Jimmy Carter photo

Brussels, Belgium Remarks Following the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council.

January 06, 1978

SECRETARY GENERAL LUNS. Ladies and gentlemen, the President.

THE PRESIDENT. That's one of the briefest speeches that you've ever made, Secretary General Luns. And I want to say almost equally briefly that the NATO alliance is one that's precious to the American people. Our involvement in it is supported almost unanimously in our country.

I've been deeply gratified at the resurgence of commitment and tangible support for NATO military strength among all the members of the alliance. I gave them a detailed report about the progress that we are making in our negotiations with the Soviet Union on a wide range of subjects.

We want to understand the East-West relationship and to alleviate any potential tensions. Our commitment is not to war, it's to peace. We believe that the best way to preserve peace and to preserve those ideals and commitments, human rights of the Western allies is dependent upon the military capability which we exhibit. I pointed out to them the suffering that has taken place in Europe by our forces and those of our other allies in previous wars, and the fact that we never want to see this happen again, and that a close support and a constant commitment to mutual defense is the best way to prevent additional war.

I gave the ambassadors, the Secretary General, and the military officials an up-to-date account of my own visit, a report on progress that has already taken place and might take place in the Middle East. We covered the economic strength of our own country, the close ties that bind us together not only militarily but politically and economically.

We had a question-and-answer session where several of the ambassadors pointed out to me particular points of interest to the United States, and I responded to their comments as well. It was a very fruitful exchange, and in less than 2 hours we covered these ranges of interest which have been important to all.

At the end I told our allies who were represented there that we have nothing to conceal from them; they are partners in every sense of the word. And we have had our Secretary of Defense, our Secretary of State, the Vice President—just a few hours after I became President—and now myself come here to the NATO Headquarters to let our allies know that the alliance is indeed intimate and one that's unconstrained and, if any question in the future ever arises about SALT negotiations, tactical weapons, budget plans, soundness of the dollar, that they only need to contact me directly, if necessary, and they'll get an immediate answer.

I think any concerns have been alleviated, and I leave here with a great sense of trust and a great sense of appreciation for not only the strength of the alliance in the past, the ties that have bound us together philosophically and politically and morally, but also with a sense of assurance about the future.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:40 p.m. in the main hallway at NATO Headquarters.

Jimmy Carter, Brussels, Belgium Remarks Following the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244507

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