freedom and
alleviate suffering. And this sets a broad agenda for nations on both sides
of the Atlantic. In Africa, the spread of HIV/AIDS threatens millions, and
the stability of an entire continent. The United States has undertaken a
comprehensive, $15 billion effort to prevent AIDS and to treat AIDS and provide
humane care for its victims. I urge our partners in Europe to make a similar
commitment, so we can work together in turning the tide against AIDS. (Applause.)
Global hunger is a chronic challenge, and we have a crisis in Africa. The
United States is establishing an emergency fund so we can rush help to countries
where the first signs of famine appear. The nations of Europe can greatly
help in this effort, with emergency funds of their own. I hope European governments
will reconsider policies that discourage farmers in developing countries
from using safe biotechnology to feed their own people. (Applause.)
Wealthy nations have the responsibility to help the developing world and
to make certain our help is effective. Through the Millennium Challenge Account,
I have proposed a 50 percent increase in America's core development assistance.
This aid will go to where it will do the most good -- not to corrupt elites
but to nations that are ruled justly, nations that invest in the health and
education of their people, and nations that encourage economic freedom. (Applause.)
If European governments will adopt the same standards, we can work side-by-side
in providing the kind of development aid that helps transform entire societies.
One of the greatest sources of development and growth in any society is trade.
America and Europe should lead the effort to bring down global trade barriers.
A world that trades in freedom can bring millions of people into a growing
circle of prosperity. And America and Europe must work closely to develop
and apply new technologies that will improve our air and water quality, and
protect the health of the world's people. (Applause.)
America and Europe are called to advance the cause of freedom and peace,
and these two commitments are inseparable. It is human rights and private
property, the rule of law and free trade and political openness that undermine
the appeal of extremism and create the stable environment that peace requires.
We are determined to demonstrate the power of these ideals in the reconstruction
of Afghanistan and Iraq. And these ideals will provide the foundation for
a reformed and peaceful and independent Palestinian state.
Today in the Middle East, the emergence of new Palestinian leadership, which
has condemned terror, is a hopeful sign that the parties can agree to two
states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security.
Early next week I will go to the Middle East to meet with the Palestinian
and Israeli Prime Ministers, and other leaders in the region. I will remind
them that the work ahead will require difficult decisions. I will remind
them that for peace to prevail, all leaders must fight terrorism and shake
off old arguments and old ways. No leader of conscience can accept more months
and years of humiliation and killing and mourning. I will do all that I can
to help the parties reach an agreement, and then to see that that agreement
is enforced. (Applause.)
To meet these goals of security and peace and a hopeful future for the developing
world, we welcome, we need the help, the advice and the wisdom of our European
friends and allies. (Applause.)
New theories of rivalry should not be permitted to undermine the great principles
and obligations that we share. The enemies of freedom have always preferred
a divided alliance -- because when Europe and America are united, no problem
and no enemy can stand against us. (Applause.)
Within an hour's journey of this castle lies a monument to the darkest impulses
of man. Today, I saw Auschwitz, the sites of the Holocaust and Polish martyrdom;
a place where evil found its willing servants and its innocent victims. One
boy imprisoned there was branded with the number A70713. Returning to Auschwitz
a lifetime later, Elie Wiesel recalled his first night in the camp: I asked
myself, God, is this the end of your people, the end of mankind, the end
of the world?
With every murder, a world was ended. And the death camps still bear witness.
They remind us that evil is real and must be called by name and must be opposed.
All the good that has come to this continent -- all the progress, the prosperity,
the peace -- came because beyond the barbed wire there were people willing
to take up arms against evil. (Applause.)
And history asks more than memory, because hatred and aggression and murderous
ambitions are still alive in the world. Having seen the works of evil firsthand
on this continent, we must never lose the courage to oppose it everywhere.
Through the years of the Second World War, another legacy of the 20th century
was unfolding, here in this city of Krakow. A young seminarian, Karol Wojtyla,
saw the swastika flag flying over the ramparts of Wawel Castle. He shared
the suffering of his people and was put into forced labor. From this priest's
experience and faith came a vision: that every person must be treated with
dignity, because every person is known and loved by God.
In time, this man's vision and this man's courage would bring fear to tyrants
and freedom to his beloved country, and liberation to half a continent. To
this very hour, Pope John Paul II speaks for the dignity of every life and
expresses the highest aspirations of the culture we share. Europe and America
will always be joined by more than our interests. Ours is a union of ideals
and convictions. We believe in human rights, and justice under law, and self-government,
and economic freedom tempered by compassion.
We do not own these beliefs, but we have carried them through the centuries.
We will advance them further and we will defend them together. (Applause.)
Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for your friendship. May God bless
this great nation, and may God bless the Polish people. (Applause.)