John F. Kennedy photo

Remarks at the Campidoglio in Rome.

July 01, 1963

Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen:

I want to bring to you, and through you, to the people of Italy, the warmest best wishes of my fellow countrymen, millions of whom are of Italian descent. In fact, as President of the United States, I represent two or three times as many Americans of direct Italian descent than the Mayor does. So I bring you the greetings of 20 American cities named Florence, 15 American cities called Milan, 9 named Piedmont, 7 called Venice, 7 called Rome, and 1 even called Italy, Tex.

I have come to Europe, and I conclude my trip to Europe tomorrow, because I believe strongly that the Atlantic Ocean should be to all of us, on the east and the west side of it, a mare nostrum, that it should be a common bond, and that it is essential for the maintenance of freedom in both of our continents and, indeed, around the world, that the United States and Canada, and Europe, should work in the closest harmony.

For 18 years the United States and Italy, and our other allies, have worked closely together. In many ways now, the cause of freedom is stronger in the world than it has been since 1945. I therefore believe it more essential than ever that Italy, the United States, the other members of NATO, and, indeed, all people, recommit themselves to the cause of freedom, which I believe to be essential to the cause of progress.

Thank you for your welcome. I can tell you that your former countrymen who are now my countrymen are doing well and think of you often.

Thank you.

Note: In his opening words the President referred to Glauco Della Porta, Mayor of Rome.

John F. Kennedy, Remarks at the Campidoglio in Rome. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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