Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at Andrews Air Force Base on Departing for Europe.

February 23, 1969

Mr. Vice President, Mr. Ambassador and your distinguished colleagues, all of the distinguished Members of the House and the Senate:

I want all of you to know how grateful I am that on this rainy Sunday morning at such an early hour you have come to send me off on this trip to Europe. And as I leave I know that this trip is one which has created a great deal of interest, both in the United States and Europe.

It is a trip, I wish to emphasize, which is not intended and will not settle all of the problems we have in the world. The problems we face are too complex and too difficult to be settled by what I would call the "showboat" diplomacy.

On the other hand, before we can make progress with the problems with which we have differences with our opponents, it is necessary to consult with our friends. And we are going to have real consultation because we seek not only their support but their advice and their counsel on the grave problems that we face in the world--the problem of Vietnam, of the Mideast, monetary problems, all the others that may cause difficulties between nations.

One note I would like to leave with this group before we take off. I have found that many who have written me have expressed concern about the possibility of demonstrations abroad. And my answer was eloquently given by a letter I received from a friend in Berlin. He said that 95 percent of the people in Berlin were glad that we were coming and 5 percent of the people did not want us to come.

And so it is in the world today. The fact that there are demonstrations or the possibility of demonstrations cannot deter anyone who goes abroad to seek new solutions to the problems that block peace in the world. And I can assure all of our friends abroad that we look forward to their welcome. We will not be deterred by the fact that a few do not want us to come.

We will remember that the great majority of the people here in the United States, as indicated by this bipartisan send-off, and the great majority of people in Europe and in the world want peace and they want the statesmen of the world to do everything they can to seek peace.

This is the first step in what we hope will be a long series of steps that will take us down the road toward better understanding between nations.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 7:47 a.m. at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. In his opening words he referred to Ambassador Guillermo Sevilla-Sacasa of Nicaragua, who was Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at Andrews Air Force Base on Departing for Europe. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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