Carter's Speech Before Departing for Middle East
00:06:39 - 00:11:01
President JIMMY CARTER assumes the podium on the South Lawn of White House. ROSALYN CARTER and WALTER MONDALE standing behind him. President Jimmy Carter: "Nothing could give me more encouragement and a more gratifying sense than to have surround me here not only the Vice President but the distinguished Members of Congress. I leave tonight on a new mission in the service of the oldest of human dreams, the dream of peace. And nowhere is this hope for peace more fervent, more alive than in the Middle East; nowhere is the path to its realization more difficult; nowhere might the price of failure be more terrible. Peace remains the goal of President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin and of the great peoples of Egypt and of Israel. I know that they share my determination that these long negotiations will bring fruit. The Middle East has suffered too much and too long from war and from the fear of war. Arabs and Israelis alike must now understand that bloodshed and deprivation and death can never settle their differences, can never be the path toward renewal and hope. For the first time in a generation, peace in the Middle East has come within reach. President Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, his great and courageous reception by Prime Minister Begin, the reciprocal visit by the Prime Minister to Egypt, all opened the way toward possible progress. At Camp David, we then worked together for 13 days to forge a political framework within which their differences might be resolved. Our negotiations have been and are based on the idea that peace can only be achieved when we meet the legitimate needs of all those who are affected by the conflict. Real peace will not come with a single treaty, important as it would be. But a treaty between Egypt and Israel is an indispensable step toward the broader comprehensive peace that we all seek. Negotiation is a long and tedious process, I know from personal experience. But there are times when making peace demands more courage than making war. I believe that President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin possess that special kind of courage and that they possess, as well, the vision and the statesmanship to redeem the great hope which they themselves have helped to create. So, it is with hope that I depart, hope tempered by sober realism. As a friend of Egypt and a friend of Israel, we will do our best to help them achieve the peace that they have paid for in blood many times over. In doing this, in seeking to lay the basis for a stable and a peaceful Middle East, we will also be serving our own deepest national interests and the interests of all the people of the world. I know that in this endeavor, I take with me the prayers and the good wishes of the American people. In the difficult work that lies ahead, I will draw strength and sustenance from those worldwide prayers and from your support. Thank you very much. Goodbye, everybody, I'm on my way."