Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks to Members of the Diplomatic Corps at a Bicentennial Celebration.

July 20, 1976

Ladies and gentlemen of the diplomatic corps and distinguished guests:

Mrs. Ford and I are delighted to have all of you here on this occasion this evening. On behalf of the American people, I thank you for your very generous and enthusiastic response of your governments and your peoples on our 200th birthday of the United States of America.

Among the many Bicentennial events, this one has a very special significance. A unique aspect of America's development has been its relationship between our Nation and the other countries of the world. Our strength and character are derived from all corners of the globe. The Declaration of Independence addressed itself to the entire world.

Today, just as two centuries ago, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind continues to be our guide. America's strength and America's well-being arise from the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

In our country, we have united many races and many ethnic groups. And that unity, equality, and freedom will be maintained in the years ahead. Americans are convinced that constant devotion to the individual and national freedom is essential to the highest and finest human aspirations.

Americans have never been satisfied with the status quo. We see a future of steady movement toward a better life through prosperity and justice shared by all. We are proud of our success, and we are aware that no nation can pursue its prosperity in isolation. Our economies are closely linked. Neither security nor justice can be assured in a world tormented by deprivation and by suffering. The peoples of the world must, in our opinion, live in peace to prosper. As President, I will continue America's role of leadership throughout the world.

Our country could not have become what it is without the enormous contributions of the many nations all of you represent here this evening. Today, in this very special year, I speak for 215 million Americans in expressing thanks to all those nations with whom we have ties of family, of culture, of friendship, of trade and alliance. We rededicate ourselves to working with you and with all humanity. Together, let us seek a human community responsive to all citizens.

And now, would my good and old friend, His Excellency, the distinguished Ambassador of Nicaragua, dean of the diplomatic corps here in the National Capital, Ambassador Sevilla-Sacasa, please step forward.

In commemoration of America's Bicentennial, I am pleased to present to you, Your Excellency, as representative of the entire diplomatic corps, a gift that symbolizes the spirit of this very special year in America's history. It is a redwood carving bearing the American symbol, the Bald Eagle, and carrying the legend of America, "Out of Many, One." This token, I should say to all of you here, will be sent to each of you. Also, it represents how proud we are in 1976 to enjoy the friendship and the good will of all the countries that are represented here this evening.

Note: The President spoke at 10:04 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House where he and Mrs. Ford hosted the Bicentennial celebration for members of the diplomatic corps, Ambassadors to the Organization of American States, the congressional leadership, and members of the Cabinet.

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks to Members of the Diplomatic Corps at a Bicentennial Celebration. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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