Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of William W. Scranton as United States Representative to the United Nations.

March 15, 1976

Governor Scranton and Mary, Mr. Justice Stewart, Governor Ray, Members of the Congress, Cabinet, Diplomatic Corps, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a very great personal privilege and a very high honor to participate in the swearing in of an old friend, Bill Scranton, as the new Representative of the United States at the United Nations and as the newest member of my Cabinet.

I knew Bill as a strong internationalist when we were fellow students at Yale Law School. I knew him as a fellow Congressman who strongly supported such concepts as the Peace Corps and foreign aid. I knew Bill as a special assistant and an international troubleshooter for Secretaries of State John Foster Dulles and Christian Herter. I knew him as a Governor of a great State who broke deadlocks in disputes between differing interests. And therefore, I have the greatest confidence in him as our new Ambassador to the United Nations.

Bill Scranton is the man who performed so effectively on the transition team during the tumultuous days when I first assumed the Presidency. He will now be our United Nations Ambassador when the entire world is in transition.

As Chairman of the President's Committee on Campus Unrest, Bill Scranton showed great initiative and independence of spirit. Now, he takes over a very difficult post at a time of widespread unrest in the world.

From Bill Scranton's record of achievement and from my own years of very close personal friendship with him, I know him to be a man of depth and of vision. He personifies the old American virtue, dating from George Washington and Pennsylvania's Ben Franklin, of balancing conciliation with great personal strength.

The United States of America is the world's best hope for peace with freedom. Universal aspirations for a better life depend substantially on our strength, our perseverance, and our prudence throughout the world and at the United Nations. These qualities will be ably demonstrated by our new Ambassador.

The United States retains the idealism that made us the driving force behind the creation of the United Nations, over three decades ago, as a worldwide system to promote peace and progress. Americans are convinced that the world can be a better place. Reason and good will can triumph over prejudice and arrogance. That is why we remain committed to the support of the United Nations.

The opportunities arising from interdependence are positive and very creative. We remain guided by principles expressed in the Secretary of State's speech to the Seventh Special Session of the United Nations last autumn. We will continue to stand up and speak out for the good name of the United States and against the pursuit of narrow interests.

Bill Scranton will have very heavy responsibilities. He has my complete confidence and trust in the discharge of those responsibilities. I know that he will not only advocate America's views with great strength and great skill but that he will listen respectfully to all other delegates who speak in good faith.

I know that he will work, as he has in so many past endeavors, to improve the efficiency of the United Nations and its agencies.

The challenge facing Bill Scranton is immense; conflicts are inevitable in the United Nations. In recent years, the world has witnessed unfortunate and excessive concentration on irresponsible resolutions and the manipulation of procedures. This has happened at a time when the legitimate and crucial issues on the United Nations' agenda require all the dedication and statesmanship the world can muster.

Our new Ambassador, with the people and the Government of the United States firmly behind him, will demonstrate the good will, determination, and serious purpose that have characterized American participation in the United Nations.

We will listen with respect to all genuine grievances. We will deal with all problems on their merits. We ask only that others show reciprocity and cooperation. The United States will defend the United Nations against any effort to use it for cynical tests of strength that subvert the ideals of the United Nations Charter.

I am grateful that our Nation will have such an able spokesman. I know Bill, as I have said before, as a very close personal friend and have called him Governor for many years. Today, I address him as Mr. Ambassador and ask all of you to join me in wishing Ambassador Scranton every success.

Now, I will ask Justice Potter Stewart to come up and administer the oath, and I would like the Secretary of State to join me while the oath is administered.

Note: The President spoke at 2:10 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Mary Scranton, Ambassador Scranton's wife, and Gov. Robert D. Ray of Iowa. Potter Stewart, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, administered the oath of office.

Ambassador Scranton's response to the President's remarks is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 12, p. 431).

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at the Swearing In of William W. Scranton as United States Representative to the United Nations. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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