Jimmy Carter photo

Remarks on Arrival at Heathrow Airport in London, England

May 05, 1977

I'm very proud to come to London, Great Britain, as the first country that I have visited outside my own. Nation as President of the United States.

It's not an accident that this is my first overseas trip because of the historical ties that have always bound the United States of America and the United Kingdom together in a special and very precious relationship. Our political system, our sense of justice, the pride that we take in individuality and human freedom, our system of laws came from Great Britain.

We have a special mutual commitment toward world peace, toward addressing in a courageous fashion the special problems that afflict human beings in the need for better health care and better education and jobs so that we won't be robbed by inflation.

I'm looking forward tomorrow to going to Newcastle and also to Washington to visit the ancestral home of our own first President, George Washington. This is symbolic of the ties that have always bound us together. My own ancestors came from England more than 300 years ago. And many of my own personal neighbors and friends trace their lineage and their background and their commitment to human. values to this great country.

It's also a proper place for the leaders of some of the industrial nations of the world to assemble here in London. This is the first time that an American President has been able to visit Great Britain since you assumed, Mr. Prime Minister, such a strong position in the European Community. You're now the leader of that community, and it is entirely appropriate that I and you and five other national leaders should come here to discuss matters of common import.

I'd like to say also that we are deeply grateful in the United States for your recent visit to Washington, when we had a chance to discuss matters of importance to our people and to form a friendship in a personal way that will be valued by me the rest of my life. And we are especially grateful that your own Queen, Her Majesty, was able to come to our country last year when we celebrated our Bicentennial birthday. And I'm very grateful to be able to come over here on the special occasion that you will celebrate this year, her Silver Jubilee. And although I can't be here on the exact date, I hope that a member of my family or maybe more than one can come here to represent our country, to add congratulations to your wonderful leader. These are the kinds of thoughts that go through my mind.

I'm looking forward to my visit here, which will be all too brief, but I hope that when I leave, having enjoyed your own hospitality, that the ties that bind our countries together will be even stronger than they have been in the past.

So, I hope the weather is good tomorrow when we go to northern England, and if it's not, I'm sure the warmth of the people as they receive you and me together will make us forget about the weather itself.

I'm really looking forward to this visit, and I again want to thank you and your wife and the other government leaders for welcoming me here to an occasion which I've been looking forward to for many many months.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 10:08 p.m. at Heathrow Airport, where he was greeted by Prime Minister James Callaghan. Following his remarks, the President motorcaded to Winfield House, the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, where he stayed during his visit in London.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks on Arrival at Heathrow Airport in London, England Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/244051

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