"This is a new and different world. Not since 1945 have we seen the real possibility of using the United Nations as it was designed: as a center for international collective security.
"The changes in the Soviet Union have been critical to the emergence of a stronger United Nations. The U.S.-Soviet relationship is finally beyond containment and confrontation, and now we seek to fulfill the promise of mutually shared understanding. The long twilight struggle that for 45 years has divided Europe, our two nations, and much of the world has come to an end....
"...in this time of testing, a fundamental question must be asked, a question not for any one nation but for the United Nations. And the question is this:
Can we work together in a new partnership of nations? Can the collective strength of the world community, expressed by the United Nations, unite to deter and defeat aggression?...
"As a world community, we must act not only to deter the use of inhumane weapons like mustard and nerve gas but to eliminate the weapons entirely.... The United Nations can help bring about a new day, a day when these kinds of terrible weapons and the terrible despots who would use them are both a thing of the past.
"It is in our hands to leave these dark machines behind, in the Dark Ages where they belong, and to
press forward to cap a historic movement towards a new world order and a long era of peace.
We have a vision of a new partnership of nations that transcends the Cold War: a partnership based on
consultation, cooperation, and collective action, especially through international and regional organizations; a partnership united by principle and the rule of law and supported by an equitable sharing of both cost and commitment; a partnership whose goals are to increase democracy, increase prosperity, increase the peace, and reduce arms....
"I see a world of open borders, open trade and, most importantly,
open minds; a world that celebrates the common heritage that belongs to all the world's people, taking pride not just in hometown or homeland but in humanity itself. I see a world touched by a spirit like that of the Olympics, based not on competition that's driven by fear but sought out of joy and exhilaration and a true quest for excellence. And I see a world where democracy continues to win new friends and convert old foes and where the Americas -- North, Central, and South -- can provide a model for the future of all humankind: the
world's first completely democratic hemisphere. And I see a world building on the emerging
new model of European unity, not just Europe but the whole world whole and free....
"...now is the time of testing. And we must also show that the United Nations is the place to
build international support and consensus for meeting the other challenges we face.
The world remains a dangerous place; and our security and well-being often depends, in part, on events occurring far away. We need serious international cooperative efforts to make headway on the threats to the environment, on terrorism, on managing the debt burden, on fighting the scourge of international drug trafficking, and on refugees, and peacekeeping efforts around the world.
But the world also remains a hopeful place....
"Building on these and other initiatives, we must join together in a new compact -- all of us -- to bring the United Nations into the 21st century, and I call today for a major long-term effort to do so. We should build on the success... of our distinguished Secretary-General... my longtime colleague I might also say, Javier Perez de Cuellar.
"The United States is committed to playing its part, helping to
maintain global security, promoting democracy and prosperity. And my administration is fully committed to supporting the United Nations and to paying what we are obliged to pay by our commitment to the Charter....
"From this hour, from this day, from this hall, we step forth with a new sense of purpose, a new sense of possibilities. We stand together, prepared to swim upstream, to march uphill, to tackle the tough challenges as they come not only as the United Nations but as the
nations of the world united.
And so, let it be said of the final decade of the 20th century: This was a time when humankind came into its own, when we emerged from the grit and the smoke of the industrial age to bring about a
revolution of the spirit and the mind and began a journey into a new day, a new age, and a new partnership of nations.
The U.N. is now fulfilling its promise as the world's parliament of peace."
Note: The President spoke at 11:44 a.m. in the General Assembly Hall at the United Nations.