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• Gerald R. Ford
Remarks at the Alexandria Police Association Picnic in Fairfax, Virginia.
September 7, 1974

WELL, thank you very, very much for the invitation to be here and the warm reception that I have received.

I wanted to come out here because it was one way that I could express my appreciation for the warm and kind things that were done by so many of the Alexandria Police Department, not only during those hectic weeks when I was Vice President and the even more hectic 8 or 10 days while we couldn't move out of where we were into where we are now.

But it was the wonderful opportunities that I and my wife and our four children had to live in Alexandria, to get to know the police department, the school system, the many nice people.

We have many fond memories of living in Alexandria, and we aren't going to sell our home. We are going to come back there. I don't know how soon. We like it and we like the people, and we are deeply grateful to the members of the Alexandria Police Force for all of the nice and many kind things that were done on our behalf.

And we apologize for the inconveniences, the extra hours, and any of the other problems that you went through.

When I decided to come out and have an opportunity to join with you in the crabfest, my schedule was put before me, and it indicated that I was to welcome some very distinguished guests from the Soviet Union who are here with me now, along with three of our American astronauts.

They are Soviet Union cosmonauts who have been in space and the American astronauts have likewise had that experience. And next July, in 1975, the cosmonauts, the two, and the three American astronauts will take off, the Soviet Union cosmonauts from their country, and our three from our country. And within 2 days, or whatever the time is, they will join up in space and will spend 2 days with their two space vehicles joined, and they will move back and forth between their spaceship and our spaceship.

This is not only a tremendous technological achievement but it is, I think, far broader in its implications and ramifications as far as the world is concerned.

We, as Americans, are very proud of our country; our friends from the Soviet Union are very proud of their country. And our two countries in very recent years have sought to work together in space, in the environment, in medicine, in many fields, including an effort to resolve differences in strategic arms.

I think all of us agree that the broader we can make our relationships in health, in environment, in space, and many other areas, the better it is for us here in America and for our friends in the Soviet Union.

So, I am honored to have the Ambassador from the Soviet Union, Mr. Anatoli Dobrynin, and his cosmonauts here this afternoon. They are your guests and I would like, Mr. Ambassador, for you, because I am not the best spokesman in the Russian language, if you would introduce--well, I will try, but if I don't do very well, then he will have to correct me.

First, this is the Ambassador from the Soviet Union, Mr. Anatoly Dobrynin. And the next is Major General Vladimir Shatalov--General Shatalov. And Colonel Aleksei Leonov--Colonel Leonov. And Mr. Valery Kubasov--Mr. Kubasov.

I think your warm welcome to them is indicative of the kind of friendship we have between peoples from the Soviet Union and the United States.

Now, I would like to introduce our three astronauts. First, Brigadier General Tom Stafford. Secondly, Deke Slayton. Where is Deke? And then Vance Brand. Where is Vance?

So, next July, I want you young people to understand this, next July the people you have met--one group being launched from the Soviet Union and the other group being launched from the United States of America--will meet way up in the heavens some place--where is it going to be? They are going to meet over Spain--I am sure for some technical reason, not for any other.

We have some other guests here. General Brent Scowcroft, who is the Deputy Director of the National Security Council, and Mr. Low, who is the deputy director of our National Aeronautics and Space Agency.1

1 George M. Low was Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Well, we enjoy the opportunity to be here. We look forward to some of that good crab. He said he would open the shells, or whatever you call them. Out in Michigan, we don't have crab. We have a few crabby people but not any crabs. [Laughter]

SGT. JOHN V. STREETER (picnic chairman). Mr. President, we have an officer on our police department that is a very talented artist. It is Officer Ned Thompson, and he has taken the time to draw this for you. If I may describe it to the people out here, because they have not seen it either.

It shows President Ford. He is standing there, and there is a poor, sad little fellow there with a sign. In one hand, he is holding the world, and it is all cracked up. And then in the other hand, he is holding a sign that says, "Fix it." [Laughter] Mr. President, God bless you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much.

Well, I hope all you young people, particularly, will get to know our astronauts and the Soviet cosmonauts. The astronauts have learned to speak some Russian and the cosmonauts have learned to speak some English, so you can either talk to them in Russian or English, either way you want. [Laughter]
Thank you very much, and we look forward to having a bite to eat.

Citation: Gerald R. Ford: "Remarks at the Alexandria Police Association Picnic in Fairfax, Virginia.", September 7, 1974. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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