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Remarks at the Swearing In of Walter E. Washington as Mayor of the District of Columbia.

February 22, 1973

Mr. Mayor:

It is very significant that you are being sworn in on Washington's birthday, here in the city of Washington on Washington's birthday--to swear in Mayor Washington for his third term, and also, he is, as we all know, the first mayor of Washington.

I think history may record we can't write it instantly, but in the future--that he could well have been the best mayor that Washington has had, because it will be very hard to exceed his record.

I am very proud of the progress that has been made since the Mayor has held this position. I think of the many problems we had in 1969. We haven't solved them all, but the people who visit Washington now have a somewhat different sense about the city than they had then. The city is safer than it was, the city is more beautiful. It has always been a beautiful city, but it is more beautiful than it was. The leadership that the Mayor has provided has been indispensable in this progress.

That is the beginning. We have 4 more years until that 200th anniversary, and, of course, Washington will be the center of that, and we expect to follow the Mayor's leadership in making Washington on that day, July 4, 1976, the most beautiful city in the world, the most beautiful capital.

Another point that you might be interested in with regard to the Mayor's accepting his third term: He had served so well that we considered him for other positions. He was particularly considered not only for some domestic positions, which he could have handled extremely well with his legal background and his experience in so many areas, but also in the foreign field.

I am enormously impressed with the way that Mayor Washington and Mrs. Washington have so splendidly welcomed the heads of state and the heads of government when they have come here. They made us very proud by the great dignity, the poise with which they have met these distinguished visitors from abroad and have shown them what Washington is really like, in terms of its warm heart toward the people who come from all the nations of the world.

But as I looked over all the possibilities of other assignments here at home and as an ambassador abroad, I decided, and all of our staff agreed, that we need him here. This is the most important position, we think, that he can fill, and we are delighted he was willing to accept it. When the Mayor does decide--and we trust he has not decided--that he wants to give up his position, we have other assignments for you.

MAYOR WASHINGTON. Thank you so much, Mr. President. It is very beautiful and very generous of you, and I must say, I have the feeling, as you have indicated once, that we are in this together, that we are partners in making this great city even greater.

The achievements and improvements which you have spoken of could not possibly have been met without your full commitment to make this city the greatest. You have provided the resources, you have provided the encouragement, you have provided for me guidance that has made it possible for us to move ahead, and I would say to you, sir, that I look forward with a great deal of enthusiasm to your continued support through the next 4 years. And I am very sure that at the end of that time we will both be proud of this city as not only the greatest in this Nation, but the greatest in the world.

That is the objective that I am setting out on in my third term, and I know that we are going to achieve that objective, and this will be a model for the entire world as well as the Nation.

Mr. President, I pledge you that enthusiasm and that commitment.

THE PRESIDENT. Mr. Mayor, I would only add, without bringing a note of too much levity in here, that when the Boy Scouts were in a minute ago they referred to the fact that I was somewhat known as a sportsman. I know you are, too. Let us just hope and perhaps even predict that before that year 1976 comes around that Washington will have won the Super Bowl.

MAYOR WASHINGTON. I am charging them up.

Note: The President spoke at 12:25 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.

Following the remarks, Judge Edward Allen Tatum of the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, administered the oath of office.

Richard Nixon, Remarks at the Swearing In of Walter E. Washington as Mayor of the District of Columbia. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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