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Remarks on Arrival at Brussels, Belgium

June 25, 1974

Your Majesty, Mr. Secretary, and all of our distinguished guests:

Your Majesty, I wish to express our grateful appreciation for your gracious welcome, and also for your eloquent words with regard to the hopes we all share for building a structure of peace in the world.

And it is indeed an honor for me to join with my colleagues in the Atlantic Alliance in tomorrow reaffirming our dedication to the great principles of that alliance. What we must all recognize is that the Atlantic Alliance has been indispensable in keeping the peace in Europe for the past 25 years.

As you have noted, this visit to Brussels comes midway between two other visits, the first to the Mideast and the next to the Soviet Union. It is significant that this is the case, because this symbolizes the central role that the Atlantic Alliance plays in pursuing our goal of a lasting peace in the world. Without the Alliance, it is doubtful that the detente would have begun, and without continuing a strong alliance, it is doubtful if the detente would continue.

It is also very significant that this meeting will take place in Brussels, now the capital of Europe, and in Belgium, a nation which has suffered so much in two World Wars. And I am sure that all of those attending the meeting tomorrow will have in their hearts these sentiments that we wish that whatever we do there and whatever decisions we make and whatever we say may contribute to the goal we seek, not only for each of our own countries but for all nations in the world, a peace that will last.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 8:40 p.m. at Melsbroek Military Airport in response to the remarks of welcome by King Baudouin. Following the President's remarks, NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns spoke.

The remarks of welcome by King Baudouin and Secretary-General Luns were as follows:


Mr. President:

Because Belgium has for several years been the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, during which time it has also been the host of the European Communities, it is my duty and pleasure to welcome you again this evening on the soil of my country.

You have just completed a tour in the Middle East in the course of which the happy results of untiring diplomacy have been confirmed. We all hope that the efforts made will be the prelude to final peace in that region.

In 2 days' time you will be in Moscow, where you will carry on conversations the outcome of which is important for us all. Before starting them, you have desired not only to come here to sign the Ottawa Declaration of Atlantic Relations, which again precisely states our convergent objectives, but also to make confident contacts with the heads of the governments of friendly and allied nations in order to explain your views and obtain their opinion.

We are delighted with the action you have taken. It shows once more that however much times may change, there is still between our peoples the same fundamental understanding based on so many common memories, and so many peaceful contests or deplorably cruel battles waged side by side, and on faith in the same essential values.

Mr. President, throughout the world all men feel increasingly bound together by the same destiny. We know that they eagerly wish hostilities to cease, tensions to be reduced, and a just and lasting peace to be established.

We wish you and Mrs. Nixon a cordial welcome and express our hopes for the success of the work we shall carry out together.


Your Majesties, Mr. President:

It is with very great pleasure that I welcome you, Mr. President, on your arrival in Brussels for the forthcoming high-level meeting of the North Atlantic Council.

It is 5 years since you last sat in the Council that was in Washington. Then, you spoke of entering into negotiations with the Soviet Union on a wide range of issues on the basis of full consultation and cooperation with American allies.

In the 5 intervening years, aided by your distinguished Secretary of State, you have given dramatic effect to that policy.

As His Majesty has just remarked, you come from the Middle East, where your journey has opened new prospects for the future in that area and for the world at large. You go on to Moscow to take one more step along the road of negotiation with the Soviet Union.

Tomorrow you will consult with your friends and allies and sign with them the Declaration on Atlantic Relations. Your visit will once again mark a page in the history of the Council and of our Alliance.

Later in the evening, the President and Mrs. Nixon called on King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola at the Royal Palace. The President then met at the Royal Palace with Belgian Prime Minister Leo Tindemans and Foreign Minister Renaat Van Elslande.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Arrival at Brussels, Belgium Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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