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Remarks on Arrival in Rome, Italy

September 27, 1970

Mr. President, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a very great honor for me, Mr. President, personally to be welcomed again to Rome, and you very appropriately have pointed out that to begin our trip to Europe in Rome is certainly a proper step to take, because as we come to Rome on this occasion we have an opportunity to renew discussions with you and members of your Government and to continue the cooperation and the friendship that has characterized the relations between our two countries for so many years.

I shall have the opportunity, too, to renew discussions with Pope Paul on international matters of common interest, and I shall have the opportunity to visit the American 6th Fleet and our NATO commanders as well, yours and ours, and to discuss there one of the primary indispensable principles of American foreign policy. And that principle is to maintain the necessary strength in the Mediterranean to preserve the peace against those who might threaten the peace.

The Mediterranean is the cradle of many great civilizations of the past, and we are determined that it shall not be the starting place of great wars in the future.

Italy which has the longest coastline of any nation in the Mediterranean, has, understandably, a tremendous stake in peace in the Mediterranean.

The great Italian patriot, Garibaldi, in writing to Abraham Lincoln in 1863, identified himself among the free children of Columbus. Mr. President, we in America are proud to share that common heritage, and as we share that common heritage of the past, we are proud to work with you in seeing that that heritage of freedom for our children will be preserved in the future.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 9:20 p.m. in the Salone Delle Feste in the Quirinale Palace in response to the welcoming remarks of President Giuseppe Saragat.

President Saragat spoke in Italian. A translation of his remarks which was posted for the press follows:

Mr. President:

I am glad to express to you, to Mrs. Nixon, and to the members of your suite the warmest welcome on behalf of the Italian Government and people and on my own behalf.

We greet you today not only as the President of the United States of America--a great country which is intimately linked to us by ties of blood, of history, of common civilization, and of alliance--but also as a statesman engaged in the maintenance of peace and in its defense.

The fact that you have decided to start your journey in Europe from Rome and Italy is not without significance for us.

Because of her central position and her role in the Mediterranean, Italy is in fact vitally interested in seeing that stability, security, and peace prevail on the shores of this sea.

I am deeply convinced that the exchanges of views which you are about to have with us will contribute to render our collaboration even more harmonious and effective--and this in order to explore all the avenues leading to the attainment of the objectives which should guarantee the peaceful development of the Mediterranean peoples.

Your visit is also further evidence of the cordial friendship existing between our two countries and of the common will to strengthen and develop it.

During your all too brief stay in Italy we will certainly have the possibility to discuss a number of problems of common interest, and to continue a cooperation which has already brought and still brings concrete results. We are certain that it will continue to be fruitful, and more so in this difficult moment in which, however, we are even, more committed to work for a just and lasting peace.

Thank you, President Nixon, for being in Italy today, in the Mediterranean on a mission of justice and peace.

Richard Nixon, Remarks on Arrival in Rome, Italy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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