Richard Nixon photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of George Bush as United States Representative to the United Nations.

February 26, 1971

Mr. Vice President, Members of the Congress, members of the Cabinet, and all of our distinguished guests today:

We are gathered here to swear in a new Ambassador from the United States to the United Nations. In swearing him in, I am glad to see that not only are members of the Cabinet here and other distinguished guests but Members of the Congress with whom he has served.

I have been reminded this morning of an anecdote from history by the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Wilbur Mills, with whom I have just had breakfast, along with the ranking member, John Byrnes, which I think is very appropriate in view of the fact that former Congressman Bush, now to be the Ambassador to the United Nations, was a member of that very distinguished committee.

Chairman Mills pointed out that William McKinley at one time had been defeated for office in Ohio running for the Congress on the issue of the tariff. He had been a member of the Ways and Means Committee and had gotten on the wrong side of that issue, on the liberal side, incidentally, as a matter of fact liberal trade policies, and had been defeated.

Two years later, however, William McKinley went on to be elected as Governor of Ohio, and then went on to be elected as President of the United States.

Now, I don't know whether Chairman Mills was suggesting that defeat, therefore, was good for George Bush and that his future may be somewhat like William McKinley's.

I do, however, think it is appropriate to say that George Bush, a man who has served with such distinction in the House of Representatives, who ran for the Senate of the United States and was not successful, is still now available for public service at the very highest level, as Ambassador to the United Nations, a post that has been held with such distinction by Ambassador Yost during this Administration and by predecessors in the past.

The fact that one door has been closed for him opens another door, a door of service for him and also for the United States of America, a representative of whom we can all be proud, representing the United States and working in the cause of peace in the United Nations in the years ahead.

For that reason, at this time I am very proud to present him for the purpose of having him sworn in in this position, to wish him well, and to say on this occasion that the United Nations, the organization to which he will be accredited, has the support of the United States.

There are those who look at the United Nations record over the last 25 years and appropriately point out that the world still has a lot of problems and a lot of crises. Cabot Lodge1 used to say, "Let us suppose that we had not had the United Nations. How many more problems and how many more crises would we have had?" And, of course, he is exactly right.

1 Henry Cabot Lodge, United States Representative to the United Nations 1953-60.

We do not expect our new Ambassador and all of his colleagues at the United Nations to solve all the world's problems in its next 25 years at the United Nations any more than it did in the past 25 years. But the world will be safer; the world will be a better place in which to live because of what dedicated men like George Bush do at the United Nations.

Now, Mr..Justice Stewart, an old friend of the Bushes, will swear in the new Ambassador.

[At this point, Associate Justice Potter Stewart of the Supreme Court administered the oath of office. The President then resumed speaking.]

Incidentally, I just want to be sure that I see that the record is clear with regard to the now Ambassador Bush. When I told the little story about Wilbur Mills, I am not suggesting what office you should seek and at what time. [Laughter]

AMBASSADOR BUSH. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, distinguished members of the Cabinet, including my new boss, Secretary Rogers, distinguished Members of Congress, including my two teachers, Wilbur Mills and Johnny Byrnes, and other distinguished guests:

This is indeed a great honor for me, of course, and I recognize the heavy responsibility of this job. One can't help but read the President's statement of yesterday, the comprehensive statement, on foreign affairs, and not be brought face-to-face with some of the tremendous problems that will be facing me in this new role, and our very competent staff at the U.S. Mission at the United Nations. But I can think of no greater challenge today.

I am told, Mr. President, it will be a very frustrating experience.

I have just returned from .o weeks 'visiting the international organizations around the world. But I don't suppose that anything worthwhile is not difficult, and I don't suppose anything worthwhile will not have its frustrations.

Yesterday I attended my first Four Power meeting, sitting in with my very able predecessor, Ambassador Charles Yost. I had a taste, I guess, of what will be forthcoming.

But, I think, given the confidence of the President and the Secretary in the United Nations that the President has expressed today and, I think, given the changing directions in the world and the things that are going on, I can think of nothing that will be more exciting, on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour basis, than working for peace at the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. President, for this great honor.

THE PRESIDENT. I know that you will all want to congratulate the new Ambassador and Mrs. Bush. Mrs. Nixon and I will join them in the Grand Hall to receive you, for those who have the time to do so.

I understand some early morning refreshments are available there.

The Ambassador will have to get used to the later refreshments that he has later in the day. [Laughter]

Note: The President spoke at 10:07 a.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Swearing In of George Bush as United States Representative to the United Nations. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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