Secretary Kissinger, Secretary Rumsfeld, Ambassador Strausz-Hupe, General Scowcroft, members of the diplomatic corps, ladies and gentlemen:
We have planned this ceremony here in the Rose Garden today in order to emphasize once again the importance that the United States attaches to our friendship and solidarity with our NATO Allies.
For over a quarter of a century, NATO has served as a bulwark of Western defenses. It has successfully deterred aggression against the North Atlantic community. The United States is totally committed to the NATO alliance. It is a cornerstone of our foreign policy--has been and is and will be in 1976-as it has been over a quarter of a century, and as it will continue to be in the future. Secretary Kissinger shares my own very deep conviction for and dedication to the alliance.
The man we have chosen to represent us in this Council exemplifies the strength of our commitment. Robert Strausz-Hupe has had a long and very distinguished career as a scholar, a writer, and a diplomat. Through his writings and his deeds, he has amply demonstrated an understanding of the active, demanding role that the United States must play in the world and the continuing responsibilities we must bear for our collective defense.
Mr. Strausz-Hupe will be reporting to the NATO headquarters in Brussels at a time when, among the allies themselves, there is a new sense of unity and solidarity. Yet, this is also a time when here in our own land there are those who question our military capability and our resolve as a nation. While I welcome open and honest debate about America's role in the world, I can only deplore those actions which tend to mislead not only our own people but our friends and adversaries abroad.
Mr. Ambassador, I ask that you carry from here a personal message from me to our friends in Europe. Tell them in clear and unmistakable terms, the United States today is the most powerful economic and anti-military force in the world, and we shall remain that way. The United States today is totally committed to the NATO Alliance. We have stood firm in the defense of liberty for two centuries, and we shall also always be faithful to that heritage.
And finally, the United States of America today, as in the past, is a true, reliable partner in the struggle for peace. We are a people who are true to our friends and to our bonds. We take pride in the way that Europe and America have joined to overcome adversity in the past. We shall continue now in building a new era of peace and rising prosperity in the future. To our many allies in Europe and elsewhere around the world, our hand is outstretched with hope and with confidence and with faith in our future together.
Now, let me ask Ambassador Catto to perform .the swearing in of our new Ambassador to the North Atlantic Council.